Heavy things sink; lighter things rise to the top. You’ll want to keep this visual in mind when your resume is sitting in a stack of 200 applicants vying for the same dream job. By crafting a lean, power-hitting resume that showcases your work experience in an eye-catching way, you’re more likely to stand out to a human resources manager or prospective employer. Let’s cover how to list your work experience on a resume, along with some resume tips that will get more interviews.
Choose a Resume Template
Just as with fashion and interior design, there tend to be trends in the job application world. Resume trends typically repackage career content in unique formats that highlight your skills, work history and accomplishments for today’s job market. There are multiple free resume templates available online. Find one that will stand out to an employer without being too flashy or unprofessional. Then, fill in your personal career highlights utilizing the following tips. If you choose to create your own resume format, be sure to stay consistent with the styling throughout to make your information pop. Bullet points are always a plus.
Showcase Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is designed to set you apart within your industry by identifying what niche you fill. Your brand tells a prospective employer what values you hold, what professional style you use, and what is distinctive about what you bring to the table to meet their needs. Your resume should be consistent with that brand by using your voice throughout, aligning your unique experience and accomplishments with the job being sought, using niched terminology that will resonate with the company, and highlighting your brand qualities.
Tailor Your Resume
It will be very tempting to craft one resume and use it for every job you apply for. Our resume tip that will get more interviews, however, is to update your resume each time so that it fits the position you’re seeking. Yes, you will write a personalized cover letter that addresses the specifics of the role, but your resume will more likely rise to the top if it is customized for that company and that job. Use terminology specific to the industry or company, for example, and eliminate descriptions of duties that won’t be performed in the future role. Instead, translate the task into a skill the employer will value. Change, “Sold and serviced cell phones” to “Built loyal clientele by assessing customer needs, professionally resolving issues, and providing 5-star customer service.” But – be sure that it’s true! Don’t embellish to get the job and then lose it because you don’t have the skill you touted.
Describe Your Work Experience
Maybe you’ve just graduated from college, and you don’t have a long work history. Or maybe you’re applying for a job in a new industry. Don’t forget that not all work experience draws a paycheck. You can include volunteer, intern, work study, and pro bono jobs on your resume, especially if the skills you used or developed are related to the job you’re seeking. Be sure to include the title you held for those positions.
Quantify Your Accomplishments
The best way to showcase your abilities is to quantify results you achieved or tangibles you produced. Not sure what to include here? Ask yourself and others how you made the organization or team better when you were there. What were you praised for on your annual review? Where did you show initiative or go above and beyond? Keep in mind that collective accomplishments you contributed to as part of a team are worth noting, as well, because they show that you can help meet a shared company goal.
Describe a Professional Challenge You Overcame
Whether you were presented with a problem to fix or identified one yourself, demonstrating how you effectively deal with challenges within company guidelines will demonstrate to a future employer that you are both observant and resourceful. For example, “observed excess unmoved inventory leading to decreased quarterly profits; researched and helped implement inventory management system to resolve the problem.”
List Your Hard and Soft Skills
It is easy to think only of hard, technical skills when drafting your resume, but do not forget about those soft skills. Not everyone is aware that employers understand the importance of soft skills and consider those when hiring new candidates for the job. Soft skills include such skills as adaptability, communication, and time management. Why are soft skills so important? Employers feel that these skills are the greatest indicator of a new hire’s success. Read more about the soft skills employers are looking for.
Highlight Your Education
Exhibiting that you are a life-long learner will be a plus for any future employer. In your education section, you’ll want to include degrees, certifications and specialized training you have received. But that’s not all. If you are currently enrolled in a bachelor or master’s degree program, including that will demonstrate you’re committed to career advancement and mastery of the knowledge you need to excel in your industry. If you’re not enrolled, now would be a good time.
In fact, Ottawa University has a wide variety of accelerated, online degree programs designed to prepare you for your next career move. One of the many benefits of earning an online degree is that you can pursue career development while you continue to work!
Most resumes end with a section about references that are available upon request. You can make a statement at the bottom of your resume by also including your own personal mission statement or quote from a client in the footer. Make their last impression of your resume one they won’t forget.
Once you’ve completed your initial resume, be sure to review it for consistent brand voice, grammatical errors, style, and accuracy of information. Use this as your personal resume template for customizing each time you apply for a job. Then, take points from your resume to craft an engaging cover letter, which is another great place to assert your personal brand.
Now that you know how to list your work experience on a resume, here’s to having yours rise to the top of the pile!
Advance Your Career!
Ottawa University is the best, fastest, and most affordable way to earn an online degree. In fact, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Ottawa University and its online programs near the top of the best colleges in the institution’s adult markets of Kansas City, Phoenix, and Milwaukee. If you would like to find out more about how Ottawa University can help you advance your career, contact OU today!
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