How to Write a Professional Resume
Writing a resume that will grab the attention of recruiters is never an easy task. Sometimes, you have to spend sleepless nights before coming up with a perfect copy.
Well, as much as it takes time to prepare a professional resume, it does not mean preparing one is always a daunting task.
No. Understanding how to prepare a resume that is appealing to recruiters will definitely make your work easier. This article is tailored to help you prepare a good resume in just a few steps.
So, make sure to read it to the very end. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.
How to write a resume
It is much easier to prepare your resume once you clearly understand what sections and information to include and what to omit. Below are steps that you will find very helpful when tailoring your resume:
- Use the right resume builder
- Pick the right resume format & layout
- Mention your personal details & contact information
- Use a resume summary or objective
- List your work experience & achievements
- Mention your top soft & hard skills
- (Optional) Include additional resume sections – languages, hobbies, etc.
- Craft a convincing cover letter
- Ace that interview and get the job
Using the right resume builder
A resume builder is an excellent alternative to using basic text editors that only make creating and formatting more tedious. Resume builders let you create your resume fast by just adding relevant sections and information. So, attempt to pick the right one.
Choose the right resume template.
There are different resume templates to consider today. While all these templates are great, you should pick the one you find most appropriate.
Often, the job you are applying for and your experience will help you decide which format is most appropriate.
Choosing the right resume format
There are three types of resume formats: reverse chronological, functional, or skills-based, and a combination of the two. As mentioned above, your experience and the job you are applying for play a great role in helping you pick the right format.
- Reverse chronological format: This is the most popular resume format. It is relevant for people who have extensive experience that is relevant to the position they are applying for.
- Functional or skills-based format: Are you looking to make a career change? Did you complete your college education recently and lack relevant work experience? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then prepare a functional resume.
- Combination resume format: This format is ideal when applying for a role that requires expertise in 3-4 different fields, and you want to show all that in your resume. For example, when applying for a senior project manager role and the requirements are expertise in digital marketing, project management, and software development.
Now, which is the right option?
While all formats are great, you may want to stick to the reverse chronological resume format because it is common to recruiters and HR managers. That said, let’s dive deeper and learn more about this specific format.
What is the best resume layout?
Your resume layout is the first thing recruiters will see. This means you must organize your resume well; otherwise, recruiters will always discard it at first glance. This is not something you want to happen to you.
Here are some of the resume must-haves that will always help you write an appealing resume:
- One-page length: Always focus on creating a one-page resume. Unless you find it very crucial to move to the second page, always stick to one page. Owing to the large volumes of resumes recruiters receive per application, often, they don’t have enough time to go through a multi-page resume. By focusing on a one-page resume, you increase your chances of standing out among other candidates.
- Easy to read font: Always use the font recommended by employers. If no mention of fonts to use, pick one from the resume fonts. By all means, never use fancy fonts.
- Font size: it is recommended to use 11 -12 pt for normal text and 14-16pt for section titles.
- Clear section heading: Make sure you have a uniform way of naming your headings. For example, you can pick H2 and use it for all the section headers.
- File format: If the recruiter has not specified how to save and submit your resume, always save it as a PDF. Word is also an excellent alternative, but it may mess up your resume formatting.
Traditional vs. modern resume layout
You have the freedom to choose between a traditional resume layout and a modern layout. Always go for a layout that works best for you, and especially one that will grab the recruiter’s attention at first glance.
For example, when pursuing a career in a more traditional industry, go for the traditional layout. If applying to a tech company or any other company where innovation, creativity, and imagination are valued, then feel comfortable using modern layouts.
What to mention on your resume?
What do you include in your resume? Here are sections and information to always add to your resume.
The most common sections for a resume are:
1. Contact Information
Adding your contact details makes it easier for recruiters to get in touch with you. Remember also to double-check or triple-check to ensure your contact details are accurate and up-to-date.
Contact information to always include in your resume
- First Name and Last Name.
- Phone Number.
- Email Address.
- Location – are you in the area, or will the company have to sponsor relocation?
- Your professional title, for example, Data Scientist or Librarian.
- Website or blog – do you have a website or blog? If yes, always include it.
- LinkedIn URL
- Social media – Do you have a published portfolio online? If yes, also include that. If you are a writer, you can add your Dribble, and if you are a developer, you can add GitHub.
What not to include
- Date of birth
- Unprofessional email address
2. Professional resume summary or objective
Resume summary or objective is a short section compared to other parts of the resume that is located at the top of your resume and one that plays a significant role. It highlights your professional skills, achievements, certifications, and experience.
Including it allows recruiters to have, a sneak peek into your expertise. It is a section that will enable you to grab the attention of potential employers. So, always add it.
3. Work experience (and achievements)
This section allows you to list relevant work experience for the job you are applying for. It is a section that gives you an opportunity to sell yourself to employers. So, tailor it well.
Often, list your work experience in reverse chronological order. That is, starting with the most recent experience. Also include the job title or position, employer name, achievement and responsibilities, and date employed.
Again, in the education section, start by mentioning your latest education entry, then name the rest in reverse chronological order.
Remember to include the program name, university name, and years attended. You can as well add your GPA, honors, and academic achievements though it is not a must.
Now when you get to the skill section of your resume, it is a good idea to mention both your soft and hard skills. For soft skills, you can mention anything from critical thinking and leadership to communication. When it comes to hard skills, you can say you are good at coding in python.
6. Optional sections – languages, publications, hobbies, etc.
You have the option to add or skip the optional sections when writing a resume. However, note that including these sections is a plus as they give you a huge boost.