What is a “good” resume?

Great Resume

What is a “good” Resume?

A long, long time ago in a job market far, far away job seekers used to be able to get away with writing down their job description, include whether they went to school, add a name and phone number, and it would be considered a resume. Welcome to the present, where software programs read our resumes and decisions are made in mere seconds. What makes a good resume? What does it take to pass the many tests in order to be considered for a callback? Let’s examine a few key items:

Do you have the right content?

It’s not just how you say it, but what you say. Sounds as natural as it feels to write about yourself. Indeed, it is hard. You need to make sure you have the right content in your resume to pass the basic qualification requirements in addition to satisfying the ATS systems. So what do I mean?

 – Keywords – Not just any keywords, but the right keywords.

 – Context – You need to be able to paint a picture for the reader, give some clues as to how you were effective in your past roles.

 – Accomplishments – Describing your accomplishments is almost as important as actually having produced those results.

Formatting is essential

It is surprising for me to see (or maybe it’s not really) that many of the resumes I review, a good percentage of which are made using templates, totally fail the formatting requirements needed to pass most ATS programs. Here are some deal breakers and grey areas to be aware of:

 –  Headers –  What information goes there?

 – Tables – how, when, and where to use them

 – Columns – vertical elements are nice in a resume, but columns?

 – Font – It may or may not make a difference, it depends on several factors. One thing is for sure though, NO COMIC SANS!

Formatting is SO essential, there’s more!

I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of how formatting can be the key to having a “good” resume. What I haven’t gone into is the following:

 – Spacing

 – Font size

 – Section titles

 – Borders

 – Boxes

 – Symbols/Characters/Icons/Visuals

 – Bullets

Honestly, the list goes on. There is so much more that goes into a good, nay, great resume, that most busy professionals don’t have the time to learn. So many of the resumes I review lack many of the basic elements of a good resume, not to mention the more sophisticated elements that really make a resume stand out.

Entire books, workshops, webinars, podcasts, etc. are devoted to help people learn how to become better resume writers. There is just so much information you need to know to write a good, effective resume.

So what is a “good” resume?

A good resume is a resume that takes everything I’ve mentioned in this brief blog and combines it with the storytelling content that demonstrates to the reader that you are worth inviting in for an interview. It’s the keywords, content, layout, formatting, style, etc. that makes a good resume.

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