Resume Help: Make an Impact

These 10 tips will help you build the perfect resume. Go beyond standard resume best practices and create one that will open doors.

Resume on table: tips on creating a perfect resume

Adecco’s resume tips will help get your cv to the top of the pile and one step closer to landing the job of your dreams!

A resume is your first point of contact with potential employers, so it’s essential to know how to write a resume that reflects your skills, experience and qualifications. Check out our resume best practices to make sure yours stands out.

1. Nail down the best resume format

The best resume templates highlight your experience, skills and/or education to exemplify why you’re the ideal candidate. The three main types of resume formats include:

  • Functional: Highlights skills and experience rather than listing work history in chronological order. Designed to elevate your skills and capabilities, a functional resume is perfect if you’re changing careers or have lengthy employment gaps.
  • Chronological: Lists your work experience in order of the most recent position at the top. Not only is this resume type easy to read, it’s also the perfect format to feature your career progression.
  • Combination: A mix of functional and chronological. The first part promotes skills, achievements and qualifications, which is followed by a list of work experience in reverse chronological order.

2. Provide full contact details

Obvious or not, your contact information should be clearly marked and noticeable by placing it at the top of your resume and include your:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Home address
  • LinkedIn profile link
  • Personal website link

Providing your full contact information upfront sets the tone for transparency and makes it easy to find your experience and skills through your digital presence.

Tip - If you chose to include your LinkedIn profile, make sure your profile is up-to-date and that you’re frequently adding new skills, relevant industry news and are requesting relevant endorsements from past management and colleagues.

3. Career objective vs. candidate profile

A strong resume starts with a career objective or candidate profile. This content gives future employers a glimpse into your professional achievements and what you’re looking for in your next role.

Career Objective: Focuses on what you would like to achieve within the role. It details any skill sets you’re looking to enhance or industries you’re intending to work in. Knowing exactly what you want out of a position highlights your direction and initiative to potential employers.

Candidate Profile: Also known as a career summary or summary of qualifications, provides a quick glance at your skills, experience and qualifications. It clearly outlines why you’re the perfect candidate for the role.

4. Highlight the right skills

A skill set that is targeted to the opportunity has the potential to identify you as the perfect fit. Some of the best resume examples include a diverse set of soft and hard skills.

Soft Skills: Often specific to your personality and the attributes needed to succeed in a work environment. Soft skills are earned through experiences and interaction, rather than education. Consider adding soft skills to your resume including: presentation, public speaking, writing reports and proposals, critical thinking and research. Make sure to ask yourself if a skill makes you a better candidate before adding it to your resume.

Hard Skills: Reflects the specific qualifications required to do the job. Hard skills are taught through education and experience. Hard skills will vary by industry and company. For example, an accountant may use different software depending on the organization he’s working for. Using the required skills from the job description as a starting point and consider adding others such as computer skills (such as Microsoft or CRM programs), data analysis, numeracy and foreign languages. If need be, you can brush up your hard skills with the help of Adecco’s SkillBuilder e-learning platform!

Tip - Many employers will use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to filter out resumes that don’t include their required keywords. By mirroring your skills to those listed in the job requirements, you’re one step closer to ensuring that your resume passes the ATS and lands on the desk of a hiring manager.

5. List your experiences

The experiences section is critical since it identifies how you implemented your skills and education into your day-to-day responsibilities, while showcasing your contributions. When formatting the experiences section be sure to:

  • List positions in reverse-chronological order to identify your most recent position at the top of the experiences section.
  • Include dates of employment (year and month), the full name of the organization and city and province of employment.
  • Be specific with your responsibilities within each role. Use action words and real numbers to identify awards received, costs saved, etc..
  • Describe how each point exemplifies the value you bring to an organization.

Tip – Limit your experiences to the last 10 to 15 years to make sure your skills and experiences are still relevant to the job you’re applying for.

6. Awards and recognitions

The one thing that is sure to set you apart from other candidates in your field are the awards and recognition you have earned throughout your professional career — so don’t be afraid to boast a little! To do so:

  • Describe the purpose of the award and the accomplishment it recognizes.
  • Include the date of the recognition to prove the relevancy and support your skill set.
  • Identify whether the award was regional, national or international.

Tip – Avoid doubling up. Do not include achievements that can, or have been, added to your education or employment history.

7. Include your education

Your educational history exemplifies the knowledge and understanding you have in your industry. Format your education section to identify:

  • Institutions attended
  • Degrees or certificates attained
  • Dates of attendance
  • Honours or awards
  • Any other professional development courses and certifications

Tip – Refrain from including any incomplete education. It portrays a lack of commitment to any potential employers.

8. Recent references

Keep your resume in line with the skills and experiences required for the role at hand. Rather than including your references at the bottom of your resume, you can create a separate professional reference page. References are most likely requested after the first or second interview. When you do provide them, be sure to include:

  • The reference’s full name, title, organization, phone number and email address.
  • Your relationship to the reference and how long you’ve known them for.

Tip – Always ask your references for permission to release their contact information. This will make sure references aren’t caught off guard by a phone call or email and puts them in a position to provide a strong recommendation.

9. Cover letter

Your cover letter connects the dots between your skills and experiences to the responsibilities of the job. A strong cover letter includes certain elements — a personal address line, a hook, why you’re qualified and general knowledge of the business.

  • Personal Address Line: Avoid addressing it to “To whom it may concern”. The lack of personalization isn’t going to be an attention grabber. If you can’t find the name of the hiring manager, go with “Employers at [company name]”.
  • The Hook: An opening sentence that grabs the reader’s attention and demonstrates why you’re qualified and unique.
  • Why you’re Qualified: Target the position and keep it focused. Be concise in connecting your experiences and skills to those listed in the job description and show them how they will benefit the department and/or organization.
  • General Knowledge of the Business: Show them you did your research. Stand out by talking about their business and identifying why you would like to join their organization.

Tip – Don’t be afraid to show some personality! The hiring manager will be considering your skills and experience as well as your fit with the organization.

10. Additional information

If relevant, you can always include some extras on your resume.

  • Testimonials and Publications: Consider including testimonials and publications you may have appeared in to emphasize your expertise in your field/industry.
  • Portfolio: If submitting digital applications to creative fields such as graphic design or content writing, be sure to provide a link to your digital portfolio. If the resume is being submitted in person, attach a few samples of your work.
  • Volunteer work: If you lack paid work experience, include volunteer work on your resume to identify your hard and soft skills. Community service experience can also showcase your goodwill initiatives for organizations that value corporate social responsibility.
  • Hobbies and interests: Generally speaking, hobbies and interests take up valuable space on your resume and do little to improve your candidacy. Should you choose to include this category on your resume, make sure the hobbies and interests listed are relevant to your field of work.

General Tips

A few final resume best practices to consider.

  • Select the right font. Select a serif font that is easy to read like Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma or Century Gothic. Test the legibility by printing a copy. If the font appears cramped, or you find yourself squinting, you’ll need to change your font.
  • Format headings. Make your headings and name stand out by making them bold, italicized or underlined. Ensure your headings are uniform throughout your resume to maintain clarity and consistency.
  • Keep it short and relevant. A three-page resume doesn’t equate to being more qualified for the job. In fact, using the six-second scan theory, the recruiter is not likely to read past the first page! Although we recommend keeping your relevant skills and experience at the top of your resume, don’t compromise your content by shrinking the font or increasing your margins to limit your resume to one page.
  • Proofread. Have someone review your resume to catch any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors you may have missed.
  • Customize. Each job opportunity is unique and requires different skills, so your resume needs to reflect that. Customize your resume to match the skills and requirements for each position.

With a perfectly crafted resume under your belt, you are ready to start preparing for interviews!

For career help that includes resume tips, look no further than the professionals at Adecco. With hundreds of opportunities opening daily and recruitment professionals dedicated to connecting you to the perfect job, visit your local Adecco branch to register today!

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