Resume Writing Tips

Let’s talk about your resume, one of the most important marketing tools in your corner.

The header at the top should include your full name and contact information. If your email address contains words that could raise a red flag, sexygirl@ or machoman@, for example, create a fresh email account. If your maintain your LinkedIn account, feel free to include the link in this section.

If you’re looking for a job with a staffing firm who may be recruiting for a variety of positions, one approach is to emphasize the skills you have that correlate with the job you’re applying to. You could start with a professional summary in paragraph form that in a few sentences highlights your brand or who you are and what type of position you are seeking. Underneath, list your qualifications using bullet points; these can be professional skills.

Think about what specifically you have done if you’re stuck. Don’t fib. If you are called for an interview, you will almost certainly be asked more about those skills. Ideally highlight your ability to communicate and collaborate, but don’t just use the words. Show your effective communication skills by filling out that section with pertinent examples. Still stuck? Have your previous positions required you to be detail-oriented? If you worked in manufacturing, did your role include troubleshooting, maintenance and operating machinery?

Don’t overlook the soft skills. Employers value effective communicators with a sense of teamwork and accountability, but just writing “team player” isn’t enough. Again, be specific and show how you worked within a team to complete a task. Don’t be bashful about noting your problem-solving capabilities and time management abilities if you have them. If you led the team effort, even better.

When focusing on your work history, aim for at least five bullet points under every job you’ve held that show what you did. Start each of these example with a strong action verb — maintained, troubleshooted, supervised, oversaw, analyzed are some possibilities. Show impact if you are able. If you can quantify your impact with specific numbers or examples, that’s best.

If you’ve worked multiple jobs in staffing, it’s best to list them under the same firm to reduce clutter. If you’ve worked for several staffing firms, consider listing the jobs chronologically rather than starting with the firm.

If you have gaps in employment, consider a functional resume that highlights each of your various skillsets.

Make sure to include your education, including any computer programs, certifications or training programs you’ve completed.

Make sure your resume looks polished. That means no spelling errors — typos and grammatical errors are the most common resume flubs. Use a consistent font size that’s easy to read, line breaks for optimum readability, and ideally, one-inch margins. One page is always preferred; recruiters and hiring managers generally take only a cursory look at resumes. Explore the plethora of resume templates online if you’d rather not start from scratch. Several sites have online resume builders to help.

Remember, while a resume is only one tool, it is among the most important. Take some time and invest in making your resume as good as it can be so the posting in front of you turns into that opportunity you’ve waited for.

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