Unsure of what employers are looking for in a stand-out resume? We've got you covered.

Are you in a position of creating a new resume and don't know where to start? Have you always been able to find new employment opportunities through referrals? Has it been 10, 20, or even 30 years since your last resume revision? If you fit into any of these categories, you may be wondering what information is needed and how to begin the process of looking for your dream job.

Today's resumes have changed from 10 years ago, 5 years ago, and even 1 year ago. Rather than write your resume in the same old format and with the same tired information, consider the five tips below before you get started. Learn what today's employers are seeking, how being concise is key, and why consistency may enhance your professionalism. In fact, if you follow these tips, you will already be ahead of the rest of the job seekers scrambling to put together a resume for your dream job!

Tip #1: Get Organized

Keep a folder, drawer, hard copy, and/or electronic copy of important documents. Make a list of your previous employers, official job titles, dates of employment, and job duties. Be sure you know official names of schools, degrees, and dates of graduation. Write down your skills, abilities, and qualifications.

Tip #2: Chronological Resume?

From most recent to oldest, it shows the order of education and employment. This is good when you have no periods without work, not many job changes, and you have worked in the same sector. It is an easy-to-understand format and illustrates stability. However, this type of resume may emphasize age too much and it may draw attention to gaps in work history.

Tip #2 (continued): Functional Resume?  

A functional resume shows achievements and abilities, with little emphasis on dates. This type of resume works well when you have changed jobs often, if you have just graduated, or if you are looking to work in a different sector. A functional resume shows capacities and strengths, while illustrating the abilities specific to a desired position. However, it also limits the description of each position.

Tip #3: Lose the Objective

What is your objective? TO GET A JOB! Previously, job seekers would list the type of job they were seeking, rather than thinking of the employer's needs. Instead of listing a boring objective, take the time to craft a career summary. This may be a few sentences in length, but it provides more valuable information than the standard objective.

Tip #4: Be Concise

Employers are busy and you need to catch their eye immediately. You will not be able to list everything you have done. Think of new ways to phrase tasks and achievements. Being concise will allow you to intersperse key words throughout your document, words that allow your information to get through the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). And, if you need to use the thesaurus, then do it. To be effective, utilize phrases instead of complete sentences while using bullet points for clarity.

Tip #5: Be Consistent

Consistency shows attention to detail and organization. Use single space throughout each job description and double space between jobs and headings. Ensure the font you have selected is appropriate for your field and is easy to read. Utilize the same bullet style throughout the document and be sure to keep the tone of voice the same within each job description.

While these aren't all of the “rules” for writing an effective resume, it's a great starting point. 

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