When applying for jobs, being able to stand out among the mass of applicants can feel insurmountable. However, getting a recruiter to notice your resume is actually easier than you think – especially if your resume is missing something or has obvious mistakes.
Whether you’re looking for an internship, contract work or a permanent opportunity, don't be the needle in the haystack. Here are 6 Critical Resume 'Must Haves':
- CONTACT INFORMATION – This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many resumes recruiters come across that are missing this basic information. Your resume should always include your primary forms of communication, consisting of your main phone number, email and mailing address. Even if your resume looks perfect for a position, you won’t get the job if the recruiter can’t get in touch with you.
- CLEAR FORMATTING –To put it simply - if a resume is difficult to read, no one is going to read it. Aspects like appropriate font style, size, organizational bullet points and submitting your resume in a Microsoft Word or PDF file all make it easy to read so the recruiter can focus on what’s important – your experience. Again, this element may seem redundant, but its importance is frequently overlooked.
- EDUCATION & EMPLOYMENT DATES – Employment and education dates say a lot about the type of worker that you are, and it’s crucial to convey that accurately to a prospective employer. Resumes that are missing these items leave the recruiters with an unclear picture of your experience and can cause them to question the validity of the jobs you’ve held - especially if you’re a recent graduate or have held multiple positions.
- DETAILED & TAILORED EXPERIENCE – Your resume functions as a snapshot of your experience to quickly sell you to an employer for an available possible. If a recruiter is going to ‘buy what your resume is selling’ then they need to be able to find what they’re looking for. Specifically, they are looking for relevant experience and job titles, industry keywords and performance metrics. Resumes that lack detailed experience tailored to the specific position for which you are applying, won’t stand a chance against the well thought out resumes.
- SKILLS SECTION – Almost every job requires a certain set of skills to properly manage its daily functions. Utilizing this section of your resume to highlight your skills and certifications allows you to clearly convey that you possess the technical proficiency to meet the expectations of the position (for example, a web designer would want to include HTML or CSS, and an Accountant might want to highlight QuickBooks). So as the saying goes…if you’ve got it, flaunt it.
- BONUS ITEMS – Although a resume with the above 5 elements hits all of the main points, there are other components of your experience you may want to consider adding that can help take your resume to an even higher level.
a. LinkedIn Profile – Most employers will attempt to do a LinkedIn check, so it’s helpful to provide a link to your profile so they can put a professional face to the resume.
b. Social Media Profiles, i.e. Facebook and Twitter – These are especially important to include if you’re applying for a job in the digital and/or marketing field since your job duties might require these skillsets. One thing to note: you should only provide links to your profiles if you’ve done an audit of the content you’ve posted and you are comfortable with a potential employer viewing it.
c. Online Portfolio – This is especially important for design focused candidates: Allowing a potential employer to access your online portfolio and/or work samples gives them the opportunity to better understand your skill sets and capabilities, which can help generate more interest in your resume for the position available.
Messina Group is Chicago based staffing firm with experience placing hundreds of temporary and contract workers each year. If you’re looking to make a change in your career path, visit our job board to learn more about our open contract positions today!