It is impossible to overestimate the importance to have an effective resume. After all, it is exactly what gives you a chance to capture the attention of a potential employer and increases your chances of getting a job offer or, at least, an interview.
Moreover, since recruiters spend an average of 10 seconds to look through your resume, it is crucial to make sure that it really stands out from the crowd.
When written properly, a resume serves as a somewhat self-advertisement that vividly shows a potential employer your abilities, experience, and accomplishments. Even though writing this paper sounds like an easy task, it is a real challenge and not much fun. How to highlight your skills? What format to choose? How to structure the paper? There are too many questions about resume writing. No wonder many people prefer to get a good resume from companies specializing in individual writing of such types of documents. However, the truth is that if you spend some time learning most important resume writing rules and tips, you will be able to compose it on your own.
3 steps of resume writing
1. Choosing style
There are three major format options used for writing a resume. Each of them has its pros and cons, and depends on your educational background and job experience.
- Chronological. As the name suggests, this formatting style is used when you want to list your job history chronologically, often in the reverse order. It can be chosen for all levels of experience and all spheres of work.
- Functional. This resume format is chosen when you need to highlight your professional skills and abilities rather than to present your job history. It is a good option for those who want to change their career or return to work after a break.
- Mixed. Obviously, this formatting style represents a combination of two formats mentioned above. It is usually chosen by executives and specialists who want to highlight their skills and qualifications, as well as provide their work experience in a particular industry.
Choosing the right format for your resume is important, so think carefully about how you want to promote yourself. Consider your professional history and qualification, and how they will look on paper. You can also try several formats to see which of them suits you best.
2. Including information
After you have decided on the style, it’s time to actually write your resume. Keep in mind that the information you include depends on the chosen format. In general, a resume should contain the following sections:
- Contact information that includes your full name and accurate contact details;
- Introduction that is usually represented by a professional profile, an objective statement, or a summary of your most important skills;
- Experience that includes your qualifications, duties, and job history listed using bullet points, according to the chronological formatting style in the reverse order;
- Education that includes your university/college/high school credentials, dates of attendance, degrees earned, GPA (if it’s above 3.0).
There also can be one more section that includes additional information you want to add to your resume (e.g. your tech skills, interests, awards, publications, etc.). In fact, since job seeker’s goals and experiences vary, there are no two resumes alike, so that you can customize your resume to your particular needs. However, you are still required to stay within the chosen style.
3. Formatting and editing
Once the hard part is complete, you need to properly format your resume. Pay attention to the following:
- Number of pages. Keep in mind that a resume differs from a curriculum vitae (CV) and should be as concise as possible. It is usually one page long, though sometimes it can be two pages.
- Font and size. You can choose any font and text size you like. However, ensure your resume is easy to read and the chosen style is used throughout the paper.
- White space. It is crucial to have enough white space on a resume of any type. Being essential for visual appeal, this formatting method is used to draw recruiter’s attention to the most significant elements.
- Lines. Lines are used to divide resume into sections, which gives hiring managers and recruiters an opportunity to better process information.
After you have formatted your resume, wait a day or two and then edit the paper to ensure it’s logically structured and coherent. Check it for style, grammar, and punctuation. If possible, ask your spouse, colleague, or friend to proofread the document too. It will allow you to spot the errors you have missed.
Follow these tips and recommendations, and you will be able to compose a great resume tailored to your specific objectives. If not, well, you can always look for some professional assistance in the completion of this crucial document.