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What's the most important part of a resume?

Which aspect of my resume should I highlight or refer to in my cover letter to have the most impactful and effective application? #job-application #resume #job-search #interviews

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Kim’s Answer

Charlotte,

In a good cover letter, you do not talk about your resume. Seriously! The cover letter (sorry, I had said resume - I meant cover letter!) is where you let them know that you understand what the company is all about, and, how it is that you will fit into that position.

A cover letter is a one-page, business letter. It has three sections, which, could, if necessary, be more than three paragraphs.

In Section one, you simply let them know what position you are applying for, and how you found out about it. If an employee recommended that you apply, you could mention that here. "When I spoke with Joe Smith, he thought I would be a good candidate for the position, and he recommended that I submit my resume."

In the third section, you ask for the interview. "Please find my resume enclosed. I look forward to meeting with you to further discuss my qualifications for the Project Manager position."

Section TWO requires a lot of work! Below is an example of one that I submitted to be a security officer at a museum. Here I was attempting to demonstrate that I understood a museum wants things handled discreetly. I got the interview.

"I recently retired from a rewarding career as a police officer at the San Antonio Airport, a specialized policing environment with a dual emphasis on both customer satisfaction and public safety. This experience has prepared me well for the unique role of Security and Public Safety Officer with the Witte Museum. I have handled a broad range of police service calls, including everything from disturbances to terroristic threats, and am skilled at de-escalating conflicts. I also served as a first responder to fire and medical emergencies. "

If there are special areas of concern that might cause them to want to overlook your application, try to address them in the cover letter, after selling yourself in section two.

Examples:

"I took a leave of absence from working to attend to family medical concerns, but they are no longer a factor." (I say this even if it is my own health, because I don't want them thinking I might have medical problems, even if I do!)

"Although I am currently employed, the position is temporary, and management encourages us to seek permanent employment."

"Being retired gives me greater latitude in employment choices, and, after looking at your website, I believe I would love working with you to help the youth of our city." (translated: you pay a lot less than I used to make, but, that's okay!)

Hope you find this useful!
Kim
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Karina’s Answer

The part that includes details about your 'Experiences' (Professional experiences, Research experiences/projects, Academic projects, other projects).
This section is 50% or more of your 1 page resume.
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Dana’s Answer

Keywords - When recruiting, I look for key words or phrases that match my job description. One trick I use when revising my own resume or helping others revise theirs is to look at job postings on LinkedIn, Monster.com, etc. to find the current use of terminology. When you list skills and technology, you should also describe how you use them. If you list yourself as bilingual, you should also state that you "provide customer service in both English and Spanish" or "Translated documents from English to Spanish". It's one thing to list that you know PhotoShop, but you also have to demonstrate how you use it. i.e., "Reformatted, resized and cleaned up images before publishing to product detail pages on website."
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Jeni’s Answer

Hi Charlotte.

In this day and age, resume standards are changing. However, there’s one thing that has never changed though, and it’s the section that many employers view as the most important.

Most people may assume that the “experience” section of your resume is what employers are basing their final decisions on. However, for many, another section drives their interest. The “skills” section of a resume shines through with the greatest importance, according to many employers, for several reasons. Even if you don’t have the necessary experience an employer is looking for, you may still have the necessary skills, which suggests a potential for growth. This is common to see on younger candidates’ applications, who may have all the right skills but haven’t had an opportunity to utilize them yet.

Having an extensive Skills section will ensure that your resume isn’t thrown out by applicant tracking systems before a hiring manager even reads it. Once the hiring manager zeros in on these, you’ve sparked his or her interest. He or she will want to continue reading about you and next move to the experience section.

Note - not all skills should be professional. Soft skills are also of value. Examples include traits such as outside the box thinking, ability to follow-through, you're a critical thinker, you have integrity, etc.

Hope this helps! Jeni
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Nithin’s Answer

Summary of your work experience and the key skillsets are the most important part of your resume.
No interviewer will be going through your entire resume. So always make sure to captures the important things at the top of your resume itself.
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Alan’s Answer

If you want one thing to focus on in your cover letter: make sure it "scratches the itch." Concisely demonstrate that you understand what the company needs from of someone in that job, and that you can be the solution. Explain how your abilities will enable you to solve whatever challenges they are facing.

Obviously there are other elements to a cover letter beyond that. But in my experience, it's so rare that someone successfully does this while applying for an early-career position, that 9x/10 I would invite for an interview.
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Rafael’s Answer

Thank you for your question.

In my opinion, the most important part of a resume, especially if you are new to the job market, is the skills section because, even if you don't have the necessary experience an employer is looking for, you may still have the necessary skills, which suggests a potential for growth.

In addition, when you are thinking about what skills to include, I don't think you should tie yourself to only professional skills. For example, I think that teamwork is so valuable and so overlooked a lot of the time which may help you stand up if you can share some examples.

I hope the advice helps and good luck with your career search.

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Lester’s Answer

The resume for me is a quick snapshot of who you are. During my tenure of my career I have had to hire people for sales jobs. Looking at the description of their previous jobs was and important insight for me to see what the candidate felt they did in their previous roles. How did they describe their daily activities as well as any accomplishments or things they were recognized for. If you have some personality in those as opposed to cut and paste generic job description definitions you stood out to me. Just my thoughts.
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Senthil’s Answer

A cover letter should be precise & well articulated to explain 3 key things in order to get the attention which may need some background/research about profile/organization that you apply for.

First One, mention about the position for which you are applying & references, if any (Or) keep it generic that you are seeking for openings.

Second One, talk about the competencies/experiences which you got in relevance to the open position or organization's portfolio in crisp wordings since you will have details on your resume.

Third One, it's critical to relate both first & second one. Here, you should articulate how well you can enable your experience/skills will nurture you to meet self/organizational objectives.
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Doreen’s Answer

Action items and results. Where and how you made impact in your previous positions and education. Your resume is your first impression. What do you want to say?
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Raad’s Answer

There is nothing called a single important part. Your CV is your branding. It should be synchronized & homogeneous where all professional information including education, experience, references should be professionally addressed.
However, always following the 80/20 rule.... The first 20% of your CV gives 80 % of the first impression. Thus, make sure to state your strongest points first.
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Kim’s Answer

Having worked in staffing and consulting for over 20 years, I would say it's critical to tailor your resume to the position you are applying for. You can have a master version, but you should read the qualifications and responsibilities of the role you are applying for and tailor your resume to highlight the experience that would make you a good fit for the role. You should not be dishonest.

You should also consider your target audience. If the company you are applying to is a forward-thinking, progressive company, you will want a different tone than if it's a conservative, more traditional corporation. It's important to research the company you are applying to so that you understand what's important to them. Glassdoor can be a good resource for this.
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Mrudula’s Answer

Hi Charlotte!

That's a great question!

A resume is a condensed version of your education, your technical skills and your interests. I would suggest that you be concise, clear and unambiguous.
make sure to include all your certifications/degrees/diplomas and give clear timelines of any relevant previous jobs you have held.
You can also list your other interest (Volunteering for NGOs) that the company can consider if they have such activities in the company.

There are quite a few websites that can show you how to draft a resume.

As for the company itself, do your research, both on the company as well as the job you are applying for. Be clear on what they expect from you and set your expectations from the job in your mind.

Make the cover letter positive and brief. Make sure to see that your intention of taking the job comes through.

I wish you all the best!
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David’s Answer

Your resume should be as straight to the point as possible with an clean format so the reader can quickly run through your qualifications. Your resume should preferably be just a page. Another useful tool is bullet points. Such usage allows for an easy-to-follow format.
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chiara’s Answer

Great question!

The most important part of the resume, I would say is the objective.

The objective is usually a one liner in which you pitch yourself. With one sentence you set the tone for who you are, your works, interests and drive. That matters a lot to HR, as per my experience.

Do your best and have fun with it!
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Rahul’s Answer

Here are some Key Pointers

1. CV must highlight your skills, achievements or experience which makes you an ideal fit for the job.
2. CV must not be a lengthy documents. It should have some space for eyes to relax, too much text takes the attention away.
3. Proof-read your resume by a colleague/mentor, friend etc.
4. Ensure that the font size & style is consistent across the document.
5. Decide the “headings” of the resume based on the theme (Traditional/Visual) of the resume.
6. Run the resume through a spell & grammar check.
7. Do not overstate/exaggerate you achievements, experience etc.
8. Ensure that the achievements stated in the resume are relevant to the job/hobbies that you have mentioned (else you can skip some).
9. Customise your resume basis the job that you are applying for.
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