5 Must-Have Resume Sections (And 3 Optional Ones)

5 Must-Have Resume Sections (And 3 Optional Ones)

What are your career goals in 2020? A well-written resume can help you reach them. It’s a critical document in every job search, and for some people that’s intimidating. That’s why we’ve created an easy-to-follow template that will work for almost any position. Here are the basic sections every resume needs, along with many of the optional categories that can help get your foot in the door.

Always Include These Resume Sections

Make your resume visually appealing and simple to understand so employers can see what you offer at a glance. Use easy-to-read font, high-quality paper and consistent formatting. Here’s what every resume should include.

The Header

The top section of your resume should include your full name and all of your contact information. Use large letters for your name, then list your name, phone number, cell phone number and email address. Including your physical address or social media handles is optional. Avoid using your current work email address on a resume, and make sure the email address you do provide makes a good first impression.

Summary/Objective

In this section, briefly communicate what you’re looking for and why you’re the best pick. Start with an objective statement that includes the job title you’re applying for. Then state two or three of your top qualifications or most relevant skills. Conclude by letting the employer know what they stand to gain by choosing you.

Education Section

This resume block is pretty straightforward. Start with your highest completed degree and work backward. If you earned a college degree, you don’t need to list your high school diploma.

Include the type of degree you earned, your major and minor, and the name of the school from which you received your degree. If you received academic honors, list those as well.

List licenses and certifications in much the same way. State the name of your certification, the institution from which you received it, the date you became licensed or certified and applicable location information. For example, if you’re only licensed or certified in a certain state or region, clarify where you can use that education or qualification.

Work Experience

Again, start with your most recent job experience and work backward. Include this information for each entry:

  • Employer name
  • Your job title
  • Dates employed
  • Job tasks and responsibilities

Under each employer, highlight your achievements using data wherever possible. If you increased sales by 15 percent, reduced marketing costs by $3,000 a year or saved 100 man-hours every month, let that hard evidence speak in your favor.

Skills

Employers are looking for candidates who already possess the skills the position requires. They’re looking for abilities like problem solving, teamwork, organization, flexibility and strong time management. Evaluate your strengths and make a list, then revisit the skills section of your resume every time you apply for a job.

Look at the skills each employer lists on the job description. If you have those skills, make sure they’re on your list.

Optional Resume Sections

Almost all employers are looking for the above information on your resume. You also might want to include the following optional sections:

  • Awards
  • Volunteer work
  • Professional associations

How do you know whether or not you should include optional sections? Ask yourself how each relates to the position. Your first place award at the state chili cook-off doesn’t make you a more attractive candidate at a CPA firm, but it definitely counts if you’re applying to be the kitchen manager at a local restaurant. If you’re applying for a social worker position, your volunteer experience at that children’s summer camp says something about your heart.

When your hobbies or professional associations show you’re more qualified, connected or passionate, include them on your resume. If they aren’t connected to the position for which you’re applying, leave them off.

More Job Resources

If you’re looking for East Texas jobs, we want to help. Find more resume tips in our online resources or browse our available positions today.

How to Mistake-Proof Your Resume

How to Mistake-Proof Your Resume

When you send your resume and cover letter to prospective employers, mistakes and typos could ruin your chances at an interview. You know what you meant to say, so a quick scan isn’t going to reveal the mistakes that will stick out to recruiters and hiring managers. Use these tips to make sure your resume and cover letter don’t contain embarrassing errors.

Always Use Spell and Grammar Check

Most word processing programs automatically check for spelling and grammar, but they don’t make corrections for you. Go back through your document and review where your program marked errors. Word underlines mistakes with a squiggly red line and Google Docs uses solid red.

Grammarly has a free online grammar and spell checker that catches some errors word processing programs don’t. If you’re not creating your document online, you can upload it for a thorough error scan.

Don’t Edit Tired

If you just spent hours creating your resume, take a break. Come back when you’re rested, you’ll be glad you did.

Print for Proofing

You’ll be better able to spot errors on a paper copy than on a screen. Once you print your resume, use your finger to underline one word at a time as you read. The first time through, look at spelling, grammar and punctuation without editing for meaning and data accuracy. Clearly mark changes with a contrasting color pen so you can add them to your electronic copy later. Then read through again for information consistency.

Check for Common Errors

Spell check won’t catch a word used incorrectly. Make sure the subject and verb of every sentence agree with one another. Only place commas where the reader would naturally pause. Use an apostrophe with “its” only when you mean “it is.” Be careful with the commonly confused “affect” and “effect.” You “accept” offers, not “except” them. Most employees work with a manager, not a manger.

Read out Loud

This proofreading trick will catch errors you don’t notice any other way. Read your resume one word at a time at a pace similar to what you would use when speaking. If something doesn’t sound right, stop and fix it, then read it again.

Verify Hyperlinks

If the electronic copy of your resume contains links to articles you’ve written, online reviews from customers or other materials, click them to make sure they go where you intend. You could have typed URLs incorrectly, or pages might have been moved.

Ask for Help

See if a professional acquaintance or mentor will proofread your resume for you. A fresh set of eyes can make all the difference.

For more resume writing tips, see our dynamic library of useful resources. Our blog also offers help with writing a cover letter, preparing for an interview and having a successful first day on the job.

5 Things You Need to Remove from Your Resume In 2017

[Courtesy of LinkedIn.com]

Five Things You Need to Remove from Your Resume In 2017

Everyone agonizes over their resumes. We all worry that if it’s not perfect, we may not get a call from a recruiter. However, when you constantly gather feedback from peers and experts, you may end up making the job search too confusing before you even start.

Ultimately, you only want to consider one thing when you write your resume: the reader. The reader isn’t the evil applicant tracking system that throws out your resume according to some algorithm. The reader is a real, live person. Your task is to make it easy for them to understand what you do and what your accomplishment are in 1-2 pages.

Trust me, I’ve read my share of resumes. In the last four years, I’ve averaged between 20-35 open technical jobs that I was responsible for filling. In each, I selected between 5-10 candidates to interview and put forward. This equated to between 200 and 350 people I spoke to – every week. Not to mention every hiring manager I spoke to as well. Over a year, this equals 16,800 resumes. That’s just the ones that I selected, not counting all the others I declined.

Take it from me: Here are the five things you want to cut from your resume, if you haven’t already:

1. Multiple Fonts

For the most part, recruiters aren’t going to read your whole resume. They’ll look at your title, company, and dates of employment for each job, and then move on.

The human eye is a funny thing. If you have several different fonts on the page, it may mess with the reader’s comprehension. They’ll have to reread certain sections of the resume just to make sure they understand – if you’re lucky, that is. If you aren’t lucky, they will just move on to the next candidate.

Plus, all those fonts are making my eyes hurt. Please stop.

2. ‘References Given Upon Request’

We know they are. We will ask you for references if we decide to give you an offer. This is premature in the relationship. All you’ve done so far was send a cover letter and resume.

3. Long, Boring Bullet Points

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If a sixth grader can read your resume and understand what you do for a living, than a non-technical recruiter can, too. The odds that the person reviewing your resume doesn’t fully understand what you do for a living are high. That’s why you want to write punchy bullets with accomplishment statements woven in. Use a simple format to present your tasks and achievements quickly. White space is your friend. I promise.

Five Things You Need to Remove from Your Resume In 2017

4. Funny or Odd Email Addresses – or Worse, Your Company Email Address

It’s a job search. Be professional. I once had a job seeker list “foxylady@gmail.com” as her email address. After 15 years of doing this work, I still remember it. Enough said.

5. Industry or Company Jargon

The reader has no idea what the “Tiger Team” or the “Eagle Project” were. Be safe and drop anything highly technical and industry- or company-specific – especially acronyms. If you must use such language, spell it out. High-tech companies are known for having special languages that don’t translate to anyone outside of the company. Years ago, I read resumes from candidates who were let go from Intel. It was confusing and time-consuming. They were lucky, because I ended up calling them and asking a lot of questions. Most recruiters won’t do that. They’ll just skip over you entirely.

Job seekers often write too much (and never too little) out of fear. They are afraid if they don’t list every little detail on their resume, they won’t get a call to interview. This approach often backfires. If you put your resume “out there” for 30 days and no one responds, stop sending it out. Chances are what you wrote on your resume works just fine, but you should also know when it’s time to pull the document and refresh it.

Resume Not Getting Responses? Here’s What to Do

Resume Not Getting Responses Here’s What to Do

[Courtesy of Murray Resources]

You only have a few seconds to make a positive impression on a hiring manager. It’s not a lot of time to stand out and get noticed. The good news is that just a few small tweaks can lead to big improvements on your resume. Here’s a look at 5 you can make right now:

#1: Stick to standard.

Unless you’re applying for a job in a creative field, don’t get flashy on your resume. Instead, format it in a traditional way, with bolded job titles and bullets underneath. In addition, when emailing your resume, always send a PDF. That way, the formatting will look the same regardless of the computer it’s being opened on. Also, stick to traditional fonts on your resume. Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Arial are always good choices.

#2: Keep it concise.

Get rid of unnecessary verbiage. This includes stating that “references are available on request.” In addition, don’t include more than six or seven bullets under each job title. And make sure each one is succinct and makes sense for the reader.

#3: Pull out that personal information.

Details such as your marital status, the number of kids you have, or your religion don’t belong on your resume. In fact, it’s illegal for an employer to consider these factors when hiring and including them makes you look out of the loop.

#4: Concentrate on accomplishments.

The single best way to get noticed by a hiring manager is to promote your proven track record. That means highlighting awards, successes, achievements, praise, and positive comments you’ve received over the years – and that are most relevant to the job you want. Add numbers and percentages to quantify accomplishments wherever you can.

#5: Phone a friend.

Once you’ve polished your resume and think it’s as good as it’s going to get, ask a friend or colleague to review it. Not only can they check for mistakes and typos, but they can also offer you some insight and inspiration into how to position your background.

 

6 Easy Ways to Update Your Resume

Courtesy of Murray Resources

Six Easy Ways to Update Your Resume

You want to find a new job. But when’s the last time you looked at your resume?

If the answer is “a few years ago,” or worse, “I don’t remember,” then you have some work to do before you can submit it to potential employers. A great resume is like a ticket into the interview process. And if you don’t have one, then you’re going to miss out on top opportunities.

To help you in the process, here are six easy ways to update your resume:

#1: Think about goals.

While your resume gives an overview of your career history, it should also be about future goals. That means when you’re thinking about what to highlight, consider it through the lens of where you want to go in your career. If job duties at a past position don’t align with future career goals, then don’t put a lot of emphasis on them. Concentrate your attention, instead, on the experiences and credentials that relate to your current career objectives.

#2: Eliminate the objective.

Unless you’re changing careers, get rid of the objective, or make it very short. This simply takes up valuable space without offering a lot of return. Instead, replace it with a summary of qualifications that offers a few key highlights of your professional career.

#3: Focus on the “wow” factor.

The strongest resumes promote results, not just duties and responsibilities. Some questions to ask yourself to find your “wow” factor for each position include:

  • What have you been easybest at in past positions?
  • What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
  • Which achievements can you back up with numbers, dollars, and percentages?
  • What information would make a hiring manager want to call you in for an interview?

#4: Refresh the look.

Most hiring managers scan resumes. So make yours easy to quickly skim. Use bolded job titles and three to four bullet points under each. Also, don’t use a tiny point size for your font; 11 or 12 are standard. In addition, make sure there’s plenty of spacing so your resume doesn’t look cramped.

#5: Update your contact information.

If you just have your name and address, it’s time for an update. Your cell phone number and email, as well as a link to your LinkedIn profile, should be front and center instead.

#6: Use keywords.

Most companies today use an applicant tracking system to find candidates. So if you don’t use keywords from the job posting, you could get filtered out – even if you’re the right fit.