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5 Tips for Writing a Great Resume

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

From the co-founders of Hollywood Resumes, Angela Silak and Cindy Kaplan!

Thanks to Coronavirus, the job market is tougher than it has been in years. Now more than ever, you’ll need a strong resume to convince hiring managers that you’re the right candidate for the job. Whether you’re looking for your first job, seeking employment after a layoff, or simply ready to take the next step in your career, follow these guidelines to improve your resume.

1. Tell a story. Your resume is a marketing document that explains why you’re the right

candidate for the job, not a biography of everything you’ve ever done. Focus on the skills and experience that demonstrate why it makes sense for an employer to hire you, and use that to shape your resume story. Only include relevant experience -- if you’ve taken a temporary job, don’t include it unless it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. You can explain a short or pandemic-related gap in an interview.

2. Give context. A good resume, like a good story, includes some set-up and background. The way you organize your resume gives much-needed context to your story -- if you want to tell the story that you’re a recent graduate who held multiple internships while in college, start with education, but if you want to convey that you have five years of experience in your field, lead with your most recent job. Contextualize each position by giving an overview of the company and/or department as your first bullet point and bolstering your skill bullets with achievements and project scope.

3. Match the job posting. If you want to know what a potential employer is looking for,

analyze the job posting! Read each listed qualification as if it were a question starting with, “Can you…” Any time the answer is yes, think about where you learned that skill and include a bullet point with those keywords under that position’s heading. If you match the verbiage from the posting, you’ll make it easier for hiring managers to see that you check the boxes they’re looking for.

4. Leave off intangible skills. Instead of listing “team player” “excellent communicator” or other soft skills, fuse them into the bullets under each job heading -- for example, you could indicate that you worked with a team or communicated cross-functionally on a project. Reserve the “skills” section on your resume for software, languages, and any industry-relevant technology or training.

5. Keep it easy to read. When it comes to format, less is more. A simple black-and-white,

one-page resume with a readable, modern font is best. In fact, a resume with straightforward formatting is more likely to make it through automated applicant tracking systems (ATS), while a resume made on a platform like Canva is virtually unreadable by those systems.

If you’re planning to look for a job in this new economy, take some time now to get your materials in order. If you follow these tips, you’ll have a great resume ready to go when you see an open opportunity you’re excited about!

And be sure to check out Hollywood Resume's site and sign up for their free mailing list for more tips!

And don't forget to watch our first-of-its-kind shoppable sitcom, Adulting with Jane!

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