With the coronavirus pandemic causing local economies to shelter-in-place for months, the unemployment level in America has skyrocketed. There are over 40 million Americans unemployed in 2020 and many of these jobs are not coming back. Thus, having a good resume is crucial for getting a job. Below you’ll find many examples of good resumes to help get your own in top shape.
In normal times, the first half of the year is when ideally all hiring shall be done. This is because:
1) The best available people are still available. There is a bias against people looking in the 3rd and 4th quarter because rightly or wrongly, companies may wonder what’s wrong with you for not having found something earlier.
2) Companies need to spend their budgets while they are still available. There’s no time like the present.
3) Hiring an employee at the start of the year gets the most out of the employee, especially if there is a guaranteed compensation package.
If you find yourself looking for a job in the second half of the year, it’s important to hustle a little more or prepare for activity to pick up in the spring.
Don’t give up hope. Use this time to plan more thoroughly. And utilize the examples of good resumes below to improve your own, especially as economies start opening up.
I’ve seen over 10,000 resumes in my 13-year career in finance and hopefully this article can help you build an excellent resume. An excellent resume should be standard, not the exception.
The Importance Of An Updated Resume
Just the other week, I had breakfast with an old boss of mine who moved on to do different things last year. What I thought was a friendly meet up turned out to be a soft sell on why I should join his firm.
“We should talk more next week Sam,” he concluded. “I think you’ll be amazed at what we’re doing here.”
I proceeded to discuss my meeting with another old colleague of mine who then said, “Sam, actually we also have a 5 year runway to build something great. You should send me your resume.“
“No problem“, I said. Truth be told, my resume was one year old and needed some updating. But, that’s OK, given the changes were quite minor.
Keep Employment Dialogues Open
It never hurts to keep employment dialogues open, even if you don’t currently plan on leaving your company. It’s a courtesy to them to have a discussion.
You never know when someone wants to pay you big bucks for a guaranteed length of time to join their organization!
Generally, I’m the one who is evaluating resumes, so it was kind of exciting to update my own to send to someone else.
Important Resume Tips To Know
There are many important tips to keep in mind when analyzing examples of good resumes. Read this section thoroughly before creating and editing your own resume.
* The 7 Seconds Rule
The average amount of time a reviewer spends on your resume is 7 seconds and that’s it! It’s partly because hiring managers like myself have so many resumes to look at. And it’s partly because we’re lazy.
Make sure the top half of your resume pops and everything is clear. If your resume is too dense, it’s going to overwhelm anyone who reads it. You don’t want their eyes to glaze over. Practice scanning the examples of good resumes below for 7 seconds. Then, try the same exercise on your own.
* One Page Resume Or Bust
If you have a resume longer than one page, you just quadrupled your chances of having your resume crumpled and tossed in the bin. More is much less in this situation.
Having a one page resume shows that you are concise, clear, and to the point. Again, hiring teams spend roughly 7 seconds on your resume, so don’t bore them with irrelevant details.
It’s all about what you’ve done lately, your education, and an interesting fact about you. Anything more can be covered during the interview.
* Don’t Over Think Design
Unless you are a graphic designer looking for a job, there’s no need to over think the design of your one-pager. Contact info, latest two or three jobs with responsibilities, education, and hobbies. Done.
Segment the page out in sections with clear, standard titles. Use bullet points if you will, and make that one page as simple to read as possible. We really don’t care about what type of font you are using, whether the paper has a thicker weave, and all the nitty gritty details of your latest project. Like blogging, content is king!
* Don’t Hide Obvious Things
If you’ve never had a real job before or are still within 5 years out of undergrad, you better not hide your GPA. Hiding your bad GPA is a 90% guarantee of getting your resume tossed. It shows that you think reviewers are stupid enough to not realize your grades are missing.
We’ll start thinking the worst, so don’t hide your GPA! Don’t hide any of your contact details either. That will surely piss off the reviewer if she wants to contact you.
If you’re applying to jobs through a recruiter, however, it’s common for them to remove your contact info. Recruiters want employers to contact them directly first since they are your liaison.
* A Good Resume Is Standard, Nothing Special
A good or great resume doesn’t make the person. You and your interview make the person. A good resume should be standard, which means it’s all the important not to have a bad resume.
A bad resume obliterates your chances, and a good resume is the absolute minimum. There is no one golden resume format. It just has to be easy on the eyes. From the examples of good resumes below, you’ll see that all are acceptable resumes.
* Customize Your Resume As Much As Possible
Don’t use a generic resume for all your applications. It’s important to highlight specific skills, attributes, and experiences you have that would be an asset to your new employer.
Employers want to know why you’re the best fit for the specific job you’re applying to. Tailor your resume to each job. Just make sure you attach the right version before you hit the send button.
* Optimize For Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
Robots may not be running the world (yet), but they are busy doing a lot of things including resume screening. Roughly 90% of Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes. In addition, about 70% of larger companies and 20% of small businesses use ATS as well.
Humans will make the ultimate decision on whether or not to interview and hire you for a job. But, you should make your resume ATS friendly so it has the best chance to get seen by human eyes.
Use keywords from the job description and industry. Action words are important as well. Just be careful not to overdo it. Keyword stuffing and going crazy with buzzwords may fool a robot, but will get your resume tossed out by a person.
Spell out abbreviations, avoid using special characters like symbols or emojis, and use standard headings like “Education” and “Work Experience.”
In addition, stick with common fonts and simple formatting. Fancy formatting is bound to get removed by the ATS. Or worse, the ATS may not be able to read your resume at all.
* Do The Not So Obvious
If you’ve sent out hundreds of resumes already, and aren’t getting any responses, do something different. Put a picture of yourself up on the top right hand corner.
Again, do this if you haven’t been getting any love at all, especially if you’re more attractive than average. LinkedIn profiles with picture profiles get clicked on twice more often than those profiles that don’t have pictures.
Change your resume color to a green back ground. Make your objective statement a prediction on who will win the Super Bowl and why? Then parlay that with a follow up interview if your prediction holds true.
If you aren’t getting any call backs, you have nothing to lose. If you do any one of the following things above, you will stand out and get the recruiter’s attention.
Examples Of Good Resumes That Get Jobs
Now, let’s examine some examples of good resumes. Below each one you’ll find a summary of my thoughts along with a resume rating.
Resume Example #1: Business Management Or Sales
Resume analysis: I like how Adam states right up front his objectives and qualifications. His resume is easy to read. Unfortunately, there is no GPA, and his work experience isn’t much to write home about, depending on what job he’s looking for. If he’s looking to apply as a restaurant manager, he looks like a perfect candidate. Resume Rating: 8/10.
Resume Example #2: Post MBA
Resume analysis: Edgar has a classically formatted resume, which I like. He must be just graduating from business school because he over emphasizes his education, and under emphasizes what makes Edgar the man.
We already know Edgar went to Darden b-school if I’m reading his resume, so putting his education at the very top is wasting valuable real estate. Also, I learn nothing about Edgar as a person, which doesn’t create any affinity. Resume Rating: 7/10.
Resume Example #3: Translator
Resume analysis: This is one of my favorite examples of good resumes. Pamela’s resume has almost everything I want to see. I like how she highlights a “Profile” portion up top, lists her experience, and then her education and activities.
I would love to know more about what makes Pamela tick. Also, I would consider removing her earliest work experience and expand a little more on her interests. Resume Rating: 8.5/10.
Resume Example #4: Actress
Resume analysis: Lauren’s resume is unique because it is a classic example of an actor’s resume. The resume showcases her range as an actress in terms of tours, plays, commercials, and training.
Lauren is obviously an attractive woman who has used a professional headshot picture in the top left hand corner to attract the casting director’s attention. Lauren’s phone is probably ringing off the hook. Resume rating: 8/10
Resume Example #5: Accounting
Resume analysis: James’ resume is poorly constructed because it looks like there’s a huge four year gap between when he graduated in 2001 and his current job as an accountant.
You have to look closely to see that he was an Accounting Intern from 2001-2005, which as an awfully long time. James should BOLD “Accounting Intern, 2001-2005” and “Accountant, 2006 to Present” to make the resume more clear. James’ resume is severely lacking in personality and does nothing to differentiate itself from other resumes. Resume rating: 6/10
Conclusion: A Good Resume Is Standard!
A good resume is standard, which also means good resumes are a dime a dozen. If you have a badly formatted resume with glaring holes, poor grammar, no personality, and lack of clarity, your job seeking life is over.
With a bad resume, you might as well become an entrepreneur or work a dead end job instead, because nobody will be willing to give you a chance since you can’t even present yourself properly on one sheet of paper. Beyond the basics of resume writing, it’s the resume’s content which really helps get you an interview and that job.
The economy is extremely unstable now due to so many people who are unemployed. Make a great resume using the examples of good resumes above as your guide. And keep developing important work skills so you may more easily be able to get a job. Don’t give up!
Recommendations For Work And Life
Negotiate A Severance
Never quit your job, negotiate a severance instead. If you quit your job, you walk away with nothing. If you negotiate a severance like I did back in 2012, you not only get a severance check, but potentially subsidized healthcare, deferred compensation, and worker training. Since you got laid off, you’re also eligible for unemployment benefits. Having a financial runway is huge during your transition period.
Check out, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye, on how to negotiate a severance. I first published the book in 2012 and have since expanded it to over 180 pages. The book is now in its 4th edition for 2020 thanks to tremendous reader feedback and successful case studies.
Start Your Own Website To Brand Yourself Online
There’s nothing better than starting your own website to own your brand online. Why should LinkedIn, FB, and Twitter pop up when someone Google’s your name? With your own website you can share your thoughts, sell a product, sell some else’s product, make passive income, connect with potentially millions of people online, and find a lot of new consulting and FT work opportunities.
Every year since 2012, I’ve found a new six figure consulting opportunity thanks to employers finding Financial Samurai online. Start your own WordPress website like mine today with Bluehost. You never know where the journey will take you! There’s not a week that goes by where I’m not thankful for starting my site back in 2009.
Check out the example below of a real blogger friend I know who built up his site after four years and now makes ~$150K a year online and another ~$180K from consulting! If you need help creating a website, here is my step-by-step guide for one.
Updated for 2020 and beyond.