To stand out in today’s excellent, yet competitive, job search market, a strongly-constructed resume can mean the difference between getting a response – or not.
Make sure readers get the information they need to make this determination by paying special attention to these 5 critical sections:
Name, Acronyms, & Contact Info
While the contact section may seem insignificant – in my experience, it is anything but. Details matter – from replacing an email of yesteryear (goodbye AOL) with a current one (Gmail) to including credentials that align with your career aspirations (Certified Accountants, for instance, should include CPA at the end of their names).
These small details, together with traditional info like your full name, email, phone number and a LinkedIn URL, can go a long way toward making a solid first impression.
In addition to your name and address (you can skip the street name but at minimum include your city, state, and zip), be sure to include the initials or acronym associated with any certifications that align with your career goals. This way the reader won’t miss out on the fast that you are credentialed if he/she doesn’t have time to get the bottom of Page 2!
A headline directly below the contact information sets the stage by informing the reader about the types of roles for which you are well suited.
Are you a CTO or a CFO, a VP of Marketing or a VP of Financial Services Technology? Customize the headline by adding or deleting words that instantly transform you from an industry expert to being industry-agnostic.
Also referred to as the Summary Section – this section is bar none the most important, in my opinion, as it spells out for the reader how you are the PERFECT CANDIDATE for the role at hand.
Nail this section by replacing generic adjectives with details that are unique to you. Phrases like “proven track record” mean nothing. Statements like “Grew territory 30% in 12 months” mean much more and are impactful.
Also known as a skills section, this is an area to showcase your areas of expertise. Focus on industry- or job function-related skills, rather than soft skills. Not sure what to include? Revert to the “qualifications” sections normally located at the bottom of job postings. These are often chock-full of keyword-searchable skills.
Professional Experience and Education
Count on readers skimming through this career overview. After they look at your job title, name of company and years of employment, they tend to read the very first paragraph or bullet.
Make it count by including an achievement that makes you proud – quantifying your success as much as possible along the way.
These 5 key sections, with special consideration to formatting and word selection, will help to place you in line for a call back!