A resume is arguably the most vital document you’ll need when making your first foray into the professional world. Moreover, its importance doesn’t diminish even after you’ve spent years making a name for yourself in your chosen profession. If anything, your resume becomes more important than ever.
Any time you apply for a job, you’ll need to send out a resume with your application. At the other end, the hiring manager looks at your resume and decides if they would like to schedule a meeting with you. Therefore, it’s safe to say a resume helps you get your foot into the door. It opens up opportunities for you. Resumes matter because they help forge a first impression in the reader’s mind. Most hiring managers can determine valuable details about you as a professional by glancing at your resume. Hence, you’ll need to write a resume that leaves a lasting impression on the recruiter and helps you stand out among the sea of applicants.
Most people don’t understand the nuance of writing a resume. A well-written resume is a piece of art detailing your work experience, accomplishments, qualifications, and skills concisely in one or two pages. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to craft a resume that encompasses all these things. Hence, most people download resume templates, hoping things click. Alternatively, they’ll rely on an online resume maker to do the job.
However, just because you don’t know how to write an effective resume doesn’t mean you can’t learn. Creating a resume can be challenging, but once you nail the fundamentals, there’s no stopping you from going from strength to strength. Hence, we’ve composed this comprehensive guide to help you write resumes like professional resume writers.
Writing a Resume Like a Pro
Some tricks and tips can elevate your resume to the next level. They include:
Look for Keywords
Statistics show that keywords play a vital role in whether your resume ends up in the hands of a human resource professional or the trash. According to Capterra, over 75 percent of all large-scale corporations use an applicant tracking system. These applicant tracking systems sift through resumes for keywords before passing them on to hiring managers. Therefore, the best place to start when writing an excellent resume is to browse through a job posting and identify as many keywords as you can find. You’ll want to incorporate these keywords into your resume to ensure the computer program doesn’t dismiss it as irrelevant.
Keep it Simple
You might find it enticing to spruce up your resume with fancy fonts or headers. However, you need to remember that keeping it professional is essential. According to a survey by Forbes, applicant tracking systems reject three-fourth of all candidates because their resume is illegible for the system. Moreover, your resume should contain language that’s easily understandable, meaning it’s vital to avoid incorporating technical jargon. In addition, stick to a professional font. You might want to try out a new font to make your resume stand out, but this isn’t the time to be experimenting. Ensure that your font is readable by keeping it between sizes 10 and 12. If you’re unsure which font to use, you can’t go wrong with the classics like Calibri or Times New Roman. Therefore, stick to the basics, and your resume should be good to go.
Select a Resume Format and Adhere to It
Most resumes follow a format. There are three commonly used resume formats that you should know: chronological resumes, functional resumes, and combination resumes. Chronological resumes emphasize your work experience. You’ll start by listing your most recent work history and work your way backward. On the other hand, functional resumes place little value on the job experience. Instead, they highlight your core competencies and skills. A combination resume mixes the best features of both functional and chronological resumes. Each format has its advantages. Consider selecting the format that’s most suitable for you and adhere to it.
Make a Compelling Header
Once you’ve selected the format, it’s time to start writing your resume. You’ll have to begin with the header. Typically, most people add their names to it. Their contact information and a concise resume summary usually follow suit. You’ll want to avoid any unnecessary information, such as your birth date. In today’s digitalizing world, adding social media links might also be acceptable. Generally speaking, some fields like digital marketing or graphic design are more receptive to the idea than others.
Typically, your professional summary should be immediately below your header. Most experts agree that professional summaries should be between one to three sentences. They should concisely describe your expertise, skills, and why you’re perfect for the job you’re seeking. While having a summary isn’t mandatory, it provides the hiring manager a quick insight into you as a professional.
For the longest time, people would relegate skills to the bottom of their resumes. However, in today’s day and age, skills have become more vital than ever. Considering how popular upskilling and reskilling have become, you want to showcase your core competencies to prospective employers. Moreover, many job ads will also list bonus skills that employers would prefer candidates to possess. If you’ve got these skills, it could help propel you to the front of the line.
Your work experience section is another critical part of your resume. Depending on the resume format you choose, it could be the center of attention of your resume. You’ll want to include company names, locations, and employment dates. Moreover, you’ll also need to accompany them with job designations and a few bullet points detailing your job tasks and accomplishments. Consider using action verbs when describing your role because it helps highlight the message you’re trying to convey more authoritatively.
Depending on your experience level, the education section of your resume will vary. If you’re a seasoned veteran, you can get away with listing only your undergraduate and graduate degrees. However, if you’re a fresh graduate, you’ll need to provide a more extensive educational background.
Keep it Short
Many people often make the mistake of dragging on and on in their resumes. Most employers prefer resumes that are one page long. Recently, there’s been a shifting trend towards two-paged resumes. However, those are primarily applicable to veterans who’ve been working for more than a decade.
Proofread and Fact-Check Your Resume
Some professionals often believe they can lie on their resume and get away with it. However, that’s a terrible idea. Your employer will most likely catch onto your lies. If that happens, you’ll have to face severe consequences, such as termination from your job. Refrain from embellishing your resume. Instead, fact-check to ensure you’ve provided accurate information. According to Career Builder, 75 percent of hiring managers report catching lies on resumes. Take it from us, it’s not worth it.
Proofreading your resume for errors is also crucial. Grammatical errors tend to leave a poor impression on hiring managers. You don’t want to risk not getting a callback because you forgot to punctuate correctly.
Increase Your Employability by Having a Professional Write Your Resume
Now that you’ve learned the secrets to writing an excellent resume, it’s time to get to work. However, you might find that your resume still doesn’t look as good as you desire. If that’s indeed the case, there’s no reason to worry. You’ll need to continue trying because practice makes perfect. In the meantime, you can solicit the services of a resume writing company to help you with your resume.