1. Skip to content

How to Use Your Resume

You've created a resume, now what?

Use these tips to get the most out of your resume.

Get your resume out there.

Once you've have a solid resume, your job is to get it to the right people.

  • Give it to every employer you meet even if they are not currently hiring.
  • Give it to your network contacts who can be on the lookout for job opportunities for you.
  • Give it to your references. It will help them talk about your qualifications and find job opportunities for you.
  • Give it to your instructors and college placement offices. Attend job fairs in your community. Bring copies of your resume with you.
  • Upload your resume to job boards.

Send your resume to people, not places.

Avoid sending the resume to a job title (such as "Production Manager") or to a place (such as "Human Resource Department"). Find out the name and title of the appropriate person to send it to.

Send it where you are asked to.

If asked to send your resume to human resources divisions, do so. Also send a copy to the person in charge of the department in which you want to work. Most of the time, human resources does the screening, but it's the department manager who makes the hiring decision.

Send your resume with a cover letter.

Never send it by itself. Your cover letter explains your intentions in details you are not able to include in a resume. And it just looks more professional.

Don't mass mail your resume.

Mass mailing your resume to as many employers as possible is not an effective strategy. Statistics have shown that for every 1,000 resumes you send to an employer, you can expect to get two interviews. And for every 10 interviews, you will receive one job offer.

Make sure your resume is in the right format.

Employers frequently use an electronic system to review incoming job applications. Even paper resumes are often scanned into an electronic system. Make sure you provide your resume in the format an employer needs. If you aren't sure what is required, ask the employer.

Electronic systems will often scan resumes for keywords related to the position. Review the job description to see which keywords the employer includes on the job description. Make sure you use as many of those keywords as possible when describing your skills and experience on your resume.

Send your resume together with the job application form.

When filling out a job application, attach your resume if you feel that the form doesn't capture your best attributes. This can be effective in overcoming employment barriers. However, never write on the application "see resume." Take the time to fill out the application completely.

Follow up after sending your resume.

After sending a resume, call the employer. It is no good to send resumes if you do not follow up on your efforts. Be courteous, professional, and sell your qualifications. Ask for an informational interview, if it is appropriate. If you are not getting responses or interviews, you may want to review your resume. The true test of an effective resume is that you are offered interviews.

Source: Adapted from Creative Job Search, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Next Steps:

Other Resources on the Web