Everyone wants to have a strong resume but not many people know exactly what that entails. In the best of times, you need a strong resume to stand out from the nearly 250 other applicants. While in a recession, you could be one of 1,000 resumes being reviewed for the position.
To deal with this, many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which can be a problem if you don’t know what it wants to see. ATS’ prefer a structured resume without too many different colors or graphics. A good resume format for the ATS is simple and follows the standard sections:
1. Contact Info
This section should include your name, email address, phone number, LinkedIn profile, and relevant online portfolio (if applicable).
Attaching your LinkedIn profile is much better than including a photo of yourself since the ATS can’t parse it. It also allows recruiters to get a better overall understanding of you as an applicant, as you can feature on your profile things that didn’t make the resume, such as volunteer work. If the position requires certain visual skills, then you should definitely link your portfolio/professional website in this section.
PathMatch Tips & Tricks:
- Make sure you use an email and phone number that you check regularly
- Use a professional email address, such as your first and last name
- Your email server says a lot about you. Gmail shows you’re more “with the times” whereas Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL show you haven’t created an email account for yourself since the 90s.
We suggest this for entry-level resumes as it’s sometimes not clear what you’re looking to do. This is the part of your resume you should tailor specifically to each job you are applying to. In your professional summary, list some of your past accomplishments and then some specific goals you could see yourself achieving within the company. A few questions you should ask yourself when filling this out:
- Why are you a great fit for the role?
- What can you bring to the team
PathMatch Tips & Tricks: Use keywords from the job posting you are applying for.
3. Work Experience
To most employers, this is the most important part of your resume, as well as the section that takes up the largest chunk of real estate. This is where employers can get the best sense of your proven skills and experience. You should include detailed and relevant information, such as the name of the companies you worked for, their location, and your employment dates. Make sure to list your promotions, responsibilities, any relevant, noteworthy projects you worked on, and the overall impact you had on the company to best show your experience. When listing start with your most recent job and work backwards.
PathMatch Tips & Tricks: Employers like to see data. So it’s important to think through your past experience. Ask yourself, how did I impact the company? If you’re in Social Media Marketing, did you grow the company’s follower base by 50% or increased engagement by 78%?
Always start with your highest earned degree and don’t add any high school info if you’ve graduated college. To maximize your keywords use the abbreviations for your degree as well as the full title, “Masters of Arts (MA) in Art History”. Only mention your GPA if it’s above 3.5 and make sure to list off any academic honors such as dean’s list.
This part of your resume is the most straightforward. Past this, your hard skills should directly reflect your listed experience and achievements. A great resume tells the story of you as a worker. For example, if you worked as a Digital Marketer then you better have Google Analytics listed as a skill.
PathMatch Tips & Tricks: Employers are always looking for candidates who are problem solvers, critical thinkers, flexible, creative and have emotional intelligence.
Your activities are where you can show the breadth of your experience and skills. These are where you develop the soft skills that jobs want such as leadership or communication. They should also show who you are as a person - do you like volunteering, are you an outdoorsman, or do you love to compete on the field? This is where you can give a glimpse into who you are.
This section is basically meant to talk about your other achievements and awards that aren’t expressed in the other sections of your resume. In simple words, “anything you want to brag about within reason.” For college graduates, this section will most likely be filled with awards, whether you won a scholarship, completion of programs, certifications if applicable.
How Can PathMatch Help?
PathMatch has helped thousands of students and grads improve their resumes to get through Applicant Tracking Systems and in front of Recruiters and Hiring Managers. All of our flexible plans come with a Resume Optimization Guide that is designed to help students get their resumes past the filter, with insights and guidance that help our clients' chances of landing a job go up 76%. We are here for you every step of the way, from optimizing your resume to prepping you for interviews. You've got this.