Got a question: go
ahead and ask!
Do I really need a
Yes! You can create your own or use Aldas' simple resume builder!
Employers are looking for a simple, concise description of who you are and what
you've done. Even a really good resume won't give an employer a complete idea of
who you are - but it will get you an interview. And once you're in the
interview, then you can showcase the real you.
What if I don't have
very much work experience?
Which is better: a
functional or chronological resume?
If you've been to school, volunteered, had a job, or learned a skill, there's
something to say on your resume. It's just a matter of presenting the
information in an assertive, positive, truthful manner.
Functional and chronological presentations each carry advantages and
disadvantages. When you use the Aldas' resume builder, you will be creating
a chronological resume, which is the preferred format for most HR departments.
A chronological resume highlights progressive advancement in responsibility,
provides a clear picture of employment history, and enables you to tie your
responsibilities and accomplishments together in a logical fashion that makes
hiring authorities most comfortable.
A functional resume, on the other hand allows you to highlight major
accomplishments up front regardless of where in your work history they occurred,
categorizes accomplishments from different positions, and eliminates
repetitiveness in a work history consisting of very similar positions. A
functional resume should only be used as a supplement to a chronological resume
as many HR professionals view these types of resumes with suspicion - thinking
the job seeker has something to hide. With the tremendous labor shortages, many
employers are a lot more forgiving about frequent job changes and absence from
the workforce. What they don't like is having incomplete or misleading
What about personal information: should I include marital status, health,
hobbies, and personal interests?
Personal information such as marital status, health, number of children, and
birth date are potential discriminators for which an employer can face severe
consequences under the law. For this reason, it is better not to include this
information in resumes intended for use in the North American market. If you are
seeking an overseas position, inclusion of this information may be appropriate.
If you are of foreign origin, you will want to include your immigration status,
for example, Citizen, Permanent Resident/Landed Immigrant, or Green Card holder,
so potential employers will be assured of your eligibility for hire. Hobbies and
interests are generally not included unless they are considered unusual enough
to spark the reader's interest and serve as an ice breaker, indicate an
exceptional level of accomplishment or skill (e.g., Olympic medallist, marathon
winner), or are particularly relevant to your target position (e.g., avid
amateur photographer applying for position as a medical
How long should my resume be? I've heard it should never be longer than
Your resume should be as long as necessary to adequately portray your
qualifications and experience. It's as simple as that! If this task can be
accomplished in one page, great! If it takes two pages, that's fine, too. The
critical factor in any case is to make absolutely certain that your reader's
interest is piqued within the first half of the first page. If you've sparked
their interest, they will be hungry for more.
Your Resume - an
With Alda, your
resume is prepared using our online resume builder/skills-based questionnaire.
It details relevant aspects of your past work experience, your skills, your
education and your training. If you want to add additional information, you can
do this within the Aldas' resume or you can send us your own version. Your
resume has only one purpose: to get you an interview.
Your resume must describe
why you are valuable to a prospective employer. If you're invited to an
interview - your resume has effectively done its job. The rest is up to you.
For a resume to be an
effective marketing tool, there are a couple of things you'll have to keep in
mind. The first thing to remember is that resumes are used to determine
suitability for a position. In order to make that assessment, the HR person must
have complete and relevant information. Using Aldas' resume builder, your
core skills, education and experience are captured. If there is additional
pertinent information, you should record it in the open text sections of the
form or in your own prepared resume.
The second thing you'll need to keep in mind is that the appearance of your
resume counts. Clear communication and writing skills are essential. A
well-formatted resume, with relative and complete information acts as your
surrogate "first impression." You might be the most qualified
candidate out there, but if your resume is a muddled mess - well, it's easy to
see what message you'll be sending!
Whether you're preparing your own personalized resume or using Aldas'
resume builder, when you're done, start proofreading. Spelling and grammar
errors are usually noticed by employers at the expense of otherwise good
information. Don't rely on your spell-checker - proof read your resume
word-for-word before submitting it to the prospective employer. Don't forget
that "attention to detail" (as evidenced by accurate spelling and
correct grammar) counts as much on automatic resume builders, such as Aldas,
and emails, as it does in formal written submissions.
Last of all, remember: resumes don't get jobs, people get jobs. All you need
to do is put your resume to work for you attracting the kind of attention that
will get you that interview. After that, the rest is up to you.
From the Ground Up - a Résumé's
The following categories
can be used as a guideline for organizing the information you'll want to include
if you are creating your own resume. Depending on your circumstances, you may
want to include, modify, or eliminate some of the categories.
Remember, resume writing
is not absolute - some degree of creativity speaks for who you are. But moving
too far outside the standard can be dangerous if you aren't able to "pull
it off" properly.
At the top of the resume
should be your name, your mailing address, your phone number (including area
code) where you can be reached, and your e-mail address.
The name you use should be
the name you use in your personal and business life (nicknames should be
avoided). Select your phone number carefully. Unless you're comfortable with
your current employer knowing of your employment search efforts - use your home
phone number and allow callers to leave messages.
If you're on a temporary
assignment as a travel nurse, or if you have a campus address, also include a
permanent address. Some employers keep resumes "on file" and you may
want them to be able to find you later.
Objective or Profile
Some employers like
objective statements, other's have no use for them. Properly written, though,
the objective can be one of the most important parts of your resume. It informs
potential employers that you are moving in a certain direction, relays your work
preferences), and serves as a focal point from which to review and analyze your
objective statement offers yet another opportunity to use your most important
keywords - and that can increase your electronic "exposure" to
employers performing resume database searches. If you are considering more than
one professional goal, you should consider developing more than one resume, each
presenting a different objective.
The profile on the other
hand, is an alternative to an objective statement. It gives you the opportunity
to present your strengths at the very beginning of the resume, and summarizes
your key accomplishments in measurable terms. Keep in mind that when you're
composing the major areas of your resume, it's important to emphasize your
abilities and accomplishments much more than past duties. You may also want to
indicate how well you performed. This will help infuse personal qualities such
as character and personality into your resume.
preparation must be included somewhere on your resume. Even if you have not
graduated or received a degree, the years spent in study and the courses you
have taken are valuable educational experience that may qualify you for a
Where you place this
category on your resume can depend on several factors. If you're are a recent
college grad with little work experience, the "Education" should come
early on your resume page. If it has been several years since you were in
school, your education is less important than your work experience and it can be
placed further down the page.
Include your degree
designation (A.S., B.S., B.A., etc.), major, institution(s) attended, date of
graduation, minors or concentrations, and any special workshops, seminars,
related coursework or senior projects. A G.P.A. of higher than a 3.0 (either
overall G.P.A. or G.P.A. in major) can also be noted here.
For most nurses, this is a
convenient category in which to identify your state of licensure and any
professional affiliations you have. In general, any career development activity
can also be included in this area, so be certain to list the continuing
education courses and conferences that relate to the position you are seeking.
Include all significant
work experience in reverse chronological order. You should include:
- the title or a
skill-based description of your role
- the name of the
- the location of work
- the dates of employ -
month & year are sufficient.
Describe your work
responsibilities in sentences or bullets, prefaced with action words to
communicate your skills. Detail your responsibilities and achievements using
Even with limited paid
work experience, students can have developed a repertoire of skills through
volunteer, internship, practicum or student teaching work experiences. It's
important to include this information on your resume so that a prospective
employer appreciates the skills you'll bring to the workplace. You may also want
to add that work was performed to earn a certain percent of college expenses.
Example: Earned 75% of college expenses through the following part-time jobs.
This category is useful
for displaying information that doesn't fit in any other category. Although Interests,
Computer Knowledge, and Activities can be separate categories,
especially if they are very strong, they can be listed here as well. Languages
spoken, or any extra, relevant bit of information can be placed here as well.
professional resume is an account of your employment record, skills, and
career accomplishments, not what you enjoy doing in your off hours. Hobbies
and interests should never take up valuable space that could be used for
important career information. Only include this if your resume is short and
looks skimpy, or if your hobbies in some way make you a better candidate for
If using computers is a necessary skill for the position you are seeking (and
that's becoming more often the case in nursing), be sure to highlight your
knowledge in this section.
and Leadership are also important categories to include. If the
activities involved work responsibility, note it in some detail. The employer
is interested in the skills you have developed whether through volunteer or
paid experiences. If you were elected to offices or committees, mention it.
Recognition and demonstration of leadership roles are valuable.
There is no need to state
on your resume, "References furnished upon request." This is a given,
and is a redundant use of valuable resume space.
Still, there are a couple
of things to keep in mind about references. Be sure to ask before you offer the
names of individuals from whom you would like to have references. Not only is
this common courtesy, but you'll avoid any unpleasant surprises later if you do
receive a less-than-glowing response.
Before your interview,
you'll want to prepare a separate list of references, usually prefaced "the
following individuals have generously consented to provide references:"
Include at least three names, along with their title, employer, address,
business and home telephone number.
Make Your Resume Unique
Feel free to develop your
own categories to highlight your special relevant experiences and skills. It is
often useful to separate your related or professional experiences from your
other work experience by creating separate categories for these content areas.
In this way, you can call more attention to your relevant skills by putting them
in categories closer to the top of the resume so they are read first.
Here are some examples:
Now, it's your turn. A
successful resume takes time and thought. So make the effort, and reap the
rewards that a strong resume can bring to your career.
In the past, one well-formatted print resume was
all you'd ever need for your employment search. Not so, today. The process of
applying for a job is changing because of the Internet and resume scanning
technology that is being adopted by more employers. Now you may want to have two
core resumes: one for the human eye, the other for computers.
This guide will help you prepare print,
scannable, and ASCII
formats of your resume.
Despite the fact that a number of employers have moved to electronic database
searches, there is still a place in your employment search toolbox for a
traditional well-formatted print version of your resume.
Having assembled all of your material, and
thereafter writing, editing, and revising your resume ad infinitum, you'll need
to display your work in the most attractive, professional manner possible. Yes,
visual presentation does matter. In order to sell yourself as a
professional, you must "look" like a professional. Your resume is your
surrogate: the first opportunity a prospective employer has to
"meet" you, and get a feel for who you are. You don't want it to be
your only meeting...
With the advent of word processing, desktop
publishing and laser printers, there is no excuse for a non-professional
presentation. Here are a few helpful hints:
- Use bold and italics to highlight specific
items on your resume.
- Right margin justify the text for a
- Use high quality paper (24 lb., 25% cotton).
White and Ivory are the only colors you should choose.
- Use matching stationery and envelopes for your
- Proofread and double proofread. Don't rely on
your wordprocessor's spell-check feature. Errors are not only unacceptable -
- Leave lots of white space. Readability is as
important as content.
- If no one reads the resume, it doesn't
matter what you've said or how well you've said it.
- Stay away from long paragraphs of more than
6-7 sentences. Break paragraphs with blank lines in between and/or use
bullets to enhance reading ease.
The one versus two page dilemma is a continual
point of concern. However, today's competitive market demands that you make
every attempt to aggressively "sell" your qualifications. If two pages are
required, so be it. You will find that the response to your job search campaign
will be directly dependent upon how well you've marketed your qualifications
and achievements; not on number of pages.
An electronically scannable resume is specifically designed to be entered into a
computerized database using an optical scanner. The scanner "reads"
the resume and stores it in text form, as a computer file.
Although the general content of both print and
scannable resumes may be similar, a resume which is read and selected by a
computer does not have the benefit of having a human's subjective input and
interpretation. Instead, the computer searches for specific keywords or phrases
when selecting or "screening" for qualified candidates. Conventional
resumes often use action verbs and descriptive terms, along with distinctive
type fonts and sophisticated layouts. But electronic resumes are best when
language is clear, concise and in a format that highlights key points simply.
Scannable Resume Guidelines:
To increase the chances of your resume being
electronically retrieved, the electronic resume should be written especially for
the computer. Here's how:
Type Font: Avoid use of ornate
or decorative typefaces, and small type sizes, (11-12 point-size is ideal). Do
not underline or use italic fonts as they can "confuse" the
readability of the letters.
Paper: Use paper with little or
no color (white or beige) and of average thickness. Do not staple multiple page
resumes, but put your name on the top of each page and, if possible, send an
Design: Keep it simple; the
equipment is set to read "text," not "graphics". Avoid use
of columns, boxes, fancy lines, symbols and pictures.
Format: Minimize use of bullets,
hyphens or dashes. Format your resume neatly using clear, capitalized headings
such as EXPERIENCE and EDUCATION, and include plenty of white space between
sections. Place your name at the top with your address and other contact
information below your name, all on separate lines. It is not necessary to
include a "References: Available on Request" statement on the resume.
College resumes should be one page, while professional-level resumes can be 2-4
Language: Use nouns more than
verbs (e.g. say "discharge planner" instead of "planned for
patient discharge and arranged community services" ). The computer will
look for matches on key nouns from different functional areas. Minimize the use
of abbreviations where possible.
Key Words: To increase your
resume's chances of being electronically retrieved, use key words or short
phrases to describe your qualifications and abilities. Bear in mind that the
more matches a database search makes with your resume, the better. Also, use
synonyms or variations of words in your descriptions and keep the words simple
rather than obscure.
To become familiar with good key words to use,
check newspaper recruitment ads, review job descriptions if available, and talk
with professional recruiters and/or professional associations in your field.
Do Not Fax your resume (until
the technology improves), as faxing will distort the readability of the letters
If you are sending your resume by e-mail or posting it at one of the many
employment search sites, it is best to convert your resume to ASCII format by
saving as text only. This allows a variety of recipients to read and scan it.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- No line should be longer than 65 characters
from left to right. Hit the return key at the end of each line so the
scanner will know to move to the next line.
- Use courier 12 pt font.
- Use hyphens or asterisks as bullet points
- Do not use tabs, underlines, italics, or other
- For emphasis type your name at the top in
- Capitalize the principal section headings,
such as Summary, Experience, Education and the Names of employers.
- Save this version as "text only"
To send a text resume as e-mail, open the text
file, and copy and paste the contents into the body of your email message right
below your brief introduction. When posting your resume on the Internet, open
the text file, and copy and paste each of the sections into the corresponding
fields on the webpage. Each site has different requirements, so visit each site
and plan your form-filling strategy before you post.
Whenever you've sent an Internet version of your
resume, it is recommended that you follow up by mailing your nicely formatted
print version, along with a strong cover letter. This way the employer has both
versions on file and it is accessible to human resource people as will as those
that make hiring decisions and who may not be net-savvy. Companies that accept
resumes by e-mail usually have an auto response which will acknowledge receipt
of your resume. If you do not receive an acknowledgment, a brief e-mail request
for confirmation is appropriate.
Did you know that the average employer spends
less than 10 seconds scanning a resume? Considering that this is the first, and
possibly only opportunity you'll have to make an impression, making the most of
those 10 seconds is vital to your ability to secure an interview.
Part of making a strong impression depends on the
manner in which you present your resume. There are three basic resume styles:
chronological, functional, and skill-based; and each of these is best suited for
a specific set of circumstances. With Alda, when you use our resume
builder, your resume is presented as a Chronological Resume.
Chronological Resume: where you have
worked & when
This is the most widely accepted resume format,
emphasizing employers and dates of employment, so that the reader focuses on the
places where you have worked, and the dates and duration you worked there.
Chronological resumes are best suited to
individuals who have a stable work history with few or no gaps and whose
work history shows a logical progression toward their current objective. If you
have been a "career-changer" this format allows you to call attention
to prestigious or well-respected companies or organizations for whom you may
have worked in the past.
Functional Resume: what you have done
The functional format emphasizes the positions
you have held, and the titles of your roles so that the reader can quickly see
what you have done during your employ.
There are several advantages to this type of
resume, the most important of which is that it demonstrates transferable skills,
and unifies unrelated but relevant experience. If you want to add to your Alda structured resume, this may be an appropriate choice.
A word of caution, however - a functional resume
should never be your only resume version, or the first version you send to a
prospective employer. It has the disadvantage of not being widely accepted and
can give the impression that you may have something to hide.
Skill-based Resume: know-how your have
A skill-based resume combines both the functional
and chronological resume. It is organized around the skills, areas of knowledge,
and know-how you have acquired in your present job, or over several years in
different positions and uses a career summary that links skills to experience.
This doesn't work with all backgrounds, but it
can be effective for those who possess an impressive number of skills after only
a few years of work, or who have gained their experience through a series of
part-time or volunteer work, education courses, and early part-time jobs. Career
changers should also use this type of resume to demonstrate they have skills
that can be transferred to other areas
Don't be surprised to find that your employment
history could be presented using any of these formats. What you must decide is
which type will best exhibit your background and achievements.
Avoid These Common
- Poor physical
appearance due to sloppy typing, misspelled words, uneven margins,
inconsistent spacing between blocks of information. This applies whether you
create your own resume or use Alda' resume builder. Pay attention to
spelling and use appropriate upper and lower case letters!
- Disorganized so that an
employer has to hunt for information. Use Alda' resume builder to
eliminate this confusion.
- Too lengthy. One to two
pages are enough for most circumstances.
- Too short. Not enough
information, particularly in describing what your duties were on various
information. Don't include information that is unrelated to your job
qualifications unless it adds to a more complete picture or enhances what
you have to offer.
- Failure to state your
job objective or career goal.
- A simple listing of
positions or jobs you have held without descriptions. For jobs in
healthcare, it is important to identify the type of employer you worked for,
size of facility, types of patients/clients and skills used.
- Sending the wrong kind
of resume for the job you are seeking. For jobs outside your core area or
for professionals who have been out of the workforce for some time, it may
be advisable to customize your resume to "explain" why you are
suitable for a given position. With Alda, you can always email us
separate resumes or cover letters for selected employers.
- Stating your salary
requirements. By stating your salary requirements, you can eliminate
yourself from jobs that may have other benefits that more than make up for
any salary differential.
- Sending a photo of
yourself unless requested to do so.
- Dating a resume. Your
resume will stay current until your job status changes unless there is a
date on in, then it will look out-of -date very quickly.
- Leaving out important
demographic material such as your e-mail, mailing address or telephone
number. This is surprising but all too frequent. Also, if you are serious
about being on the look-out for new opportunities, include the name and
phone number of a friend or relative who does not live with you and who
knows how to get in touch with you.
The Cover Letter
How do you turn your cover letter into an
effective partner for your resume? By using the very information the prospective
employer has freely given you to your advantage - their employment ad.
Review the advertisement thoroughly, and identify
both their stated and unstated needs. Then, match each of those needs with your
qualifications. Make the recruiter's job easy: tell them, "this is what you
need, this is how I'm qualified." Point for point. Don't wait for them to
try and determine your appropriateness as a candidate - Tell them how and why
you're their best fit.
Armed with the material for success - lots of
strong content - you're ready to pull it all together into the cover letter. The
format of any cover letter is fairly typical. What makes yours unique is the
content. Just as your resume conveys a "first impression" to
prospective employers, so too does the cover letter. Each must be equally
well-organized and prepared with attention to detail.
The First Paragraph
In the very first paragraph of your letter, you
should state what position you are applying for and how you learned about it. If
you have any personal contacts in or with the company, you may want to mention
them here. You should also state your general qualifications for the job. This
paragraph should be brief, perhaps two or three sentences.
The Body of the Letter
The body of your letter should consist of one to
three longer paragraphs in which you expand upon your qualifications for the
position. This is where you turn the information gleaned from the employer's ad
to your benefit. List each of the prospective employer's stated criteria, and
match each one with relevant qualifications from those listed in your resume.
Bullet points are appropriate here, because they'll draw the reader's eye right
to your qualifications. There'll be no mystery why you're the best candidate!
In the concluding paragraph of your letter, you
should request an interview (or some other response, if appropriate). State
where and when you can be reached, and express your willingness to come to an
interview or supply further information. Close by thanking your reader for his
or her time and consideration.
Some Final Points
As with resumes, the same holds true for cover
- Spelling and grammar errors are fatal.
Prospective employers use your cover letter to evaluate your writing skills
and attention to detail.
- Keep in mind that employers using resume
scanning equipment will usually scan in cover letters as well. Follow the
same advice given for resumes on formatting and including key words when you
put together your cover letter.
Finally, don't underestimate the importance of
the cover letter. In a recent survey of 150 executives from the nation's 1,000
largest companies, 60 percent of the respondents said that when they screen
applications, the cover letter is either as important as or more critical than
the resume. Your cover letter really does matter