What is a Resume?

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A resume is a written compilation of your education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments that is used to apply for jobs. It is one of the most important pieces of any job application.

Types of Resumes

There are several basic types of resumes used to apply for job openings. Depending on your personal circumstances, choose a chronological, a functional, a combination, or a targeted resume.

Which resume is right for you? That depends on what you're trying to accomplish. The goal of any resume is to show a hiring manager the applicant's strengths, skills, and experience in as short a time as possible – according to one study, recruiters spend as little as six seconds reviewing one resume before moving on to the next, so it's in your best interests to put your best qualities and accomplishments in a prominent position on the page.

In addition, functional or combination resumes may also be useful if you're trying to draw the reader's attention away from something – namely, large gaps in your work history or detours into unrelated fields.

What Is Included in a Resume

Resumes are usually a one-page document listing the applicant's work history, education background, and personal skills. An effective resume lays out a summary of qualifications that will push the hiring manager or employer to move forward toward an interview.

As well as details on skills, education, and work history, resumes can also have optional sections, such as an objective, summary statement, or career highlights.

Resumes vs. Cover Letters

A resume is typically sent with a cover letter that provides additional information on your skills and experience to apply for jobs.

A resume is a shorter, often bulleted summary, while a cover letter highlights and expands on certain traits or accomplishments that would be unique or ideal assets for the particular job.

Resume Tips

Always target your resume to the job in question. While it's perfectly OK to have a resume template, which you adapt to fit each job description, it's a bad idea to send the same exact resume to multiple openings, even within the same field.

Write your resume with both robots and humans in mind. Many organizations use Applicant Tracking Systems to sort and vet resumes, before hiring managers ever take a look at them. This means that you could have the best experience and qualifications in a whole field of candidates, and a pretty decent resume besides, but your information will fall through the cracks if your resume doesn't contain the right keywords. This is an overview of what keywords are, and how to use them; good keywords will refer not only to your experience, but to the job description in the posting as well.

Proofread, proofread, proofread. Not even professional proofreaders can proofread their own work. Once you've made a typo, it's hard to catch it yourself. For that reason, it's a good idea to have one or two trusted friends take a look at your resume before you send it in for consideration.

Read More: What Is the Difference Between a Resume and a Cover Letter? | How to Include Accomplishments in a Resume

Related Article: Different Types of Resume | Resume SamplesHow to Write a Resume