How to Write a Resume - Perfect Guide for You to Count On : Current School News

How to Write a Resume – Perfect Guide for You to Count On

Filed in Job by on April 24, 2021

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Resume: Obvious as it may be, a resume is a document that showcases your work experience, profile, education, and skills. The purpose of writing a resume is to get invited to job interviews. 

Let’s get to know more starting from how to prepare a resume…

How to Write a Resume - Perfect Guide for You

This is kind of a broad definition. As such, it may be helpful to describe what a resume isn’t. First, it isn’t just your work experience. It also isn’t simply a list of your skills, awards, and certifications. Not to mention, a resume is also very different from a curriculum vitae (CV). Be careful not to mix them up.

Ultimately, putting it together is an important first step to getting a great job and advancing your career.

How to Write a Resume: Before you Jump in

Here is what you need to get started:

  • The names and addresses of the companies you’ve worked for
  • Dates of employment
  • A succinct description of your duties and responsibilities, with an emphasis on your most recent or most relevant job
  • A list of critical hard and soft skills you want to highlight in your resume
  • The names of all colleges and universities you’ve attended and the degrees you received
  • Proper names (not just the acronyms) of any professional certificates, licenses, or special training you have earned, and the dates you completed these
  • The job description for the role at hand

Learn to Tell Your Story

Once you’ve gathered the information above, think about what you want an employer to know about you and your professional or academic accomplishments.

Your resume shouldn’t be a boring list of work responsibilities. It should tell your professional story and show the journey you’ve taken in your work life. Think of it as a thread running through your employment history that connects one role to another, showing the skills and experiences you’ve gathered along the way.

To start, study the job ad to determine what the employer is looking for in a candidate, with the following questions in mind:

  1. What problem is the employer trying to solve by making this hire?
  2. What skills from the job ad do I possess?
  3. What stories about my professional (or academic past) can I connect to the requirements outlined in the job ad?

Next, incorporate the information you’ve jotted down in the following ways:

  1. Use your response to the first question as a sentence or two of your professional summary.
  2. Add the hard and soft skills list that you’ve created prominently in your skills section, using the exact phrasing it uses. These keywords will help your resume pass through an applicant tracking system in the first round of screening.
  3. Using the work experience and achievements that you’ve connected to the job ad, add relevant data and metrics to the work experience section of your resume.

Choose a Resume Template

Resume templates refer to the look and feel of your document. Here are some things to consider when choosing a resume template:

  1. Is the industry to which you are applying conservative? Creative? Or somewhere in the middle? A whimsical design may not be received well at a law firm, for example, so consider your audience carefully.
  2. Are you applying for the same job title across industries? If so, I recommend that you change your resume template accordingly.

How to Write a Resume - Sample

Pick a Resume Format

When you’re learning how to write a resume, the next step is choosing a resume format. A resume format refers to how the information in your document is laid out, and which elements are emphasized. The format you choose will depend on several factors, including your work history, skill set, level of work experience, and industry.

There are three widely used resume formats — chronological, functional, and combination/hybrid. Here is a brief overview of each format.

Chronological

  • Since it focuses on work history above all else, this format is best for a job applicant with a consistent employment record who wishes to show off an impressive career trajectory.

Functional

  • Since it focuses on skills over work experience, this format works best for entry-level job seekers, those making a career change, or an applicant with a spotty work history.

Combination

  • Utilizing elements from both the functional and chronological resume formats this format emphasizes both transferable skills and your work history making it a great format for a variety of job seekers.

Write the 5 Essential Resume Sections

While the layout of the three resume formats differs, all contain the same five components. The level of detail required and the placement of the sections will vary slightly from format to format.

Using the information, you gathered in Step 1, now it’s time to fill in all the sections of your resume. Below, I provide a general overview of each resume section and what belongs in each.

Header

  • The list you’re given first and last name. If you prefer to be called by a nickname, mention that in your interview, not on your resume.
  • List your telephone number and a professional email address. Adding your mailing address is optional unless you are looking to relocate.
  • If you have a professional website or portfolio, provide the URL.

Professional Summary

  • In a sentence, mention the job you are applying for and a few of your most relevant skills and accomplishments. Choose these skills by studying the job ad.
  • Use compelling language to convince a potential employer that your qualifications will further the company’s objectives.
  • Keep this section to 2-4 sentences.

Skills Section

  • Add in your most relevant hard skills by referring to the job ad and emphasizing the skills listed there.
  • Insert your valuable soft skills, like communication or customer service experience. These skills are sought after even in jobs where they may not seem applicable.
  • Round out this section with any applicable transferable skills you possess.

Work History

  • Make this section compelling by not only listing your responsibilities but by showing the impact your work had. Accomplish this by adding data and metrics whenever possible.
  • Turn each bullet point into a selling point by using compelling verbs to describe your responsibilities.
  • Aim to write five to eight bullets for your current (or most relevant role).
  • For older positions, stick to three to six bullet points.

Education Section

  • If you have a college degree, awards or certifications, include it in an education section.
  • List your highest degrees first, the date you earned them, and the institution.
  • Mention high school if that’s the highest level of education you have achieved. Only add your most relevant certifications and awards.

Check Your Formatting

Resume formatting can be a pain in the neck but it doesn’t have to be one.

Below, I layout resume formatting basics to keep in mind as you write your document.

  • Length
    The basic rule of thumb is to write one page per decade of work experience, with a maximum of two decades worth of experience represented on your resume. Whenever possible, keep your resume to just one page.
  • Margins
    When setting the margins on your resume, stick to 0.61 inches on the sides and 0.9 inches at the top whenever possible. If you need to adjust your margins, remember not to go smaller than 0.5 inches on any side or larger than 1.25 inches.
  • Fonts
    Choose an easy-to-read font such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Once you have chosen a font, remember to stick to either a 10- or 12-point font size.
  • Alignment
    Each section of your resume will be formatted and aligned slightly differently. Below, we have outlined some basic formatting rules:

    • Main Resume Sections
      Your Professional Summary, Skills, and Work History sections should be left-aligned for readability.
    • Header
      Depending on the header you choose, the contact information in your header should be centered aligned, which is more traditional, or left-aligned, a feature of some modern resumes.
    • Employment Dates
      The dates of employment for your past roles should either be right-aligned across from the company name or job title or left-aligned under the company name.

Proofread Your Document

Nothing will land a great resume in the trash faster than typos and grammatical errors. Before you send out a resume, take the time to proofread your document.

Here’s how:

  • Read your resume top to bottom at least twice.
  • Ask a trusted friend to review the content. When you’ve read a document over several times, it’s sometimes hard to see your errors.
  • Use an online grammar and spell-check tool. These are typically free and will make suggestions for how to polish your writing.

Download, print, and send

Every employer has a different preference when it comes to filing formats. Some prefer PDF documents, while others want Microsoft Word or simple text.

Here’s how:

  • Choose your file format and save your resume.
  • When you are ready to apply for a job, download your resume and either send it via email or upload it to a job board.

How to Write a Resume: Top 10 Resume Facts

As you write your resume, keep your audience–as well as our top 10 facts–in mind:

  1. Recruiters spend an average of only about 6 seconds on each resume before deciding whether to interview a candidate.
  2. The first 15-20 words of your resume are the most important; that’s how many words the average person can read in those 6 seconds.
  3. The top one-third of your resume often determines whether a hiring manager chooses to keep reading.
  4. Your summary is the section of your resume a recruiter is most likely to read.
  5. Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for specific terms. ATS search terms are usually correlated to job descriptions.
  6. A recent survey found that 54 percent of job seekers do not customize their resumes for each job, so tailoring yours could put you ahead of more than half your competition.
  7. Changing the wording of a keyword from the job description even slightly – for example, from “project management” to “project manager” – could cause the ATS to eliminate you.
  8. Many ATS cannot recognize abbreviations as common as “CPA.”
  9. Unusual fonts, spacing, and images can all throw off an ATS. Using our Resume Builder is a quick, easy way to bypass this issue.
  10. Typos can easily sabotage your resume — a survey of employers showed that of the most common mistakes applicants make on their resumes, 58 percent are related to misspellings. Make sure you perform a final resume check.

How to Write a Resume: Frequently Asked Questions

How long should it take to write a resume?

It can take up to a couple of weeks to craft a resume worth sending to potential employers. Though writing a draft may take only hours, you still need to tweak it to perfection – after all, you only get one shot to make a great first impression. If you don’t have the time to master how to make a resume shine, use our Resume Builder, and get your resume in minutes.

How do I write a good resume?

Nail your professional summary, work history, and skills sections. Lead those three sections with what’s most important, and make it compelling and relevant.
The average recruiter or hiring manager spends six seconds reviewing a resume, scanning the document from the top down. If the summary, work history, and skills sections are off, the scanning will stop.
Important Reads:

How do I write a resume with many short-term jobs?

Lead with a compelling summary statement that emphasizes both your length of experience and desire to find long-term, full-time employment. Consider leaving off very short-term stints that lasted only a few months. Use only the years with dates.
I recommend you use a functional or combination resume to draw attention to long positions.

How do you write a resume when you are still in college?

Start with a strong summary of your qualifications, emphasizing the value of your skillset and knowledge. If you have limited work experience, move your education section above the work history, listing any academic honors. Remember you may have internships or volunteer experience to note on your resume.

How do you write a resume when you haven’t worked in years?

Use a functional or hybrid format, leading with your most relevant skill set, including those developed outside of a formal profession. For instance, if you raised kids, you can emphasize your ability to multitask in high-stress environments. Do the same in your cover letter.

And that’s a wrap! If you have followed our advice to this point, you should now know how to write a great resume. So get started writing some stellar resumes so you can land more interviews and get that dream job!

I trust this was helpful to you? You can as well share it with your friends on social media so they too can benefit from it.

CSN Team.

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