Creating a resume is a tedious but essential activity in the job search process. We all struggle through it on the way to our dream job, but it doesn’t have to be such as pain. EDIS Group is here with some tips to make it easier.
Where Do I Start?
You open a blank word document and you stare at the screen. You have a million thoughts about where to start. Does my education or experience go at the top? Which jobs will employers want to hear about? Should I really include that club from Sophomore year? It can be difficult to decide what to put and what to keep. If you want to jump right in but you aren’t sure where to start, here is what you need to include in your resume.
1. Contact Information
This is an easy and crucial first step. Employers want to be able to contact you, and you want to make it easy for them. Put you name in bold at the top followed by your address, email, phone number, and Linked-In profile, if you have one (Hint: You should make one).
The next section of interest for recruiters is your educational background. If you are a recent graduate or right in the thick of it, the Education Section should go next after contact information. If you are more than a year or two out of school, this will go after the Work Experience Section. Make sure to name not only your college but the degree you received, major you studied, (minors if they are relevant to the job you’re applying for), any honors/awards received, and the date of graduation.
The biggest concern applicants worry about is their GPA. If still in school, then it’s important to include it on your resume. (Pro-Tip: If your in-major GPA is higher than your overall GPA include that as well). It can be stressful for many students because grades don’t show a complete picture of who you are. But don’t worry, good news! Once out of school, it isn’t necessary to put down, employers aren’t really concerned with the grades but your work experience.
3. Work Experience
This is the most involved section. Here is where a candidate can shine. In this section you should include the companies you’ve worked for, job titles held, responsibilities and achievements at the organization, and dates of employment. List each work experience in reverse chronological order.
Depending on the position, I would also break out a section of Relevant Experience (put it before general Work Experience). This is a special section to showcase work you’ve done in one specific field that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.
When is this appropriate?
- Haven’t worked in this area in a few years
- Have limited but still very relevant experience in this field
- Making a career switch
- Job role is very specific
Of course once you know what you want to write, editing down the bullet points for each work experience is the difficult part. We will dive deeper into that in our next blog post.
4. Additional Skills and Experiences
These are sections to show off other great qualities that may be important to the recruiter. Are you a leader in your school or community? Do you volunteer? Speak another language? Coding experience? You should highlight them in these sections.
In the Additional Skills Section, break out each skill into a different bullet point and list examples.
- Software Applications: Excel, Powerpoint, Zendesk, Mailchimp, Trello, Agile, Salesforce, Bullhorn
- Social Media Experience: Facebook, Facebook Ad Campaigns, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogging
- Computer Languages: HTML, CSS, Java, .Net, C+, Python
- Languages: Hindi: Business Level, French: Conversant
Additional Experience Section should show previous leadership experience whether from volunteering, school, community organizations, religious affiliations, etc. Many people will ask “Can I include activities from college even though I’m out of school?”. The answer is yes but there is a caveat.
If you are 2-3 years out of school, then it’s fine to include. However, it has to be helpful to you; does it convey your strengths to an employer and the fit for a role? If the answer is no, then don’t put it. This is true for everything on a resume; include it only if it is relevant to position, shows leadership, and has specific results. If you were the reason something experienced tremendous growth, even better.
Some great examples include: on-campus jobs, research done with a professor, mentorship, and leader/president/director of organization. Another tip; slowly whittle down the college activities put in this section the further out you are from graduation, and the more work experience you get.
Short attention span? Here is the TL:DR version.
Now that we have a good idea of what to include, it is time to clean up the content. Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3 of our Resume Series to find out how best to format and edit your resume.
EDIS Group is a recruitment firm that connects candidates with top companies in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. EDIS spends a lot of time prepping candidates and job-seekers. We’ve seen how small changes can make a huge difference. Use these tips to better your chances of finding the right job for you.