RESUME TIPS

For professionals in the logistics and supply chain industry, trying to write a resume can be difficult. Websites that offer templates and general resume tips are almost always catered toward office jobs and office jobs alone.

In the digital age with ATS, job search sites, and endless candidates, writing a resume can seem almost impossible—what, exactly, do employers need to choose you over all other candidates? And what, exactly, is relevant to your job?

ALL ABOUT YOU

1 EXPLAIN YOUR EXPERIENCE

Don’t just list what jobs you’ve had. Use a few bullet points under each job to explain what your duties were and what you accomplished during your tenure there.

2 CURATE YOUR EXPERIENCE

Not every job you’ve had is always relevant. If you’re applying for an IT position, a retail job you had as a teenager has no real relevance to your skills or potential performance as an IT professional. Instead, trim out any jobs that don’t tell the recruiter about how right you are for the job.

3 BE READY TO ELABORATE

You should keep your bullet points concise, but you should also have examples of when you used those skills to back them up—just don’t put long stories on your resume. Save those for the interview.

4 RELY ON CONCRETE EXAMPLES

You may be an expert at your trade and can do your job with your eyes closed, but unless you have concrete examples of something you did, your experience might seem empty. Be as concrete as you can.

5 List your skills

In their own section, list what skills you have. Separate them into different sections if you have a lot of different skills, such as a number of technical skills and a number of admin skills. Remember, curate your list—and keep in mind that easy things you take for granted, such as using a program you consider standard, are still relevant. If you’re a wizard at Excel and you want to work in an office admin job, that’s a good skill to list.

6 Curate your education

If you have graduated from a post-secondary institution or have a graduate degree, there’s no need to list your high school—you’ve obviously been to one. Keep in mind that night classes, continuing education, and online courses are all acceptable forms of educational experience and can help a recruiter better assess how thoroughly you’ve been trained.

7 Consider an interests section

Interests sections can be tricky. They, by and large, seem to be relics of the past to most resume writers. However, a very, very carefully curated interests section can be of use when applying to a few jobs. The key words are carefully curated.

8 But make sure it’s relevant

Telling a company hiring you for an admin role that you love to walk dogs isn’t telling them anything they can use, so keep the interests short and relevant. For example, if you’re applying for a job with a construction company, that interest in carpentry you’ve had and actively practiced for the last five years is relevant information.

9 List any volunteering

Volunteering—especially if it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for—is like gold on a resume. If you can prove to a recruiter that you work well and hard for volunteer causes, you’ve proven to them you can work well and hard in a paid position. Companies that prioritize giving back also appreciate volunteer sections, as it means you will fit in with their vision.

10 But don’t rely on your GPA

If you’ve graduated with any honors, list them—but don’t mention your GPA. Recruiters don’t need to know and they generally don’t care, and it can backfire on you if it isn’t perfect.

11 Address gaps

Gaps in professional experience are intimidating to work with, but they aren’t deal breakers for recruiters if you address them properly. If a gap in your experience is due to education that you’ve listed on your resume, then don’t sweat it—but if a gap in your experience is due to illness, job insecurity, or family leave, you can explain why you’re driven to come back to work even stronger now.

12 Consider a personal summary

A personal summary is the best place to address any non-educational gaps in your experience. They also should take the place of an objective statement. Summarize yourself, your goals, and why you’re looking for a job. If you need to address anything, such as a gap or still being in school, this is where you do it—but frame it as how you’re driven to succeed, not why you haven’t been working.

13 consider non-traditionalexperience

Not all experience happens on the job or in the classroom. If you grew up helping out the family business, babysitting as a teenager, organizing college clubs, or working with your neighborhood watch, you’ve picked up skills you can list on your skills sections. Just be ready to explain how, exactly, you picked those skills up—and why they’re still relevant despite not being traditional experience.

14 Be honest

15 And consider a website

If you’ve done a lot of work you can show off—building homes, fixing cars, writing copy—consider a website to collect and display your portfolio of work that you can list on your resume. There are a number of websites that offer templates and domains for affordable costs.

16 List your awards

Awards and certificates prove that you know what you’re doing, so don’t be afraid to list them in their own section. Consider a few quick bullet points on why you were awarded if you’re not sure it’s immediately obvious.

FORMATTING AND LAYOUT

17 Decide what comes first

Education or experience? The general rule is to list professional experience first, but if your experience is limited (or non-existent), it can feel like a weak start to a resume. If your education section is much longer and more indicative of what you can do than an inexperienced job section, list it first.

18 LOOK FOR RELEVANT EXAMPLES

You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel from scratch. Look for examples of resumes tailored to the field you’re looking to work in. Professional resume companies and job search websites can be great resources for the different ways people write resumes for industrial or office admin roles.

19 Organize your resume smartly

Think about how you mentally flow from one concept to the next. A properly organized resume starts with the strongest, most concrete and relevant facts and ends with soft skills and less concrete experience. Keep in mind what job you’re applying for—a trade such as welding will probably mean the technical skills are relevant enough to be on the first page.

20 Keep it simple

Long paragraphs and industry jargon will trip up anyone trying to skim your resume, which means your resume won’t be given a second consideration. Keep things simple and save the elaborations for the interview—and remember that industry jargon when used even slightly improperly can be a dealbreaker.

21 Use reverse chronological order

Don’t start with the oldest experience first—you’re just making recruiters dig through your resume for the most recent entry. Instead, list things in reverse chronological order.

22 Use subheaders

Varying your font size or underlining your section headers means creating clear, defined areas of your resume for recruiters to quickly jump to when needed.

23 Use a template

While a black and white size 12 Times New Roman resume is a safe choice, you can catch a recruiter’s eye with a well-designed template. Choose something simple with only a few colors that has a clear layout and edit as you need.

24 Keep it short

Again—long stories are for the interview. Keep your resume short. Two pages is the ideal length; you’ve got enough room to give them a really clear picture of yourself while not bogging them down with a lot of reading.

25 Be professional

Don’t try to inject humor or informal language into your resume. You never know who is going to look at it, and everyone has a different sense of humor. A joke falling flat or unprofessional language can make you look like you’re not a serious candidate.

26 Avoid passive language

Passive language takes you out of your actions. Own them—make sure you’re using active language and action words.

27 Make your contact information accessible

List your contact information on the first page, and make sure it’s easy to use. A long email address with complicated spelling is less likely to stick in their head than a short and professional one with your name.

28 But don’t go overboard

Complicated resumes, fancy fonts, lots of patterns, and clashing colors will all work against you. A resume should still be easy to read, even with a bit of jazzed up presentation.

29 Edit and proofread

Scour your resume for errors, even if you’re not applying for a job where you need professional grammar. Caring about how your resume reads means you care to do a job right. If you need help, there are a number of proofreading services available online.

Consider Your Audience

30 Be specific

In order to sell yourself strongly with simple and short constraints, you need to be as concise as possible. Specific examples, jobs, and classes come first. General skills such as communication and multitasking come after them.

31 Browse the company website

Every company values different things. A company that values its social company culture to the point of talking about it on their website is a good job to list in the relevant interests section. On the other hand, if a website is very formal and professional, you may need to tweak your resume to sound more formal.

32 Modify it every time

There is no one size fits all resume for every industry, and there is no one size fits all resume for every job. Never send off the same resume to two different jobs. Modify it every time, and especially keep in mind how much your personal summary should change for different jobs and motivations.

33 Don’t bother with references upon request

Having references is standard. Recruiters know they can ask for them. Skip the line and use the extra space for other information.

34 Keep in mind how quickly resumes are read

Most resumes are read in under a minute on the first pass. Time yourself for increasingly shorter periods and see how much information you’re able to take in. If it doesn’t seem like enough, reorganize your resume.

35 Write a corresponding cover letter

Cover letters are still extremely important. They are where you can further elaborate on your professional summary and can tell recruiters exactly why you’re perfect for the job even before the interview. If you’ve used a template for your resume, match your cover letter to it for professional consistency.

Technical

36 Keep ATS in mind

ATS—applicant tracking systems—are a fact of the digital age. Researching how ATS is used and what keywords recruiters in your industry value means your resume won’t be ignored by a program that can’t read your resume the way a human can. Keywords for admin jobs are vastly different than keywords for a job as an electrician, so keep in mind how tailored your resume needs to be for dealing with ATS.

37 Test it out

Send your resume to friends, family, and/or professional acquaintances and ask them to evaluate your resume. A fresh set of eyes might see omissions or errors you haven’t noticed.

38 Name your file well

Resume_2018, Untitled, a keysmash—none of these can be quickly organized and recognized by recruiters. Name your resume file your first and last name.

39 Save your resume as a PDF

A PDF file will display correctly on all devices, even if the recruiter doesn’t have the right fonts or editing programs. Meanwhile, a word doc can look radically different on every device—so even if you haven’t used a template and just have a traditional, simple resume, a PDF resume is in your best interest.

40 Memorize your resume

Once you’ve finished your resume, read it over until you can recite it from memory. You never know when you might need it.