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BUILDING A STRONG RESUME




A resume is one of, if not the most, important self marketing tools when it comes to career moves and job applications. It’s your first impression on employers when you apply for a role digitally and it sets the tone for who you are as a professional and individual. From the actual content written on the paper and the order in which it funnels to the design of the categories on the page, no element of your resume should be overlooked. If you choose to be a perfectionist at any point in your life, let it be when you create your resume as this is your ride or die tool in landing amazing jobs and making a lasting impression.

Lucky for you, we love all things self marketing at The Social Savvy and are here to share the best pieces of advice that you’ll need to build a powerful, eye catching resume. Continue reading for ideas on what content to include in each section, how to appropriately order your experiences, the layouts you should follow, and when you should choose a creative resume over a traditional one.

Content

First things first, the meat of the resume. The content you include speaks volumes to what value you can add to the company or role you are applying for. While there is much more to an individual that can fit on an 8x11 card stock, you must remind yourself that this is a highlight of your professional being. The side of you that shows what you’ve learned, which industries you’ve worked in, the skills that help you see a project from start to finish. This is the content we’re talking about including. The categories we find absolutely necessary to include on your resume are listed as follows (and in an order that funnels appropriately from most to least relevant):


  1. Personal Information

  2. If your full name is not already the first line of your resume, revise it to be so immediately. That should go unsaid, but you’d be surprised at the many who don’t make their identity known. Remember that even though this is digital, it is still your introduction to the party on the other end of the line - so tell them who you are!

  3. This section is also where you must include your contact information, so the employer can return news and updates to you on your candidacy. Add a personal email address (and please use an address that is appropriate as this is seen by employers - not your AOL email account from 5th grade) and include a phone number that is best to reach you at. Another outlet that is a bonus addition is to add your professional networking profiles, such as the link to your LinkedIn page. This is a subtle plug and excellent way for employers to learn more about you with just a single click of a mouse. Hint: if you’re adding any sort of profile or portfolio that you’d like the employer or company to check out, be sure to hyperlink it and not just paste the address’ link - this way, it cannot be made easier for them to check out your work!


  1. Professional Experience

  2. This is everything. Pour it all out into this section because this is what employers will scan for almost immediately. They want to see what previous experiences or jobs you had that make you qualified for the one you are applying for. They want to know what your position entailed in terms of roles and responsibilities, and what you likely did on a day to day in that position. This will help the employer gauge on how you can transfer those related experiences to a role in their company.

  3. Now, what to include? If you’re a student or recent graduate, include any internships or work experiences you may have had that are worth sharing. For example, a seasonal internship you held on a break from university, a full time job you work at outside of your class schedule, or a part time CO-OP where you learned new skills while enhancing your own. All great positions to include! If you’re well out of college and are simply looking to rebuild your resume to match the current trends, we’ve got tips for you too! However much space allows, we recommend you include your top three or four most relevant experiences to the job in which you are applying or to the field in which you work in. For example, if you have a decade’s worth of work in different marketing roles, choose the top roles that you believe gave you the most enriching experiences and that have made you the strongest candidate. Also, do not forget to list the company name, the title of the role you held, the location in which the job resided, and the month and year in which you started and ended the position (and if you are still in your current position, include a start date, but replace the end date with “present”). If you’re looking for examples on what to include or how this section should look, check out Indeed’s blog post on resume examples and content.

  4. Important to note here is the amount of bullet points you should include per position. As everyone’s resume differs due to diverse amounts of experiences and years in the workforce, the amount of bullet points you can include per role is subjective. A general rule of thumb is to include three to four bullet points of responsibilities you held in that role. If you want to highlight more positions you held, then you may only have room to include three bullet points. If you only have two positions to add on your resume, then you may be able to bump it up to four or five bullet points to occupy white space. It’s all up to what you want to include and how much room you have to do so.

  5. Verbiage is the final piece of advice we have for the experience section. Ensure that if your experience was in the past that the verbs in your bullet points are in the past tense and vice versa with current jobs. Always place your action verbs first in the bullet point, so it sets the scene for what you did and it’s easy for the employer to locate. And always switch up the words! If you find yourself using the same verbs over and over again, replace them with synonyms or rearrange the phrase so you don’t sound like a broken record. Again, the goal is to show them you have a diverse realm of experiences and the first thing that shows that you do is this element. Some of my favorite to use are as follows: created, performed, partnered, cultivated, monitored, wrote, designed, managed, and organized. Take a look at Indeed’s extensive list of powerful action verbs to improve your resume!


  1. Education

  2. Show off your alma mater and include your education on your resume. Information that is significant to add are as follows: university name, name of the specific college at that university that you graduated from (example: the title of the business school if you graduated a business major), the location of the university, the dates in which you started and ended/graduated, and your major(s) and/or minor(s).

  3. Optional elements, but also great to include if you choose to, are as follows: GPA (if near or above a 3.5), any distinctions in which you graduated with (ex: leadership distinction, magna cum laude, etc.), and any relevant classes you may have taken that apply to your knowledge and development as a professional. These optional add ons are excellent for recent graduates to include as it shows in depth the type of student you were in college and how you plan to continue your hard work post graduation.


  1. Leadership/Involvement Roles

  2. Did you hold any leadership positions in campus organizations that further contribute to your skills or career development? Do you or have you been involved in local nonprofits or professional organizations that have helped build you into the strong person you are today? Share that on your resume! Not only does it show what you’ve done to improve the community at hand, but it shows you are more than just a 9-5 or work horse and that you pursue interests that contribute to a greater good while improving yourself.


  1. Skills

  2. Whether hard or soft skills, it is important to share a list of all the traits that make you the catch of an employee you are. List the softwares you are proficient in, the digital platforms you are confident in working on, and any characteristics that you find relevant to share with a potential employer about how you can add value to their company.


  1. Activities

  2. While optional to include, activities and hobbies showcase what you do outside of work and employers like to see that you’re not all work and no play. Share any interest you have that makes you who you are, any clubs or organizations you belong to, if you play any sports or instruments, or if you have a portfolio.



Order

Chronological is the way to go when it comes to arranging your experiences in the best possible way. This order shows your progression in professional endeavors and makes it easier on the eyes for others to follow as it all flows in a natural evolution. When listing experiences, make sure that the first one is your most recent and then continue down the line to the oldest experience listed. Again, it’s all about relevance and your development over time! For more information on how a resume should look, check out the links listed above.

Layout

Keeping it clean is the best piece of advice we can give. You want your margins to be small in order to maximize the amount of information you can list on the page, think .5 page margins. Along with this, keep the font small but legible at a standard size 11 or 12, with the only exception being your full name in a slightly larger font size (perhaps 14). To go along with the sleek look, use simple fonts that don’t require readers to squint their eyes upon viewing, such as Times New Roman or Arial. Slice sections and make clean breaks between content categories by emboldening headlines. For example, I personally always make my section names capitalized and in bold, with the titles of my experiences italicized. This helps my eyes differentiate what I’m reading and separates the important notes from getting lost in a jumble of words. Last, if you are struggling with how to create the layout for your resume or need more tips specific to your certain industry or field of work, check out the resume samples on Indeed’s blog. They are absolutely phenomenal references and showcase ideas and examples for hundreds of different job titles in a variety of industries.

All in all, we suggest that you have a clean, modern, and up to date resume that showcases the best version of your professional self. It is so important to make a great first impression when it comes to interviews and job hunts, and your resume is the ultimate first impression in this digital day of age. Follow our tips in this post and you should be golden when it comes to designing an exceptional resume.

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