Writing a resume has become an essential skill nowadays, the resume becoming our first impression tool that could, if well done, grant us an interview with a potential employer. It is essentially a self-promoting, marketing document – with the main purpose of getting you that interview. We have compiled here the most important aspects of the process of writing a resume, an easy 5 step guide to make sure that you are the one to stand out in that selection process. So now that we have that clear, let’s begin:
Step 1: Choose the right format for your resume
There’s 3 main formats to choose from: chronological (and reverse chronological), functional, and combination. You’re going to choose the one that best suits your situation and needs. You might ask – how do I know which one suits me the best? Here’s how to decide:
- If you have a lengthy employment history that shows a consistent career path (you’re in the same industry, your career is advancing) then a chronological resume might be the best choice for you.
- If this is your first job, or if you’re changing career paths in a drastic way (changing industries, going for a completely new role), or if you have significant gaps in your employment history, then a functional resume might be the best choice for you. And since this platform is dedicated mainly to young people, this is probably ideal the choice for you.
- If you are making a slight career shift or if you have abundant employment history that might be relevant for this new role you’re applying for, then a combination resume might be the right fir for you.
Okay, now that you’ve chosen the right format for your resume, it’s time to start typing. Whether you want to look up some templates online or create one from scratch, that is totally up to you. Whichever route you decide to pursue, keepin mind the industry norms and preferences in your field, as they may influence the specific details of your resume.
Step 2: Consider these KEY elements for a well-crafted resume
The next step would be the to incorporate these elements into your resume:
- Full name
- Phone number (with a professional voicemail message, of course)
- Email address (a professional one, not you high school hotmail)
- LinkedIn profile (if applicable and well-maintained)
- Optional: Physical address (only if it’s relevant to the job, as some prefer not to include this for privacy reasons)
Resume Summary or Objective
A very concise, 2-3 sentence statement summarizing your career goals, skills, and the way you can contribute to the employer.
- List all your work experiences in reverse chronological order (most recent job first),
- Include the name of the company, location, your job title, and employment dates,
- Provide 3-5 bullet points for each role, highlighting your key responsibilities and achievements,
- Use action verbs and quantify your achievements with specific, measurable results where possible.
List your complete (and relevant) educational background in reverse chronological order (most recent degree first).
Include the name of the institution, degree earned, major, graduation date, and any relevant honors or awards.
Mention your relevant technical and soft skills, such as programming languages, software proficiency, any foreign languages, and other abilities that might be relevant to the job.
Certifications and Training
Include any relevant certifications, licenses, or additional training that supports your qualifications, and that is applicable to this role.
Awards and Honors
Mention any notable awards, honors, or recognitions that you’ve received related to your field.
Projects or Publications (if applicable)
Here you can highlight any significant projects or publications that demonstrate your expertise.
Volunteer Work or Extracurricular Activities (if applicable)
Include any relevant volunteer work or involvement in organizations that demonstrate your skills and character.
Professional Memberships (if applicable)
Mention memberships in relevant industry associations or organizations.Also, keep in mind that the content of your resume can be additionally tailored to better align with a specific role requirements (in other words, you can highlight the important stuff in this case and cut back on the ornaments of your resume). Another tip would be to incorporate relevant keywords from the job description to pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) and catch the recruiter’s attention.
Step 3: Polish your resume with the most important TECHNICAL elements
When it comes to technicalities, we will keep it clean and simple. Your resume should be exactly one page long if:
- You have limited work experience (e.g., recent graduates or early-career professionals).
- You have less than 5-7 years of relevant work experience, as you can often fit all your key information on a single page.
Two pages would be appropriate for most mid-career professionals with 5-10+ years of experience, or for people who have a substantial amount of relevant experience, accomplishments, and skills. In this case, it’s acceptable to extend your resume to two pages. The need for more-than-two-pages resumes is rare, so we will not cover that case here.
Font choice and size
The advice is general is to use a professional, easily readable font such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. Also, stick to a consistent font throughout the document. When it comes to font size, you can use an 11 or 12-point font size for the main body of the text. Use a slightly larger font size (14-16 points) for section headings or your name at the top.
In general, a good rule would be to maintain a consistent format throughout your resume, including font styles, headings, bullet points, and spacing. Consistency will enhance the overall visual appeal of your document.
Margins, line spacing and text alignment
Maintain even and consistent margins (usually between 0.5 to 1 inch) on all sides of the page. Use 1.0 or 1.15 line spacing to improve readability of your resume. Also, avoid using single-spacing, as it can make the document appear dense. When it comes to alignment, keep your text aligned to the left for most of the resume. You can consider using a justified alignment for your contact information and headings to create a clean appearance.
Here’s another tip for you: Use bullet points (●, ●, ●) for listing achievements and responsibilities under each job or section.
File format and naming
Save your resume as a PDF file unless the job posting specifies a different format. PDFs are a good choice because they maintain consistent formatting across different devices and operating systems. Give your resume file a clear and professional name (e.g., “John_Doe_Resume.pdf”) to make it easily identifiable.
Step 4: Proofread and edit (if necessary)
Make sure to proofread your resume and correct any spelling or grammar errors . Go over your corrected resume one more time, make any last-minute edits that seem appropriate.
Step 5: Congrats, your resume is done and ready to be sent!
You’ve done it. If you’ve paid close enough attention to this guide, you have written a well-rounded resume. After the last minute check, it’s ready to be sent out into the world and land you some interviews. Best of luck with your job endeavours and we hope this guide was of help to you!