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Resume

How can you get started on building a great resume? Your resume is the best marketing tool to land you a job. Most employers will require you to submit a resume to be considered for employment. On average, recruiters will only spend about 30 seconds reviewing each resume, so you need to be strategic on what you include in yours! Oftentimes, candidate may think their resume is only important to secure an interview. On the contrary, a resume is critical at every stage of the hiring process, so it is important that your resume is effective and professional

Professional Statement

It’s important to include professional statement at the top of your resume, especially if you are changing careers. This is where you describe why you are interested in the position and the key skills that make you a great candidateYou can also explain any gaps in your resume, such as taking time off to care for family, immigration to the US, recovering from an injury, etc.   

An effective personal statement will impress the employer and make them want to learn more about you.  Compare the following:

Jannah’s statement is better, as it highlights her skills as well as the type of role/industry she is looking to work in. Reggie’s statement needs to be more descriptive of his experiences and the types of roles he is seeking.

You may need to update part of your professional statement for each job application, but the extra effort is what makes your resume stand-out.  

TIP: You should have 2-3 versions of your resume tailored for different positions you are interested inFor example, you may want a different resume for each: full stack developer, frontend developer, and technical project manager. Creating these in advance allows you to be more nimble and jump on opportunities quickly.   

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Skills

Employers want to know the skills and technologies that you would bring to their organization. Companies often use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for relevant skills. It is critical that your resume includes relevant keywords or else it may be filtered out by the software and automatically rejectedYou should include keywords in the skills section, as well as in your professional objective and employment history.

So, how exactly do you know which keywords are the right keywords to include in your resume? An easy way to identify keywords is by looking at job postings that you are interested in on job websites such as LinkedIn or IndeedIf you are having trouble picking out the key wordssimply copy and paste the job description into TagCrowd to highlight them for you. It goes without saying that it is important to only include skills that you have some knowledge or experience with.

Here are some examples of key skills…

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Project profile

The project profile is crucial to your resume, especially if you have little to no relevant job experience. Your portfolio can include your best work and showcase your brilliant talents to recruitersYou should include the name of the project, what you built, the purpose of the application/end-product, and the technologies used. When selecting which projects to include, consider what skills the job requires and include projects that best align with those skills. Link a description of your work to external sites such as GITHub, LinkedIn, and a personal website.

Check-out our section on developing your portfolio for a list of resources that will help you continue to build-out your projects after you graduate.

Here’s an example…

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Work experience & internships

Your resume should be 1-2 pages long, preferably 1 page unless you have a lot of relevant work experience. Your resume is not a repository for your complete work history and job responsibilities. Instead, it highlights your most relevant work experience, skills, accolades, etc.

We recommend only using 3-4 bullets per job experience and start each bullet with a strong action verb. Recruiters will skim your resume so it’s important that your bullets stand-out. Here’s a list of action verbs to help you get started: (link to list)

Instead of writing "achieve," try...
Accelerated
Accomplished
Achieved
Activated
Attained
Delivered
Earned
Expanded
Expedited
Generated
Increased
Mastered
Produced
Reduced
Reorganized
Streamlined
Instead of writing "help," try...
Advised
Clarified
Coached
Collaborated
Conducted
Consulted
Counseled
Educated
Facilitated
Instructed
Interviewed
Negotiated
Persuaded
Presented
Proposed
Reported
Trained
Instead of writing "manage," try...
Allocated
Assessed
Consolidated
Controlled
Coordinated
Defined
Delegated
Determined
Employed
Established
Executed
Implemented
Installed
Maintained
Managed
Measured
Monitored
Planned
Prepared
Processed
Recommended
Retained
Scheduled
Selected
Supported
For technical accomplishments, try...
Applied
Built
Constructed
Constructed
Created
Designed
Developed
Diagnosed
Drafted
Engineered
Established
Launched
Maintained
Modified
Programmed
Resolved
Restored
Tested
Updated
Upgraded
For financial accomplishments, try...
Allocated
Analyzed
Budgeted
Compiled
Controlled
Estimated
Forecasted
Projected
Tabulated

Employers look for goal orientated candidates who can get the job done. Including metrics in your bullets will supercharge your resume and make you a more credible job candidate. To best feature your accomplishments, each bullet should include three thingsaction, results and metrics. Example: Designed and developed program that decreased customer service average handle time by 25% annually, increasing revenue by $300K.   This showcases not just your abilities, but also the value that you add to the employer if they hire you. You are listing your accomplishments rather than your job responsibilitiesThis may not come naturally, and you may need to dig deep to identify how your efforts made a positive impact on time, money or quantityFor example, instead of stating “Managed team to produce videos for tech companies”, a more tangible deliverable would look like, “Managed 12-person team to produce 100 teaching videos for more than 30 Fortune 500 companies”.  It’s important to include accolades, supervisor recognition, new processes that you developed, impact you made above and beyond expectations, promotion(s)etc.

You may feel uncomfortable presenting your accomplishments, especially if this is the first time you recognize the breadth of your professional contributions Avoid the imposter syndrome, embrace your achievements and celebrate your successes!  

Here’s an example…

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Education & interests

Typically, education is listed after the experience section in reverse chronological order. If you have little or no relevant work experience, your education can be listed after the “Skills” section. It’s important to include the degree you earned, university name and graduation dates, and honors. Exclude grade point averages (GPA), but highlight relevant studies, e.g. BS in Business, with a concentration in information management. 

As for interests, you can skip including this section, however if you notice on LinkedIn that the recruiter has the same interest as you, you may want to include. For example, if you are interviewing for a job at REI and you love ice climbing, you should absolutely include this on your resume. Sharing this information tells the employer that you share similar passion for the outdoors and will fit well into the corporate culture.   

Here’s an example…

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Overall tips for success

If your relevant work experience and skills take you just over the 1page limit, you may want to consider using narrow margins, adjust spacing, and other formatting changes. As you make these changes, remember that it is also important that your resume is visually appealing and formatted well.

Quick tips to improve readability...

Use Arial or Times New Roman font

Keep your font size 10-12 pt (Exceptions: your name and section headers).

List dates you held a job by month and year, e.g. 6/2010-12/2014.

Don’t use all caps/uppercase letters.

Remove industry acronyms/jargon that employers/recruiters may not be familiar with.

Align dates to the right and do not justify your bullets as it is difficult to read.

Maintain a clean looking resumestaying away from using overly creative (and distracting) designs and colors. If you have time to add a little flair to make your resume stand-out, that is fantastic, but content is key

Header should include your name, email address and phone with links to LinkedIn, GitHub, personal website and other social media links.

Do not include address or photo.

Ensure your email is professional and use recent technologies e.g. use @gmail/@live over yahoo.

Correct spellinggrammar and punctuation.

Use your own words and write with confidence, and ask a friend or family member to review.

Save as a pdf and rename it using your name to the recruiter can find it easily.

Explain gaps (out of the workforce a long time) and consolidate short-term contract jobs under one job description.

If your email address uses an older service (yahoo), you may want to create a Gmail or Live account.

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