Following up from our previous post, now that you’re a resume expert and understand the importance of this tool, you might be asking yourself: What should I put? Guess what? You’re not alone!! (Whew…!) Let’s dive into how to make your specific work history, education, etc., stand out.

First, choosing the right resume format can make a significant difference in how your history and skills are showcased. The most commonly used formats are chronological and functional. Below are key points of each, and tips on how each format works best. Not sure what each are? Click the title for search result examples.

Chronological Format

  • Most common method for resume writing
  • Lists your most recent position first and then your previous positions in descending order
  • Best used for seeking positions in your current field of experience
  • Great way to show job growth and tenure
  • Watch out, chronological resumes can become too lengthy
  • Stick to include no more than the last 10 years of work experience

Functional Format

  • Highlights skills that are applicable to multiple positions
  • Great for those with unrelated job experience or limited work experience
  • Can be used to by recent college graduates to spotlight knowledge over experience
  • However, some hiring managers worry relevant information is unknowingly omitted
  • Can be difficult for recruiters to review

Action Verbs

Let’s talk about what you’ve done. What does it mean to be a Barista at Starbucks, Accountant at Enron, or a Dog Walker at Rover? One of the best ways is through the use of compelling and exciting Action Verbs. This chart contains just a few examples of Action Verbs that can jazz up your resume and draw in the reader. This is by no means exhaustive, so break out your thesaurus and find what words work best to describe your skills and accomplishments. Don’t forget to use the correct verb tense! The rule of thumb is that you should use the present tense for your current position, and past tense for previous positions.

Tips from the Pros

Our recruiting team reviews multiple resumes and applications every day. I’m certain they will say that if they’re not reviewing a resume, they’re formatting a resume, or they’re talking about a resume!!

We pulled the top five “easy, peasey, lemon squizzy” tips anyone can incorporate onto their resume from our staffing pros.

  • Font Uniformity
    • This tip pulls on attention to detail. Your resume is the sales tool of yourself. A hiring manager must wonder if this is how you’re treating yourself, how will you format their reports that go in front of the board?
  • Spellcheck & Proper Grammar
    • Who’s seen the meme about they’re, there, and their? How about the one for your and you’re? Funny, right? Not so much when it’s your resume we’re talking about. Yikes! Spend the time referencing grammar and spell check tools or software. Most word processing software comes equipped with a spell check feature these days; use it to your benefit. Specific customer facing positions require an aptitude for grammar, spelling, and language. Errors on your resume can translate to potential errors on the job.
  • Proofread
    • Phone a friend and ask them to proofread your resume. You’re in your head and know what you’re trying to convey. A fresh set of eyes isn’t necessarily going to know what it means to “watch the phones.” Are they going to run away? Jump? What were you watching for? Really, what you meant is that you provided phone coverage during times of the receptionist’s absence. Written communication is important in most positions. Your ability to accurately convey information via email, report, or even a blog post can be pondered based on the way your resume is written.
  • Say More with Less
    • Ok, I know, this sounds contradictory to what I just said! Trust me, there’s a balance. Pick a task you do every day and write it as if you’re telling a stranger. (Hint: You are, except this stranger is a recruiter or hiring manager.) Now, take out the red pen and redact anything that’s specific to your company. For instance, if your task is: “Receive stock for the technicians, sales staff, and all other staff” try to summarize that with: “Responsible for receiving all stock.” Based on the industry/company you worked at, a hiring manager can figure out that ‘all stock’ includes items for technicians, sales staff, and all other staff, or whomever is relevant to that industry/company.
  • Beat the System
    • It’s 2019 and artificial intelligence is real. Applicant tracking systems are equipped with a self-sufficient AI component to filter the skills on your resume. We can get into the conversation to end all conversations about the pros and cons of applicant tracking systems, but that’s for another day. The one take away you should remember is that these systems are told what to look for. Data is imported from a job description that’s almost always used when writing the advertisement posting for said job. Review what the job posting says, and if you’re able to edit your resume to be an exact match, do it! Do the words they use to describe the task required for the position also describe what you did in your last position? Play the age-old matching game and get the label “Great Match” on your resume.

In closing, remember your resume is your sales tool. Put your best foot forward, and don’t assume hiring managers know what each position you’ve ever held does. As always, best of luck in your job search!


See something you like? Apply here and let our recruiting staff review your skills against the positions their hiring for. Need a hand? Call our office today to be connected with our experienced staffing team to find your next new hire!