So, what on earth actually happens to your resume when you submit it online? Is it scanned by a computer? Is it submitted to human resources? Does it go directly to the hiring manager for the position? Or is it just lost in the Internet abyss of unread applications?
All of these scenarios are possible—the last one being the dreaded and all too common outcome of the online application.
Since you don’t know who or in what context someone will be reading your resume, it’s critical to ensure that you’ve provided the reader with everything they are looking for in a candidate for a particular position.
Your resume should tell a story about your career. It should also be very clear to the reader as to why you are applying for the position. Don’t assume a reader will understand what you mean, you should be telling them exactly what it is they need to know.
You don’t want your resume to be overlooked because you left something out by mistake. Use the checklist and tips below to optimize your resume and secure that dream job!
(This checklist uses examples for digital marketing, but is applicable for any industry.)
- First and Last Name
- Tagline and/or Personal Statement
- These are optional, but can give useful context to the reader
- Tagline examples: Digital Marketer, Media Manager, Digital Strategist
- Your tagline can go under your name to give the reader a clear understanding of your career interests and reasons for applying to the position.
- Personal statement example: Highly motivated and results oriented digital marketing professional focusing on social communication to educate clients on how to utilize social platforms to meet goals.
- Personal statements are not necessary and are only useful if they provide value to the reader. They take up valuable resume real estate, so the LinkedIn summary section or a personal website is a good place for a statement.
- Contact Information
- Telephone Number
- Social Media (if appropriate and professional)
- Address (if moving cities, you may choose to leave out your address, or add city to where you are moving to)
Skills and Tools Section
I believe your skills and tools section is one of the most valuable and insightful sections on your resume. This is where you can easily tell the reader your qualifications for their job posting.
Make sure that you include the skills and tools from job postings that you are applying to. Use them as checklists to make sure you don’t forget something. You should be providing the reader with all of the information they want and need to know.
- Digital Marketing Skills Examples:
|Search Engine Optimization
|Social Media Analytics
- Digital Marketing Tools Examples:
|Content Management Systems
Your work experience can be made into multiple sections so it is easy for the reader to understand. This is especially useful for career changers. You can break up your past work experience from your current experience if you were working in different industries.
Try to be descriptive with your experience headings.
- Examples: Digital Marketing Experience, Social Media Management Experience, Digital Communications Experience, Digital Strategy Experience, etc.
Try to keep your resume to one page. If you do go over, don’t assume the reader will see what is on page two. You should be putting the most important information first.
Having trouble cutting down your resume? Ask yourself if it is relevant to the current position you are applying for. No? Take it out.
- You should put your most recent experience first
- Write in the active voice
- Keep formatting consistent
- Each experience should include:
- Name of Company
- Your Title
- All bullets describing your work experience should follow this formula:
Descriptive Action Verb + Task Completed + Result
(quantify whenever possible)
In almost all cases, education is not as important as your experience. If you are a recent graduate, your education could have more prominence, but try to lead with internships, activities/organizations, or other leadership type roles.
- Name of school
- Year of graduation
- Degree earned
- Optional: relevant coursework, activities/organizations, honors, certificates, etc.
Resume writer’s block? Find 3-5 job postings that you are interested in applying to. Print them out and then highlight the qualities/skills the employer is looking for. By comparing job postings, you can cater your resume to the postings by making sure that you have added all of the skills and qualifications necessary for the opportunities.
I always suggest catering your resume to the job you are applying to. If you have a focused job search, it really won’t take much time to switch up some key words and phrases. Why try to come up with it on your own if they are already telling you what they are looking for? This makes it easier for you and for the reader, plus it shows that you took time to thoroughly read the job description.
Are you ready to set yourself apart?