What Is a Winning Resume?
The idea of trying to fit all of your relevant achievements, skills, and experiences when applying for a job on a single sheet of paper can be intimidating. Considering that the average recruiter only spends 5-10 seconds looking over a resume, it is important to have a noticeable and eye-catching resume while still not being overwhelming. Every good resume contains a few key parts, and although no two resumes will look the same, here are a few guidelines to stick by to build a winning resume.
- Contact Information
- Summary and Objective
- Work Experience
- Achievements and Awards
- Relevant Skills
Your contact information should be the first thing displayed in your resume, with your name in letters larger-than-the-rest at the top of the page. Following this, you want to list the means of communication that an employer might need. Be sure to include:
- Full Name
- Phone Number
- Professional Email
- Address (or city of residence)
- LinkedIn Profile Link
Summary and Objective
It would be best if you looked at your summary and objective as a way to briefly introduce yourself and explain what you are looking for in a job. It should essentially look like steps 2 and 3 of your elevator pitch.
Your work experience section is where you get the chance to share previous positions you’ve worked in the past and show how your experience can benefit your new company. Your work experience section should list:
- The previous company’s name and location
- Your position at the previous company
- How long you worked there
- 3 bullet points shortly describing your responsibilities
The bullet points can be intimidating trying to describe something that seems second-hand to you. If you get stuck, try referencing a website like zesty.com that gives really great example descriptions you can refer to.
All employers are looking for a source of education, but don’t be worried if your major does not match up to the position you are applying for. Often recruiters are looking to have the degree rather than what the degree is in. Also, unless it is your only education, try to leave behind high school education and focus on your collegiate education. Your education section should include:
- Name of the school/university
- Your degree
- Your GPA
- Your graduation date
Achievements and Awards
The achievements and awards section gives you the chance to demonstrate where you have gone above and beyond. This can include any awards, scholarships, recognition, or other achievements worth mentioning on your resume. Use this section to show why you are the best candidate for the position besides meeting the basic requirements.
The relevant skills section is your opportunity to showcase your hard and soft skills that would be relevant to a recruiter. Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify, while soft skills are like people skills, networking ability, or interpersonal skills. It is important to balance these skills because recruiters often look for well-balanced and highly qualified applicants.
Now that you understand what makes up a resume, you have to consider your resume’s appearance. It would help if you tailored your resume to match the impression you want to leave on your recruiter. For example, if you are applying for a marketing or digital design position, you should use colors and creativity to compile your resume. Also, if you are applying for an engineering or computer science position, you might want to make your resume look more visually organized and customized. In most cases, though, a standard black and white resume should be fine. Besides this, here are a few dos and don’ts to follow when writing your resume.
What Are Some Dos and Don’ts?
- Use no smaller than 10pt font
- Use a clear and easy-to-read font
- Use quantifiable information when you can
- Fit the whole resume on a single-sided page
- Save your resume as a PDF to send out
- Customize your resume for the specific job
- Use poor grammar or spelling errors
- Go over a single page
- Leave out any relevant information
- Forget to update your resume whenever you can