Write the ideal business resume with this quick guide

The business world offers an infinite number of opportunities for success, but you’ll need a well-crafted resume to get your foot in the door. When writing a resume, it’s important to understand the process it goes through.

After a hiring manager receives applications, they’ll skim over each one to look for qualified potential employees, reducing the hiring pool to a handful of candidates for in-person interviews. You need to craft your resume to stand out to hiring managers. With a great resume, you will already be well ahead of your fellow applicants.

Read on to learn how to write a business resume that hiring managers will love.

1. Make a lasting first impression with your resume summary

When hiring managers look at resumes, they normally have dozens to go through, especially for entry-level business positions. If they thoroughly read every single resume, this process would take hours. Most businesses today usually use programs that automatically scan for keywords they’ve listed in the job listing, like “work ethic”, “qualified” or “experienced”.

 After passing the computer test (which greatly reduces the candidate pool), hiring managers will usually go through applicants’ resume summaries to further refine candidates before deciding which candidates will receive an in-person interview. Obviously, your resume summary needs to be strong.

The best way to look at the resume summary is a personalized elevator pitch, a brief statement that explains exactly why you are perfect for the position. Read over the job listing to find some of the key skills and experiences they’re looking for in an employee. For example, if a company says they’re looking for an experienced administrator with exceptional organizational skills, you’ll want to include these terms in your summary.

Also look to include your educational background and experience in this section as well, making sure you don’t exceed three sentences. By including terms used in the job listing, you’ll find that hiring managers won’t be able to resist reading the rest of your resume.

2. Optimize your work experience section

Your work experience shows hiring managers why you’re right for a position, but it’s important to know what hiring managers are looking for. Unfortunately, most people think that they can list off their job responsibilities and call it a day.

Trust us when we say this is the absolute worst thing a job candidate can do, turning off a hiring manager almost instantly.

Hiring managers don’t need to know what you were supposed to do at a job; instead, they want to know exactly what you did and accomplished at your past workplaces.

As someone looking to work in the business field, you likely have a lot of job experience that’s relevant to a position. Tell hiring managers more about your past jobs by providing them with specific measurements. For example, if your department increased revenue by 25% in a single quarter, talk about how you contributed to this increase by pointing out exactly what you contributed to your team.

For each job (start with your most recent position) and include relevant, measurable experiences in 5-6 bullet points to show how what you can bring to a potential employer. 

3. List your educational credentials succintly

While experience is always important, your business education can open a lot of doors as well. However, a lot of people will list their school, degree, attendance years and GPA. This is a total snooze fest and isn’t going to wow a hiring manager. You’ll want to include what you accomplished in school as well as specific programs you completed that prove you are the best fit for a job.

For example, if you minored in finance and worked as a club’s accountant, you will want to point out both your minor and your experience in your extracurriculars. By relating your educational experiences to the job you’re applying for, you’ll make your educational section stand out as well as show an extra layer of qualifications.

Finally, make sure to limit what you write to a few sentences by selecting experiences that are relevant to the position. No one needs to know that you were a part of the glee club for one semester if you’re applying for a business administrative position.

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4. Give your business resume extra flair with a skills section

As someone looking to work in the business field, you likely have a lot of skills. From your top-notch organization to your ability to create spreadsheets in a matter of seconds, you have a lot to bring to the table for any business. However, a resume isn’t going to have enough room for you to include every skill that’s relevant to a position.

You need to talk about your skillset that’s relevant to the position you’re applying for (yes, this means you’ll want to examine what you include in your resume for each business you apply to, making edits depending on the job listing).

Instead of listing every skill you have, list out all of your skills in a separate document, organizing them into two categories: soft and hard skills. Soft skills are your internal skills, including time management and work ethic. Hard skills are (usually) what we think of with skills, meaning physical skills like typing speed or writing.

Next, look at what the job listing is looking for. If they want someone with great communication skills, talk about how your leadership and teamwork abilities. Do they need someone who is great with computers, talk about what programs you’re proficient in. Tailor your skills section to the job you’re applying for, limiting this section to about six different skills.

In conclusion...

Getting a job in business can be extremely rewarding, but you need to take the time to perfect your resume. By delivering a resume with a strong summary and relevant work experience, education and skills sections, your resume will definitely appeal to hiring managers.

Tailor your resume to every job you apply for by basing what you submit on the language of the job listing and watch those interview requests start rolling in sooner rather than later.

A documentary photographer and writer. Noel has worked for International publications like Deutsche Welle in Germany to News Deeply in New York. He also co-founded the global multimedia project Women Who Stay and collaborated as a journalist fellow with the University of Southern California. He went from traveling around the world to sitting on a couch thanks to the pandemic, but he gets to help other people actually do things (like find jobs) thanks to Kickresume, so he won't complain.

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