You’ve made that big step – you have finally decided to start applying for online work. That’s great. The thrill that comes with such big decisions that will take you into a better future is amazing.
The decision is made, the dust has settled and it is time to get to work. Now, this is not the most favorite part of job hunting, but it has to be done – resume writing.
Most people have written some kind of resume during their lives. Everybody has some sort of a general idea about how to write a resume. However, it is obvious that some resumes work while others fail and it is not only about the facts they contain.
It is also about formatting, appeal and the general impression your resume makes. We will go through all that. But, let’s start with the traditional elements of a resume and then move on to the ways resume aimed at finding an online job.
What Are the Different Sections of a Resume?
You have seen a resume before. You have even written one or more. Therefore, you know that there are different resume sections that you should include. Here is what your resume should have:
- Contact Information
- Resume Objective
This doesn’t seem too hard, does it? Still, it is more than just a walk in a park. How you organize and fill these elements makes all the difference. You want to say just the right things without blurring up the truth.
What Personal Details Should I Put on My Resume?
Obviously, you need to state your name and contact details. Additionally, your contact details need to be accurate and well-chosen.
- Email and phone number
For example, you should definitely create an email address if your primary email address doesn’t sound professional. You will agree that firstname.lastname@example.org looks far better than email@example.com
The mobile phone number will suffice. Make sure it is correct. Check and double check! If there are times when you are not available, list them.
- Social media profiles
Since you are applying for an online position, perhaps you should be more careful about your online presence. Don’t go listing all your Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts unless they are directly related to the position.
On the other hand, a good LinkedIn profile should definitely be on that list, as well as your Skype contact.
- Home address
In a traditional email, your home address is quite important. Some companies prefer to send you their job interview results in the mail.
However, it is a bit different from the online practices. It is very unlikely that you will correspond with your potential employers via snail mail.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t list your address, but don’t let it take up too much of your space and don’t let it hog the top place of your contact information.
What Is a Good Resume Objective?
Good resume objective or resume summary is a short statement that sums up the entire “point” of your resume and you as an employee.
Some experts say that resume objectives are obsolete, but since it is not a big section and it can help your chances, especially if you don’t have a lot of work experience, it is best to use it.
Let’s say you are only starting as a Virtual Assistant and you simply don’t have enough experience yet to fill out your resume. In that case, you should tailor your objective so that it reflects the job description.
Here is a screenshot of a real job for VAs, listed on the Remote.co.
Use the keywords on their description to craft your own objective. You can write something along the lines of:
Highly friendly and professional Virtual Assistant, tech-savvy and reliable, looking for a position in a company where I can apply my skills in CRM administration, data entry and social media management to support the company growth and development.
How Do I Describe My Work Experience on a Resume?
The cleanest and the most elegant way to do this is to list the positions from the most recent to the oldest ones. For each of the positions you held, you should list the following:
- Company name
- Dates when you were employed there
- Your position
- Your responsibilities and achievements
It is all self-explanatory, but responsibilities and achievements may need some extra explanation. It is best if you present these in bullet points that start with an activity you performed and end with an outcome favorable for the company.
Take a look at this example from Indeed.com
Can you think of a way to improve these? For example, it would be great if all the bullet points started with an active verb. Here, we have some nouns, verbs in different forms and similar inconsistencies. Try and put them in order like this:
- Acted as a publisher’s liaison…
In that way, you will emphasize the fact that you were an active participant of that organization and that you worked hard to accomplish your work mission.
Another thing that should be included in these bullet points are goals that those actions achieved. This may be a bit challenging for a VA job, but there is always a way. Let’s try that on our previous example:
- Administered in-house telecommunication i.e., phone system, network, Internet, e-mail and web site connectivity that increased productivity by 5%
- Developed and implemented campaigns for email, online, and search engines, increasing the leads by 10%
- Formulated written advertisements for social media marketing (Facebook, Instagram, Website) that increased the visits to our website by 50 visitors a day.
In this way, you are actually providing your potential employer with some tangible results that they would like to see happen for their company, as well.
What Do I Put in The Education Section of a Resume?
A general rule of thumb is that you should put in all relevant education into your resume, listing it from the latest obtained levels, down to your high school.
You can include your major and minor, especially if it is in any way related to the work you hope to do online. The name of the school should be there, of course, but you don’t have to add the year of graduation if you don’t want to.
However, since there is little traditional education for the hard skills required for the online work, you should list all the courses, certificates and similar types of training and professional development.
In the online job market, the most important thing is the answer to the question – what can you do?
It is all about sharing the results and proving that you have the skills and can use them, rather than presenting your training and diplomas. List all the certificates and proofs of training if you have some, even before your formal education.
It is much more likely that your future employer will appreciate more than you have finished a full Small Revolution training to be a Virtual Assistant, than that you have majored in English literature.
Still, there are a couple of rules you should follow when you list your university degree:
- If you have an MA and BA, list the MA first
- If you haven’t finished your studies, still list your time spent at the university
- GPA in your resume makes some sense only if you are a recent graduate and it is above 3.5
What Are Some Skills to Put on Your Resume?
You need to differentiate the hard skills and soft skills. Think of the hard skills as the answers to the question – “what can you do?”. These include copywriting, data entry, foreign languages and similar.
The soft skills are more of the personal, character traits that you have. These include time management, assertive communication, creativity, leadership skills and such.
You should definitely list these in your resume, especially when you have the skills that are desirable for a virtual assistant.
Here is a nifty trick – you don’t have to list all the soft skills at one place. For example, use the most specific ones in the Skills Section.
Traits like time-management and such can be listed here. Skills such as flexibility, being a team player and such can be peppered throughout the rest of your resume.
Let’s take some examples from before and see how we could add some skills in them. Firstly, let’s see how we can showcase some skills in the work experience section. This is what we have now:
• Developed and implemented campaigns for email, online, and search engines, increasing the leads by 10%
This can be used to showcase creativity or efficiency skills. You can add it to this bullet point.
• Efficiently developed and implemented creative campaigns for email, online, and search engines, increasing the leads by 10%
The resume objective is an obvious part of your resume where you can really pack a lot of your soft skills. Again, take a look at the job listing and see which soft skills they list and use those.
How to Format Your Resume for Online Jobs?
There are a lot of similarities between the resumes for traditional jobs and those for online jobs. The sections and the way you list things are similar. However, there are some differences, as well.
Some of those will make writing your online resume a bit more challenging, while others will make it easier. Let’s start with the most important aspect: keywords.
Every resume should be carefully optimized for the keywords that the employer used in their job description. This works on two levels.
Firstly, your employer will catch on the phrases they are looking for and it is more likely that they will choose you.
Secondly, which is probably even more important, is the fact that, in some cases, your employer will use some sort of scanning software.
This software eliminates all the resumes that don’t contain the keywords that signify the skills they are asking for.
You could use some of these in your Resume Objective, while others can be listed in the Skills section. Moreover, you can rewrite some of your job responsibilities from the Work Experience section to include these phrases.
For example, our already tweaked bullet point is now like this:
• Efficiently developed and implemented creative campaigns for email, online, and search engines, increasing the leads by 10%
We can take a look at the keywords from the description and see that “independently” is one of them. Let’s add this to the mix and get:
• Worked independently to efficiently develop and implement creative campaigns for email, online, and search engines, increasing the leads by 10%
There are other elements of this bullet point that can be changed and improved a bit, but let’s just take it as it is, for now, to show how to make all these useful alterations.
Now, with a good keyword or two installed in it, this bullet point is optimized for search.
Of course, you should do this only if you really possess the skills that are requested in the job description. Be truthful in your resume, at all times.
Make the Most of Online Templates
One of the perks of resumes for online jobs is that you can make the most of all the online tools without having to worry about the limitations of the printed paper.
For example, some great image editing tools also have resume templates that you can easily use to make a more interesting and eye-catching resume to stand out.
For example, Canva has some very interesting templates that you can fill out and customize to match your needs.
Another thing that is possible when applying for a job is to include a video in your resume. When done properly, it can truly make you stand out from the crowd of other resumes.
Still, you need to be careful when choosing the occasion in which you may want to pull this off.
Choose the Fonts Wisely
The choice of your fonts can save or ruin your resume. Those who make the decision of whether you are the right fit or not have only a couple of seconds to do so.
If your font is messy or odd, it will distract the person who looks at the resumes and they won’t be able to see the details that you want them to see.
Your fonts need to be elegant, clean and readable. Some of the suggestions are:
These fonts can always be your go-to fonts. Don’t put more than two, although you can complete your entire resume using only one font in different sizes and using bold, italics and underlines.
Save Your Resume in the Appropriate File Formats
When your format is all done and ready, it is time to save it and send it. However, make sure that it is saved in the right format.
Your best option is PDF, in most cases. In this case, your resume cannot be changed and it will be displayed equally on all devices.
Namely, when you save your resume in Word and similar text editors, they sometimes change if the person opening it has different settings or a different version of the same program.
All your trouble to make your resume look great will go to waste.
Now, you should have a very good idea about how to create your resume to land a good virtual assistant job, or any other online work, for that matter.
The online job market is growing and while it may not take over the traditional job market entirely, it will definitely keep growing and keep changing the way people think about the work and employment.
Since, you are fairly early to this show, make the most of it and start by creating the best possible resume that works perfectly for online works.Credit: freepik by yanalya