Tips for Effective Resume Writing

by NU Online on 6/24/20 9:30 AM

A polished resume if the first step to earning your dream job or advancing in your career. A resume that effectively demonstrates your skills and work experience can help you stand out from other candidates and show that you are the perfect fit for the position and company. Applying to your dream job and writing a resume may be a daunting task, but following key tips and resources can help you develop a resume that may land you your dream job at your dream company. 

woman on laptop, white room

Do I Need an Objective Statement and Summary?

Including an objective depends on the position you are applying for. A highly targeted objective can show the employer how you are fit for the position. However, it may not be necessary to include an objective statement if you would rather highlight your experiences and accomplishments in a more general way through your summary.

In lieu of an objective statement, a summary, also known as a career profile, provides employers with a snapshot of your best skills and experiences as it relates to the position you are applying to. It is important to make yourself stand out from others in your summary as people may have a similar skill set to you.


Outline Education, Skills, and Relevant Work Experience

Once you have completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, it is recommended that you omit your high school education. If you have earned a master’s degree, you will want to include both your bachelor’s and master’s degrees on your resume, as well as any relevant certificates and certifications to the job you are applying for. The general template for listing your education experience includes the name of your degree, the name of the educational institution you received your degree from, and the years you attended that institution. If you had a GPA above 3.5 or graduated with honors (e.g., Magna Cum Laude), it is optional for you to list these credentials. Additional optional features include the location of the program you attended, courses you took that are relevant to the job, senior project and thesis information, and exchange programs you may have attended.

laptop, fingers typing

To supplement an objective statement (if you choose to include one), a skills section is an opportunity for you to list industry-specific skills, such as computer software/hardware skills, knowledge of programming languages, laboratory skills, or specific mechanical equipment skills. You will also want to include transferable skills that are used across many occupations and aspects of our lives. You may have developed these skills at a previous place of employment, during your studies, or even through life experience. Some examples of transferable skills are leadership, teamwork, strategic thinking, project management, communication, attention for detail, and organizational skills. You may include transferable skills in the context of your work experience.

Listing your work experience is the highlight of your resume and should consume a large portion of your resume. Work experience can include job experience, internship experience, military experience, volunteer experience, and leadership experience. Make sure to provide the name and location of the employer and the dates you were employed there. To display how your experience will assist the employer with organizational growth and optimization, you may include a brief description of each job position you held and how your work in the position provided positive results to the organization. Include accomplishments with quantifiable data where you can!


Tips for Writing Your Resume

Writing a resume is not one size fits all, as a resume is used to highlight your unique skills and experiences. However, there are general tips for you to follow to ensure your resume is formatted correctly. Tips for writing your resume include:

  • Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for: Today, current organizations use software to track keywords and specific information in resumes to determine if applicants warrant being further reviewed
  • Resumes should be no longer than two pages, unless writing a Federal-style resume
  • Choose an easy-to-read font: Calibri, Arial, Cambria, or Times New Roman in a font size no larger than 12 point and no smaller than 10 point
  • Start each phrase with an action verb
  • Do not use first person language – “I,” “my,” or “me”
  • Write in reverse chronological order: Start your resume with your most recent experience
  • Update your resume at least once every year and before you apply for a new job position
  • Proofread your resume for errors multiple times: Use a spell checker, have someone else proofread, print the document to spot errors easier, and read the document from the bottom up
  • Always print your resume on resume paper
  • Do not include references on your resume – use a separate reference sheet


Resources for Resume Writing

In addition to the tips noted above, Norwich University Online has provided a video resource that goes into more detail about how organizations look at resumes and the best way to format your resume to make your resume stand out.


Also, the Riley Guide provides templates and professional services to help answer questions on how to build your resume.


What Additional Categories and Information Should You Include?

Additional categories and information you should include depend upon your experience. Please remember, you are trying to tailor your resume to the potential employer, so your additional categories and information should best match the job description you are applying for. Additional categories and information include:

  • Security Clearance – include in bold near the very top of your resume.
  • Activities: Extracurricular involvement, such as sports, clubs, volunteer work, etc.
  • Internship Experience
  • Professional Experience
  • Military Experience
  • Leadership Experience
  • Volunteer Experience
  • Licenses and Certifications
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Publications
  • Additional Training


Apply for Your Dream Job

Finalizing your resume is the first step to applying to your dream job. Then, you will want to develop all the required documents for the job you are applying for before sending in your job application to a potential employer. Many employment applications include the following:

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • Reference List
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Portfolio, Writing Samples, or Employment Certificates specific to the position you are applying for

Remember, once you have applied, interviewed, and landed your dream job position, you will want to continue to update your resume following the tips and resources listed above. A polished resume can help provide career growth even after you are in your new position.

Norwich University Online
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This post was written by NU Online

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