Can your resume generate worthwhile job interviews? If not, it’s probably lacking one of the five necessary components that all the best resumes contain. However, it’s important to remember that the goal of the document is not to secure employment but to land interview appointments. With that limited aim in mind, it’s easier to craft a well-crafted, one-page summary of your education, experience, and personal characteristics so prospective employers will grant you 30 minutes of their precious time. It’s those short chats, most of which are very formal, that lead to job offers.
What are the core ingredients? Besides the centerpiece, a college diploma in a relevant subject area, successful candidates fill in resume gaps and overall have resumes that are error-free, well-written, without references, optimized for applicant tracking systems (ATS), and topped off with the four must-have elements: education, experience, contact information, and a personal section. Consider the following points when crafting your all-important document.
Step one for building a powerful resume is earning a college degree. Of course, you’ll need to finance your education, which is possible with a student loan. Applying online is easy, and loans can cover all or a portion of a four-year degree. If you aren’t finished with college yet, it’s okay to list the degree and indicate that you are currently working toward an undergraduate diploma in whatever the relevant subject happens to be. Student loans are the single most common and efficient way to cover the cost of an education. Place the “Education” section underneath “Experience” on your resume.
An error-free document is an essential piece of the job search puzzle. Additionally, be sure all statements are factual, grammar is perfect, there are no spelling mistakes, formatting is easy on the eyes, and all relevant points are included on a single page. Don’t use a section entitled “Objective,” as it’s considered bad form these days. Use white paper of medium thickness and black typeface of standard size.
Never include detailed references. Instead, say something along the lines of “References are available upon request” or “References available upon the offer of employment.” The point is to avoid giving out your personal references unless a company is serious about bringing you on board. Otherwise, they don’t need the information.
The letters stand for Contact info, Experience, Education, and Personal. Those are the four main elements of a job-focused document whose goal is to secure an interview. Keep it to one page. In the personal area, the goal is to show how well-rounded and socially adapted you are. List items like skill with a musical instrument or membership in community service clubs, but avoid anything controversial or political.
Human resources departments use sophisticated software called ATS to scan thousands of application documents for keywords. Work with a professional writer to craft your document in such a way that it contains all the relevant words that ATS software looks for. Unfortunately, you can be a top candidate for a particular job and not get in the door if you don’t know how to navigate ATS.