Whether you are a University of Phoenix current student or graduate, you have access to the University’s Career Services for Life program. As part of this program, the University frequently publishes helpful content for students and graduates at all stages of their careers. Tips on how to write an effective resume is just one recent example.
Start by Keeping Things in Perspective
Sometimes people feel so intimidated by the thought of writing a resume that they never start the process. While you want to make a favorable impression on potential employers, keep in mind that a resume is just an introduction that highlights your qualifications and skills. Just remember the audiences that will be reading your resume and tailor it accordingly.
Hiring managers are usually the first people in a company to review resumes, but it is becoming increasingly common for companies to scan resumes through a computer program or applicant tracking system (ATS) before any human eyes see them. This is important to remember when it comes time to format your resume.
Define Your Focus
When you see a job advertisement that appeals to you, read it several times to confirm that you have the skills, education and experience the employer desires. Since there is a good possibility a computer or ATS will read your resume first, take the time to research keywords for your industry. If you can find a way to work those keywords into your resume, you stand a better chance of having an automated program select your resume for human review.
Be sure to tailor your resume to each position and employer, even if they seem similar to you. You also want to include a cover letter that explains how your unique background makes you an ideal fit for the position. With a single job posting potentially attracting hundreds of applicants, finding a way to make yourself stand out is crucial to landing an interview.
Describe Yourself With Action Words
Employers expect you to be able to describe yourself and your abilities in a compelling way. When describing your accomplishments, refer to your list of keywords and always use the active voice and present tense verbs over the passive voice. Common examples of action words on a resume include improve and create. You also want to use as few words as possible to make your point.
New or soon-to-be graduates should feel free to use the experience they gained with internships, volunteer opportunities and extracurricular activities. Depending on the position, you might want to highlight specific information you learned while completing your degree.
Make Your Resume Scannable and Don’t Forget to Proofread
The easiest way to make sure your resume gets through the first round of cuts is to choose an outline and format your document as professionally as possible. Be sure to select several expected headers such as Education, Experience and Qualifications.
Start your resume with the most relevant information and work your way down. For example, you would list education first if you are a recent graduate who has not yet worked in the field for which you received a degree. On the other hand, you want to list work experience first if you have an extensive background and are looking to make more than a lateral move.
Microsoft Word (Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.) offers several resume formats for you to consider. Another option is to pay a resume service to format and print your resume. However, you want to inquire about the type of font and formatting the service uses and their knowledge of online application processes. Skip any companies that have unfamiliar tactics. Some computer programs or ATS may automatically reject resumes with unusual fonts or formatting.
Arial and Times New Roman are the most recognizable and professional fonts, so choosing one of them is a good idea. The font size should be no smaller than 10 but no larger than 12. Aim for a one-page resume if you can fit information under each section header. If not, limit your resume to two pages unless you are applying for a highly specific or technical position.
Typos are all too easy to make, but submitting a resume with even one typo present can make you look careless. Take the time to read your resume two or three times, preferably out loud. You can also consider asking a friend to review it since another person may catch errors you did not see.
Lastly, be sure to update your resume with new experience and contact information when applicable. Just as you are a work in progress, so is your resume.
About University of Phoenix
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