When I started ProperResumes.com as a reviewing service, I realized I had to offer something more than reviews: tips that would help job applicants write their own resumes. This resume writing guide is part of our efforts to make you a more successful job candidate.
Important Tips for Writing a Resume: How to Advertise Yourself
When you introduce yourself to someone in person, you’re usually humbler than needed. “I’m just a person with usual interest and okay personality.” That’s not the way to go when you’re wondering how to make a resume. In this case, you’re trying to sell yourself.
Writing good things about yourself is harder than you assume. That’s exactly why most people seek resume assistance; they don’t know how to advertise themselves. These tips will help:
- Share very specific results you’ve accomplished. What have you been doing by now? Use numbers, achievements, names, results… anything specific you can think of.
- Show your strengths. What are you good at? Quick thinking and great problem-solving skills? Teamwork? Mention those things and support them with evidence from previous accomplishments.
- Always provide references in a separate page. When someone important can recommend you to a potential employer, consider yourself sold.
Write the Right Type of Resume!
Our tips on writing a resume wouldn’t be complete if they didn’t include a section on a format. The right format gives you tons of flexibility to express your creativity and strengths.
It’s important to have a structured resume, so the hiring manager will instantly find the most important details in it. These are the main types of resumes:
This format starts with your work history, listed in reverse chronological order. You start with your most recent position and you move backward. This resume is quite convenient since it allows the hiring manager how qualified you are for the position. If you have strong work history, the chronological resume is the right type to choose.
If you just got out of college and you don’t have much work experience besides the internships, the chronological work history wouldn’t look attractive. With a functional resume, you focus on your skills and experience.
The Work History section at the top of the resume will become the section of Accomplishments. There, you’ll list various skills you developed throughout your studies and jobs.
The combination resume combines the chronological and functional format. At the top, you list your skills and qualifications. Right after that, you include a work history section in reverse chronological order. This type of resume is the perfect choice when you want to highlight both your skills and experience.
4. Freestyle Resume
This is for the brave ones. If you don’t like following a precise format on how to create a resume, you can craft a resume with images, graphics, photos, graphs, and all other kinds of visuals. You can craft an infographic resume, too. When you opt for a non-traditional resume, you still have to include the most important details and make them easily visible for the hiring manager.
It doesn’t matter whether you opt for a chronological, functional, combination, or freestyle resume. It has to be targeted to the position you’re applying for. This type of resume highlights the specific experience and skills that would make you great at this job.
Crucial Tips for Resume Writing: Mistakes to Avoid
No matter how many tips you follow, you may make mistakes that could ruin the impression of the hiring managers. In fact, most job applicants are guilty of making common mistakes. We’ll list the most important ones you should avoid:
- Choosing a “Creative” Font
You think handwriting-style, cursive or calligraphy fonts would look awesome? Think again! There’s a reason why hiring manager prefers basic fonts: they are easy to read.
Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri are the standard choices.
Make the font consistent throughout the resume. Make sure to set the right font size – between 10 and 12. If the font is smaller, it will be difficult to read. If it’s larger, it gives out your intention to make fewer words look good on a page.
- Using Too Many Pronouns
Use I and Me sparingly in the resume. Save that kind of language for the cover letter.
- Spelling and Grammar Errors
You can follow the right format and include all the right details in a resume. A single grammar error will still ruin the impression for a hiring manager.
Do you know what spelling and grammar errors indicate? An uneducated person. Suddenly, the degree you gained won’t matter. The potential employer will see you didn’t try hard enough to gain the foundation of knowledge the educational system offers. No, it won’t matter if you’re not a native speaker.
You’re including a reference to someone you didn’t consult, thinking the hiring manager won’t bother calling? You lied about your education or experience, thinking the hiring manager won’t check the details? Do not take such risks!
- An Unprofessional Email Address
If you want to give the hiring manager a good laugh, then go ahead and use the first email address you created. However, don’t expect to get a call for an interview if you provide an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org or batmanforever85@hotmailcom.
Your entire resume should give out the impression of professionalism. If you don’t have an email address with your name or a professional-looking variation of it, create it!
Extra Tips: How to Grab Attention with your Resume
After all these tips on resume writing, it’s clear what you should and shouldn’t include. There’s only one more thing to clarify: how do you grab the employer’s attention? You’re sending a resume in a similar format that everyone else is using. Other candidates also have the skills and experience you brag with. How do you make your application stand out?
- Quantify your achievements! Use numbers, dollars, percentages, and other factual information that shows the success you’ve achieved. Don’t just tell you were successful at a previous job. Show it!
- Improve your online reputation. Do you know what the hiring manager will do after reviewing your resume and cover letter? They will look you up online. Control what they see! Start blogging, so they will see your name under high-quality content related to the specific industry. Don’t forget to mention that blog in your cover letter.
- Craft a professional LinkedIn profile. If your LinkedIn profile is complete and attractive, you’ll gain bonus points. In fact, a great profile and solid activity on this network will get you calls from recruiters, so you won’t even have to send out a resume. This will be your virtual resume.
Final Tips for Writing Resume: Power Words
If you get polished application documents from a professional resume service, you’ll notice the power words in it.
These are usually active verbs. They show the actions you’ve taken and the skills you’ve gained throughout the years of education and work. Power words may also show credentials, abilities, skills, and qualities that are relevant for the particular position.
Why are these keywords important? The hiring manager first scans through the resume. They don’t read the entire thing. These are the words that attract attention. Plus, they are identified by applicant tracking system that look for relevant skills and experience.
Here are few power words to inspire you:
Now, are you ready to write that resume?