Seasonal summer positions are winding down and the fall hiring season is just getting geared up. Time to get your resume ready for the fall job opportunities that are about to appear.
Because the seasons bring shifts in both job openings and worker availability, there will be big opportunities for those who have been out of work (or engaged in unrelated work) for a while. If you've been absent from your target industry for the past few months, you'll need to polish your resume to appeal to employers posting jobs this fall and winter. If you've been absent from the workforce for years rather than months (possibly because you stepped out to help with children or aging relative) you'll want to rewrite your resume to keep an employment gap from holding you back.
Read on to learn how to get your seasonal resume in shape to find a new job this fall.
Back to Resume Basics
When it comes to getting your resume ready for a job opportunity, you should start by dividing your resume into five sections that apply to almost every job search (no matter what your future employer's specific needs may be):
- Heading. This is the section at the top of your resume where you share your name and contact information. Consider adding your home address.
- Professional summary. This section includes a few lines under your heading that introduce what you have to offer and what you're looking for.
- Education. This section of your resume should showcase your classroom credentials including degrees, licenses, and certifications and can appear close to the top of the page or near the bottom.
- Work History. The critical section of any resume, you should detail your work experience and be sure show off any special accomplishments or responsibilities you held in these roles. Don't be afraid to brag, but be brief and to the point when listing things you did that enabled the organization to grow or run better.
- Skills. This section should highlight the skills and unique competencies you intend to bring to the workplace.
If you've spent time volunteering, create a separate section for this information titled "Additional Projects" or "Volunteer Work." Click here for additional formatting help.
If you have skills that matter to employers hiring this fall, emphasize those over skills that might have been more relevant in other seasons. For example, if you spent the summer bartending and now you're looking for a tutoring role, focus on your communication and education skills, not your ability to please customers and upsell snacks.
A Quick List of Resume Best Practices
In addition to formatting your resume properly, you'll want to keep a few best practices in mind:
- Don't attach a photo to your resume submission.
- Keep it short. Resumes should clock in at less than two pages. A shorter document keeps attention and memory focused on your strongest credentials.
- Don't share personal details in your resume or cover letter, including your ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or family status. (And don't talk about your marriage or children, even if their school schedules are influencing your fall search for work in your cover letter or in any interviews.)
Cover Letter Best Practices for Seasonal Jobseekers
Whether you're looking for a seasonal job or are ready to return to full-time employment, you'll want to follow these seasonal cover letter best practices:
Leverage your resume summary. The summary is the most important part of your resume, and if there's anything about your candidacy that requires additional explanation, mention it in your cover letter.
- Stress the season. If you have skills that matter to employers hiring this fall, emphasize those over skills that might have been more relevant in other seasons. For example, if you spent the summer bartending and now you're looking for a tutoring role, focus on your communication and education skills, not your ability to please customers and upsell snacks. Both are great skills to have, but the first is more relevant to seasonal employers.
- Never apologize in your cover letter. You haven't done anything wrong or called your employability into question by working in another industry for a while. But you will need to emphasize your ability to deliver the specific skills and competencies that your fall employer needs.
Resume Best Practices for Workers Returning After a Long Absence
Once you're ready to return to the workforce after a longer absence, you'll want to follow these resume best practices that can help you get a leg up with employers:
- Clarify your employment gap in your cover letter and resume summary. If you've been a stay-at-home parent with a gap in your resume, your cover letter should emphasize how much and how soon you'd like to work. (Again, don't discuss your family status). If you're leaving your previous schedule behind for good, state that you're looking for a standard nine-to-five job.
- Refresh your resume. Resume styles and layout have likely changed since the last time you looked for a job. Dust off your document, add any new experiences you've gained recently, and take a fresh look at your text. Resume templates like these can help you keep your style and formatting up to date.
- Don't draw attention to your employment gap. Instead, focus on the skills you have to offer. Don't falsify or omit your employment dates, but don't exhaustively discuss them either. Wait until your asked.
No matter where you've been all summer or where you're headed as the seasons change, take a breath, make a plan, and then get some meaningful, focused resume help. Use our professional Resume Builder to get on track and stay on track until you're ready to step into your brand new job.