If you are struggling to write a resume, you are not alone. There are thousands like you who are struggling with getting their words right and creating that one killer resume to grab their dream job.
A resume is very important because it is the first impression you create on your potential employer.
Not being able to leave a positive first impression can make it difficult to land an interview and without an interview, there is no question about getting a job.
It is imperative to have a superior resume, one that effectively lets your employer know what you can do for them.
Make sure you get it right because the resume is one of the most crucial component for landing to a desirable job. Write a resume which will work wonders for your prospects of making it to the interview stage.
In today’s post, we are going to list 5 items that must form a part of your resume. These points are important to create a more holistic view of your experience and personality that you showcase in the resume.
So, without further ado, let us jump right into the fray.
While your skills and academics play an important role, your resume is definitely more than that.
It is your medium of communication with the management of the company and it is pivotal to make this communication count.
Having a well-thought-out format for writing a resume plays a great role in leaving the best first impression.
You just can’t write a resume by stating your intro and giving information about the skills you possess. Instead, it is recommended to have a clear career objective that shows your vision towards a larger goal in professional life.
Also, an employer is more concerned in the way you fit into the organizational structure and culture.
Hence, while you write a resume, you should make every effort to highlight the organizational benefits as well.
Show how well you fit into the requirements so that they consider your application for interview stage.
Once you get the interview, deliver on the points covered in the resume to further cement the impression you created on the employer.
So, in a nutshell, these are the 5 most important things that you should include in your resume.
1. Focus more on qualitative content
Many people believe that adding quantitative content like %sales increased, %effieciency achieved, etc. are most important to showcase in a resume.
While adding quantifying points for your achievements is vital, you should not forget about the qualitative stuff.
Try to put in the most substantial information first when you write a resume to draw the attention of the employer.
Include the most appropriate facts and points for achievements and responsibilities which are more suitable for the job you are applying for.
Apart from the above, there are a few must-have things in your resume, such as:
a. Necessary contact details
Never ignore the contact details while writing a resume. Contact details must be clearly laid out for easy reference.
The below contact details are a must while creating your resume.
- Mobile number
- Professional email address- for example, "email@example.com"
- LinkedIn profile URL – This is a great way to showcase additional information to your employer as your LinkedIn profile is just like an online resume
Note: You can exclude your religion, marital status, address, and gender.
b. Mention your soft and hard skills
This one is obvious. You have to mention all the skills you possess in your resume. However, a point to consider here would be the order in which you mention the skills.
As already iterated above, you need to put in the relevant details first. The same is to be followed for skills as well. You can also decide to leave out some skills if they add no value to the proposition.
c. Draft a convincing cover letter along with resume
People these days have forgotten about the cover letter. This is because most of the job applications are made online using job portals.
However, if you are applying to a job by sending an email to the recruiter, it is very important to have an impressive cover letter.
The cover letter must include basic information about yourself along with relevant details that make you fit for the job.
Follow the principle of "less for more" and be as precise as possible in your cover letter.
d. Work experience and achievements
Another obvious addition is the work experience and achievements. However, do ensure that just like with skills, here also you include the most relevant points only.
This is to make sure that you are able to showcase everything needed for the position without going overboard with the length of the resume.
The best way to show achievements is to use bullet points. You must also highlight all those words where you want the recruiting manager to focus on.
Also, make sure that you include the name of any software / tool / language, etc. that you used for your job to link your skills to the achievements.
e. Educational background
For freshers or students, educational background is very important. You should list out achievements in academia like any awards received, position held, and extra-curricular activities won, etc.
For people with beginner’s experience, it is recommended to include achievements during their college life only.
This is because your focus must be on elaborating the work experience rather than talking about your extracurricular.
Lastly, people with a high amount of experience can skip achievements in their academia unless it is relevant to the job.
f. Portfolio (if you have any)
This is more relevant to people with a design, developer, or writing background.
You should always include links to your past work, be it for an employer or your own initiatives.
Showcasing your talent in this way makes it very easy for the recruiting manager to judge the quality of your skills.
2. Avoid grammatical errors while you write a resume
The obvious and most common errors most of us make while we draft a resume are grammatical in nature.
No doubt, for obvious reasons, the resume must be grammatical-error free for leaving the best impression.
Grammatical errors can land your resume to trash than landing you to your dream job. Also, a resume with more grammatical errors makes employers think that you aren’t really interested in the job.
Good grammar will increase your chance of getting hired. This shows the recruiter that you proofread before sending and are professional in your approach.
It is also a measure of your proficiency in the language and will validate your claims of being effective in communication. After all, writing effective emails / documents is a part of every job.
There are many free tools which can be used while drafting a resume to ensure zero grammatical errors. Furthermore, these tools also tell you how to structure your content for the best results.
3. Visually attractive resume is a must
Anybody or anything that’s attractive is prominently gratifying and pleasing to see.
By creating a visually attractive resume, you increase your chances of landing an interview.
Visually attractive here refers to a very professional tone. When you decide the format for writing a resume, see if it’s not visually too busy.
This is because such a format will be difficult to read and the employer might altogether ignore it.
Always prefer to go with regular / common fonts. Don’t use different fonts and prefer to keep it simple to Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman because a person may not find few fonts easy to read.
Here are few of the best practices for a good resume layout:
- Ample white-space for ease of readability
- Creaming the right font size; 11-13 for normal paragraph and 14 -15 for title/section.
- 1-2 page in length.
- Short paragraphs; use of bullet points and less than 20 words per sentence (unless necessary).
- Use clear section headings and sub-headings.
- A professional passport-size photograph (if you decide to attach).
You can make yourself sure by showing it some professional people in your network.
Do they find visually attractive? If not, then you must modify it to give it a professional tone.
Try to leave an ever-lasting impression because if you leave a bad impression first, chances are, it’s there to stay. After all, it’s difficult to change a recruiter’s opinion of you once they feel you’re not up for the job.
You can also decide to go for a professional resume writing service. These service providers have writers who are well versed in creating amazing content.
This will ensure that your resume is immaculate and shows your skill, experience, and education in the best format.
4. Optimize your length
Going on too long or cutting things too short will not land you a good interview.
It’s advised to not squash your experience and responsibility onto one page because by doing so, employers may rule out impressive achievements.
But that also doesn’t mean you should start drafting 4-5 pages resume, of course not.
There are no such rules administrating the length of resume but it’s important to confine yourself to a maximum of two pages.
After all, it is a common human nature that nobody wants to go through long paragraphs, not even us.
This means that you have to choose words and phrases that can communicate more for less.
Write short sentences but make sure that all your relevant skills and achievements are covered.
In such a case, candidate must make bullet points to showcase achievements where every sentence should sell you in a way that evokes a “YES” from the employer.
5. Reverse – chronological resume template
Before you decide the format for writing a resume, you need to conclude the structure on how you are going to build it.
Reverse here refers that your latest work experience must be listed first. Following a reverse chronological order while drafting a resume is recommended since your most recent achievements are of the highest value.
Be it a student or an experienced professional, this template suits everyone since their most recent achievements, professional or otherwise, is what will matter the most to the management when they review you for the position.
There is no point in including achievements from way past in life since they will not offer much value to the application.
This is the traditional format for writing a resume and should be followed at all times.
Whether it’s your professional life or personal one, we all know first impression matters and these are the first things an employer notice.
Summarizing it all
Finally, let us summarize a few key takeaways while writing a resume or while you decide the format for writing a resume:
- Avoid the “one-size-fits-all” approach; modify your skill set depicted depending on the job role and requirements
- Stay appropriate; every single sentence should sell your capability and show your experience for the position.
- Double-triple check to ensure consistency.
- Avoid grammatical errors.
- Be persistent; use the same fonts, styles, conventions throughout every section of the resume.
- Avoid unnecessary details like hobbies and many personal details such as religion. These take up space and add no value to the experience and qualification for the role.
- Try to add 2 contact numbers if possible in case of unavailability of one.
- Make sure you include your LinkedIn profile to showcase experience that is not included in the resume.
- You can highlight the most important points in bold while you write a resume. This grabs attention of the manager who is reading your resume and helps him / her to skim better through your profile.
After all this procedure you are about to conclude, but wait, don’t circulate it off just yet.
Remember, drafting a resume that catches attention in today’s marketplace is important to your job-search success.
After you create your resume, mail it to a trusted friend or someone who is wonderful in resume writing for advice.
Assuring that your resume is visually tempting, will roadmap you one step closer to your future career success!
Proof-read and double-check before sending it to someone because it is better safe than sorry!
Do not hesitate to seek expert help in case you are not able to draft the most appropriate resume for the job position.
So, now that you know the important points to keep in mind while writing a resume, here’s what you should do:
- Draft a resume following exactly all the points mentioned above.
- Compare it with your old resume or get a friend to compare it for you.
- Share this post with your near and dear ones to help them get the edge as well.
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