A quality resume is important for helping you stand out in a pile of other resumes. This post covers resume design, resume sections, professional history, resume picture advice, examples of a bad resume, resumes to buy on Etsy and more.
Resumes come in all different colors, styles, and sizes but there are a few standards that should hold true no matter what kind of resume you submit.
Make Sure it’s Scannable
Resumes need to be scannable. Recruiters and people in the Human Resources Department don’t want to look at a resume and feel like they’re reading a novel. They need to be able to glance at your resume and know what you’re offering within a matter of seconds.
Your design needs to be appealing to the eye, especially if you’re applying for a creative job.
Be Clear and Concise
A way to prevent the novelization of your resume is to be clear and concise with your skills, and professional history. Use direct language and bullet points instead of paragraphs whenever possible.
Font Choice and Layout are Key
You also want to make sure that you’re choosing a font that’s easy to read and laying out the information in an easy to read manner.
According to the site Canva, “Resumes should not include several quirky fonts (no Comic Sans or Marker Felt), the sections need to be lined up neatly and easy to read with the judicious use of columns, bold fonts, bullet points, and white space.”
No matter who you ask, there are a few core sections that need to be included in each and every resume.
It’s important that the hiring manager be able to get in contact with you as quickly as possible. No applicant is so good that the hiring manager is going to hunt down their phone number or email address. Make sure that your contact information includes the best phone number to reach you at and your email address.
Also make sure you check your email and your voicemail regularly so you don’t miss that interview invitation.
The summary on your resume is your highlight reel. This is where you talk about the coolest and most important things about you as it pertains to the job.
Monster.com says the summary is a short paragraph that contains anywhere from three to five sentences about you. Instead of titling this section “summary”, you could also use it as a headline to talk about your credentials. Below that, in the actual summary part of your resume, talk about why that title suits you.
The summary or objective is slowly going out of fashion so if you want to skip this resume section, do it.
Every hiring manager wants to know two things about you, what skills you have that fit the job description and what other skills you bring to the table that make you more qualified for the position than any of the other applicants.
According to Monster.com, employers want to be able to skim through your resume to see if you have the experience they’re looking for. Bullet points or some way to easily highlight your skills such as a table are great ways to make your skills easy to pinpoint.
When highlighting your skills, make sure you use industry keywords specifically chosen for the job you’re applying to. Maybe even pull keywords from the initial job posting.
And don’t forget that skills like problem solving and communication are also very important to highlight. It’s pretty tough to teach a person how to communicate with the variety of different people you run across in a workplace setting. Use buzzwords such as “cross functional collaboration” if that applies to your experience here.
This section is also known as work history, it’s just that professional history sounds, well, more professional. The professional history is where you look at your past jobs and list the skills you acquired while you were working in those jobs.
Your professional history gives the interviewers an idea of your real, working world experience and if that experience will fit into the position they have available. This is where you give details and depth to your experience.
How Far Back Should a Resume Go?
The website Ask a Manager tackles this issue.
According to the site you really only want to go back 10-15 years but how far you go back is up to you and the skills required in the job you want.
Ask a Manager says, “…most resumes will be stronger if you cut them off around that point because for most people, going back further than that means you’re adding a lot more text, which waters down the impact of the more important/more recent jobs.”
Exceptions to the Rule
There are a few exceptions to the rule. If you have been with your current company or in your current job for 15 years, then you would only have one job listed on your resume.
This is a case where you can go back further to fill out your professional history.
The other exception is if you have an impressive job that you want to list that was 15 years or more ago, certain skills, or other experiences that are relevant that you want to highlight.
The traditional school of thought is that a resume does not need and should not have a picture. In 2020, it also may be inappropriate to include a picture with your resume. As with everything, there are a few exceptions.
If you are an actor or a model, it’s perfectly acceptable to add a photo to your resume.
Options Instead of a Resume Picture
The Balance Careers has a few suggestions for how you can provide a photo without plastering your picture on top of your resume.
- Include a link to your LinkedIn profile. This is probably your best option. The recruiter has the opportunity to look at your photo and your LinkedIn profile if he or she wants. Plus, you know that photo is professional.
- You can also attach a business card with your photo on it to the resume so that it can be removed if the hiring manager wants to remove it.
We recommend that you do NOT include a picture on your resume.
How Should I Include a Resume Picture?
If you do include a resume picture, you should put it at the top of the page. The photo should be professionally taken and you should be dressed appropriately.
If you’re an actor or model, odds are you’re including a larger picture, say 8”x 10”.
Again, we recommend that you do not include a picture on your resume in 2020.
Address on a Resume
Once upon a time it was common practice to include an address on a resume because that’s the way people got into contact with one another, via snail mail. Now, it’s up to the resume writer. You can include your full address, just your city and state or no address at all.
According to Indeed.com, if you do decide to include your address, you want to be aware that there are some cases where it could hurt your ability to get the job.
For example, if you’re applying to a job in New York City, but you list your address as Tampa, Florida your resume is likely to end up in the “No” pile. Indeed suggests that in this instance, you list your address as “Relocating from Tampa, Florida”. This way the employer knows you plan to relocate for the job.
If you’re applying to a job through a third-party website, consider leaving your address blank or just listing the city. The fewer people who have your personal details, the better.
Many companies use online applications where you would enter your address. It is not as important on the resume today but something to include if you want to highlight that you are local.
Email on a Resume
In today’s day and age, email is probably the primary way an employer is going to contact you, so yes, you should include your email address on a resume. But you want to be careful which email address you use.
For one thing, if you’re leaving your current job for a new one, it’s probably not a good idea to use your work email address as a point of contact.
For another, you want your email address to sound professional. If that’s your one and only email address, then get a new one at Gmail or Yahoo! Both offer free email accounts. You can keep your personal email address for family and friends and use your professional one for work.
We recommend creating a simple Gmail account if you don’t have one already.
References in a Resume
It might be tempting to put references in your resume so that employers can talk to people who will brag about you, but the reality is references should be left until later.
According to the website Indeed, your resume is supposed to be packed with value about you and why you’re qualified to fill the position, references just take up valuable space. Indeed goes a step further to say that even saying “References available upon request” takes up that valuable space.
Because calling references is usually left until after the interview, an employer will ask for references if he or she is seriously thinking about hiring you. There’s no need to provide references until that point in the process.
You’ll want to quantify your previous experiences with success metrics. Did you increase inbound leads 150% in your previous role? Maybe you processed 65 transfers per day with a 98% accuracy? Quantify everything and anything you can.
Match Skills to Job Description
It helps to match the skills you list on the resume to all the requirements in the job description. Bonus points if you can match skills and experiences to the preferred qualifications in the job description.
You may want to keep different versions of the resume for the various jobs you apply to and customize.
Bad Resume Examples
What you have in your resume is very important, but there’s also some things that can disqualify you before you even get started.
Grammatical and Punctuation Errors
One of the errors that will immediately get your resume tossed is issues with grammar, punctuation or blatant formatting errors. Check, double check and have someone else check your resume before you send it out.
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
I know it’s tempting to pad your resume to make yourself seem more qualified or more appealing to an employer, but don’t.
Friends fans will remember this one, but there was an episode where Joey Tribbiani lied on his resume and listed dancing as one of his skills. The director was so impressed by his background, that he asked Joey to teach the rest of the people auditioning the dance moves. Needless to say, Joey did not do it well.
Lying on your resume will only get you in trouble.
Including Dated Skills
If it would take you more than a few weeks to brush up on a skill then don’t include it in your resume. This is especially important when listing languages!
Best Resume Templates for Purchase
If you’re still not sure how to format your resume or what to put on it, then here’s a good jumping off point. Etsy has a series of resume templates that should fit every situation.
This one is a little more packed with information, but it doesn’t look like it’s too cluttered. You can find it here on Etsy.
This resume has clean lines and is divided into sections really well. It offers a clean, simple, and professional look. You can find it here on Etsy.
Professional Modern Resume
This one also has clean lines and is pretty simple, but I like the splash of color that it includes. This is definitely more than your average resume. You can find it here on Etsy.
Resume with Photo
If you’re looking for a resume that you can add a photo to, then this one here on Etsy is a good bet. The picture isn’t huge and it looks like it’s tastefully placed within the resume.
Resume with Skills
What I like about this one is how the skills are laid out. It uses keywords and a visual chart to show how proficient you are with a specific skill. You can find it here on Etsy.
This one is called a financial resume, though I’m sure it works for a lot of different industries. I like the dark stripe at the top of the resume that makes it stand out as something a little different. You can find it here on Etsy.