There is a lot of competing information out there on what makes an effective resume. While technology and digital media have given way to more and more non-traditional self-marketing platforms like LinkedIn, video resumes, social media, and the like, the traditional resume remains the standard tool for job seekers.
What Has Changed in Resume Writing?
One of the biggest shifts in resume writing is the heavy focus on personal branding and impactful storytelling. Traditionally, resumes were meant to function as a high-level summary of a person’s professional experience, education, and skill set, listing out general information such as job titles, company names, dates of employment, and day-to-day responsibilities.
These days, it’s no longer enough to present a resume solely based on responsibilities and skill sets. The job market is changing, and so too are the ways in which hiring managers and recruiters are evaluating talent. They’re looking for candidates that bring not only the right skills and experience for the job, but those who demonstrate in-demand qualities such as growth potential, leadership, innovation, and impact.
Think of the resume as less of a list of qualifications, and more of a short story around you are, what you’ve done, and the value you can bring to an employer. Don’t just list out what you did, but describe it in a way that highlights the results, accomplishments, and impact your role brought to the organization.
How to Write an Effective Resume
The goal of the resume is to showcase your experience, skills, knowledge, training, and other relevant attributes that would be of interest to an employer, based on the qualifications of the role.
While each person’s resume will differ, we can break the general structure of the resume down into 7 key sections:
Summary or Objective Statement
You can think of the Summary or Objective Statement as your elevator speech – the opener for the resume that introduces who you are, your level of experience, and areas of expertise while setting the tone for the rest of the document. Keep this section concise – ideally 3-5 sentences or bullet points. Make it impactful and representative of your personal brand, and be sure to customize it to fit the role you’re applying to.
Digital marketing strategist with experience crafting high-impact integrated campaigns for global brands in the travel, hospitality, and lifestyle space. Partners with brands to create a cohesive presence and ensure consistent messaging across all channels. Enhances ROI through digital, print, and social media campaigns targeting domestic and international audiences. Seasoned project manager with proven success in marketing, concept development, content management, branding, social media strategy, and sales.
Skills & Core Competencies
You mentioned what you do well in your summary, now tell me everything else you do that’s related to the job. Your strengths might be designing stellar apps with keen attention to usability, but you also know a little bit of PHP. That goes here. Creative Suite whiz? Check. Inside sales? check. Final Cut Pro? Check, and check.
Including a Skills section on the resume is a great way to highlight your core competencies and optimize the resume for keywords.
SKILLS: Digital Marketing Strategy | Social Media Management | Influencer Marketing | Brand Development | Market Research | Project Management | Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The Experience section of your resume should detail your current and previous roles, with the goal of including the most relevant information. It’s not necessary to detail every task and responsibility. Instead, think about what aspects of your role will be most impactful and relevant to your audience, and focus on communicating those.
Bullet points or paragraph format are both fine, but keep it consistent so that each of the positions listed follows the same format.
Ideally, you want to structure your points in a way that show impact – i.e. “I performed X task which produced Z result.”
Communicating your impact isn’t limited to number or metrics. Revenue figures, growth, and click-through rates are great metrics to highlight, but they’re not relevant to every role. Instead, you can illustrate the value of your work by talking about key projects, improvements you contributed to, processes you helped design, people you developed, or any other way that your work contributed to the goals of the organization.
- Participate in client meetings to define expectations and develop a consistent brand image across platforms; advise on marketing and programming strategy to maximize following and engagement.
- Responsible for contract fulfillment at all stages of campaign delivery.
- Leads content development, digital design, and creation of marketing calendars for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Source visual inspiration for content photo shoots and assists with concept development, photography, and styling.
You may choose to highlight your accomplishments in a subsection within your Professional Experience section that you may want to utilize to highlight any particular examples of accomplishments, key projects, or situations where you made a contribution or received the recognition that was outside of your day to day tasks.
- Boosted revenue by more than 300% during tenure, developing highly successful in-house brands representing millions of dollars in sales.
- Integral in positioning the organization among Crain’s list of Top 25 Minority-Owned Businesses in New York.
- Recognized as a top sales performer company-wide throughout tenure.
If you have experience that doesn’t fit into the above section, but would be valuable to highlight, you may choose to include an Additional Experience section. This can include outside projects, volunteer work, freelance positions, consulting projects, or internships. You might also include positions that, while not relevant to your area of focus, cover a period of time that would otherwise show up as a gap in the resume if you left it off.
The Education section should highlight your college or degree programs, professional or advanced training, and other courses, workshops, or professional training relevant to your field. Remember: most relevant, pertinent selling points should come first. Education may appear towards the bottom of your resume if it precedes your more recent and relevant experience, or towards the top if it’s a key selling point or required for the role.
Memberships & Affiliations
Highlight any industry or outside organizations of which you are a member or participant. This can include professional and trade organizations, cultural or community organizations, and even volunteer roles. In the same fashion, you can create a section to highlight your accolades and awards:
M E M B E R S H I P S & A F F I L I A T I O N S
- Member, Sommelier Society of America
- Member, New York Women’s Culinary Alliance
- Volunteer, New York Women’s Agenda
H O N O R S & A W A R D S
- Apprenticed under the direction of Master Sommelier John Smith
- Awarded the Silver Tasting Cup for highest marks in class – New School of Culinary Arts