“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word.”
Emily Dickinson’s simple sentence was likely not written in reference to career development, but it still serves as a good lesson to keep in mind through the process of creating a resume. For example, the resume keywords you choose are incredibly important in securing a job.
Words equally worth consideration, though, are necessary resume components. Alphabetically, here are the top 29 terms you need to know when creating a resume:
1. 6 Seconds: The average amount of time a recruiter takes to review your resume.
2. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS): Automated software that more than 90 percent of large and medium-sized companies now use to streamline the hiring process.
3. Active Voice: Always use action words when you create a resume! “Led a dynamic team” sounds way better than “Was a team leader.”
4. Career Summary: A short yet informative set of lines at the top of your resume that describe your career arc. It’s also a great place to include keywords. This is not the same as an objective statement (more on that later).
5. Contact Information: Employers can’t offer up a dream job if they can’t find you! Your resume should include a professional email address, phone number, and your current city and state.
6. CV (Curriculum Vitae): While a resume is a concise overview of career experiences, a curriculum vitae goes into great detail about your educational and professional history, awards, and accomplishments. CVs are more commonly used than resumes in certain industries and countries.
7. Dates: Say you worked at a company from September of 2013 to March of 2014. Don’t put “2013-14” on your resume—save the recruiter some time and be specific from the get-go.
8. Education: If you’re seeking jobs in a field that places special emphasis on education (such as medicine), schooling information should go near the top of your resume.
9. File Name: Instead of “Resume” or “2015 Resume,” incorporate your full name and at least part of the job title into your resume file name. “Jane Smith Marketing Director,” for example.
10. Font Choice: Stick to standard, conservative typefaces: Helvetica, Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, or Tahoma are safe choices. Legibility is the priority for resumes.
11. Gaps: Many professionals have work history gaps. Instead of trying to get tricky and cover up those gaps, address them either directly on your resume or in a cover letter.
12. Hard Skills: The term “hard skill” refers to a specific program, process, or procedure that you have experience using—such as SEO marketing or the Adobe Creative Suite.
13. Instructions: According to recruiters, one of the biggest mistakes candidates make is not following application instructions. Heed all special resume requirements in job postings.
14. Job Description: A job description is your best friend when it comes to identifying keywords for each position. This is also an excellent tool for understanding a company’s values.
15. Jobscan: Jobscan’s analysis tool instantly measures how well your resume aligns with a specific job description—and then makes suggestions for improvement, such as increasing the frequency of certain keywords or adding measurable accomplishments. Try Jobscan for free and see how it can increase your interview chances!
16. Keywords: Keywords are the most important element in today’s job search; an ATS searches for keyword matches between your resume and a job description. Once that resume passes the software platform test, it will be seen by a human recruiter, so don’t try keyword stuffing. Your resume will need to appeal to a human reader, too.
17. LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn profiles have become standard in modern job searching, but they’re not a resume substitute. Do include your LinkedIn profile URL on your resume, though.
18. Measurable Accomplishments: Your resume should not be a series of past job descriptions. Instead, show what you achieved through quantifiable resume accomplishments. Check out some examples here.
19. Non-Traditional Resume: Creative resumes such as t-shirts or cakes can be cool—but can also backfire. Non-traditional resumes should only be used if appropriate to your target company or role.
20. Objective Statement: Replace this outdated resume element with a career summary. Your next boss knows that your objective is to find a job. How will you help her achieve her goals? Focus on that instead.
21. Orphan: This has nothing to do with Batman, but rather refers to a line of your resume that contains only one word. A resume should have both great content and visual appeal.
22. Page Limit: If important details from the past 10 to 15 year of of your work history don’t fit on one page, don’t sweat it. Resume length isn’t a factor for an ATS, and recruiters prefer white space. A well-planned two-page resume is better than a crammed one-page resume.
23. References: The phrase “References available upon request” needs to be deleted from your resume, pronto. It’s implied that if an employer needs your references, they’ll ask. Even if they ask for them in the job posting, provide a separate references sheet.
24. Resume Format: When you’re creating a resume, there are 3 main formats to choose from:
A) chronological, which begins with your most recent experience and works backwards;
B) functional, where you present work experience as a collection of different skills; and
C) a hybrid resume, which combines elements of the first two options.
25. Soft Skills: Soft skills are subjective traits that describe your work style and professional attitude. Organization, communication, and flexibility are all soft skills.
26. Tailoring: Tailoring the resume you submit for each job application is an absolute must. Even 10 Marketing Coordinator positions will have 10 different sets of requirements.
27. Templates: How to create a resume when you just don’t have much time? Try a resume template. Jobscan compiled 20 ATS-friendly resume templates that you can use for free!
28. Typos: Spellcheck isn’t sufficient in the great fight against typos. Enlist the help of a friend, mentor, or other professional to ensure that your resume is error-free.
29. Volunteer Work: Not all work experience is paid! If a job requires leadership skills, and you’ve honed yours outside the office, spotlight those volunteer achievements.
Creating a resume is hard work, but there are many resources to help you along the way. Use these terms as a checklist to get started!