Starting Your Career
Building a Resume
Five Elements of a Strong Resume
If you want to get noticed by employers, there are some ways your resume can help. To start, make sure it’s organized.
- Place a summary up top
You have just a few seconds to grab someone’s attention. Make the most of that moment with a brief profile of yourself. Include key accomplishments and a sense of your career focus. Use active verbs that demonstrate what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you.
- Tailor the language
Many companies use technology to scan resumes for keywords and weed out those that don’t meet minimum requirements. Use specific terms related to the job you want; you’ll find several keywords in the job posting. The scans also focus on numbers, such as years of experience and results achieved.
- Include clear, measurable successes
Be honest about your skills and experience but always emphasize results. Did you earn an award? Launch a program that helped people or earned revenue? Deliver a project on time and within budget? Highlight your wins and use numbers to quantify them, if possible.
- Allow for multiple formats
You’ll need a digital resume (e.g., PDF or MS Word) so you can easily upload it to websites. Consider making a text only version and one that is formatted as you would like. You’ll also need print copies available for interviews.
- Include a cover letter
The cover letter helps you frame your resume. You can expand on why you’re a good fit for the job and company. Whether you mail, email, or upload your resume to a company website, always include a cover letter. It’s a little thing that could make a big difference.