Resumes and cover letters serve as your introduction to and first impression on potential employers. As a result, it is critical that your resume and cover letter are polished and effectively communicate your strengths, skills, and accomplishments. Your resume is essentially Your Brand and represents everything that you are. Therefore, it is important to make sure your resume, and by extension your cover letter, are tailored specifically to the job you are applying for and complement each other with being exact duplicates of each other. Here are some important tips to remember when drafting and submitting your resume:
- A functional resume, while less common, focuses more on your skills, proficiency, and objectives rather than your work history. This can be a great way to structure your resume if you are changing careers, unemployed or in a single job for a long time, or fresh out of school.
- A chronological resume is the most common type of resumes and focuses more on your work history to show an upward or lateral progression in a certain career or profession as well as highlight continuous employment. Always list your current or most recent job first and then work backwards in time. Listing the last 10 years of employment is generally sufficient if you have held multiple jobs; if you are looking to advance in a particular field or career, it is worthwhile to list more than the last 10 years as long as those jobs relate to the skills or profession you are in.
- Use bullet-points to list your skills, job duties, and responsibilities rather than paragraphs. This will make it easier for employers to find the skills they are looking for and it will make your resume easier to read. In the same vein, when using bullet-points, also list the most important or impactful skills and job duties first, especially those that are related to the job for which you are applying.
- Be Consistent! Whether it is punctuating at the end of your bullet-points or choosing the tense of the verbs in your description, always be consistent in both your resume and cover letter.
- Use ACTION VERBS when describing your skills and job duties and try to link your duties, responsibilities, and accomplishment to certain goals or results, whether they can be measured or not.
For much more information on resumes, please visit the Prepare tab on the Career Connections website available at www.careerconnections.nj.gov. For more information on careers and occupations, including summaries and required/desired skills, visit CareerOneStop at www.CareerOneStop.org.