What Should a Good Resume Look Like?

The key to getting an amazing job in 2020 is writing a good resume. Your resume is the first impression that you provide to a potential employer. When a job opens up, an employment manager is going to be sifting through hundreds of resumes. Yours needs to be the one that jumps out at them. 

Whether you are applying for your first job or your dream job, it is important that you format your resume correctly and that you include relevant information. At Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona, we recommend the following tips for building your resume:

Prominently Display Your Name

At the top of your resume, you need to display your name. It should be both large and bold, yet written in a professional font. Remember to write your name as you would prefer to be referred to professionally. Your name needs to stand out, but it can’t distract from the rest of the content that is on your resume. 

Directly below your name, you will want to add your contact information. It is customary to provide your home address, cell phone number, and e-mail address. If you happen to have a personal website related to your professional goals and accomplishments, this would be the best spot to put the URL.

Include Relevant Keywords Throughout Your Resume Content

As you begin to search for a job, you will find that most job postings are filled with keywords that indicate the type of person they are looking for to fill the position. Keywords might include “skilled tradesperson” or “self-motivated individual.” Keep an eye out for these keywords, and customize your resume accordingly. When an employer is doing a quick review of your resume, you will want these keyword phrases to stand out. This will help you get noticed and will save your resume from being sent to the large pile of applicants who will never be considered for the job.

Write a Compelling Purpose Statement

Following your name and contact information will be a short purpose statement. This purpose statement, or summary, outlines your goals for your career and your intentions for your job search. The key to writing a successful purpose statement is making your words count. You only have two or three sentences to work with, so you will want to use this space wisely. You can use it to highlight your professional accomplishments or tell a bit about your background. Ultimately, your purpose statement needs to explain why you are the best fit for this position. It is the one space on your resume that you have to showcase your personality and provide in-depth information about yourself.

Use Active Voice Throughout Your Resume

Active voice is short, concise, and to-the-point. When you write in an active voice, you show your prospective employer that you understand their time is precious. You prove that you can tell them just as much in a few words as someone else can say in endless sentences.

One example of an active voice might include: “I led multiple group training sessions, and achieved superior results.” 

When you write in an active voice, your words come across as authoritative and powerful. It shows that you feel confident in yourself, and in what you have accomplished thus far. As an added bonus, an active voice helps you save space on the page, which is important when you are trying to add as much information as possible to your resume.

Include Relevant Work History

Perhaps one of the most important components of your resume is the section where you highlight your relevant work experience. If you are applying for your first job, you may not have any prior work experience. You can fill this section by including any volunteer positions that you have held in the past and identifying any responsibilities that you had within that organization. 

If you have had several jobs in the past, but none of them are related to the position you are applying for, you can still include them. It is important to establish professional history whenever possible. A prospective employer may look at your timeline to see how committed you have been to previous positions, or how willing you have been to do your part at a given organization. 

If you have had years of work experience, it’s important to narrow down your work history to the most recent and relevant positions that you have held. For instance, you won’t want to include that college internship on your resume when you are applying for a new position 10 years after graduation.

Add Accomplishments, Awards, and Recognitions

When building your resume, you have to resist the urge to be humble. This is the perfect time to highlight your accomplishments and boast about your awards. Awards and recognitions provide further proof that you go above and beyond when you are given a responsibility. You might include examples in which you were awarded a scholarship or when you were ranked as employee of the month. Don’t be shy about it. This is your moment to let yourself shine.

Incorporate Community Involvement When Possible

If you need to fill out your resume some more, don’t be afraid to include information about your involvement with the local community. Roles that you have held within your church or volunteer positions that you have taken on at the local school can help showcase additional talents and skills that you might have.

Don’t Forget Those References

At the end of the resume, you should list at least three references. It is important to choose references who are going to provide a glowing review of the work that you have done in the past. However, before you go listing your former employer’s name and phone number, you should reach out to them first. Let them know that you are in the market for a new job and that you would like to list them as a reference on your resume. You will want them to be prepared in case someone contacts them to learn more about you and the work you have done in the past.

Keep it to One Page if Possible

One page resumes are considered the standard in nearly every industry, especially for people who are applying for their first job or who are just starting their career. When an employer is searching through hundreds of resumes that were submitted for one position, they won’t have time to glance at more than one page. You don’t want important information to get lost or disconnected from your resume. By writing carefully and building your resume with care, you will be able to create a one-page document that is interesting, relevant, and remarkable. 

Your resume is typically only one component of the job application process. You may also be asked to include a cover letter, work samples, or letters of recommendation along with the application itself. It is important that you review each job posting thoroughly, and include everything that is asked of you when you submit the application. 

To learn more about the best tips and tricks for landing a great job, contact Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona today.

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