How to Write a Resume to be Noticed: The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide
How to write a resume that will help you land a job? Professional resume writers from SkillHub got you covered!
Write the Perfect Resume in No Time!
If you have ever wondered “how do I make a resume that wins a job,” you are not alone there! This is the question all job seekers face at the beginning of their career path. Writing a resume that will make you look like a perfect applicant in the eyes of the recruiters and potential employers is a true art that can be pretty hard to master.
Yet, it is impossible to undervalue the importance of a polished resume for your career. Whether you are a seasonal laborer or a high-level executive, it is your resume that can help you get hired, which is why it is so important to know how to create a resume that will complement your job application.
This article will be your complete guide to resume writing. After reading it, you will know for sure how to build a resume that ensures success! Let’s dive in.
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What Is a Resume?
First of all, before we move on to practical steps for writing resume, let’s take a moment here to answer the most important question - what is a resume for a job?
A resume is an integral part of all job applications. In a nutshell, it is a document that contains the information a recruiter needs to consider a person for a specific job. This information includes key skills, work experience, education, level of qualification, professional accomplishments, and other details that show what makes a candidate a good fit for a job.
In other words, a resume is the professional business card that represents you to recruiting firms and gives them the needed solid grounding to either hire you or not.
A resume plays a decisive role in your job search. The success of the entire endeavor depends a lot on it and that’s why making a good resume is so vital! Don't forget online resume writer service is over here to have your back!
Types of Resume
When you write a resume, every tiny detail matters. Your main goal is to create a document that doesn’t only showcase your best points, but also ensures that it stands out.
Often, even vast experience and skills are just not enough to get the job. You should remember that recruiters only spend several seconds reviewing resumes. If you don’t grab their attention right away, you will fail. Apart from that, you will face huge competition from other job seekers.
Not to mention ATS bots that can also get in your way. To avoid this you need to know how to make resume stand out and the best way to do this is to choose the right type of resume that will accentuate your strengths!
Thus, in order to figure out how to build a great resume, you should first learn about the different types of resumes that are there.
The chronological resume is the most flexible and widely used format. It should include the following sections in this order:
- Contact Info. This element is essential regardless of the chosen format and it is most often located near the top of a resume.
- Objective. Typically, a chronological format implies using a resume objective as it allows candidates to tailor their resumes to the needs of employers.
- Work Experience. This format works best for candidates who have a solid work history as it makes the biggest emphasis on experience.
- Additional Skills. Use this section to indicate your key personal skills.
- Education. List here the key degrees and/or certifications you have.
- Accomplishments. Use this section to highlight relevant honors and achievements.
Tip: This is a traditional format that can be used in almost any situation, but not if you lack experience, change jobs too often, or are looking for a career change.
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Unlike a chronological format, a functional resume type focuses not on the candidate’s work experience, but on skills.
A resume written in this format must include:
- Contact Info. Just like in most other resume formats, this section should be close to the top.
- Summary. A strong summary that will highlight your strongest skills and achievements will look great on a functional resume.
- Work Experience. Going with this format, you should keep your experience section shorter than usual to de-emphasize it.
- Relevant Skills. Since you are de-emphasizing your work history on this resume, turn your relevant skills into your biggest selling point.
- Education. Mention your highest degree and key certifications (if relevant).
- Accomplishments. List here all relevant achievements (if any).
Tip: Pick this format if your work history can be called inconsistent, if you want to switch a field, or if you have a skill set that adds more value than the actual experience.
A combination resume is a mix of the two other types. It also focuses on the candidate’s qualifications and skills but doesn’t de-emphasize the work experience.
Here is what to include in such a resume:
- Contact Info. As always, the contact section is still there.
- Summary. Since this resume makes an emphasis on both skills and work history, you can focus on both in your summary.
- Work Experience. Fill in your experience section similarly to how it is done in a chronological resume.
- Skills. Feel free to list both soft and hard skills in this section.
- Education. This section plays a small role in this format, but you should still specify your education.
Tip: The combination format is perfect for specialists with broad experience and a great skill set, it also works great for those who are changing their career path, but it’s not good for candidates with less experience.
What to Include in a Resume?
Whether you apply for a traditional or online job, it is your resume that defines whether you will land an interview or not - every career advice expert will confirm this. However, while the role of a bot-beating resume for your future career is rather clear, there is one more concern that torments every job seeker.
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This article is your complete guide to creating a perfect resume, so, buckle up and get ready to learn how to make a professional resume.
To get started, it is vital to understand what elements are essential for a resume. So, let's take it as a starting point. Here are the main elements you have to include when writing your resume:
- Contact info
- Summary / Objective
- Additional information
All these details are the necessary basics that must be inherent in your resume. These details provide recruiters with all the important information needed to get you employed, so you have to be mindful and ensure your resume has it all.
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How to Make a Resume
Writing a perfect resume is the key to land a dream job. But how to do it?
Specialists from SkillHub have been in the resume writing business for years and, in this article, they will share with you their secret tricks and tips on how to make a resume that can engage and impress even the most demanding HRs.
Here are the main steps to take:
- Find the right format, layout, and design
- Keep the structure in mind
- Write a resume summary or objective
- Specify your experience
- List your skills
- Add an education section
- Include additional sections
- Edit your resume
How to Format a Resume
When writing your CV, one of the first questions that arise is how to format a resume. Earlier, we’ve told you about the three main resume formats. Now, let’s define how you can choose the best format for you.
- Reverse chronological resume format. This format often appears to be the most winning one, which is why it is used in over 90% of cases. It is the best choice for specialists with vast professional experience.
- Functional resume format. This format works best for people who have no (or very little) experience.
- Combination resume format. It is perfect for specialists with decent experience, who also have a very diverse set of skills. It works best for roles that require vast expertise in multiple fields.
So, what is the best way to make a resume? Pick the right format based on your experience, skills, and the job you are applying for.
What Is the Best Layout?
One of the key things to keep in mind when making a resume is that the layout is the first thing that captures the recruiter’s attention. Thus, for everyone who is wondering how to prepare a resume, the answer is - start with the layout.
It should be of the perfect length, well-organized, and, most importantly, it should engage recruiters and scream out “Read me!”. Here are the basic resume layout principles and tips that will help you get it right:
- Keep your resume one page long or, at maximum, two pages long if you believe that it’s needed to add value.
- Keep your headings noticeable.
- Stick to fonts that are easy to read.
- Choose the perfect font size (11-12 pt. for body and 14-16 pt. for headers).
- Make sure you leave enough white space.
- Use a traditional-looking template, unless you are opting for a job that encourages creativity and imagination.
How to Structure Your Resume
How to write a resume for a job and succeed? Your work experience and skills play a big role. But, first and foremost, you have to structure your resume well.
Header & Contact Info
Your resume will start with a header and contact info section. Typically a resume header is your name placed at the top of the page and centered. Sometimes, it may have a subheading that states your specialization underneath it.
Use headers to structure your resume and make it look more professional. To keep your formatting uniform throughout the entire document, pick one heading (for example, H2) to use for all headers.
As for the contact information, here is what you have to add:
- Full name
- Phone number
- A professionally-looking email address
- Job title
- Social Media
- Website / Blog
Resume Summary or Objective
Everyone knows that the first impression matters a lot in any situation. Often, the first impression you make defines how people will see you in the future. After all, bad first impressions often are there to stay. And it also often defines your future, whether we are speaking about personal or professional life.
One of the tools used to make the right first impression is an introduction. Just like every good book or movie starts with a strong intro, so should your resume. The only difference is that on a resume, you call it not an introduction but a resume summary or objective.
We already told you that recruiters only spend a bit of time on every resume. To be more precise, it is around 6-7 seconds. Your goal is to grab their attention during these short seconds. And that’s why you need to make a good resume summary or objective:
What Is a Resume Summary?
So, what is a resume summary? In the nutshell, it is a brief summary of your entire career. Typically, a summary is only a few (2-3) sentences long. These sentences should wrap up your work experience and highlight your biggest strengths.
A good resume summary should include:
- Job title
- Years of experience
- 1-2 biggest accomplishments (or main responsibilities)
- Goal (desire to work at a particular company)
When to start with a summary? It works great in any situation, unless you lack professional experience, for example, if you are looking for a career change or if you are a recent graduate.
What Is a Resume Objective?
Unlike a summary, a resume objective makes a focus on your goals, not your past experiences. Thus, if you are wondering how to create resume for job if you have no work experience yet, this is your solution.
A resume objective should also be about 2-3 sentences long. It has to emphasize your motivation and goals. For example, if you are a professional in a certain field looking for a career change, focus on communicating why you want this (find out more about resume objective examples). And if you are a student or a recent graduate, explain what you are striving to get from a particular job.
Skills to Put on Resume
To make someone want to recruit you, you have to prove that you are a good fit for a job. That’s when your skills kick in. Your resume skills section is one of the most important ones.
If you get it right, you will overcome the applicant tracking process and land a job! Here are the main tips on how to list your resume skills the right way:
- Start with hard skills and indicate experience levels for each
- Next, list some universal soft skills
- Don’t list all your skills, pick the key ones
- Tailor your skills section to the job
How to List Work Experience in a Resume
Your experiences from past workplaces matter to recruiters the most. It is your experience that tells the potential employers and hiring managers whether they should employ you or not. Thus, making a good resume is impossible without creating a top-notch work experience section.
This is a part of your resume where you really sell yourself. It should reflect your key past responsibilities and achievements. If you are wondering how to build a good resume experience section, here are the basic and most effective tips you can use:
- Job Title. Begin each entry with a job title.
- Company Info. List the company’s name, location, and a brief description (if necessary).
- The Timeframe of Employment. Specify the dates for each company (for the ATS system use the mm/yyyy format).
- Responsibilities and Achievements. List 3-6 key responsibilities and accomplishments for each entry and add some hard numbers to make it look good.
How to List Education on Your Resume
To bypass the resume-scanning software and occupy the desired vacancy, you have to know how to create resume education section right.
Simply putting down the information about your education, what can be so hard about it you may wonder? Well, there is much more to it than seems from the first sight. Luckily, you have this resume guide to get you on the right track!
First of all, depending on your professional experience, you may want to make an emphasis either on your work experience or education section.
For example, students, recent graduates, and anyone else who hasn’t obtained any (or not much) experience yet will benefit more from emphasizing their academic history. Otherwise, if you have enough experience, keep your education section short and straight to the point.
Here’s what you need to include:
- The name of the school, college, or university
- Date of graduation
- GPA (optional)
Tips on How to Put Education on a Resume
Although it may seem easy, listing your education can be somewhat tricky. Use these tips to get it right:
- Follow a reverse-chronological order and list your educational entry moving from the latest one.
- Don’t mention high school education if you have a college degree.
- Don’t mention GPA in your education section, unless your academic performance is very impressive (i.e. 3.5 GPA and higher).
- If you are wondering how to make a great resume with no work experience, here is a trick. Swap places of your education and experience resume sections (i.e. your education section should go first).
Tips on Resume Formatting & Design
Wondering how to make a good resume to get more interviews, applicants most often focus on the contents of the document. Indeed, what you write in your resume for a job is extremely important. But, that doesn’t mean the design and formatting aren’t.
If your resume looks unprofessional, hard to read, or cluttered, it can get lost in a pile of other resumes. Here are the basic tips to avoid this:
- Choose a clear, easy-to-read font.
- Set font size to at least 11 pt.
- Add at least .7-inch margins.
- Ensure you use enough white space to divide your sections visually.
- Feel free to play around with the design to add a personal touch, but keep it simple
- Keep it 1-2 pages long.
- Be careful with a PDF format. Don’t use it unless a particular job ad accepts it. Not every ATS (applicant tracking system) can capture the information from a PDF file.
Include Additional Resume Sections - Languages, Hobbies, etc.
Including additional resume sections is not obligatory. But, if you do it right, it can help you impress the hiring manager and give you a competitive advantage:
- Languages. Multilingual candidates always attract more attention. If you know additional languages, mention it, and don’t forget to indicate your proficiency (native, fluent, intermediate, etc.)
- Awards & Certifications. If you have any job-related certifications or awards, including them on a resume will help you stand out.
- Projects & Publications. Have you done any exciting projects or have publications related to your field? You can list them on your resume as well.
- Hobbies & Interests. Listing your hobbies and interests will help to show your individuality, and, since employers are looking to hire humans in the first place, it can be a great addition to your resume.
- Volunteering Experience. A potential employee with volunteering experience often gets ahead of the competition in the eyes of hiring managers.
How to Edit Your Resume
When you have finally written your resume for job application, it can feel like the work is all done. However, that’s not quite true. There is one more step you need to take to craft a winning resume - it is resume editing.
Follow these tips to polish your resume to perfection:
- Rest for several days and get back to it with a fresh mind
- Carefully scan the document for all sorts of errors and fix them
- Use specialized editing software
- Ask someone else to give it a second look
- If you are not sure how to edit resume, get professional help!
Let’s Wrap It All Up!
Let’s recap on how to do a resume that wins jobs:
- Be sure to choose a resume format, design, and layout wisely to ensure it highlights your strongest points.
- Always include a name, contact details, summary, work experience, skills, and education in a resume.
- Additionally, you may include other sections if they bring real value.
- Always tailor your resume to meet the requirements for a particular job.
- Never neglect the importance of editing.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you know exactly how to create the perfect resume. Use the tips and tricks you found here and you will succeed!
Do you have questions on how to write a professional resume? Did we miss any tips of writing a resume?
Let us know your thoughts and suggestions.
Read on our next article about how to list references on a resume here.