Your resume is a crucial part of the average job search. If it fails to impress a potential employer, chances are that your application will go no further. Think of your resume as a marketing tool for yourself. It is your first – and often only – chance to make a good impression so it is key that you get this right. Here are a handful of resume writing tips to help your resume stand out and get you that job!
6 Resume Writing Tips To Use Now
When To Send A Resume
When most people send a resume, it is usually in response to a job posting. You can also send your resume as part of a speculative application. This involves approaching a prospective employer when they are not publicly advertising for applicants.
There are two main options: chronological and skills-based. Chronological usually involves listing in linear order with the most recent experience first. Because a chronological format can bring up gaps in your work history (particularly if you have taken time away from the workplace to raise a family, for example), you may prefer to choose a skills-based format instead. This draws closer attention to your skills and relates them to your experience.
Keep it brief. Most experts agree that you should aim for a maximum of two pages. Your main priority is to demonstrate your strengths, achievements and skills. Anything beyond that can be left to your cover letter. It may be less effort to have a general resume which can highlights every aspect of your experience so that it can be used for any job application but this can work against you. Take the time to tailor your resume for the role in question if you want to stand a better chance.
What To Include On Your Resume
Are you confused about the type of information that you should include on your resume? Here are some tips.
Summary Section: Use this section of your resume to highlight prominent skills. Don’t go into masses of detail – think of it as an opportunity to include some relevant keywords rather than opting for long descriptions.
Objective/Profile Section: Think of this section as a short, concise paragraph informing the prospective employer of the type of position and role that you are seeking. It may seem similar to a cover letter but the latter will be targeted around the job, whereas the profile section of a resume is more closely linked to the sector that you are looking to enter. If you do not have a specific sector in mind, you may prefer to leave this section out.
Work History Section: As far as possible, focus on the transferable skills that you have been demonstrating in previous job roles. Even experience such as working in a bar or restaurant will have allowed you to develop a range of desirable skills. This may include things such as customer service skills, communication skills and being part of a team. The key is to highlight these so that the role itself becomes less important. Make sure you highlight your achievements and not just list your job duties.
If you have got gaps in your work history, you may be tempted to prioritize your most relevant work experience to cover this up. This can be a mistake. Employers will notice the gap and you may actually draw more attention to it by rejecting a chronological order. If it has been a while since you last worked and you are worried that this will count against you, try plugging the gap through volunteering work or an internship so that your work history is still up-to-date. Alternatively, it may work better for you to choose a skills-based approach to presenting your resume as this will not highlight career gaps in the same way as a linear format.
Interests And Hobbies: Unless you spend your free time engaging in hobbies that are very relevant to the job that you are applying for, many experts now believe that this section can be left off. If you do decide to have this section, limit your inclusions to those that demonstrate desirable skills such as teamwork and planning.
Skills: If you have language and/or computer skills, the skills section is a good place to flag them up. If you hold a clean driving license, you may also want to note this here as some jobs require this.
Writing Your Resume
Use action words when putting your resume content together. These will often be verbs, such as “prepared”, “created”, “managed” and “achieved”. As well as being less passive, it is also a good way to make sure that you are not being overly wordy. Action words are particularly important in the work history section when you are detailing your past achievements and highlighting your skills.
Also read through the job description and pick out keywords that are used. Then run through your resume and include these keywords. Nowadays, many resumes go through a filter before a human looks at them and the resume get rejected if the filter doesn’t find any keywords. By putting in some of these keywords, you can at least get a human to look over your resume.
Sending Your Resume
Don’t reduce your chances of an interview by sending your resume to the wrong person. Find out who you need to send it to – don’t just send to the manager. This is particularly important for speculative resumes as it may not be passed onto the right person when the company is not actively recruiting. If you are not sure who to target, try calling the company and posing the question. Of course, you can also used LinkedIn now too. Just search for the company and see if you can find the name of a hiring manager. Don’t forget to address your cover letter to this person too.
Here are a few more job hunting tips to help you out as well.
Readers, what resume writing tips do you have to share?