Ch.  1: What is a Resume?

What is a Resume?


Here, we'll be covering what a resume is, their purpose, why you need one in your job search, and how they differ from C.V.s. Use this guide to craft a professional document that will highlight your accomplishments, speak to your style, and make a great impression on your prospective employers.

There are several elements that are overlooked by job-seekers when drafting a resume. Set yourself apart from the crowd and learn how to strategically formulate a resume to give yourself the winning edge. 


What is a Resume?


A resume is a brief, skimmable document, usually saved in .doc or .pdf formats, summarizing and communicating your employment history, education, relevant skills, experiences and qualifications to a party or individual looking to fill a position. It's recommended that a resume be 1-page long, but they can be 2, and even 3, pages when warranted. However, it's advisable not to go over 1-pg unless absolutely necessary.

Treat the space on your resume as valuable and only include experiences, qualifications, and accomplishments that are relevant to the position you're interested in. You should think of your resume as a marketing tool; it should portray career and life highlights to sell specific skills to your prospective employer. Not to get ahead of ourselves, we'll break down this concept later in the guide and analyze exactly what makes a good resume.

Here's an example of what a good medical assistant resume looks like:

What is a Resume


What is the Purpose of a Resume?


Simply, the main purpose of a resume is to score an interview.

Recruiters and human resource professionals receive hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes for each position they post, so it is imperative that you create a concise and persuasive resume that will catch the attention of those doing the hiring.

To get past stage one of the hiring process (and avoid being sorted into the dreaded "no" pile) you must portray yourself as a great fit for the position.

It is important to build a resume that caters specifically to the position or industry that you're interested in. You will have little success if you make a blanket resume for many different jobs.


Why Do I Need a Resume?


If you want to enter the professional world, a resume is not a suggestion, it's mandatory. Many people think they can simply fill out applications without a resume, but this practice does a serious disservice to the job seeker; it fails to showcase skills, it fails to set the applicant apart, and it fails to add any personalization to the application.

Resumes are necessary for:

  • Showcasing your skills, accomplishments, and potential.
  • Advancing your career.
  • Competing in the professional world.
  • Highlighting that you're the right fit for the position.
  • Mapping where you've been and where you're going.
  • Getting the interview!

  What is a Resume


Resumes vs. Curricula Vitae (C.V.)


Resumes and curricula vita (c.v.) have much in common, but they are not the same thing, and every job seeker should know the difference. Generally speaking, a C.V. is a much more detailed overview of your life and accomplishments than a resume and is primarily used in academia. Resumes are more for the professional world.

With a resume, you want to take a targeted approach, treating every inch of space on the page as valuable real estate. A concise message that shows the employer why you're the best choice for the position and inspires them to pick up the phone to schedule an interview is your resume's ultimate goal. On the contrary, a C.V. is meant to give an in-depth description of someone's life. We won't delve any deeper into the differences in this guide, but you can learn more here: Curricula Vitae (CVs) versus Resumes. 




So, what is a resume? It's your foot in the door. It's the tool that you use to leverage opportunities and get ahead. How much time you invest into it and how well the finished product ends up being could could very well change your future, be sure you're aware of everything there is to know about building the perfect resume.

Treat the space on your first page as highly valuable and include only relevant experiences, try not to exceed 1-page, and use an appropriate typeface. Continue with this guide to learn more about building a great resume and which mistakes that ought to be avoided.


Next: Ch. 2: The Best Fonts for Your Resume