In today’s competitive market of professional jobs, a resume is usually a base requirement for moving forward in the interview process. A good resume will immediately display to employers why the candidate is a good fit.
Think of a resume as a tool for marketing yourself. It’s more than just a document: It outlines your background, your skills, and your education so that a potential employer is quickly and easily able to see how your individual experiences can contribute to a company’s success.
Your resume is the most important document you’ll submit in your job search. It’s your front-line fighter, so to speak, as it’s your first opportunity to present yourself to a potential employer.
A strong resume can help you stand out from the crowd. So,
What is Resume?
A resume is a document created and used by a person to present their background, skills, and accomplishments. A resume can be used for a variety of reasons, but most often it is used to secure new employment. We need to keep in mind that a resume is not:
- a log of your job history.
- a summary of skills.
- going to automatically get you a job
It is the most requested document in any job search – followed by the cover letter, of course. In fact, recruiters scrutinize job candidates’ resumes more closely than their cover letters. If you’ve never written a resume, don’t worry. Here we will teach you how to create a resume and if you follow the steps, your possibility to get a job will be increased. So let’s move on to how to structure it right.
Difference between CV vs Resume
A resume is a summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages, a CV is more detailed and can stretch well beyond two pages. A CV has a clear chronological order listing the whole career of the individual whereas a resume’s information can be shuffled around to best suit the applicant. The resume will be tailored to each position whereas the CV will stay put and any changes will be in the cover letter.
1. CV – long, covers your entire career, static
What to Include in a CV
- Contact Information
- Research Objective, Personal Profile, or Personal Statement
- Professional Academic Appointments
- Book Chapters
- Peer-Reviewed Publications
- Other Publications
- Awards and Honors
- Grants and Fellowships
- Teaching Experience
- Research Experience / Lab Experience / Graduate Fieldwork
- Non-Academic Activities
- Languages and Skills
2. Resume – short, no particular format rule, highly customizable
What to Include on a Resume
- Contact Information including Job Title
- Resume Summary or Resume Objective
- Work Experience
- Additional Sections (Awards, Courses, Resume Publications, Licenses and Certifications, Interests, etc.)
Now that you have a clear idea about what’s a CV and what’s a resume, here’s a complete list of the differences between the curriculum vitae (CV) and resume:
- Length – The first and most notable difference between a CV and a Resume is how long each one of them is. A resume is kept short and brief (usually 1 page), whereas the CV is more comprehensive (it can go up to 2-3 pages depending on your experience).
- Function – The CV is mainly used for academic purposes, such as applying for a research program, a Ph.D., or joining the staff of a university. The resume, on the other hand, is written for a regular job in a company.
- Type of information you include – The CV is an academic diary where you include all your academic qualifications, achievements, and certifications. It is universal in nature as it can be updated as you go. Whereas, a resume has to be created (or at least customized) for each job you’re applying for, and has a bigger focus on your professional achievements, rather than academic.
Moving forward with our professional resume writing here an example of a complete resume below:
Get Started: How to Structure Your Resume
It can be difficult to succinctly present all of your experiences and qualifications, but there are many ways to spruce up your resume without going overboard. To help you land an interview, Lerip rounded up some of the experts’ best resume writing tips.
Here are 9 steps to follow for writing a professional resume:
- Choose a Resume Format
- Add Your Name and Contact Information
- Write a Standout Resume Headline
- Add Your Professional Resume Summary Statement
- Detail Your Work Experience
- Add Your Education, Certifications, and Any Other Relevant Information
- List Relevant Skills and Keywords
- Tailor Your Resume and Optimize For Applicant Tracking Systems
- Polish Up Your Grammar and Formatting
1. Choose a Resume Format
There are mainly three types of resume formats.
a) Reverse-chronological format:
- Pros: Traditional resume style, familiar to potential employers.
- Cons: Very common, not the most creative resume design format.
b) Combination format:
- Pros: Great for experienced pros and career changers for highlighting transferable skills.
- Cons: Uncommon type, not as familiar, not recommended for entry-level job seekers.
c) Functional format (skills-based):
- Pros: Entry-level job hunters can emphasize skills over lack of experience.
- Cons: HR managers may think you’re hiding something.
In 90%+ cases, you’d want to stick to the reverse-chronological resume format. This is the most common one, and most hiring managers are used to this.
Hence, in this guide, we’re going to focus on this specific format.
2. Add Your Name and Contact Information
Do you know? The most critical section in your resume is the “contact information.”
Even if you get everything else right, you’re not going to go far if the hiring manager can’t get in touch with you because you misspelled your email or a long complicated one.
Make sure to double-check, and even triple-check your contact information section and make sure everything is correct and up-to-date.
Basic contact information to be included:
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Current Address
Other information that can be included are Title, LinkedIn URL, Social Media, Website/blog.
You should avoid adding a date of birth, unprofessional email address, or headshot.
3. Write a Standout Resume Headline
As per a statistics report, In less than 7 seconds hiring managers scans your resume and make an initial decision.
That’s why a professional resume heading statement is super-important to get right. You’ve got to compose a statement, with wit, that paints an attractive image of your candidacy. After all, what is the purpose of a resume but to give the best impression of your clout as a candidate?
Some of the eye-catching resume headlines are:
- Administrative assistant with 5+ years of experience in real estate
- Goal-Oriented Senior Accountant with three Years of Accounting Experience
- Hard-working CNA and Nightingale Award recipient
- Business analyst with 5 years of DevOps excellence
4. Add Your Professional Resume Summary Statement
It’s not a secret for anyone that first impressions matter, whether they’re in your personal life, or your career.
The same applies to your job search – the hiring manager spends around 7 seconds scanning each resume. Yep, your carefully-worded, hand-crafted resume only gets 7 seconds of attention.
Unless, of course, you manage to leave an amazing first impression.
A resume summary is a 2-3 sentence summary of your career. You should use a resume summary in basically any situation unless you’re a recent university graduate or changing careers (in that case, you use a resume objective. More on that later).
In your resume summary, you need to mention:
- Your job and years of experience. E.g.: Customer support representative with 5+ years of experience in the IT industry.
- 1 or 2 top achievements (or core responsibilities). E.g.: Specialized in technical support, customer care, and user retention.
- Desired goal (generally, passion for working at a specific company). E.g.: Looking for new opportunities as a support lead for a SaaS company.
Here is a standard example of a resume summary:
- Receptionist with over 3 years of experience working in both the public and private sectors. Diplomatic, personable, and adept at managing sensitive situations. Highly organized, self-motivated, and proficient with computers. Looking to boost students’ satisfaction scores for Boston University. Bachelor’s degree in communications.
5. Detail Your Work Experience
The most important part of your resume is your work experience. That’s why it’s important to detail not only your job responsibilities but also your competence in prior roles.
Sometimes you need to write a resume without any real-life experience that can be nerve-wracking. So, if you are a fresher, having no previous work experience you may follow the resume with no experience.
The work experience section is your chance to show recruiters and hiring managers how you have added unique value to other companies.
If you manage to master this section alone, you’ll know 80%+ of all there is to know about how to make a resume.
- Job Title/Position – Your job title goes on top of each work experience entry. When the hiring manager scans your resume, you want them to know, at a glance, that you have relevant work experience for the job.
- Company Name / Location / Description – Then, you mention the name of the relevant employer, as well as the location of the office you work/have worked in. In some cases, you may also want to briefly describe the company, if the organization is not a famous household name.
- Achievements and Responsibilities – This is the core of each work experience entry. Depending on your field, you want to list either your achievements or responsibilities. We’ll get more into the how’s and why’s of this in a bit.
- Dates Employed – The timeframe of your employment in each company. Not sure about the exact dates you worked somewhere? Don’t worry – you don’t have to be accurate by the day, as long as it’s close. The standard format expected by recruiters and employers is mm/yyyy (this is especially important when your job application will be parsed by an Applicant Tracking System).
6. Add Your Education, Certifications, and Any Other Relevant Information
It’s common to include your education on your resume, especially if you are applying for a job that requires a degree. If you’re a few years into your career, your resume’s education section can be minimized at the bottom of your resume. Unless you’re applying in a career that puts extra emphasis on education (like academia, law, or medicine), most job seekers can get away with providing only the following information on their resume:
- Name of Institution
- School Location
- Years Attended
If you’ve recently graduated college, your education section goes above your work experience and includes more detail. Skills developed in school are real skills that have value in the professional world. Recent grads can include relevant coursework, societies, organizations, and extracurricular that strengthen their candidacy.
The certifications section is the most important of the other sections you can include, but adding the certifications or licenses section is largely dependent on your industry. For example, the nursing field has strict licensing requirements while the customer service sector does not.
If your industry requires certifications the hiring manager will be intent on finding them in your application. Make sure to thoroughly research your industry to find any relevant certifications or licenses you may have missed.
This section adds another layer of customization to your resume by providing evidence of your abilities. Adding relevant awards and activities helps you stand out from your competition. If this section becomes too lengthy, feel free to break them up into smaller sections. Here are some items to consider adding:
- Academic Honors
- Volunteer positions
- Professional Affiliations
7. List Relevant Skills and Keywords
Resume keywords are important terms of interest that recruiters look for whether skimming a resume or searching in an applicant tracking system. The more role-specific keywords—often hard skills—your resume contains, the better optimized your resume is. Hard skills include Technical skills, Computer skills, Analytical skills, Marketing skills, Presentation skills, Management skills, etc. You can also include some soft skills such as Communication, Teamwork, Adaptability, Creativity, Work ethic, Interpersonal skills, Time-management, etc.
It’s important to incorporate important skills throughout your entire resume, beginning with your headline which should, when possible, include the most important keyword, the job title. You can also list skills in a dedicated skills section of your resume if using a hybrid format.
You can look in the job description to see which hard skills and soft skills are mentioned. Anything that is required or mentioned multiple times can be considered important to the role.
8. Tailor Your Resume and Optimize For Applicant Tracking Systems
Did you know that over 70% of resumes submitted to job-boards are never read? Yep, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) keep your resume from being read by hiring managers. An ATS (for resume) is software that helps companies filter through hundreds of resumes they receive per day.
It’s very easy these days to fire off your resume to dozens of jobs, but if you’ve tried this method, you may have been disappointed by your success rate.
That’s because you didn’t take the time to customize your resume—and recruiters can tell.
The most impactful thing you can do to improve your chances of getting interviews is to tailor your resume to every job. Customized resumes that align with job requirements and include keywords from the job description will stand out to recruiters who often receive hundreds of resumes for each role.
You can use a system like DAXTRA or RESUNATE to automatically tailors and optimizes your resume for a specific job.
9. Polish Up Your Grammar and Formatting
Resume writing is a unique style. It can be tricky to remember which tense to use or when (and why) to omit pronouns. How can you use language to tell a more compelling story? Which fonts and formats are ATS-friendly? Let’s take a look.
Certain resume fonts are best suited for particular industries. There are some broad Dos and Don’ts when it comes to choosing your font and sizes.
It’s important to use a font that is easy to read on-screen, ATS-compatible, and commonly available. Avoid using script fonts or custom fonts unless you are a designer. Don’t use a font size below 10 pt.
Tense and Pronouns:
Use past tense when talking about jobs in the past and present tense when describing the work you are currently doing. Traditional resume writing leaves out personal pronouns (I) and gets right to the action. Ex. Spearheaded a new email marketing initiative that increased revenue by 10 percent.
Following the structure mentioned above about writing a resume. You can also follow these additional tips to create more possibilities to get a job.
1. Write a Matching Cover Letter
Your resume and cover letter are a reflection of you. While your resume is a straightforward outline of your work history, skills, and accomplishments, your cover letter should serve as its commentary. It’s responsible for communicating a glimpse of your personality, your overall vision for the job, and any important background details that will support the details of your resume.
Knowing how to write a good cover letter and then pairing one with your resume will round out your application and is going to boost your chances of landing an interview.
Your cover letter gives you a chance to connect with a hiring manager on a deeper level than your resume does, and together these two crucial documents work in tandem to get you satisfying work. But be sure to check out our full list of cover letter tips when you write yours to guarantee you’re hitting all the right points.
If you want to learn more about writing a cover letter, check out these 20 cover letter examples.
2. Adding the Resume to Your LinkedIn Profile
After successfully create your resume, you can upload it to your LinkedIn profile. Right now LinkedIn is one of the best sources to get your dream job.
Many employers list jobs on LinkedIn and prefer the platform over other popular job boards given the size of the potential applicant pool and LinkedIn’s advanced filter options. So, it is an excellent idea to upload your resume to your LinkedIn profile.
There are many ways to add your resume to your LinkedIn profile. You can check out here to know how to upload a resume on LinkedIn.
Whichever way you decide to attach a resume to LinkedIn, remember to write a good to help you find work on the platform.
3. Resume Builders to Create a Resume
Writing a resume can be an intimidating, confusing task, and you have enough pressure to search for a new job without the headache of building a resume.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Technology has changed everything. Resume building can be a dynamic, rewarding experience – a time to focus on your goals and achievements while you leave the details to an online resume builder.
There are resume builder sites, and resume generator apps available, and most of them are free. You can also use 20 Resume Samples Free Download to create your resume.
Online resume builders are a great resource that can give you ideas for your resume or guide you through the steps of writing one.
Additional Resume Formatting Tips
The subject matter of your resume is ultimately what recruiters care about most. However, that doesn’t mean you should slack off when it comes to design and formatting. A cluttered, visually confusing resume makes it more difficult to read, and therefore more likely that recruiters and hiring managers will cast it aside. On the other hand, a sleek, polished resume will have the opposite effect. Use these rules of thumb to ensure that your resume looks its best.
- Use an easy-to-read font of no less than 11 pt.
- Add margins of at least .7 inches.
- Make sure there’s sufficient white space between sections.
- Don’t go overboard with intricate design or decoration — touches of color are fine, but avoid any clashing or visually busy details.
- If you’re going to print out copies of your resume, invest in a good paper, and use a high-quality printer.
- Don’t save your resume as a PDF unless the application specifically says it accepts PDF files. Some applicant tracking systems scan PDFs as if they were one big image, which fails to capture your information.
- Keep your resume to 1-2 pages max, unless you’re in a field like academia or medicine and must cite papers and publications.
We have written this guide to help you successfully adjust to create your own resume. At this point, you should be familiar with the ins and outs of how to make a resume perfectly tailored to your next job prospect. Plus, you should even be on the right track to pair that resume with a top-notch cover letter, and smoothly send out your full application to your future employer. We hope that anyone looking to create his/her professional resume would get some new ideas from here.