In recent years, job search methods and practices have become increasingly digital. However, as you move forward with your job search efforts, you will soon learn that hard copies of your resume still play a significant part in your success.
Two of the most common scenarios where you will need hard copies of your resume are when you attend a job interview or a job fair and most people tend to overlook the actual paper they use to print their resume.
Many people wonder “how to write a resume that will stand out”. Of course, the content of your resume matters more than the resume paper. But let’s not forget that you are in a competition. It is when you go the extra mile and learn how to choose the right resume paper that you will make your resume stand out from the crowd. Not to mention resume paper lasts much longer than regular paper.
Below are brief descriptions about the varieities in style and quality when it comes to choosing resume paper.
What resume paper should I use?
Resume Paper Color
The available shades are usually white, light grey, ivory, and even blue/grey.
Resume Paper Weight
Resume paper quality is usually categorized based on weight and the varieties that you may find often available are 24lb/m2 OR 32lb/m2. The weight varies based on paper thickness. You will also find that they are substantially different in price.
We recommend the 24lb/ m2 because it is a little thicker than standard copy paper but it is not as thick as a business card. The 24lb/ m2 also goes through most home office printers without complication.
Resume Paper Texture
There are many textures available and they vary in the weave and finish of the paper. More often than not, you will find linen or cotton. Other kinds include coated, uncoated, laid, etc. As you will shop for resume paper, feel the different textures to find out which you prefer.
We recommend the cotton paper as it is more often used as a popular choice for resume paper and it has a smooth finish. On the other hand, linen resume paper feels like an embossed paper because it is woven-like.
Watermark is used on high-quality paper. As you use any brand of resume paper with watermark, make sure the watermark is only visible under the light because you do not want the watermark to distract attention from your resume content. Next, make sure your resume is printed right side up. In other words, when you're holding the resume as you're reading it, the watermark should be readable (I am not saying visible, but when held under the light, the watermark should be seen the right side up and not backward).
Of course, this is not a deal-breaker obviously but why take the risk of recruiters noticing that your resume is printed backward and thinking you are sloppy?
What Is A Cover Letter
How To Address A Cover Letter
How To Start A Cover Letter
What To Put In A Cover Letter
How To End A Cover Letter
A new resume to stand out
You’ve never had a résumé before. Maybe you’ve never needed one. But now you do. And you don’t know where to start.
The primary purpose of the résumé is to get you the opportunity to interview for the job. Everything you do — and include — should focus on this goal.
Your résumé should be targeted to be effective. If you don’t know what you want, it’s going to be difficult for the reader to know. The first step is to determine what skills, experience, and education are needed for your target job.
The late résumé guru Yana Parker used to say, “A résumé without a job target is like a book without a title.”
Understand that your résumé is not a “cut-and-dried job report.” It will not — and should not — include everything you’ve ever done in your career.
It still needs to be accurate, but you don’t need to list every job you’ve ever held. Nor do you have to list every aspect of the responsibilities that you held.
Your job descriptions on your résumé should not be extremely detailed because your résumé is not a Training Manual for other people to learn how to do your job. Your résumé should only give your audience an idea about "your results". If they are interested in details pertaining to "how" you produced those results, they will ask you in the interview. So, please learn to make the distinction between an actual "job description" and effective "resume content".
Your résumé is not a legal document, unlike a job application that asks you to list all your career experience and that you sign, acknowledging that the information is accurate and complete.
Instead, your résumé is a marketing document.
The most important thing to remember is: The résumé is not about what you want — it’s what you can offer to an employer.
In her book, “Résumé Magic,” author Susan Britton Whitcomb explains there are 10 main reasons that motivate employers to hire. These include your ability to help the company:
Everything you put in the résumé — or don’t put in the résumé — should relate to the job that you’re seeking, demonstrating to the person with the authority to hire you for that job what you can do for the company in that position. When trying to decide whether or not something is relevant, think about the Hiring Manager.
Technology has changed the hiring process in some ways, but the essence is still the same: How can you attract the attention of the person who has the power to hire you and get the opportunity to get in front of him or her and demonstrate you’re the right fit for the job?
If you are submitting your résumé online, it’s very likely that your résumé will go into an applicant tracking system, which is software that helps hiring managers track applications and select which candidates to interview.
Applicant tracking systems — and the integration of technology into the application process — underscore the importance of tailoring your résumé and cover letter for the role you’re seeking. If there are specific words and phrases used in the job announcement, make sure those are included in your résumé. You can’t simply create a résumé and use it to apply to 100 different jobs. Not only is that inefficient, but it’s ineffective.
Résumés are not “one size fits all.” You can’t expect a résumé focused on one type of role to open doors for you in another career field. A résumé written for a job as a Middle School Principal is not likely to generate interviews for a role as a Sales Professional. Nor is a résumé written for a Social Media Specialist going to work for someone applying as an Executive Assistant. There may be aspects of the résumé that you can use in both versions of the résumé, but you can’t use the same document.
Nor can you copy someone else’s résumé — even if it’s incredible — and expect it to work for you in landing your dream job. Even if the résumé lands you an interview, you need to be able to speak to the experience and accomplishments described. You not only have to walk the walk, you have to talk the talk.
Tell a story with your résumé. How did what you’ve done in the past lead you to the right combination of skills, experience, and education for the job you want? Who are you? What sets you apart? What can you do for the company that no one else does?
If you are a recent graduate with little to no work experience in the field you’ve studied and are targeting, your strongest qualifications are your just-completed education and any internships, projects, or relevant volunteer experience.
Resume Tips 2020
What Does CV Stand For
CV stands for "Curriculum Vitae" which is a Latin word.
What Does CV Mean?
"Curriculum Vitae" means "Course of Life".
Resume vs CV
A CV is a collection of documents that describe your education and professional history, focusing on your accomplishments and showcasing a higher level of detail than a resume. People most typically using CV as a form of application are seeking positions in education, entrance into graduate and post-graduate programs, or research, and they are required to discuss their professional philosophies.
A resume is limited to a maximum of two pages in length. However, a CV is a collection of content and is not limited in the number of pages used (four or five pages are considered average, but given the experience and accomplishments, the length can vary).
A CV and a resume are similar in context, but a CV has a more noticeable focus on scholastic achievements and professional accomplishments and accolades.
Unlike your resume, a CV would contain information on scholarships you may have received, essays, or research you have completed and published, grants you received, community and volunteer work, teaching philosophy, etc. You will begin by listing your career objective in a summarized form to showcase your commitment to your goals, and the actions you are willing to take to achieve those goals.
Whatever your career, start your CV with a brief outline of your career philosophy and your professional goals. Focus on goals that are aligned with the philosophy you have introduced.
Immediately following your goals, list your achievements, highlighting your education first. Here, you can mention your thesis project or dissertation, courses that support your career objective, publications & research (in progress or completed), certifications, studies abroad, languages, etc.
Your experience should be included next, focusing on the work history that supports your career objective. This should conclude your CV.
A resume is a concise document that outlines your experience, results, and academic background. Your contact information (name, location, email, phone number, LinkedIn) should be listed at the top of your resume. It should not contain personal information that discloses ethnicity, sexual orientation, marital status, age, living situations, or any other personal information that is not directly related to your career.
You must have an opening section. Be it a Title, a Summary, or an Objective section, we need an opening. Do not begin listing your work experience right after your contact information. A brief starting section for the resume should give your potential employers an idea of how you wish to move forward in your professional life.
A concise profile or opening section should discuss who you are and how your skills and experience best apply to the job you are interested in. Personal profile/summary should only contain a few well-written sentences that convey what you can bring to the table in terms of the specific job. Use this section to attract the employers’ attention, but don’t go overboard in trying to be creative; stay professional.
Next, you should list your work experience in reverse chronological order. Leave your education for the end, unless you graduated less than two years ago.
Your experience listing should include information on one to five jobs you've held, starting with your current or last job, and listing previous positions thereafter.
Your education should include college, graduate & post-graduate work, as well as any courses or professional certifications that are relevant to your career development.
Achievements, volunteer positions, publications, and affiliations should only be listed if they apply to your professional work experience.
If you are unsure which form of application to use, do the appropriate research, and create a resume or CV that best fits the format commonly accepted in your industry. If you need help, start here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does CV Stand For?
CV stands for "Curriculum Vitae" which is a Latin word.
What Does CV Mean?
"Curriculum Vitae" means "Course of Life".
What Is The Difference Between A Resume And A CV?
A CV and a resume are similar in context, but a CV is significantly more detailed, has a more noticeable focus on scholastic achievements and professional accomplishments and accolades. It even inclused one's professional and/or academic philosophy.
What does a perfect resume look like?
Great Resume Skills
Many people are actively in search of a new job. If you are looking to find a new job, the quality of your resume can make all the difference. Careful presentation and clean formatting can make it easier for you to write the perfect resume and it may just help you land your dream job faster.
Here are some quick resume tips to get you started:
2020 Resume Tips
TARGETING. Your resume and cover letter must reflect your objective. This means placing the relevant data in a section where it will be noticed even when speedreading.
SUMMARIZE IT. The idea is to provide as much information as needed using as few words as possible. Proper bragging is ok, but please do not fill your resume with fluff or industry jargon. Chances are your potential employer won't have a lot of time to read every detail, so stay focused on what matters.
SHOWCASE YOUR SKILLS. Don't create a long list with any and every skill you have. The key is to be brief and to the point. Find the proper terms to describe your skills (the ones most in-demand). Use those terms in your resume to create a flow. This resume building tip alone can greatly help your resume stand out and improve your chances of getting noticed.
KEYWORDS. Have you included the relevant keywords? Review your resume and include the job title you are seeking along with the keywords that best describe your target position.
DON’T GET TOO CREATIVE. A little style is fine, but when you get into intricate designs or colored textured paper, you are breaking the rules. The key is balance. Try to stand out while you respect the rules, not otherwise. For example, if you are a Graphic Designer, it doesn't mean you must have a resume that contains too many elements of graphic design. If you are a pet Veterinarian, it does not mean that you must have cartoon images of cats and dogs on your resume. Such actions may work against your goal of getting hired. In other words, some hiring managers may suspect that perhaps based on the appearance of your resume, you may not be too interested in learning the right way of doing things.
START WITH ACTION VERBS. Start your sentences with action verbs. Be mindful of the tense you are using. If a project is listed under your current job and yet it is something that you completed in the past, please feel free to use the past tense when using action verbs, even if the project is listed under your present job.
BULLET POINTS. Don't ever underestimate the power of bullet points in a resume. Stay away from writing long paragraphs. The bullet points should not be longer than two (2) to two and a half (2.5) lines. A bullet point with five (5) lines is no longer a bullet point. It's a paragraph. Keep in mind that your job is to help employers find the details they are looking for quickly.
TWO PAGES AND NOT LONGER. Perhaps you feel the need to explain the details. Please do not be tempted to include more detail than necessary. Also, do not clutter your document. Here is an important rule: In a resume, white space is your friend. Try to have enough white space.
USING TEMPLATES. Think twice about using templates. A template may be useful when you are looking for ideas or trying to figure out what a resume should look like. However, stay away from using the template as your own resume, because that design is never exclusive to you. It is a template that others are using as well.
CREATE AN ERROR-FREE DOCUMENT. Please review your resume carefully. Every expert will advise you not to submit a resume with errors. Check the grammar thoroughly and avoid typing errors.
If you want to land your dream job, learn to revive your network, brand yourself, and make your resume stand out. The only thing you have to do next is to ace the video interview and you will be well on your way!
How to list volunteer work experience on your resume
Your unpaid work experience is important
Are you looking for a job? Thinking about a career change? Want to just earn a little extra money? Reach deep to discover and articulate more of your skills and you can land the position of your dreams.
Whatever your situation, you may find yourself wanting to showcase some of your non-paid work experiences. What constitutes non-paid work experience? Here are some examples:
Exploring Skills and Experiences
Determining the skills used and the tasks completed for each non-paid work experience takes a little time. Let's consider the above-listed examples and review sample skills and duties for each.
For Scout Leader or similar "leader" positions of organized children's groups, what duties did you perform? How could you phrase them so that they're relevant to a work environment?
When you volunteer, skills and experiences will vary depending on the type of volunteer work performed. For the sake of illustration, let's assume you did volunteer work for a local social service organization.
As a member of a PTO, you might have performed a variety of duties that can be showcased on your resume as non-paid work experience.
For this example, you served as a volunteer in the fictitious Welcome to Our Town group. The following duties could be noted on your resume as non-paid work experience:
Being a babysitter involves several skills and duties and a lot of responsibility.
Begin a list now of your unpaid work experience, compiling the position and approximate month and year you started and ended each "job." Use the above examples to get ideas for the list of skills necessary for each experience and the duties you performed. Now you can showcase your non-paid work experiences on your resume to help you attain your career goals.
Hire a Resume Writer
A Resume Writer uses the right keywords, has the best ATS resume checker, applies the latest formatting strategies for speedreading, enhances your content, and helps your resume stand out from the crowd.
A Resume Writer is often a freelance writer who specializes as a technical writer and focuses on resume writing and other career-related documents.
Hire Resume Writer
Resume and Cover Letter Instructions
Sending a resume that gives a clear outline of your competencies, is not cluttered, is aesthtically pleaseing, and easy to speedread, and will impress any potential employer. The same is true of a well-written and interesting cover letter. Go over this checklist before sending your resume and cover letter:
How to get your resume noticed
You already know first impressions last... If you want to make a lasting impression, you must relate to what your audience is looking for. So, first put yourself in the shoes of hiring managers.
Fortunately, there are easy ways of tweaking your content to help you make your resume stand out from the crowd. You will find below for a few tried and true suggestions:
1. Use Bullet Points
A potential employer may not have the time to read carefully the resumes that he receives. The first feature of a career resume that stands out is the bullet points. This gives the employer the opportunity to quickly analyze your resume to make sure you have the qualifications you need and meet the minimum requirements for a job. If you make scanning your resume too difficult, you risk an employer who does not even bother to read the message.
2. Start With A Summary Section
If this is done right, you can draw your audience to read the rest of your resume. Moreover, by clearly making this distinction, you can demonstrate your writing skills.
3. Customize Your Resume - NO TEMPLATES
A generic resume receives a generic response, if any.
Tailor your resume to capture your audience. Emphasize your qualifications for that specific job, based on the job description’s keywords. If you are applying for a Marketing Executive position, make sure your resume does not scream Finance. Revise your resume to focus on the employers’ needs; add jobs you may have removed which relate more to what you are applying for.
4. Outline Your Accomplishments
Your accomplishments speak louder than your skills. Other resumes may reflect the same skills, but your accomplishments are unique to you. Put them in value. Did you save the company $10,000 by auditing an account or a P&L? What did you do that was above and beyond your job description? You must show that you have done what they are looking for. That is very important if you want to stand out from the crowd.
5. Avoid Resume Jargon
Padding your resume with unnecessary information or simply too many embellishing words will not help your quest for that ideal position. Make sure your details are pertaining to the job requirements. Adding personal information is only valuable if it relates to the job, the industry, or the company, be it through volunteer jobs or a trade association you belong to. These informational “fillers” belong on a junior level resume, not an executive resume. Of course, if you are a TaeKwanDo Champion, you can and should find a place for it on your resume. It actually says a lot about you, but this example is not only rare but justifies being mentioned.
A great resume (on paper, visual, digital and online) is the number one step to presenting yourself no matter what your career level is.
How important is a cover letter?
When you see a survey that says 55 percent of hiring managers don’t pay attention to cover letters, it may be tempting to think that you don’t need one. But consider that means that 4 out of 10 hiring managers do want to read one — and you don’t know whether the hiring manager for this job is one of the 55 percent, or one of the 45 percent. Unless you are sure otherwise, it’s better safe than sorry.
Even hiring managers and recruiters who say they never read cover letters may find themselves drawn in by a particularly compelling cover letter. When they say they don’t want a cover letter, it’s because they don’t want to read a boring, basic cover letter. Like a résumé, the cover letter will only get a quick glance at first. But if you can tell a story with your cover letter, you may interest them in reading it — either instead of, or in addition to, your résumé.
So how do you know when you need a cover letter, or not? The general guideline is that anytime you can’t hand your résumé directly to the hiring manager, you need a cover letter. It serves as a letter of introduction, allows you to share information that wouldn’t otherwise be on a résumé (for example, the reason why you made a job change in the past — or why you’re seeking one now), and communicates your qualifications and interest in this specific job.
An effective cover letter can make a match between what you have to offer and what the hiring company needs — even spelling out the specific ways you can meet the position’s requirements in written form. The cover letter is also an opportunity to let your personality shine through. You can set yourself apart from other candidates — and maybe even shore up some weaknesses that might otherwise keep you from getting an interview — with a targeted, well-written cover letter.
The cover letter can also impact the ability of your résumé to be found if you’re applying to a company through applicant tracking system software. Many online applications offer the candidate the opportunity to upload a cover letter, and this becomes part of the candidate’s full profile in the ATS database. A strong cover letter can enhance your ATS profile, making it more likely that your résumé will make it out of the database and get read by a hiring manager.
You can have a “template” cover letter, but it’s important to take the time to customize the cover letter before sending it off. The first thing you should do is research the company. Take a look at their website and LinkedIn company page. Google them. Look on research websites like Glassdoor and Vault. Get to know their needs and the specific role the position you’re applying for plays in the greater scheme of things. This will help you ensure that your cover letter is attention-getting and relevant for the reader. (This research will also help you prepare for the job interview — which, of course, is the purpose of the résumé and cover letter.)
Formatting Your Cover Letter
When you’re formatting a traditional cover letter, make sure you’re matching the style and format of your résumé. Use the same fonts and layout, for example. Beyond the “look” of the document, there are several different ways you can structure the cover letter.
The first is a traditional “business letter” format, using paragraphs. This is the most common style; however, you want to make sure you keep the paragraphs short (no more than two or three sentences for each paragraph), because hiring managers will only give your cover letter a few seconds of attention during the initial screening process. (Although it will likely be read fully later if you are one of the few candidates selected for an interview.)
The second is what is commonly called the “T-Style” cover letter. This cover letter uses a two-column format to match up the job requirements with the candidate’s qualifications. It’s the fastest way to showcase how you’re a great fit for the position, and works best when you meet the position requirements almost exactly. The left-hand column can be titled “Job Requirements” or “Your Needs” (this information is pulled from the job posting) and the right-hand column is titled “My Qualifications” and demonstrates your fit for each item in the left-hand column with your skills, education, and experience.
The third format is an e-note — it’s known as the “modern cover letter.” The traditional three- to five-paragraph, maximum one-page cover letter has been replaced in some cases with a shorter document. This format — often referred to as an e-note — is a cover letter that accompanies a résumé sent via email.
When to Send an e-Note and Not a Cover Letter
When sending a résumé as an attachment, you should also write a message in the email accompanying the file. Hiring managers report receiving hundreds or thousands of email messages with “Résumé” as the subject line, with no message in the email body and a file attachment. This is an easy way to have your message deleted, as hiring managers are wary of opening documents that are disguised as résumés but may be infected with malware or viruses.
The e-note is the email message — not an attachment. It gives the email recipient the information they need to decide if they should read your résumé. Because e-notes are usually 1-2 paragraphs (or between 90-120 words), you won’t provide the depth of detail in an e-note that you would in a traditional cover letter. However, you should still spell out up to three relevant qualifications or top accomplishments. Don’t copy-and-paste them directly from your résumé — instead, rewrite them so you’re sharing the same information in a different way.
Another advantage of an e-note is the opportunity to provide live links to your social media profiles. The most common way to do this is in the signature block of your email — after your name, include your contact information (phone number, email), and then URL links to your LinkedIn account, blog or online portfolio, Twitter profile, etc.
When you’re sending an unsolicited email or LinkedIn message (that is, not replying to an email from a hiring manager or recruiter), you want your email opened! In the subject line, include the title of the position you’re seeking (re: Project Manager) or the name of the person who referred you (Tom Smith suggested I contact you) to increase the chances of your email being opened.
When you’re applying through applicant tracking system software online, you’ll likely be able to include (or attach) a traditional cover letter. However, if this isn’t an option, many systems include an “Additional Information” section, which could be used to include an e-note.
Four Things You Must Include In Your Cover Letter
Regardless of the format, the first thing in your cover letter should be an attention-getting opening paragraph! There are a couple of ways to get the reader’s attention.
Let the reader know how you found out about the job opening. (Were you referred by a current employee? Are you a customer, and saw it while shopping on the company website?) Include the reason why you’re interested in the position.
The second “must-have” in your cover letter is accomplishments! (Opening a cover letter with your accomplishments is also very attention-getting, so you may consider starting your cover letter with a strong accomplishment.) The reader wants to know: What have you done? How can you help me? Your previous achievements provide the proof that you can do what you say you can!
Don’t simply restate accomplishments from the résumé, however. Tell the story behind the numbers. Make sure that the accomplishments you’re showcasing align with the requirements of the position you’re pursuing. For example, if you’re applying for a sales position, provide accomplishment data that shows how you’ve grown sales revenue, or expanded the customer base. However, if the sales role doesn’t include any supervisory responsibilities, don’t talk about how you’ve trained and supervised two customer service associates.
Next, the cover letter must include anything specifically requested in the job posting — for example, salary history or salary desired (although you may want to consider how you answer this question, you should address it in the cover letter). However, do not include salary information unless you are specifically asked for it! Sometimes the hiring manager will also ask for specific information to be included — for example, schedule availability. Make sure you include this in your cover letter, or your application will likely be discarded. (The ability to follow directions is something that is easy to discern by asking the candidate to include specific information in the cover letter.)
Finally, end with a strong closing statement. The best closing statement is a call to action — either inviting the prospective employer to contact you, or — even better! — letting him or her know that you will be contacting them to follow-up. Include your preferred contact method (the easier it is for the hiring manager to reach you, the easier it will be to schedule your interview!) and your availability.
You may also want to address why you’re looking for a new position — but keep it professional. Over-sharing personal details of your life isn’t the way to progress to a face-to-face interview. But many hiring managers do wonder — if you’re so good at your job, why are you leaving it? Make sure you are framing the reason in a positive way, however. Don’t bad-mouth your current employer or co-workers. If you state your reason is to “pursue new opportunities,” everyone can read between the lines! Instead, focus on how the new job can take advantage of your skills, education and experience — or don’t address this issue at all in the cover letter.
You can also include your willingness to travel or relocate, if desired by the company.
How to Customize a Cover Letter Template
Beyond the obvious — including the hiring manager’s contact information — you also want to make sure that you tailor the content of the cover letter specifically for the company being targeted. Hiring managers can tell when you’ve taken the time to research the company. Include details that demonstrate that you’ve done your homework. If you’re a customer of the company, mention that! If you know they’re expanding (and thus will be hiring for new positions), reference the article you read about it. Read the company’s website — and, if they’re a public company — the most recent annual report. Be familiar with what the company does. Make it apparent in the cover letter that you’re interested in working for them and the role that you can play in helping them.
One important tip: If you’re customizing a cover letter template that includes the company name in the body of the cover letter, make sure you’re including the right company! Many hiring managers will immediately discard a cover letter that mentions the wrong company name.
Cover Letter Tips & Tricks
Don’t just repeat information from your résumé in your cover letter — give the reader a reason to read the cover letter. Focus on the reasons why you’re a fit for this specific position.
Address the cover letter to a specific person, not “To Whom It May Concern.” Ten or 15 years ago it was very difficult to find a hiring manager’s name. Today, with Google, LinkedIn, and company websites, you should be able to secure the specific individual’s name and job title with a quick search (and maybe one follow-up phone call).
Make sure the cover letter is “employer-focused,” not “you-focused.” It’s not about what you want — it’s about how you can add value to the prospective employer.
Show — don’t tell! Just like on the résumé, don’t use clichés to describe yourself and your work — let your accomplishments do the talking. Instead of saying “results-oriented,” showcase the results you’ve achieved! Use specific dollar amounts, percentages, and other numbers to quantify your accomplishments.
The cover letter is an opportunity to bring attention to older experience on your résumé that is relevant for the job you’re seeking, but that may not be easily found.
You can also use the cover letter to highlight work experience that would substitute for education requested in a job posting — or highlight training and classes that have prepared you for the work being done.
Don’t include your photo on your cover letter. It doesn’t belong on your résumé either. But you absolutely need a great photo on your LinkedIn profile!
Stand out! Don’t just apply online for a position. Your cover letter and résumé may never make it out of the ATS software. If you apply online, follow-up with a hard copy of the résumé and cover letter — either mailed or dropped off to the company — or email an e-note and résumé to the hiring manager.
COVER LETTER CHECKLIST
When writing/customizing the cover letter:
Before sending the cover letter:
Mandy Fard is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, CMRW) and Recruiter with decades of experience in assisting job seekers, working directly with employers in multiple industries, and writing proven-effective resumes.