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Resume Guide | PhoenixNews

Resume Guide

By University of Phoenix

  • May 21, 2020
  • 9 min read

Your resume isn’t just a record of past employment. It’s a self-marketing tool; an advertisement meant to persuade employers to contact you for an interview. Creating an effective resume requires you have a specific goal in mind, a clear understanding of the employer’s needs, and a writing style that aims to influence rather than merely inform.

This guide will help you understand the basic elements of a resume and how to effectively communicate your value to employers.

Step 1: Establish a focus

Remember, your resume is an advertisement that sells you as the most suitable candidate for a specific position. That means you need to have a clear goal in mind so you can tailor your resume for that particular job.

Establish a focus with keywords

Keywords are one of the best ways to demonstrate a focus for your resume. They are words and phrases that are strongly associated with the job and industry you’re targeting. These words are usually job-specific skills, relevant software applications, and position titles – any words a recruiter may use to search for qualified candidates.

For Example:

TARGETED POSITION

RESUME KEYWORDS

Staff Accountant

Accounts payable, audit, budgeting, financial reporting, income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, Excel, attention to detail, generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)

Why are keywords important?

Most resumes are screened by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) – computer software that scans your resume for keywords to determine how well you match the targeted position. Resumes that lack keywords are highly unlikely to advance to the next level. You should even include keywords when naming your resume file (e.g. YourName_JobTitle_Resume).

How to find keywords

  1. Use career databases like O*NET or the Occupational Outlook Handbook to research keyresponsibilities/skills for occupations you’re targeting.
  2. Perform a Google search for keyword resources available online, like this resume keyword list.
  3. Study several job postings for the same type of position, analyzing them for common keywords.
  
  
  
  
  

In the chart above, list the keywords associated with the job you want

Once you find the most common keywords related to the job you’re targeting, incorporate them throughout your resume, placing them in context of your education and experience.

Establish a focus by tailoring your resume

Tailoring your resume means demonstrating a clear match between your knowledge, skills, and abilities and the job requirements. You do this by learning what employers’ expect from competitive candidates and then writing about elements of your background, education, and experience most relevant to the role. .
How to learn what employers’ want

  1. Use career databases like O*NET or the Occupational Outlook Handbook to research keyresponsibilities/skills for occupations you’re targeting…sound familiar?
  2. Study several job postings for the same type of position, analyzing them for key responsibilities,skills, and credentials.
  3. Talk to people in the field by conducting informational interviews.
Reflect on your knowledge, skills, and abilities

Once you learn what employers’ expect from you, reflect on your education and experience to determine how you meet the requirements. Here are some questions to consider:

  • When have I performed the exact same tasks required for the job? (e.g. past job, internship, volunteer position, etc.)
  • When have I performed tasks related to the key responsibilities of the role?
  • What knowledge does the role require and how have I obtained that knowledge?
  • What skills must I possess to excel in the role I am targeting?
  • What job-relevant knowledge and skills have I learned through my coursework?
  • What software applications must I know to excel in the role I am targeting?
Job Target:
Job RequirementsHow I meet the requirements
  
  
  
  
  

 

Step 2: Design and format your resume

When designing your resume, aim for simplicity. Avoid overused Microsoft Word templates and try to keep your resume to no more than two pages (three pages are acceptable under certain conditions). Organize your information into a logical hierarchy with clear headings. Ensure that your resume contains a balance of text and white space so as not to appear cluttered.

Below are other considerations:

  • Be consistent with your styling and format
  • Use bullets versus lengthy paragraphs
  • Use .5” to 1” margins all around
  • Use bolds, italics, and CAPITALIZATION sensibly
  • Utilize consistent spacing to separate information
  • Avoid images / graphics unless appropriate to industry
File format

FILE TYPE

WHAT TO KNOW

Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx)

Preferred format due to wide use of Microsoft Word

Portable Document Format (.pdf)

Format remains consistent but may not be readable by ATS

Personal Website (Your own URL)

Ideal for portfolios, esp. in technology or creative industry

Basic elements of a resume

Although resumes may contain a variety of different sections, there are some basic elements that are highly recommended if not required. The table below lists them.

SECTION

WHAT TO INCLUDE

Contact Information

Name, city/state/zip, phone, and a professional email

Qualifications Summary or Profile

Condensed “elevator pitch” promoting you for position

Experience

Work history with company, position title, location, and dates; key responsibilities and achievements, and results

Education

Correct name of degree, school, and graduation date

Note that an Objective section is not listed. Objective statements are primarily used by students seeking internships, co-ops or practicums. Also, be aware that the titles of headings can vary, depending on the needs and preferences of the candidate. For example, IT professionals may include a Technical Skills section or a Nursing student may include Clinical Rotations.

Examples

On the next two pages, you will find two examples of well-formatted resumes.

  1. Entry-level or career change: The first example is appropriate for candidates with little to noexperience in their desired career field, which is why the education section is listed first with detailsabout courses / course projects.
  2. Experienced: The second example is appropriate for candidates with experience in their desiredcareer field, which is why a “career highlights” section is near the top of the resume with a list ofkey career achievements and education is at the bottom of the resume.
Your name

City, State, Zip | 000-000-0000 | youremail@email.com | linkedin.com/in/yourlinkedinaddress

Professional profile

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Describe the expertise you can offer that is highly relevant to the types of jobs you are pursuing. This is a summary, so your statements should provide the “Big Picture” of who you are professionally, what you’re best known for, and what you can do for the employer. Do not summarize your entire career; focus more specifically on the skills and value you bring to an organization that align with the targeted job.

Education

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
College or University, City, State                                                       Graduation Date
Exact Title of Degree

Relevant Coursework:

  • Course Name 1, Course Name 2, Course Name 3, Course Name 4, Course Name 5, etc.

Student Project Highlights:

  • Describe a specific project / assignment that showcases skills and concepts learned in class (see examples below)
  • Generated financial report in QuickBooks, including balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement to analyze year-end financial standing for virtual organization with $1.2M gross revenue
  • Prepared journal entries for investments using fair value and equity method
  • Conducted an in-depth analysis of ACME Inc. and prepared a comprehensive audit plan, including company, industry, and engagement risk analyses.
Experience

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Company Name, City, State                                                       dates
Job Title

  • Use first bullet to describe context of your work environment or the purpose/scope of your role
  • Describe a key responsibility / notable achievement / positive result you contributed to
  • Describe a key responsibility / notable achievement / positive result you contributed to
  • A formula for writing bullet statements is action verb + description of task + result or purpose (See examples below)

ABC Coffee House, Somewhere, AZ                                                        dates
Barista

  • Worked alongside a team of six baristas to achieve store sales goals by building strong customer relationships and delivering exceptional customer service
  • Contributed to store’s Yelp rating of 4.5/5 stars by serving ~250 customers per day with a consistent emphasis on creating an “at home” customer experience
  • Improved speed of service by memorizing over 40 highly specific varieties of espresso drinks, requiring attention to detail

XYZ Medical Center, Somewhere, AZ                                                       dates
Medical Secretary

  • Provided secretarial support to three health services directors within the patient services department of this 220-bed, acute care hospital
  • Collected and recorded patient information, including health insurance eligibility and patient demographic information
  • Earned “Employee of the Month” twice in one year for commitment to patient service and exemplary work ethic

 

Your name

City, State, Zip | 000-000-0000 | youremail@email.com | linkedin.com/in/yourlinkedinaddress

Professional profile

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Describe the expertise you can offer that is highly relevant to the types of jobs you are pursuing. This is a summary, so your statements should provide the “Big Picture” of who you are professionally, what you’re best known for, and what you can do for the employer. Do not summarize your entire career; focus more specifically on the skills and value you bring to an organization that align with the targeted job.

Career highlights

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

  • Key Career Achievement (see examples below)
  • Spearheaded marketing campaign to sell home and garden products to commercial contractors; increased revenues by $20M within the first year
  • Repeatedly built teams from the ground up through interviewing, hiring, and training staff; over 10 employees have promoted to assistant manager roles with 3 becoming store managers within one year
Experience

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
Company Name, City, State                                                       dates
Job Title

Use a brief introductory paragraph to highlight your core responsibilities and context of your work environment, which may include the size of your team, scope of responsibility, and structure of the organization/department as it relates to your major job functions. (See examples below)

  • Describe a key responsibility / notable achievement / positive result you contributed to
  • Describe a key responsibility / notable achievement / positive result you contributed to
  • Describe a key responsibility / notable achievement / positive result you contributed to
  • A formula for achievement statements is result + description of task + how you achieved it (See examples below)

Acme Software Inc., Somewhere, AZ                                                        dates
Regional Sales Manager
Spearheaded new business development of cloud-based (SaaS) email marketing technology in the Northeastern United States for this multimillion dollar software firm. Collaborated with executive leadership to develop new business and marketing strategies and led a sales team of 12 account managers in consistently overachieving quarterly sales goals.

  • Repeatedly ranked among the top 3 regional sales teams out 10 for overall highest revenues achieved company-wide, generating over $2.4 million in new sales since hire date
  • Surpassed sales quota three years in a row by training and developing staff into top performers capable of prospecting and developing untouched new territory, including Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companiesAwarded “Performance Excellence Award” within first year of hire for exceeding quarterly sales quotas
  • Awarded “Performance Excellence Award” within first year of hire for exceeding quarterly sales quotas
Education

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
College or University, City, State                    Graduation or Expected Graduation Date
Exact Title of Degree
 

Step 3: Write your resume content
Contact information

It is important to include your name, city/state/zip, phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile address. Make sure the employer can reach your or leave a message easily. Email addresses that have inappropriate connotations (sexygal, egghead, fratboy, etc.) can make you seem unprofessional. Instead, use an email address with your name in it (SueSmith@) to help the employer remember you. When listing your phone number, be sure to include the area code and have a professional voicemail greeting.

Purpose of summary

The purpose of a summary is to help the reader understand what types of positions you are pursuing. But instead of a static objective statement, a summary builds a dynamic case for why you are a good fit for that role. It also coaches the reader to focus on what you have emphasized in your document, which is especially helpful for two-page resumes. A summary should be well-targeted for the job description.

Sample job description – marketing manager

Job Duties

  • Provide marketing insights to sales teams
  • Analyze marketing metrics
  • Deliver presentations to management on competitive landscape
  • Design Web advertising

Required Qualifications

  • Three to five years of marketing experience
  • Industry experience in consumer packaged goods and retail
  • Ability to manage outside vendors
  • Ability to design marketing initiatives and work across multiple departments
Sample summary aligned to job description

SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS

Marketing manager with over seven years of experience in consumer packaged goods and retail marketing environments. Proven ability to size up competitor companies and provide marketing insight to sales teams and management. Skilled presenter and engaging public speaker who is confident and poised across all levels of professionals, ranging from mid-level managers to C-level executives. Analytical-minded professional who makes decisions based on sound data.

Summary add-ons

A variety of sections can be added after a paragraph-style summary to add value to the summary. A Relevant Skills section allows you to add the additional skills required for the position without taking up space in the summary. A Career Highlights section provides the space to highlight three major career accomplishments that help support the summary. A Technical Skills section allows IT and science professionals the opportunity to provide a brief but holistic account of their technical background in a category and list format.

Sample summary aligned to job description

Search Engine Optimization
Marketing Campaign
Management
Vendor Management
Graphic Design
Website Design
Contract Negotiations

Career Highlights

  • Spearheaded marketing campaign for a new line of home and garden products that increased revenues by $2M within the first year
  • Hired and trained a marketing staff of eight members; coached one to promotion as marketing manager
  • Secured partnership with Lowe’s to place five new products from a new line in over 4,000 stores across the United States.

Technical Skills

  • Systems: Linux, Windows (7/8/10), macOS (Sierra / High Sierra)
  • Software: Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office 365, G Suite, SAP
  • Languages: C, C++, .NET, Visual Basic, Java, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python (beginner)
  • Databases: SQL Server, MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle
Experience

This section can encompass paid and unpaid experience (e.g. internship, volunteer, job shadow). It is sometimes titled Experience, Professional Experience, or Work History. Under this heading you will need to include your job titles, places and dates of employment, and accomplishments in bulleted statements. List your experience with the most recent first (reverse chronological order). Do not use introductory statements such as “Duties included” or “Responsibilities included.” Instead, begin with an action verb and quantify your accomplishments whenever possible.

How to write effective bullet statements

Bullet statements are brief descriptions of key responsibilities and accomplishments. A formula for writing effective bullet statements is: action verb(s) + description of task + result or purpose

Action Verb

Description of Task

Result or Purpose

Trained

10 sales associates on CRM system

to improve speed to proficiency

Managed

front office, including scheduling, data entry, and payment collection

resulting in efficient patient flow

Reduced

time to complete month-end close

from one week to three days

Greeted

customers and assisted with product selection

to create a positive shopping experience

Education

List your education with the most recent education first (reverse chronological order). Make sure you list the correct degree (Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, for example) and the correct major. You might consider placing your education before your work experience, especially if your recent education qualifies you for the job. If you haven’t graduated yet, list your expected date of graduation. If you graduated more than five years ago, you don’t need to include the years you attended or obtained your degree.

Examples

Bachelor of Science in Accounting – University of Phoenix | Phoenix, AZ (February 2020)
University of Phoenix | Phoenix, AZ

  • Master of Business Administration—> May 2017
  • Bachelor of Science in Business with a Concentration in Marketing—> January 2015

Additional sections
You may wish to include additional information related to your ability to do the job.
Such areas may include:

  • Community Involvement or Volunteer Experience
  • Leadership Experience
  • Professional Associations
  • Certifications/Publications/Licensure
  • Military Experience
  • Internships
  • Presentations / Publications
  • Professional Development
  • Honors/Awards
Common resume mistakes

MISTAKE

REASON

Resume lacks a clear focus

Employers want a specific candidate for a specific job

Emphasizes duties versus accomplishments

Employers want candidates who go beyond basic job duties

Includes irrelevant information

Shows you don’t understand the employer’s needs

Resume lacks keywords

Employers search for candidates by keywords; ensure they can find you

Spelling, grammar, punctuation errors

Your resume will likely be tossed out

Using personal pronouns and full sentences

Write in a telegraphic style for brevity

Listing references

Employers assume you have referencesEmployers assume you have references and will provide them if asked and will provide them if asked

Acronyms, abbreviations, and contractions

Can be confusing and contractions are too informal

Very poor appearance to the resume

Unprofessional and indicates lack of motivation