Posts Tagged “Jobseeker Tips”

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By REGINA BORSELLINO

Does job searching sometimes feel like you’re flinging resumes and cover letters into a black hole? You may be wondering if your applications are being read at all.

Perhaps you’ve heard that computerized resume scanners reject applications before they even make it into human hands. And yes—at many companies that receive a high volume of applications, that’s true.

The internet has completely transformed the job searching landscape. Long gone are the days when you’d “pound the pavement” or “go in and ask to speak to a manager” for all but the smallest local businesses. Instead, you apply online—which is a double-edged sword for everyone involved. Because you don’t have to physically fill out and deliver an application or send out resumes and cover letters via snail mail anymore, you can apply to a lot more jobs. But so can everybody. This means that an open position can easily get far more applications than companies have the resources to read.

Just ask Muse Career Coach Yolanda M. Owens, Founder of CareerSensei Consulting, who has more than 20 years of recruiting experience in a range of industries, including healthcare, tech, and financial services. When she was a corporate recruiter, she would post a job opening and get back, she says, “over 300 applications for an entry-level position within a week.” She was generally recruiting for between 15 and 20 roles at a time, meaning that she might have 6,000 applicants to track at once!

So hiring managers and recruiters like Owens frequently use an applicant tracking systems (ATS)—software that helps them organize job applications and ensure none fall through the cracks. If you’ve applied to a job any time since 2008, your application has probably passed through an ATS. Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS of some kind, according to research conducted by Jobscan. Any time you apply for a job through an online form or portal, your application is almost certainly going into an ATS.

But an ATS does more than just track applications—it can also act as a filter, parsing every resume submitted and forwarding only the most relevant, qualified job seekers to a hiring manager or recruiter. That’s the resume-scanning technology you’ve probably heard about.

Luckily, getting past the ATS is a lot easier than you might think. Follow these dos and don’ts to create an ATS-friendly resume that’ll sail right through—and impress the hiring manager, too.

 

1. Do Apply Only to Roles You’re Qualified For

ATSs get a bad rap as the “robots” standing between you and your new job, and when you hear that Owens read only 25% of the applications she received for most postings, it might reinforce that impression.

But the reason she looked at such a small percentage of applications? Most candidates were not qualified for the job she was filling. And some were completely irrelevant. “If I’m looking at an entry-level [accounting] position and seeing someone who is a dentist or a VP,” Owens says, it’s totally fair for the ATS to discard those.

So first and foremost, make sure you’re truly qualified for the roles you’re applying to. This doesn’t mean you have to hit every single job qualification or apply to a job only if you have the traditional background for it. Owens says she was always “trying to cast a wide net and not exclude too many factors to pass up a candidate who might not be traditional”— career changers looking for an entry point into a new field, for example, or folks who had impressive transferable skills. But if you don’t have the core skills needed to perform a job, you’re better off not wasting your time or a recruiter’s.

 

2. Don’t Apply to Tons of Jobs at the Same Company

An applicant tracking system also allows recruiters to see all the roles you’ve applied to at their company. Owens often noticed the same person applying to every single opening the company or one of its departments had. When you do this, a recruiter can’t tell what you’re actually interested in or if you’re self-aware about your abilities.

If a company has two very similar roles open, absolutely apply to both. Or if you have a wide range of skills and interests and would be equally happy in two very different roles, then you can apply to both, though you should definitely tailor or target each resume you submit to the specific job.

But you generally shouldn’t be applying to both an entry-level position and a director-level position, or a sales position and a video-editing position. And you definitely shouldn’t be applying to every opening a company has. That just shows you haven’t taken the time to consider what the right role for you is—and a recruiter isn’t likely to take the time to do it for you.

 

3. Do Include the Right Keywords

At its core, what any applicant tracking system is programmed to do when it “reads” a resume is the same as what a person would do: It’s scanning for key pieces of information to find out whether or not you’re a match for a job opening. “ATS algorithms aren’t that different from the human algorithms, we’re all kind of skimming for the same things,” says Jon Shields, Marketing Manager at Jobscan. So when it comes to writing a resume that can make it past an ATS, you want to make sure that key information is there and that it’s easy to find.

One of the ways the ATS narrows an applicant pool is by searching for specific keywords. It’s like a Google search on a much smaller scale.

The recruiter or hiring manager can decide which keywords to search for—usually whatever skills, qualifications, experience, or qualities are most important for performing the job. For entry-level roles, that might mean certain majors, whereas for a tech position, it might be certain coding languages.

So if you want to make it past the ATS, you’ll need to include those important keywords on your resume. Hint: Look for the hard skills that come up more than once in a posting and are mentioned near the top of the requirements and job duties. Hard skills include types of software, methodologies, spoken languages, and other abilities that are easier to quantify. (The most important keyword could even be the job title itself!)

Depending on your industry, certain degrees and certifications might also be important keywords. Particularly in fields like nursing and teaching where state licenses are necessary, employers are going to want to know at a glance that you’re legally allowed to do the job you’re applying for.

If you’re having trouble identifying the important keywords in a job description as you craft an ATS-friendly resume, there are tools online (like Jobscan, Resume Worded’s Targeted Resume or SkillSyncer) that can help you.

Note: In some cases, an ATS scanning for keywords will only recognize and count exact matches. So if you have the correct experience, but you wrote it using language that’s different than what the system is looking for, you might not come up as one of the most qualified applicants. For example, if you write that you’re an “LSW” but the ATS is checking for “Licensed Social Worker,” it might drop your resume. (To be safe, write out the full name, then put the abbreviation in parentheses.) Or if you wrote that you’re “an Excel expert,” but the ATS is searching for someone who has “experience with spreadsheets,” your resume might never get to the hiring manager. When in doubt, match your phrasing to what’s in the job description, as that’s likely to be what the ATS is looking for.

4. Do Put Your Keywords in Context

Applicant tracking systems can recognize that a key skill or experience is present. But interpreting the strength and value of that experience is still for people to do. And humans want to see how you used your skills.

It’s obvious to a recruiter when you’ve just worked in a keyword because it was in the posting, without tying it to a specific personal achievement—and it doesn’t win you any points. “Instead of focusing on regurgitating a job description, focus on your accomplishments,” Owens says.

Plus, remember that you won’t be the only one adding those important keywords to your resume. “If [you’re] all using the same job descriptions and the same buzzwords, what’s going to make you stand out from the crowd?” Owens asks. Answer: your accomplishments, which are unique to you.

When describing your current and past positions, “ensure your bullet points are actually achievements, and use numbers and metrics to highlight them,” says Rohan Mahtani, Founder of Resume Worded. Instead of just telling recruiters and hiring managers that you have a skill, this will show them how you’ve used it and what the results were.

 

5. Don’t Try to Trick the ATS

ATSs have brought up a whole new host of problems with applicants “trying to cheat the system,” Owens says. You might have come across advice about how to tweak your resume to fool an applicant tracking system—by pasting keywords in white, pasting the entire job description in white, repeating the keywords as many times as possible, or adding a section labeled “keywords” where you stick various words from the job description.

Don’t do any of this!

Any tricks that have to do with pasting keywords in white will immediately be discovered because the ATS will display all text in the same color on the other end. So even if this gets your application flagged to a human recruiter, they’ll see that you added the full text of the job description or just wrote “sales sales sales sales” somewhere and move onto the next candidate as quickly as they can. Not only are you failing to prove you’re qualified for the job, but you’re also showing that you’ll cheat to get ahead!

If you were considering adding a “keyword” section, remember that it lacks any context. If you can’t also speak to your experience with the skill, it probably doesn’t belong on your resume, and if this is true of one of the main keywords, this isn’t the job for you. What you can do, however, is include a keyword-rich resume summarynot an objective statement—that concisely puts your skills in context at the top of your document.

You also want to be careful you’re not just stuffing your resume full of keywords. “You can use a keyword as much as you like so long as it’s used in [the] correct context that makes it relevant to the job description,” says Nick Francioso, an Army veteran who mentors other veterans during career transitions and the founder of resume optimization tool SkillSyncer. But if you just cram in random keywords all over the place, you might make it past a resume scanner only to irritate a recruiter or hiring manager with a resume full of nonsense.

 

6. Do Choose the Right File Type

In the great resume file-type debate, there are only two real contenders: .docx vs .pdf. While PDFs are best at keeping your format intact overall, the .docx format is the most accurately parsed by ATSs. So if you want to get past the ATS, use a .docx file. But also follow directions (if the listing asks for a certain file type, give it to them!) and take the posting’s word for it (if a posting says a PDF is OK, then it’s OK).

And if you’re considering using an online resume builder, first check what file type it spits out—Mahtani cautions that some online resume builders will generate your resume as an image (.jpg or .png, for example).

Pro tip: If you don’t have Microsoft Word or another program that can convert your resume to .docx or .pdf, you can use Google Docs to create your resume, then download it in either format for free.

 

7. Do Make Your Resume Easy to Scan (by Robots and Humans)

In addition to making sure that your resume has the right content for an applicant tracking system, you also need to make sure the ATS can make sense of that information and deliver it to the person on the other end in a readable form.

Fortunately, ATS-friendly resume formatting is very similar to recruiter-friendly resume formatting. Like a human, the ATS will read from left to right and top to bottom, so keep that in mind as you format. For example, your name and contact information should all be at the top, and your work history should start with your most recent or current position. There should be “no surprises about where info is supposed to be,” Shields says.

Among the three common resume formats you can choose from—chronologicalcombination, and functional—ATSs are programmed to prefer the first two. Recruiters also prefer chronological and combination formats (starting to notice a theme?). “For me, it’s more about storytelling to demonstrate a person’s professional progression,” Owens says. That story is harder to see with a functional resume, which can confuse applicant tracking systems, too. Without a clear work history to draw from, the software doesn’t know how to sort different sections of text.

“Ultimately recruiters just want to find the info they’re looking for as quickly as possible,” Shields says. So making a resume ATS friendly will actually help your resume be more readable to recruiters as well.

8. Don’t Include Too Much Fancy Formatting

It may pain you to hear this, but you likely need to get rid of that expensive resume template or heavily designed custom resume. “If you speak to experienced hiring managers [and] recruiters, they’ll tell you that creative [or] fancy resumes are not only harder for [an] ATS to read, but also harder for them to read!” says Mahtani.

In order to scan your resume for relevant keywords most ATSs will convert the document to a text-only file. So at best, any fancy formatting will be lost. At worst, the ATS won’t be able to pull out the important information and so a person may never lay eyes on your nice designs—or read about the experience and skills that actually qualify you for the job.

When designing a resume to go through an ATS, avoid:

  • Tables
  • Text boxes
  • Logos
  • Images: In the U.S., your resume should never include your photo.
  • Graphics, graphs, or other visuals
  • Columns: Since ATSs are programmed to read left to right, some will read columns straight across rather than reading column one top to bottom and then starting column two at the top.
  • Headers and footers: Information in the header and footer sometimes gets dropped by the ATS completely. Make sure all text is within the document body.
  • Uncommon section headings: Stick to conventional labels like “Education,” “Work Experience,” and “Technical Skills,” so the ATS knows how to sort your information. This is not the place to get creative with something like “Where I’ve Made an Impact.”
  • Hyperlinks on important words: Some systems will display only the URL and drop the words you linked from, so don’t link from anything important (like your job title or an accomplishment). Instead, paste in the URL itself or link out from a word like “website” or “portfolio.”
  • Less common fonts: Stick to a universal font like Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, or Cambria. Avoid fonts you need to download, which the ATS may have trouble parsing.

Here are some elements you can use without tripping up an ATS:

  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Underline: But stick to using underlines in headings and for URLs, Shields says. In general, people have been trained to see any underline within sentences as links.
  • Colors: Just know that the ATS will return all text in the same color, so make sure your color choices aren’t vital to understanding the text of your resume.
  • Bullets: Bullets are an important component of any resume, but stick to the standard circle- or square-shaped ones. Anything else could get messy.

Still not convinced that you should ditch your fancy resume? To show how formatting can trip up an ATS, we created a resume with many of the “forbidden” design elements—including columns, separate text boxes for the job seeker’s name and contact information, a table, icons, and text in the header—and used it to apply to a job at The Muse. The resume contains all the keywords found in the job posting, and since Victoria Harris is a fictional person, she hits every single requirement, making her an ideal candidate for the job.

 

 

Here’s what the resume looks like after it’s been run through an ATS:

 

 

You’ll immediately notice that the columns have been smashed together. Victoria’s current position is still first, which is good, but what comes next is an indecipherable jumble: “Education Sales Cloud Apollo.io.” Then, the ATS has combined the start date of her current job with her graduation date and interpreted that she’s been in her current position for just one month instead of over a year.

When you finally get to her bullet points, they’ve also been destroyed. Her fourth bullet, for example, now ends with: “Salesforce Analytics Cloud and Salesforce Sales Cloud Salesforce Salesforce.” Victoria wasn’t keyword stuffing, but it sure looks like she was.

 

Yes, this feels like a lot. But the main thing to take away when it comes to creating an ATS-friendly resume is that “it will help even if you’re not going through an ATS,” Shields says. At the end of the day, what an ATS is looking for in a resume is not that different from what a person is scanning for—so if you make a resume that beats the ATS, chances are it’ll impress a whole lot of humans, too.

SOURCE: https://www.themuse.com/advice/beat-the-robots-how-to-get-your-resume-past-the-system-into-human-hands

Welcome to the team!

By Margaret Buj

Unless you are one of the lucky few who works in a high-demand career, finding a new job can be a challenging and frustrating experience. You can make the job search a bit easier on yourself if you use proactive strategies for finding a new job – and the tips for finding a new job included in this article are applicable to all jobseekers, from those just starting out to experienced candidates who need a quick refresher.

Here are some of my best tips for finding a new job at any career level.

1. Get clear on what you want

Before starting your job search, take the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and the type of work you enjoy doing. The better you know yourself, the more likely you’ll find a new job that provides you with greater satisfaction. What do you want in a job? What’s most important, title, money, promotion, the work itself, location, or company culture?

2. Research your target companies

Once you know what you want, it’s time to find out what the companies you’re applying for want. A great tip for finding a new job is to investigate a company’s Glassdoor page. It will help you get a feel for their company culture, figure out what questions they commonly ask in interviews, and even discover what salary you’re likely to be paid.

Your resume is still one of the most critical tools of a job search. One of my best tips for finding a new job is to have an achievement-oriented resume that includes quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

3. Tailor your resume to each job

Your resume is still one of the most critical tools of a job search. A lot of resumes I see are full of responsibilities (instead of tangible achievements) and jobseekers send the same resume to various openings. One of my best tips for finding a new job is to have an achievement-oriented resume that includes quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Make yourself an obvious fit. Study the words and phrases that are used in the job description? Make sure you include them in your resume (provided you have that experience, of course). Tailor your resume to each job – the recruiter should know within a few seconds of looking at your resume that you have the skills they are looking for.

Editor’s note: You can tailor your resume, or build a new one from scratch, using LiveCareer’s free resume builder.

4. Create your online career brand

Building your brand simply means showcasing your expertise and passion online where employers searching the Web can find it. Most recruiters, including myself, use LinkedIn as their primary search tool and if you’re a professional, you need to be using LinkedIn to your full advantage. It’s a great resource for finding people working at companies that interest you and also for positioning yourself to be found by recruiters and hiring managers with relevant openings.

5. Get organized

Before you start applying for jobs or interviewing with employers, take a moment to develop a system that works for you in organizing your job search. A simple spreadsheet works best for many to keep a track of the jobs you’ve applied for, where you have been invited to interview, etc.

6. Build, cultivate, and utilize your network of contacts

For the vast majority of jobseekers, a large and strong network of contacts — people who know you and want to help you uncover job leads — results in more job opportunities. Networking – in person and online – is essential to your success in your job search.

It also helps you to get a good idea of what is out there and available, so you can be more strategic in your job search.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn, and if you know someone working at a company that interests you, ask for a referral. Hiring managers would prefer to interview people who came recommended before sorting through the resumes arriving via a career website.

7. Don’t limit yourself to online applications

If you rely only on submitting online applications, you could be looking for a job for a very long time. By the time you apply, the company might be in the final interview stage, or the job might have even been filled. Contact companies that interest you directly – you might get in contact with an internal recruiter or schedule informational interviews with people who work in those companies. Ideally, you want to be known to the people who might influence you getting your foot in the door.

8. Aim to complete a few job-related goals daily

It takes a great deal of time and effort to find a new job. In a long job search, it’s easy to get discouraged and distracted, but by focusing on achieving daily goals you can motivate yourself while also building a foundation for success.

9. Be kind to yourself

Looking for a job can be stressful. So, take some time to meditate, exercise, watch a movie or whatever it is that helps you unwind. Create a good support network – having people to brainstorm with or vent your frustrations to will help the process be less painful.

10. Develop examples and stories that showcase your skills

This is one of the main tips for finding a new job. People remember stories, so your goal should be developing a set of interview stories you can use in networking meetings or job interviews that clearly demonstrate your skills, achievements, and passion for your work. Be memorable! Using stories (use the STAR format) may also help you feel more comfortable talking about yourself.

11. Prepare for all job interviews

Before you get called for your first interview, develop responses for common interview questions, and then practice them — ideally using the mock-interviewing technique with a friend, network contact, or interview coach. The more prepared you are for the interview, the more comfortable you’ll be – and the more likely you’ll succeed.

For the vast majority of jobseekers, a large and strong network of contacts — people who know you and want to help you uncover job leads — results in more job opportunities. Networking – in person and online – is essential to your success in your job search.

12. Write thank-you notes after interviews to all interviewers

A quick note (by email is fine) of thanks that emphasizes your interest and fit with the job and employer will not get you the job offer, but it will help make you stand out from the majority of jobseekers who do not bother with this simple act of courtesy.

13. Continue following up with hiring managers

Your work is not done once the interview is complete or the thank-you note sent. Following up with the hiring manager regularly shows your interest and enthusiasm for the job. The key is doing so in a way that is professional while not making you sound pesky or needy.

14. Expect the job search to take longer than you think

You can hope to have a new job within a short period, but the likely reality is that it might take months to find the right opportunity and get offered the position. You should mentally prepare yourself for a long battle — and then you can be happily surprised if you are one of the lucky few whose job search is short.

5 Final Thoughts on Finding a New Job

Here a few other tips for finding a new job if your job search situation does not fit the typical model – if conditions are such that finding employment will be unusually hard.

First, having both a positive attitude and outlook is extremely important. Employers can sense desperation and despair; organizations want to hire positive and competent people. If you’ve been unemployed for a long period and depressed or recently downsized and angry, find a way to shrug it off when job hunting or you will only be hurting yourself.

Second, if you’re an older worker trying to find a job, you may face age discrimination. Among the ways to proactively counter any issues about your age are to limit the number of years of experience you list on your resume (by keeping to the last 10-15 years), eliminate dates in the education section of your resume, and focus on adaptability and flexibility in the interview.

Third, remember that you may need additional training or experience, especially if you are entering a new career field.

Fourth, you may need to consider temping or volunteering for a short period to gain experience and build network contacts that can lead to a full-time position.

Fifth, in the most extreme cases, you may need to consider relocation to a place that has a higher concentration of jobs in your field.

Hope you’ve found these tips for finding a new job useful. I’d love to hear what you’re going to change in your job search after reading this article.

SOURCE: https://www.livecareer.com/resources/jobs/search/14-job-hunting-tips

Cover Letter image

by Alyse Kalish

We love having examples. It’s so much easier to follow a recipe, build a puzzle, or yes, even write a cover letter when you know what the end product should look like.

So that’s what we’re going to give you—all the cover letter examples and tips you need to make yours shine (we’re unfortunately not experts in recipes or puzzles).

Want to get right down to business? Skip ahead to:

Why Bother With a Cover Letter at All?

Before we jump in, it’s worth emphasizing why cover letters still exist and are worthy of your attention. I bet when you see a job listing where one’s “optional” you gleefully submit a resume and move on. But you’re truly doing yourself a disservice by not creating one (or by writing one that’s super generic or formulaic).

“When you’re writing a resume you’re oftentimes confined by space, by resume speak, by keywords—you’re up against a lot of technical requirements,” says Melody Godfred, a Muse career coach and founder of Write in Color who’s read thousands of cover letters over the course of her career, “whereas in a cover letter you have an opportunity to craft a narrative that aligns you not only with the position you’re applying to but also the company you’re applying to.”

When you’re writing a resume you’re oftentimes confined by space, by resume speak, by keywords—you’re up against a lot of technical requirements, whereas in a cover letter you have an opportunity to craft a narrative that aligns you not only with the position you’re applying to but also the company you’re applying to.

It helps you explain your value proposition, stand out from the stack, and create “continuity between your application and the person you’re going to be when you walk into the room,” Godfred says. If there’s a gap in your resume, you have the opportunity to explain why it’s there. If you’re changing careers, you have the chance to describe why you’re making the switch. If your resume’s pretty dull, a cover letter helps you add personality to an otherwise straightforward career path.

Convinced? A little less worried? Maybe not sold on the idea but now know why you need to spend time on it? Either way, let’s get started—we promise this will be painless.

The Elements of a Perfect Cover Letter

Let’s go back to puzzles for a second. They’re made up of bits and pieces that fit together a specific way to complete the whole, right?

Cover letters are a little like puzzles. When you put each component in its proper place (and remove any parts that don’t fit), you create a complete picture.

Every great cover letter includes the following:

An Engaging Opening Line

Not “I’m applying for [position].” Not “I’m writing to be considered for a role at [Company].” Not “Hello! How’s it going? Please hire me!”

Your opening line is everything. How you start a cover letter influences whether someone keeps reading—and you want them to, right?

“Starting with something that immediately connects you to the company is essential—something that tells the company that this is not a generic cover letter,” says Godfred. “Even if your second paragraph is something that doesn’t ever change, that first intro is where you have to say something that tells the employer, ‘I wrote this just for you.’”

It can be a childhood memory tying you back to the company’s mission. It can be a story about the time you fell in love with the company’s product. It can be an anecdote from another job or experience showing how hard of a worker you are. Whatever you decide to open with, make it memorable.

A Clear Pitch

The next few paragraphs, Godfred explains, are where you include one of two things: “If you’re someone who’s transitioning careers, and you need to explain that transition, you do it there.” But if you’re not a career changer, use this section to “hit them with the strongest results you have that are aligned with the opportunity,” she states.

Ryan Kahn—Muse career coach and founder of The Hired Group—calls this your pitch. In other words, the part where you’re “selling yourself for the position and why you’re qualified for it.”

Godfred emphasizes that this section should have a balance of soft and hard skills. Talk about your experience using Salesforce or doing SEO work (and get those job description keywords in! More on that later), but also highlight your ability to lead teams and communicate effectively.

“Companies are embracing authenticity, they’re embracing humanity, they’re looking for people who are going to fit their culture. So what are your values? What do you stand for?” says Godfred. These values should be as much a part of your cover letter as the nitty-gritty.

A Great Closing Line

Kahn explains that your closing line could include your next steps, such as “I welcome the opportunity to speak with you more about how I can contribute to [team]” or “I would love to schedule a time for us to discuss this role and my experience.”

But more importantly, “you want to make sure that you’re gracious and thanking them,” he says. While seemingly cliché, it never hurts to end on a simple “thank you for your consideration.”

You can, however, exclude the “references upon request” line. “If an employer wants your references, you better believe they’ll ask for them,” says Godfred.

A Few Other Cover Letter Essentials

First off—please, I beg you, address your cover letter to a person. No “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” People don’t talk that way, so why would they want to read it?

Secondly, keep the applicant tracking system, or ATS, in mind. This robot will be sifting through your cover letter much in the way it does with your resume, so you’ll want to scatter relevant keywords from the job description throughout your cover letter where it makes sense.

Third of all, get your contact information on there, including your name, phone number, and email (most of the time, your address and theirs is irrelevant)—and on every page, if yours goes over one.

“Imagine you come across a cover letter and you print it out with a bunch of applications to review and it doesn’t have the person’s contact information on it,” states Godfred. “You never want to put yourself in a situation where you’re the right person and they can’t find you.”

And know that the ATS can’t read crazy formatting, so keep your font and layout simple.

How to Get Started Writing a Cover Letter

Overall, says Godfred, “when you’re up against dwindling attention spans, the more concise you can be the better. Make every single word count.”

To get started, she always suggests that her clients do a “brain dump.” Once you just get your ideas onto the page, then “ask yourself how you can cut half of it.” Through this process, “you’ll find that those very generic phrases oftentimes are the first to go,” she says. You only have so much space to get your point across, so focus on the information that isn’t stated elsewhere rather than simply regurgitating your resume.

This can feel like a lot to do on one cover letter, let alone several, so Kahn likes to remind his clients that quality comes first. Target the jobs you’re most closely drawn to and qualified for and give them all your energy, rather than try to churn out hundreds of cover letters. You may not be able to apply to as many jobs, but you’re guaranteed to have better results in terms of response rate.

Cover Letters Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Whether you’re writing a cover letter for a data scientist or executive assistant position, an internship or a senior-level role, a startup or a Fortune 500 company, you’re going to want to tailor it to the role, company, and culture (not to mention, the job description).

Don’t fret! We’ve got examples of the four basic types of cover letters below: a traditional cover letter, an impact cover letter, a writing sample cover letter, and a career change cover letter. We’ve also included the exact job descriptions they’re written for—to help inspire you to tailor yours to a specific position.

One note before you read on: There’s a difference between your cover letter and the email you send with your application. If you’re not sure whether to copy and paste your letter into your email or attach it as a document, common practice is to pick either/or, not both.

Example #1The Traditional Cover Letter

A traditional cover letter, is, as you guessed it, based on your average cover letter template. You’ll most likely write this version if you’re applying to a very traditional company (like a law firm or major healthcare company) or a very traditional role (like a lawyer or accountant), or when you’re just looking to lean more conservative and safe.

The Job Description

Let’s say you’re applying to a paralegal job opening. The job description might look something like this:

Responsibilities

  • Draft routine legal documents for review and use by attorneys
  • Coordinate and organize materials and presentations for board meetings
  • Research legal and related business issues and report findings and conclusions to team
  • Provide overall legal administrative support of the legal team
  • Maintain calendars and ensure timely filings

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent of relevant education and work experience
  • Strong communication skills (oral and written)
  • Strong organizational, multitasking, and prioritizing skills
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Trustworthy, positive, energetic, and optimistic attitude with a willingness to roll up your sleeves

The Cover Letter Example

Under the constraints of keeping things strictly professional, here’s what you could write without sounding too boring or jargon-y:

Dear Ms. Jessica Tilman,

In my five-year career as a paralegal, I have honed my legal research and writing skills, and the attorneys I’ve worked with have complimented me on my command of case law and litigation support. Spiegel Law Firm’s 20 years in practice proves that the firm has strong values and excellent attorneys, which is why I want to be a part of the Spiegel Law Firm team.

I currently serve as a paralegal for Chandler LLC, where I work closely with the partners on a number of high-priority cases. During my time here, I implemented a new calendar system that ensures timely filing of court papers. This system has prevented missed deadlines and allowed for better organization of internal and client meetings.

Previously, as a paralegal for the Neuerburg Law Firm, I received praise for my overall support of the legal team and my positive attitude.

My further qualifications include a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, a paralegal certificate, and training in LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Microsoft Office Suite.

I would love the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to your legal team. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Chase Broadstein
chasebroadstein@emailcentral.com
(222) 222-2222

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Why This Works

It’s short, sweet, and to the point. It shows both a knack for getting things done in a thorough and timely matter and an energy for helping out wherever it’s needed. They also toss some important keywords in there: implemented a new calendar system, My further qualifications include a Bachelor’s Degree…, training in LexisNexis, Westlaw, and Microsoft Office Suite…

Finally, it expresses a genuine interest in this specific firm in its opening lines.

Example #2The Impact Cover Letter

The impact cover letter works best for roles where you’re expected to deliver on certain goals or results. Maybe you’re in sales and the job calls for hitting a certain quota each quarter. Or maybe you’re an event planner looking to show you can run X number of conferences or create Y number of marketing campaigns. The key for this, then, will be to put your accomplishments front and center.

The Job Description

You’ve come across an opening for an email marketing manager. The job description states the following:

Responsibilities

  • Manage email marketing strategy and calendar, including copywriting, optimization, monitoring, reporting, and analysis of campaigns
  • Improve campaign success through conversion optimization, A/B testing, and running experiments
  • Measure and report on performance of campaigns, assessing against goals
  • Collaborate with the design team to determine content strategy and ensure brand guidelines are followed in emails
  • Partner and collaborate cross-functionally with sales, product, product marketing, and data teams

Requirements

  • 3+ years in email marketing or equivalent field
  • Experience with Google Analytics, HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, and SEO a plus
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and an eye for copyediting
  • Team player with strong interpersonal, relationship-building, and stakeholder management skills
  • Excellent project management, problem solving, and time management skills, with the ability to multitask effectively

The Cover Letter Example

Your personality can shine more directly through this kind of cover letter, but you’ll want to make sure your hard skills and successes stand out:

Dear Russ Roman,

I have a problem. See, my inbox currently (and embarrassingly) hosts 1,500 unread emails—including newsletters from at least 50 different brands.

But this problem only fuels my passion for creating emails that are worth opening. Because from my perspective, as someone who can barely get through their own stack of mail, that’s a true win.

I’ve been following Vitabe for years, and can proudly say that I open every single email you send to me. I’m a sucker for a good subject line—“Take a Vitamin-ute—We’ll A-B-C You Soon” being my favorite—and the way your email content feels both fun and expert-backed really speaks to me. This is why I’m thrilled to submit my application for a role as email marketing manager at your company.

I have over four years of experience working in the email marketing space. In my current role at Westside Bank, I was able to implement new email campaigns centered around reengaging churned clients. By analyzing data around the types of clients who churn and the engagement of our current email subscribers, as well as A/B testing headlines and newsletter layouts, we were able to increase email subscribers by 15% and convert 30% of those subscribers to purchase our product, a significant increase from the previous year. I also launched a “Your Credit Matters” newsletter focused on educating our clients on how they spend and manage their credit—which became our highest performing campaign in terms of open-rates and click-through to date.

Previously, as a member of the marketing team at Dream Diary Mattresses, I collaborated with the sales and product team to understand how I could best support them in hitting their quarterly goals. One specific project involving creating personalized emails for customers drew more people to come back to our site after 30 days than direct paid ad campaigns, leading to a 112% increase in revenue from the last quarter.

I take the content I write and the calendars I manage seriously, editing and refining to the point beyond being detail-oriented into scary territory, and I feel my experience and drive would greatly help Vitabe further develop their email program for success.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Lad Miller
lmiller@inboxeseverywhere.com
(987) 654-3210

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Why This Works

This sample cover letter concisely highlights the person’s significant achievements and ties them back to the job description. By adding context to how their projects were created, monitored, and completed, they’re able to show just how results-driven they are.

One thing worth noting: This person didn’t include skills such as Google Analytics, HTML, CSS, Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, and SEO—all of which are listed in the job description. The reason they decided not to was simply because those skills are most likely in their resume, and they wanted to use the space they had to discuss specific projects and tell a story not visible on other parts of their application.

infographic of cover letter example impact cover letter

Example #3The Writing Sample Cover Letter

Often for roles where communication is king, such as PR, copyediting, or reporting, your cover letter will either substitute for or complement your writing samples. So it’s just as important to write eloquently as it is to showcase your skill set.

The Job Description

Let’s take the example of a staff writer position. The requirements might include the following:

Responsibilities

  • Pitch and write editorial content and collaborate with teams to report on timely issues and trends
  • Evaluate content performance and digital trends on a daily basis to constantly adjust pitches and packaging
  • Utilize CMS tools, strategically select photos and videos, and request original graphics to optimize all written content for maximum engagement

Requirements

  • At least 2-3 years of experience creating content at a digital-first outlet
  • Strong writing and reporting skills, and the ability to write clearly and quickly
  • Familiarity with working in a CMS and with analytics tools such as Google Analytics
  • Deadline-driven, strategic thinker with a knack for crafting click-y headlines
  • Strong collaborator who thrives in fast-paced environments

The Cover Letter Example

Have fun with this one, but make sure you’ve tripled-checked for spelling and grammar mistakes, and are showing off your best writing tactics:

Dear Mr. Kolsh,

Since I could walk, I’ve been dancing. And since I could read, I’ve been glued to Arabesque Weekly.

At one point, you featured one of my local heros—a ballerina who struggled with an injury early in her career and went on to become a principal at Pacific Northwest Ballet—and I plastered the article above my childhood bed. It’s still there today.

Of course, I never became a star myself, but it was that article and so many others you’ve published that taught me that dancing was about more than just pirouettes and arabesques (sorry, I had to)—and that the right kind of writer can shed light on aspects of the art that make it surprising, impactful, and universal. I can be that writer.

As an editorial assistant for The Improv Group for the past two and a half years, my main responsibility was to get all of our content ready to go live. This included a final round of proofreading, adding in HTML where necessary, fact-checking, and finding photos, videos, and GIFs that would complement the content and optimize audience engagement. As I tinkered with each post, I became intimately familiar with our internal CMS and what makes a piece perfect.

But, by far, my favorite aspect of this role has been writing. Each week, I pitch and write at least one article, from 250-word news items to 900-word advice pieces to even longer personal essays. I love the challenge of developing pitches that align with the trends we see in the data, fit in with the company’s brand and mission, and allow me to flex my creative muscles.

Collaborating with my team to form the best content library we can has been a dream come true. I am ready to use my experience to help Arabesque Weekly achieve all its big and small goals. And I hope to one day write a story that another child tapes to their wall forever.

It would be an honor to be a part of your editorial team, and I look forward to the possibility of discussing the opportunity with you.

Hoping to be your next staff writer,
Marlee Wood
marleew@mailplace.net
(555) 666-4433

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Why This Works

This candidate is clearly passionate about this specific publication and leads with a unique personal anecdote tied to the company’s mission and further showing their ability to tell stories in a compelling way. There are relevant keywords and phrases, sure, but they’re not just thrown in there. Every sentence carries a specific voice, proving this person knows how to communicate effectively.

Example #4The Career Change Cover Letter

Like I said earlier, cover letters can play a big part in helping career changers prove their worth—especially when it’s unclear how your skills transfer over to this new field.

Writing a career change cover letter requires a bit more strategy. You’ll want to highlight the obvious skills you have that relate to the job description, but you’ll also want to draw a line between experiences you’ve had in the past and responsibilities you might have in this new role. Finally, you’ll want to explain, if not emphasize, why you’re making the switch and what’s driving you toward this specific industry, company, or position.

The Job Description

Let’s say you’re someone who has experience supporting a sales team as an administrative assistant, and you’re now looking to become a sales representative. You come across the following job posting:

Responsibilities

  • Develop new sales techniques and strategies to build pipeline and hit team goals
  • Coordinate with other teams to increase lead generation efforts
  • Assist in the processing of new business, including contacting customers to finalize sales and service transactions

Requirements

  • 1-3 years of successful sales experience
  • Strong communication skills (oral and written)
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment
  • Ability to work independently to plan, set priorities, and effectively organize work
  • Proven ability to be persuasive, persistent, and confident in closing a sale

The Cover Letter Example

Here’s how you might translate your past experience over to this new (and exciting) prospect:

Dear Maria Ross,

The head of sales at Sunshine Inc. was in a bind. She needed six client meetings scheduled, 18 service transactions processed, and a summary of the team’s new lead generation campaign drafted before getting on a flight to Austin—in three hours. So, she turned to her cool-headed, sales-savvy administrative assistant for help. That assistant was me. Not only did I execute everything on her to-do list, I did it all before her plane left the ground.

For three years, I worked in lockstep with a busy, growth-oriented sales leader to support the business development team. As the sole administrative assistant in the department, I balanced a swath of competing priorities, ranging from data entry and meeting coordination to contacting customers, finalizing transactions, and creating promotional materials. This role helped me to develop a comprehensive understanding of the sales cycle, sales strategy, and pipeline growth.

Like many others, my career path hasn’t been entirely straightforward. After leaving Crabapple Media, I enrolled in a local coding training program. Six months later, I emerged with a certificate in computer programming and a certainty that I did not want to be a coder. But education is never wasted. I’m now an aspiring sales representative with experience supporting a thriving sales team and extensive knowledge of the tech space.

Here’s a little bit more about how my experience would translate into this role:

  • At Crabapple Media, I assisted in coordinating three annual sales strategy rollouts, each yielding a 26% increase in pipeline YoY.
  • At Sunshine Inc., I supported 12 independent team members in their lead generation efforts. I also assisted in processing an average of 300 sales transactions every quarter.
  • I thrive in busy, ever-changing environments that require me to communicate clearly and concisely. Supporting a high-volume team and a busy executive helped me to hone these skills—I typically sent more than 200 emails a day!

I would, of course, love to schedule a time for us to discuss this role and my experience, and I truly want to thank you for considering me.

All the best,
Jaclyne Dean
jdean@iloveemail.com
(123) 456-789

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Why This Works

The opener draws you in, leading you to want to learn more. It toots the person’s horn, but in a way that’s traceable. Then, the next couple sections explain both their experience in the sales space and in roles before, eventually tying that back to why they’re applying to this specific job. Similar to the impact cover letter, the author lists some of the more important qualities they bring to the table, doing a bit of keyword stuffing and resume gap explaining along the way.

Hopefully these cover letter examples help as you go to tackle your own. Remember: This is just one small step in the process! Take your time, but learn to move on when you’ve given it your all.

To further guide you, read some of the best cover letters we’ve ever encountered and check out this cover letter template.

And, don’t forget to edit! Read about how to cut a cover letter down to one page (because any longer and no one’s reading), plus everything you should double check before pressing submit.

SOURCE: https://www.themuse.com/advice/cover-letter-examples-every-type-job-seeker

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by ALYSE KALISH

Your resume is arguably the most valuable piece of paper for your career. But this document can be daunting for many. Maybe you’re not sure how to fit in all your information onto one page. Maybe you’re not sure about the right way to format and write your resume. Maybe you don’t even know what the heck a resume is!

Whatever your concern, we’ll break down everything you need to know about making the perfect resume, from scratch.

What Is a Resume?

A resume is a summary of your career, whether yours is just getting started or has been going on for years. Coming in at around one page in length (two only under specific circumstances), it showcases the jobs you’ve held and currently hold, the responsibilities you’ve taken on, the skills you’ve developed, and the qualities you bring to the table as an employee. Together, those things make it super easy for any hiring manager to see your qualifications and fit for a role.

For all the work you may put into writing one, hiring managers actually spend very little time—mere seconds in many cases—looking at your resume. But despite this sad fact, it’s safe to say that creating a great resume (rather than hastily throwing one together) still matters.

“If you miss the mark, your resume may never be read. Even worse, you might be removed from the applicant pool by a computer before a human even knows you exist,” says Muse career coach Heather Yurovsky, founder of Shatter & Shine. So you want to get it right because, as she explains, isn’t the goal to “spend less time looking for a job and more time in a role you love?”

You might be wondering if you can lean on your LinkedIn profile instead of writing a resume. The answer, sadly, is no. Most hiring managers still expect you to submit a resume, even if they also look at your LinkedIn. Even if you don’t need a resume for a job you’re applying for now, you’re going to need one at some point in your career—they’re not anywhere close to going out of style. So it’s best to always have one at the ready should an opportunity pop up.

And although LinkedIn has plenty of benefits, a resume has one clear advantage: While your LinkedIn is usually a broader picture of your career trajectory, your resume gives you the opportunity to tailor your career story to a specific role or company (more on that later).

Oh, and you’ve probably heard of something called a CV? It’s slightly different from a resume, and usually more common with academics and job seekers outside the U.S.

What Are Employers Looking for in a Resume?

Hiring managers look for three things on your resume, “What did you do? Why did you do it? And what was the result?” says Muse career coach Martin McGovern, owner of Career Therapy. “If you can answer all three of these questions in…your resume bullet points, you’re going to be on the right track.”

Clear, easy-to-understand language is key. “The truth is that most resumes make no sense. They are stuffed with jargon, they are too technical, and they are filled with redundancies. Try to read a resume that isn’t yours and you will quickly realize that it feels like an alien wrote it,” McGovern adds. Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter who has no idea how your role works—how can you make your resume accessible to them?

The hiring manager also cares about more than just you and you alone—they care about you in relation to them. “Hiring managers want to see if a candidate matches the requirements” of the role they’re hiring for, Yurovsky explains. “Your resume should paint this picture so the hiring manager not only knows what day-to-day responsibilities you can handle, but why you, above other[s], bring value to their organization.”

How Do You Write a Resume?

Whether you’re someone who’s never written a resume in your life, or you need a nice, thorough refresher on the process of creating one, follow these steps to go from a blank page to a complete—and dare I say beautiful—document.

1. Pick Your Format

Before you start typing one single thing, you have to decide what you want the overall resume to look like.

Resume builders can be helpful for this step—they’ll take all your basic information and organize it for you, eliminating some of the legwork. You can also use a pre-made outline, such as one of these free Google Docs templates.

But it’s often safest to start with a clean slate all on your own and eventually upgrade to a more advanced layout. This allows you to course correct, edit and re-edit, and choose a resume format that best fits your particular situation (after all, not everyone has a career trajectory that’s easy to compartmentalize).

In general, you’re most likely to cover and/or include sections on the following:

  • Your work experience
  • Your non-work experience, including professional organizations, community involvement, or side projects
  • Your education and certifications
  • Your skills (specifically hard skills) and interests

So how do you format and organize all of that information?

By far the most common (and safest, if you’re not sure which route to take) option is reverse chronological order. This means you organize your experiences from most recent to least recent. So your work experiences would go above your education, and your current role would go above previous roles you’ve held. This of course has its exceptions—maybe you went back to grad school between jobs, or your most recent role is irrelevant to the job you’re applying for. So the whole page may not be exactly in reverse chronological order depending on your situation. It’s just a guideline.

There’s also something called a functional or skills-based resume. This is used pretty rarely, mainly with career changers and those with limited or complicated work histories. It gets its name because it’s primarily about listing your skills rather than experiences, and showcases them above your work history and education.

You can also opt for a combination resume, which is a mix between a reverse chronological resume and skills-based resume. It highlights your skills at the top, but allows just as much room below to cover your job and school experience.

Use caution when choosing these two formats: “Combo and skills-based [resumes] can be hard to follow, because [they force] the reader to hunt for connections between your skills and experience, and [don’t] provide the full context of your work,” says Muse Career Coach Angela Smith, founder of Loft Consulting. “I’ve also heard a lot of recruiters say that they automatically discount skill-based resumes because they feel the candidate is trying to hide something. I don’t necessarily believe that, but I think it’s important for job-seekers to know that perception is out there.”

2. Start With Your Basic Information

Your contact information should always go at the top of your resume. In this header you’ll want to include anything that could be helpful for a recruiter to get in touch with you. Usually, this means adding in:

  • Your full name (preferably the name you use across the web)
  • Your phone number
  • Your personal email address

You might also choose to include other basic information, such as your LinkedIn or personal website URL, your GitHub (for technical roles), your social media profiles (if relevant to the job), or your address. If you’re looking to move for a job, you may choose to leave out your address or write “open to relocating” to better your chances of getting an interview.

The key is to make this part as clear as possible. If a hiring manager can’t reach you, there’s no point in perfecting the rest of your resume.

3. Add in Your Work Experience

This section will most likely be the bulk of your resume. Even if you’re changing careers, employers still want to see where you’ve worked, what you’ve done, and the impact of that work to get a sense of your background and expertise.

Your “Work Experience” might be one entire category, or you might choose to break it up into “Relevant Experience” and “Additional Experience” to highlight the jobs that are most important for hiring managers to focus on. Either way, you’ll almost always want to have your most recent experience at the top and your older experience down below.

Within your work experience, you’ll want to include each official job title, the company (and possibly its location), and the years you worked there. Below that, you’ll add in two to four bullet points explaining what you did in that job, the skills you built and exercised, the tools you used, and the results of what you did. If you accomplished a lot during your time there, focus on the responsibilities that made the most impact or you’re the most proud of, as well as the ones that best align you with the job you’re applying for (more on that in the following sections). It’s key here to list, if relevant, quantitative as well as qualitative accomplishments.

For example, you might write:

Associate Accountant, Finances and Co., Ann Arbor, MI
September 2017 – Present

  • Manage billing and invoicing for more than 50 clients, ensuring the deadlines and needs of our enterprise partners, including Big Company and Super Star Org, are met
  • Collaborate closely with sales, account management, and project management teams on project setup, maintenance, and invoice management
  • Assist in the streamlining of invoicing guidelines and procedures through documentation and the implementation of new software, resulting in an average two-week decrease in total time spent per client

Your resume bullets should be in past tense if you’re referring to past jobs and present tense if you’re talking about your current roles. In addition, your bullets should always start with a strong action verb that best describes what you did. And if you have examples of your work, consider hyperlinking them here as well.

If you have a ton of experience and this category is starting to run long (read: over one page), consider kicking out your oldest jobs unless they’re super relevant to the job you’re applying for, or extra impressive for your field.

Not sure where to start? “It’s helpful to do a brain dump and create a document that has everything and anything you consider as experience or an achievement,” says Yurovsky. From there, she explains, you can start to whittle down what is and isn’t important. And you can refer to this document later if you ever decide to update your resume for a specific role.

Need more specific advice on listing your work experience on your resume? Check out these additional resources:

4. Consider Including Volunteer Work or Other Experience

Anything you’ve done that’s not work experience—your side gig, volunteer work, special projects—can be hosted under clearly-labeled sections (“Volunteer Experience” or “Activities,” for example). Depending on how robust your work experience is, these things may be worth including, particularly if they’ve helped you level up your skill set or better align you with your dream job. Plus, they make you look that much more well-rounded, passionate, and hardworking.

If you’re a recent grad, you might also build out a section for on-campus activities, such as clubs, organizations, or leadership experience. This can be a great supplement if you’re lacking in the jobs department. You can frame these just as you would professional jobs—including your title, the organization’s name, and bullets describing what your role was and what you accomplished.

Read More: This Is Exactly How to List Volunteer Work on Your Resume

5. Don’t Forget Your Education

If you’re still in school or just graduated, your education can go at the top of your resume, but for pretty much everyone else, this goes near the bottom. Most people include their school, graduation year (for folks less up to about a decade out of school), major, and degree. Brand-new grads might also write in their GPA, honors and awards, study abroad, thesis, or other notable achievements. But keep this section super simple, as you don’t want it to take up too much space over your work experience.

It’s possible you have unique education experience, such as taking an online course or certification. If you did this specifically as a way to boost yourself within your industry, definitely include it. Again, list everything more or less reverse chronologically—so a grad school degree would go above an undergrad degree, and a more recent relevant online course would go above that.

Learn more about the ins and outs of listing your education on your resume:

6. Top It Off With Some Skills and Interests

The skills section of a resume gets a bad rap, but it’s just as important as the rest of the stuff you include. It’s a quick list a recruiter can scan to see if your skill set aligns with what they’re hiring for. And it’s super ATS-friendly (ATS stands for “applicant tracking system,” the robot that in some cases reads your resume before a human does) because it allows you to add in keywords the machine is scanning for.

Usually this section goes at the bottom of your resume, but in special cases—such as a skills-based resume or when someone’s switching fields—you may place it further up.

What exactly do you throw in here? You’ll want to list any hard skills and applications you’re familiar with (Photoshop, SEO, JavaScript, to name a few examples), and, if relevant, your level of expertise. Avoid including soft skills here, like time management or public speaking—save those for your bullet points instead.

Be strategic when filling in your skills. Don’t list things you actually couldn’t do at a high competence level (I’m looking at those of you who say you’re “great” at Excel), and maybe nix skills that are completely irrelevant to the job you want. For example, you may not even need to include Excel if you’re applying for say, a design position, unless it’s listed as a job requirement.

Maybe you’re thinking, I’m a really good volleyball player, but that’s not a “skill,” right? No, it’s not, but it is a hobby. Adding in a hobby section at the bottom of your resume is underrated, and frequently a smart choice. It can be a great conversation starter with a hiring manager, and it can show that you’re a good culture fit—or a culture add—for the company. Also, it’s just a nice way to add in some of your personality. So tack on a bullet point listing out some of your interests, such as hiking, rowing, or crafting (no more than five to seven work-appropriate verbs), and you’re all set here.

7. Write a Resume Summary Statement (if Relevant)

You may have heard of a resume summary statement. They’re not super common, but they can be useful to include near the top of your resume if you’re looking to add clarity or context to your resume. If you’re a career changer, you might find a summary statement helpful in explaining your leap and tying your experience to your new path. Or if you’re a more experienced professional, you can use a summary statement to highlight a theme that brings your career trajectory together.

Overall, you probably won’t need a summary statement if your career is pretty linear and your bullet points do a great job of emphasizing what you have to offer in terms of skills and experience. But if you think it makes sense to include one, “Take the time to think about what the person reading your summary wants to know before you write it,” says McGovern. “Good summaries explain why you do what you do and how it can help. For instance: Merging a background in ABC, I help companies improve XYZ through 123. Summaries shouldn’t be any more complicated than that.”

So, taking McGovern’s example, you might say:

Merging a background in social media marketing and PR with seven years in the consumer tech space, I help companies improve their internal and external communication and brand awareness through data-driven, quality content and strategies that align with the modern trends of the space.

Yurovsky adds that “you don’t want your summary statement to be a dense paragraph with too much information. You want it to be easy to read, concise, and memorable. Almost like a tagline.”

Read More: 3 Resume Summary Examples That’ll Make Writing Your Own Easier

8. Tailor It to the Job (and the ATS)

Once you have your resume written out—you’ve broken down your work experience, tagged on some activities and additional experiences, and listed out your skills—it’s important to go back to the job description (or multiple job descriptions, if you’re applying to several similar jobs) and make sure that what your resume says matches up with the kind of candidate the employers are looking for. In other words, tailor it.

Let’s explain further. You’ll want to begin by tackling the ATS. This means combing the job description to see if individual words and phrases line up. What skills are they asking for, and have you listed them (so long as you actually have them)? What words are they using to describe their ideal hire, and do you use similar language in your resume?

Next, take a bird’s-eye view. If you were the hiring manager for the role, where on your resume would your eyes be drawn to? And what would you be looking for? Whatever you think will be most important for the recruiter, make sure it’s near the top of your resume, or otherwise emphasized.

Finally, dig into the role and responsibilities of the job. Does your resume reflect similar experience? If not, is there a way you can spin it so that it’s clear you’re capable of doing the job (and doing it well)?

These articles can help you if the word “tailoring” makes you start to sweat:

9. Edit and Refine It

Please, please don’t just write your resume and shoot it out without giving it a second glance. Hiring managers may not spend hours browsing it, but if there’s one thing that sticks out more than anything else it’s a glaring typo.

The best approach? Write a rough draft, then leave and come back to it later with fresh eyes to give it an edit.

Cover the basics: Is your contact information correct and updated? Are you using the right verb tenses? Does everything look consistent and accurate in terms of spelling and grammar?

Then do some cutting if your resume’s quite long. It’s no longer a hard-and-fast rule that all resumes must be only one page—but consider it a smart guideline for most applicants, especially if you’ve got less than 10 years work experience. The exception is if you’re very senior or very established in your career; in this scenario, a two-page resume isn’t completely out of the question. Everyone else, read this article for advice on how to cut your resume down.

Formatting-wise, it’s key to consider a couple things. First, what font are you using, and is it legible (for a human and a robot)? When in doubt, go with one of these simple, but sleek, options: Arial, Arial Narrow, Calibri, Cambria, Garamond, or Helvetica.

Second, are you going to save it as a Word document or PDF? Neither option is wrong, although a PDF helps ensure that your formatting is maintained, no matter what type of computer the hiring manager uses to open the document.

Third, is your resume formatted in a way that it’s skimmable? If it’s feeling crowded or overrun with words, read this: 12 Tiny Changes That Make Your Resume Easy for Recruiters to Skim.

Once you’ve given it a few good looks, it may be worth sending it to a friend or colleague (or even a career coach) to get a second opinion. Don’t just have them edit it for spelling and grammar—they should dig into your bullets and offer feedback on whether or not your resume is showing you in the best possible light (it’s smart to also send them the job description for something to compare it to).

What Are Some Examples of a Good Resume?

Here’s the thing: Your resume won’t ever look exactly like someone else’s, nor should it. How you choose to format it, organize your information, and talk about specific experiences depends not just on your career path, but on your field, the job you’re applying for, the company that job is at, and more.

So there isn’t a universal way to do a resume. But there are common themes. To give you some context as to how yours might turn out, here are three examples of different kinds of resumes.

The Most Popular: A Reverse Chronological Resume

As previously mentioned, a reverse chronological resume is preferred by many coaches and HR experts, mainly because it’s super readable. When everything’s in a clear order, it’s easy to skim and even easier to draw lines between experiences.

Who it’s good for: Just about everyone—from students applying to internships all the way up to senior-level executives (with an optional resume summary statement)

Download an Example Chronological Resume for a Software Engineer

Example of a reverse chronological resume created in Google Docs using the resume template Swiss.

The Unorthodox Route: A Functional or Skills-Based Resume

Rather than listing out your experience in reverse chronological order, a functional or skills-based resume has bullet points that reflect how each of your skills is demonstrated by the work you’ve done over the course of your career. At the bottom, you’ll include everything else, such as your education, job history, professional achievements, community involvement, and other technical skills. This is a good option if you have a somewhat all-over-the-place work history and want to tie everything together neatly.

Who it’s good for: Career changers whose work experiences may not appear to be relevant and people with an abundance of temporary jobs or gaps in their work histories.

Download an Example Functional Resume for a Project Manager

Example of a functional or skills-based resume created in Google Docs using the resume template Spearmint.

The Creative Angle: An Infographic Resume or Resume Website

This resume type is characterized by how it’s formatted visually. You may choose a reverse chronological order or skills-based style to organize your information, but also use graphics, colors, unique fonts, and even multimedia elements to help that information pop. Keep in mind that any creative resume is still likely subject to an ATS—and certain elements may be unreadable by a robot. So consider going this route only if you know a human will be reading your resume (and that said human might enjoy it).

Who it’s good for: People applying to creative roles (designers, editors, writers, marketers, video producers, for example), startups, or fun companies, or to jobs where a creative resume is encouraged, if not required.

Download an Example Infographic Resume for a Designer

Example of an infographic resume created in Canva.

Not a designer but want your resume to look just as pretty as this example? Check out these articles:

Your resume is a living, breathing document. So while you won’t go through this whole process every time you apply for a job, you should be thinking about all these things as you go to update your resume for your next career step. You might decide later on to switch up the order, or remove or add things, or even get creative and try out a whole new format. If you’re not getting the calls back you expect, you may decide to scrap it and start over—and that’s totally OK.

Regardless of where this piece of paper goes and how it grows, when you give it the care and attention it deserves, you set yourself up for success. And you’ll make it that much more likely that you’ll land an interview and get the chance to prove to the hiring manager—over the phone or in person—what you’ve got to offer.

SOURCE: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-make-a-resume-examples