Even in today’s digital age, a resume is still an essential tool in a job search - especially when leveraged correctly! As you update and craft your resume, it’s important to consider how companies use technology, such as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), and how to appeal to the humans making the decisions (think: recruiters and hiring managers). These tips will help you design a resume that works for you! 

Interested in how AI can help - click here.

Purpose of a Resume

The purpose of a resume is to attract recruiters to reach out to you for an interview. What attracts recruiters? A curated list of relevant achievements and experiences that align with the role you are targeting, NOT a comprehensive list of everything you have ever done. Another reason to focus on relevant information only - the average recruiter spends less than 10 seconds scanning a resume for target skills and experiences. So, make it easy for them to see why you are a great fit for the select role! The good news is this approach also aligns with the keywords an ATS looks for (remember: recruiters are the ones who select the keywords!). 


While there are no definitive rules on resume formatting, here are some key elements to consider:

    • In general, the more concise the better! While this advice can differ by sector (academia, certain technical roles), overall use 1 page per 10 years of experience as a guide.
    • Use simple formatting. Yes, the internet loves templates and interesting designs, but most recruiters (and recruiting technologies) prefer a basic text format (10 - 12 readable font) written in reverse chronological order. 
    • Only list relevant personal/demographic information. Again, while this advice will differ by geographic location, the most global format would only include your name, email address, phone number, LinkedIn profile, and city/state (in the US) or city/country (global). Only add more information if you are certain it's the standard in your region.

Common Sections

    • Professional Summary 
    • Education
    • Core Competencies
    • Experience
    • Additional Information
    • Technical Skills 

As you review these sections, it's important to reflect on your experiences and determine what makes the most sense for you. Here are some additional tips:

    • Add the target job title underneath your contact information or at the start of your summary.
    • The most common order for experienced professionals is (1) Professional Summary (2) Experience (3) Education (4) Additional Information. 
    • Based on space (and definitely if you are seeking a career pivot), you should add Core Competencies underneath the Professional Summary. 
    • Technical Skills should be added based on the type of job - especially where many technical capabilities are a necessity. Otherwise, you can list technical skills under Additional Information. 
    • Only list Education at the top if the degree is the most important factor in your job search.
    • Additional Information can include hobbies/interests, language skills, volunteer experience, professional certifications, and relevant awards. 

Focus on Achievements 

As noted above, your resume should be a curated list of achievements, not responsibilities. So, as you read each bullet, ask yourself “So what?” If the bullet doesn’t clearly explain why the reader should care about that action, it’s time for updates. Feeling stuck? Think about times you increased revenue, saved money, increased efficiency, decreased errors, created new partnerships, etc. 

A simple formula to help you craft your statements is Google’s results-first approach: “Accomplished X as measured by Y, by doing Z.” While this approach doesn’t always work, it’s a great starting point. 

Ready for Feedback on your Resume? AI can help! 

Here are some ChatGPT prompts to use to tailor your resume and showcase key achievements.

    • Write a professional summary based on this resume (insert resume). 
    • Write a professional summary based on this resume (insert resume) for this job description (insert target job description). 
    • Combine this achievement (insert) with this keyword (insert).
    • Rank bullets on this resume by impressiveness (insert resume).
    • Rewrite bullets to showcase achievements.
    • List numeric achievements I can showcase for X role. 
    • How competitive is this resume (insert) for this position (list job description)? Recommend improvements. 

Think your resume is in good shape, but want a final review? We are here to help! 

Now that you've updated your resume, let us help you with a final review. Sign up for an asynchronous review of your resume here or a live 1:1 career consult here.

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