Is your professional marketing document (aka résumé) failing to secure interviews? Résumés fail because of missing sections and poor content. A targeted résumé is effective when it includes the following sections and content:
Start the résumé with your first and last name, telephone number, and an email address. Some professional résumés also include additional contact information such as a location (city and state), LinkedIn URL, or other social media profile details.
Avoid incomplete, hard to read contact information. Another issue is placing contact information in a header section of the document because some applicant tracking systems (ATS) are unable to scan header and footer content, which means the document could be denied due to lack of contact information. Text boxes should also be avoided for the same reason.
Job Goal, Introduction, and Keywords
Under the contact information, include the job name of the position you are trying to secure to create an ATS match.
Modern introduction sections provide a few bulleted career achievements proving your valuable contributions. Be sure to include the organization name with the achievement, so readers understand how and where you contributed.
Keywords aligned with specific knowledge are great to include, again for ATS matching. For example, “Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification” for some job opportunities will be a differentiator and key information.
Avoid general phrases such as “successful team member” or “strong work ethic” because these phrases say nothing unique about the professional and are overused. Avoid using an objective statement – it’s self-serving and states the obvious.
Work history is usually the most robust résumé section, listing relevant work in chronological order. Not all work needs to be included in the résumé. Previous career contributions that are irrelevant to a job goal can be deemphasized or omitted.
Avoid a job obituary listing general responsibilities.
Education & Training
The education section placement on a résumé depends on the education relevance to the job goal. For recent graduates, the education section is usually listed higher on the résumé – under the introduction section. Career changers who have continued education or training to support a new job aim can list education and training under the introduction section to highlight new knowledge and credentials.
Professionals who have two or more years of experience related to the job goal will place the education section under the experience section because hiring managers are more interested in learning about the experience and accomplishments than the education. That is why seasoned professional résumés typically have an education and training section toward the end of the document.
Only attended college for a few classes? Include that education information and the number of credits completed, even if a degree was not awarded. Training and certifications relevant to the job goal are also good to include.
Avoid education disclaimers or statements explaining why a degree was abandoned or not earned. Personal education philosophy statements do not need to be included. Employers don’t want to read excuses and if they want to know your philosophy they will ask.
Volunteer, Board Member, and Other Interests
This section can be a differentiator from other qualified candidates. Serving the community as a volunteer or board member can be included in a résumé to showcase leadership skills and contributions. Providing one to two sentences about hobbies and interests can spur discussions with future employers.
Avoid religious, political, or other controversial statements and views.
Make sure your career document is communicating effectively by checking your content.