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❶Barth Anderson is a professional writer, editor and social media consultant. Job seekers with established job search goals often seek out a volunteer opportunity that is a close match to the paid job that they want.

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Your professional resume and CV can either help you greatly increase your salary or hinder your career advancement. First, focus on the structure. An ideal structure consists of Name and [ Having a well-written resume is vital in any job market. It can make the difference between getting an interview or not.

With so much competition for openings, you need a resume that sets you apart from the other candidates. What should I say to the hiring manager when I take my resume and CV in?

Should I ask for an [ So many people treat the interview as if it will take care of itself, and therefore they make the same critical errors. They are currently hiring at my local hotel chain, and the lady there told me to print out a job application and bring it in.

Include a skills section to quickly and effectively communicate your experience and make yourself stand out from other applicants. Match your skills used in volunteer and paid positions from the list you have already created with the requirements and preferences included in the job posting. Formats for skill lists include:. Bullet Point List with Results Format your skill section as a list of bullet points- that is three lines to five lines long. Limit each entry to two lines.

Choose action verbs that demonstrate responsibility. For example, "managed," "coordinated" or "designed. This helps make your abilities sound more diverse and adds depth to your resume. Use the list of action verbs provided in this chapter and in the job opening itself for ideas.

Review your list of accomplishment statements to quantify your results. Grouping Skills by Topic Consider grouping your skills as job-specific qualifications below headlines such as Accounting Qualifications, Consulting Qualifications or Teaching Qualifications. Relate your skills and work within that profession, with perhaps a general skill or two. Skill List This format is often used to list your competency using computers.

Employers presume that applicants are proficient with word processing, spreadsheet usage and email applications, but if these skills are listed in the job opening, include them on your resume, Consider listing specific names of business applications such as Excel , SharePoint or Salesforce or industry specific skills such as CNC machine tools or types of CAD software.

Use a bulleted list, three to five lines long. List your most recent employment first. A general standard is to chronologically list in reverse order the last three to four jobs or those you have had over the past 10 years.

Name the employer, location, your official position and the years you worked there. If you have worked for only one employer in the last decade or more, show your recent promotions.

If your job title did not change in the last decade you can still show job progression by showcasing how you took on more complex job tasks and increased responsibilities. How much information should you give about your past jobs? Focus on what you did and your accomplishments in various positions. Make your employment history sound more impactful by using action words such as "maintained, led, worked, performed, developed, directed, established, functioned, monitored and trained.

Use bullet points and make your sentences one line. Sentence fragments like "specialized in training employees to use proprietary software that resulted in a 15 percent reduction in data entry errors" work fine. List no more than four to six bullet points in describing your last job.

Then use two to three points for subsequent positions. Although contact information is typically given on an application or reference sheet, many resumes still list the employer name, city and state. Other job seekers might limit this information to keep the resume focused on skills, accomplishments and qualifications that best match the job opening.

The choice is yours. There is no single standard that fits all situations. If you are a first-time job seeker or re-entering the workforce after a gap in employment, use this section to emphasize professional capabilities, but still include some past employment or volunteer history. Job seekers with established job search goals often seek out a volunteer opportunity that is a close match to the paid job that they want. If more of your skills and experience come from employment, list employment first and education last.

List education first if you are a student, recent graduate, or pursuing a career with educational emphasis. Include the name of the institution, location city and state , graduation date or projected graduation date, degree s earned, field of study and GPA if over 3. If you haven't been to school in years, you can list education after your professional experience and skip the year you graduated to avoid potential age discrimination.

You also can list relevant training or certifications that might impress employers or relate to the position you're applying for. For job seekers who did not graduate from undergraduate or graduate programs, a simple disclosure is best: If you never went to college or finished high school you can list yourself as a high school graduate as long as you have a GED or another type of high school equivalency certificate.

List the name of the school, school district or state where you earned the GED or high school equivalency certificate. Do not include an education section if you did not finish high school and had no formal training either in school or from an employer. Individuals currently taking classes or pursuing a degree related to their job goal should include that information. List the skills acquired, academic accomplishments and the projected date of completion.

List organizational memberships related to your job goal. Avoid using non-employer-related or controversial organizations. Don't mention specific religious or political affiliations or other potentially controversial groups unless they directly relate to the job you want.

Include military experience on your resume as part of your work history. If you are targeting a job within the defense industry, feel free to use military jargon.

The defense industry likes candidates who understand the lingo. If you are targeting a job outside of the defense arena, you will need to "civilianize" your military language to show that your skills and experience match the employer's needs.

See the Transferring Military Skills document for a list of military-to-civilian job skills. Volunteer experience can fill in any gaps in employment. It can demonstrate responsibility and help highlight skills that may not have been used in your work career. Served as an officer of the PTA?

Or a coach at your children's school? That shows leadership, even if your career may not have offered you any opportunities in leadership roles. Include hobbies and personal interests if they're employment-related, not controversial, and show skills and experience.

Do not include your references or the phrase "references available on request" on the actual resume. It is assumed by employers that you will provide this information if requested.

Once an employer asks for your references, provide the names and contact information of three to five people who can speak favorably about your attributes. Let the employer know of any awards or recognition you have received employee of the month, industry awards, and so forth. Those are accomplishments worthy of mention. Targeted resumes are a necessity for most job openings. Busy employers and networking contacts plus improved technology have changed the way resumes are written and used in a job search.

Your resume has to communicate a lot of information in the second glance it gets from a networking contact or a prospective employer. If the employer uses an applicant tracking system ATS it first has to successfully pass electronic screening and resume ranking before it is read by the hiring authority.

Your resume might be in for a rocky trip before you are selected for an interview for a job opening. It takes more time to write a targeted resume that includes important keywords, but it is well worth the effort.

Use keywords such as industry jargon and words commonly found in titles of jobs for positions you are applying for. The keywords in your targeted resume will help you stand out in an ATS because it's set up to identify specific skills of applicants. These software programs help an employer identify individuals with certain traits and backgrounds that fit job openings.

Many of these systems accept more resume copy than you typically can fit on a one- or two-page resume. Use this opportunity to include more of your relevant experience and skills. Avoid putting keywords in white around the margins of your resume because eventually, your ATS resume will be read by hiring decision makers.

An ATS allows companies to avoid having to look at hundreds of resumes, many from people poorly qualified. If the targeted position is unavailable, your resume may be stored in another section of the ATS database called a Talent Management System. Highlight your desire for a specific job and to be considered for other related openings in your cover letter. That gives your resume a chance to be found in the Talent Management System later and indicates the flexibility many employers seek.

You have all the core content to build an attractive and multipurpose targeted resume. Use any one of a number of resume templates to create a visually pleasing and easy to read resume document. After you have completed the resume, you will have the flexibility to distribute your resume in plain text, save it as a PDF, send it as an email attachment, cut and paste sections of it for online job applications, or print it for networking meetings, postal-mail job applications or an interview.

Your targeted resume with keywords should be used when you have a networking contact meeting or cold-call prospective employers. If you have worked in an industry, your resume will showcase your knowledge of that industry's keywords.

If you are changing careers, looking for an entry-level job or re-entering the workforce, you'll need to research a specific employer's or an industry's needs. Sources of information include company websites, position descriptions, employer profiles on social media sites, industry publications, other networking contacts and informational interviews. Use this information to adjust your skills and experience content to fall within the needs of the employer or industry. Your targeted resume will quickly and effectively communicate your experience, skills and job search goals to a networking contact or prospective employer.

Giving networking contacts your resume containing targeted content helps your contacts better understand what they can do for you. These contacts are pipelines to what is called a "warm referral" - that personal connection to another contact or an employer who has a job opening. Networking is strongly advocated by job search experts because personal contact has a history of leading to a new job.

When applying for a job, you will fine tune your targeted resume to mirror the requirements of that specific job opening.

Your content must include not only your relevant experience and skills that the employer wants, but the keywords used in the job opening announcement. Your job is to show that your qualifications and experience match what the employer is seeking because employers look for resumes where the applicant has all or nearly all of the qualifications and experience that are in the job posting. Start by carefully reading the job posting. Job postings tend to follow a pattern. Employers usually summarize the job responsibilities followed by the required and preferred qualifications for all applicants.

Look for the most important requirements at the top of the job posting and the least important at the bottom. Targeted resumes that use the same words that the employer used to summarize the job responsibilities, qualifications and skills have a better chance of moving forward through an ATS or a manual candidate screening process.

Resumes should be sent to a specific person. Avoid sending the resume to a job title such as "Production Manager. If asked, send your resume to human resources. Then also send a resume to the person in charge of the department in which you want to work.

Most of the time, human resources do the screening, but it's the department manager who is the final hiring authority. When mailing your resume, always send it with a cover letter. Mass-mailing your resume to employers does not work.

The statistics are that for every 1, resumes you send to employers you can expect to get two interviews. Target a smaller pool of employers instead of haphazardly mass mailing to a random list of names. Follow up your resume submissions with a phone call to the employer.


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Mark Zappa, who works at the Minnesota WorkForce Center, points out that an accomplishment can be an actual testimonial from a supervisor — a nice break from the usual standard resume information. The keywords in your targeted resume will help you stand out in an ATS because it's set up to identify specific skills of applicants. .

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