So you’ve decided to make a career change. You’ve been searching the job sites, and you’ve found a marketing agency with your dream job up for grabs. It’s time to dust off that resume and make sure everything is up to date.
Your resume is your chance to make a good first impression on your potential future employer before you even meet them face to face. In fact, without a solid resume, you may never get a chance to talk to someone on the phone, let alone meet them for an in-person interview.
At many marketing agencies, there’s stiff competition for every job posting. More than 800 resumes were submitted to Two Rivers Marketing in 2018, and this year we’ve received 1,100+ resumes through September. The average resume is scanned for six seconds before the viewer decides to either read more details or move on to the next one so it’s important to make sure yours stands out from the crowd.
Follow these resume-writing tips to help get your potential employer’s attention and secure that in-person interview.
Education and work experience
Your education and work experience can make or break your chances at getting an interview for your dream job.
But how much education and work experience should you include on your resume? It depends on how long you’ve been out of school and in the working world.
For your education section, include any certifications, college degrees, and postgraduate degrees. If you’re fresh out of college and have less than a few years’ experience in the working world, you can also include a stellar GPA (think 3.8 or above). This provides proof of a strong work ethic in the absence of professional work experience.
If you’ve been in the working world for five or more years, there’s no need to include details about your college experience, like clubs and activities, sorority/fraternity affiliation, etc. Too much college detail can cause a potential employer to wonder if you’ve truly moved on to the professional world.
Most employers are only interested in jobs you have had since graduating from college. If you’re a recent college graduate, sharing your internship experience is especially important. Relevant internship experience, particularly at an agency, can give you a serious leg up over other candidates.
If you’re applying for a creative position — as a graphic designer, for example — the most important thing you can include with your resume is a link to your online portfolio. This is the first thing that the hiring manager for the position will want to see.
Both recency and relevancy matter when it comes to your work experience. Include work you have done recently, but also include any relevant experiences you have across your entire career. However, avoid leaving gaps in your employment history. This could raise a red flag with potential employers. It’s better to include irrelevant experience that bridges the gap between the relevant positions and shows a consistent work history.
Accolades and professional certifications
Did you, or a project you worked on, win an award? Were you nominated by your peers for special recognition in some way? Have you achieved professional certification in your industry?
While professional accolades and certifications won’t make or break your resume, they can certainly strengthen your bid to land a dream job. Make sure, however, that they are important and relevant to the position for which you are applying. It’s not the place to cite your winning entry for the Pinewood Derby in third grade.
Most potential employers are more interested in what you have learned from your work experience than your professional accolades.
Hobbies, interests and community service
Including some personal information on a resume can be helpful in showing potential employers what drives you outside of work. They like to see that you are involved and giving back to your community or profession. Personal hobbies and interests, however, should not be included. Let those come up in the face-to-face interview.
Charity or philanthropic work, civic engagement, or other volunteer efforts help demonstrate that you are a well-rounded candidate, especially if those experiences can be applied to the position you are seeking. They are also great ways to make connections with people in the community or on the hiring committee.
Final tips for writing a resume
Now that you have the essential text of your resume ready to send to potential employers, it’s time to add the finishing touches to make sure it gets noticed. Consider these tips for rounding out your resume:
- Two pages in length is acceptable and is often required to communicate your qualifications, but don’t go beyond three pages. If have a lot of relevant experience that’s hard to trim, consider creating a separate CV (a complete, detailed job history) and offer to make it available upon request.
- Make sure your resume is clean, concise, and correct — free of typos and grammatical errors. The attention to detail you put into your resume is what potential employers would expect you to bring to the workplace. Typos are likely to disqualify you from an in-person interview in the eyes of a potential employer.
- Add a brief professional summary to describe yourself. This is an interesting way to communicate the things that set you apart. Include this at the top of your resume, but make sure your work experience demonstrates its validity.
- Watch out for jargon. Don’t try to impress your potential employer with industry acronyms or language they may not understand. Show that you can tell a story using words everyone uses.
- Be yourself as much as you can all the way through the application process. It will help ensure a good fit for both you and the agency.
Remember that the purpose of your resume is to get you into the agency for an interview. Once you have done that, the resume isn’t all that important anymore. From there, the impression you make is what matters.
Are you interested in joining our growing team of sharp, fun-loving, creative individuals? Check out our available career opportunities and see if Two Rivers Marketing is the spot for you.