A resume is a professional document that describes you as a candidate for a position. It’s your chance to show employers who you are, what positions you're looking to fill, and why you are the right person for the job.
With over 10 million resumes submitted in the US every year, it's becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. That's why having a great resume is so important!
As you prepare yours, make sure to focus on creating an impressive introduction, body paragraphs, and a strong conclusion. In addition, be aware of the basics like using punctuation, spelling, and grammar correctly.
This article will go more in-depth about how to write a quality resume.
Make it personal
When writing your resume, make it personal! The more you can connect with what makes you interesting, the better your chance of being selected for an interview.
Your career will come and go, but your resilience is constant. Therefore, use this opportunity to tell stories that emphasize your strengths and weaknesses, things you learned from past experiences, and how those lessons helped you grow.
This includes telling stories about yourself in the workplace, such as “My most recent project involved working with __________ where I had to overcome internal barriers to achieve my goal.” or “I always show up prepared and organized, which has helped me manage my time effectively.”
After all, your resume is only as good as your personal touch. If you’re trying to get employment in a new field or position, then highlighting your achievements in the job posting alone will not make you look very appealing.
Make your resume engaging
When looking at resumes, there are two major components that most employers will spend time reading- to determine if you have enough experience for the position and whether they like your writing style.
As such, your cover letter should be full of engaging content that is clearly written and includes proper spelling and grammar.
Your resume’s headline can also play an important role in getting attention from recruiters. The header should include the job title and the recruiter’s name, as well as some indication of what areas of the company you would fit into.
For example, “Software Engineer – Product Development,” highlights your skill set while indicating a potential career path within the organization. It also gives a little bio that sets up your profile.
The rest of the page should develop the narrative around these points.
Page count and keywords
When it comes to creating your resume, there are two things you should be looking into. These are using keywords and using an appropriate number of pages.
Using too many pages can become cumbersome for readers who have to scroll up and down to find what information you wanted them to see. This is not only time-consuming but also looks bad for your career as they will need to navigate through lots of content that isn’t very organized or interesting.
We recommend keeping yourself to one page at most unless you use the space to showcase important experiences and achievements.
Keywords are another major factor in killing your chances of being chosen for a job interview. You have to know which keywords recruiters expect to see in applications and which ones they don't.
Relevant keywords vary between professions, so do your research and find out which ones are useful for your application.
Now that you have done some research, and gathered some information, it is time to organize all of this into a proper document! Your resume should be organized in an easy-to-read fashion with well-organized content.
Your job search will go much more smoothly if you pay attention to such organizational basics.
Start by making sure your documents are word-processed properly using appropriate fonts, sizes, and layouts. Then, edit or create an index at the beginning to help find each section quickly.
This way, when recruiters or employers scan through your resume, they will know where to look for what things.
Focus on your skills
In the past, employers only considered looking at your resume for three things: education, employment history, and references. However, with technology advancing at lightning speed these days, it is more important than ever to focus on demonstrating how you can add value through what you know and how you have lived your life.
This includes emphasizing achievements that showcase your strengths as a person rather than just listing positions that you've had. It also means dropping the word "professional" when describing yourself - instead use plain language that emphasizes who you are as a person.
Your personal story is an excellent way to highlight your talents and qualities. Include examples of actions or behaviors (such as taking responsibility) that prove this about you. They don't need to be big stories, but they should make people think positively about you.
Include details such as stories from times when you showed initiative, examples of ways in which you solved problems, etc. If doing so gives no clear picture, then omit them to create one.
Make it concise
Your resume should be short and to the point. Employers will give you very little time so they expect it to tell them something important about you within that time frame.
As we have discussed before, your resume is one of your most powerful tools for finding employment. Therefore, it makes sense to make yours as concise and focused as possible. Try to hit all the important points in a nice flow.
This will take some time to do since every job calls for different skills and experiences. But don’t worry, you are not wasting any space – everything will eventually add up!
Your potential employers can easily scan your resume so they do not need to spend much time reading it. If their eyes get tired, they may stop looking even though they want to see more of your work.
Try to use templates or free resources to ensure your document looks similar to others. This helps them form an opinion of you quickly without having to read too much detail.
Use consistent formatting
When writing your resume, use common styles to ensure it looks similar across all platforms. This will help people identify you more quickly as an expert in the field!
Use standard margins, font types, and color schemes to create a seamless flow. Your choice of fonts can make a difference in how professional you look, so pick out a few that are considered classic brands.
Avoid using too many flashy or unusual fonts; they may distract readers. Also, be careful about using very elaborate typography or comic-style fonts as they may look gimmicky.
When designing your pages, keep things simple and neutral. A white background with solid colors is the best way to go.
A word of caution on templates
Even if you use templates, do not just paste your new career into that template! Add personal touches such as your professional title, summary, accomplishments, and hobbies. The more detail you include, the better!
Templates are great tools to have in your arsenal when creating your resume, but they should be used with caution.
Do not cut and paste the content from another person’s resume or take parts of someone else’s job description and create your version of those things; instead, add your special qualities and achievements that make you unique!
Think about how you can emphasize these strengths in your own resume.