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7 Steps to Write a Good Resume

A resume is more than a mere document listing your education, skills and experience. It is your first impression on your potential recruiters. It is crucial to highlight your strengths in a way that catches the eye of the hiring manager. According to online research, there are around 250 resumes collected on every job opening. Around 6 candidates are called for the interview and only one gets the chance. Recruiters look at a resume for average ten seconds or even less before deciding whether it belongs to pass or reject pile.

How to Write a Good Resume

So, it can be challenging to write a resume which grabs the attention of the reader the moment he looks at it. We have divided the taxing task in 10 steps:

Skim Through Resumes of Your Field

Now this is to get you a starting point. Writing a resume for the first time can be overwhelming. If you don’t have a resume and writing it from scratch this will give you a sketch. If you already have a resume, this will help you know new trends and how you can tailor it according to your new job. But you should not copy any of the content details.

Select a Resume Format

There are three types of resume format:

  • Chronological resume format
  • Functional resume format
  • Hybrid or Combination

The choice depends on what kind of job you are looking for and your word experience.

Chronological Resume Format: This is the most common and popular resume format. It is best for people with plenty of the work experience relevant to the job they are looking for.

Functional Resume Format: if you are a student or freshly graduate or deciding to do a career change, this one might be a better choice. It highlights the skills of the individual to make up for the lack of work experience.

Hybrid Resume Format: This combines the best qualities of both formats. If you are looking for a job which requires expertise in more than one area this is for you. It is to highlight the diverse skill-set of the candidate. Say, for example, you are applying for a secretary where there is a very wide range of soft and hard skills required.

Design the Layout Carefully

Your resume should scream “Read me!”. It should not be too long or too short. It should be organized and clutter-free. Following are some tips to keep in mind:

  • One page is the length. You should only go for second page if you know it will really add something. Be concise, do not wander off. Hiring managers are busy people, not at all interested in your biography.
  • Your font should be easy to read. Do not use overtly pompous fonts only to make it hard to read. While using MS Word, Calibri, Georgia and Ariel are the ones that we recommend.
  • Do not leave out margins. They give the document an overall neat and organized look.
  • Give clear section headings.
  • Use standard font size. Use 11-12 for text body and 14-16 for headings

Now for the design layout you have to consider the nature of your job. If you are looking for a more traditional position like teaching, banking, legal or finance, you should go for more simplistic and traditional designs. But if you are looking for a more technical job, where your innovative skills are required, show them off and go for more creative and modern designs.

Key Sections

So, by now we have gone through the prep, now is the time to do the actual task: write. The most common sections listed in resumes are:

  • Contact Information
  • Professional summary/Objective
  • Work Experience (you can also add your achievements)
  • Education
  • Skill
  • (Optional), Languages, additional certificates etc.

Now, let us discuss each section.

Contact Information: So, here is the point, even if you manage to grab the company’s attention with a killer resume, the HR manager cannot call you for an interview if you misspelled something in your contact info i.e., your email address. Make sure to recheck multiple times and make sure there are no mistakes and everything is updated. This section must have your:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address (it should sound professional)
  • Current address

There are some optional additions. You can add your professional title. You can add your personal blog if there is any.

You should not irrelevant information in this section such as your birthday unless it is in your job requirement to do so.

Summary or Objective: You never get a chance at making the first impression. Craft your lead in this summary. HR managers spend six second on an average resume before passing onto the next one, unless they find something captivating enough to go on reading. Write a snappy brief summary of your professional objective. It is basically 2-3 sentence juice of your whole resume. Make it count. Review other resume summaries online and carefully write your own.

Work Experience: Another one of your selling points is your work experience. You should list all your previous and current ventures clearly and make the list easy to comprehend. This is how you should write your previous job experience.

  • Job title
  • Company description
  • Your responsibilities (make them into neat bullets)
  • Your achievements (For example, generated increase in the annual sale by 20%)
  • Start date – end date

Education: list your academic credentials clearly. Your degree and your institution are a must in this. You should write your:

  • Program name
  • University name
  • Batch year

This is optional but you can also add your GPA and academic accomplishments or extra-curricular activities.

Skill: In this section make a list of your soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are the day-to-day skills which help you do your job more efficiently. For example,

  • Time management.
  • Communication.
  • Adaptability.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Teamwork skills.
  • Creativity.
  • Leadership.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Multilingualism.

Hard skills are the ones to help in with more technical, professional work. These are not personal but taught through-a-course skills. Such as:

  • Computer Skills.
  • Analytical Skills.
  • Marketing Skills.
  • Presentation Skills.
  • Management Skills.
  • Project Management Skills.
  • Writing Skills.

Optional: This section is for those who have additional certificates and achievements.

Know the Keywords

Carefully go through the job advertisement and highlight all the important keywords. Incorporate them in your resume. This plays a key role in catching the eye of HR. It leaves an impression that this resume was crafted for this particular job and as a result the manager wants to read it.

Specify Your Resume for the Job

You should not use the same resume for every job you seek. Instead, you should carefully tailor your resume and make it relevant and specific for the job you are applying for. Most of the resumes submitted are not even given a second look. Why? Because they are irrelevant to the job and does not highlight the person applying, fitting for the job. Use the right language. Every field has its own jargon (specific language) and you should stick to it. Avoid unprofessional vocabulary that distracts the reader.

Proofread, Proofread and Proofread

This seems like the recurring and boring things but trust us its not. It is highly important to proofread at least two to three times to avoid any embarrassing mistakes. You should always thoroughly check and recheck your resume before submitting it.

Now that you have gone through all these steps, its time to wrap it up and send it to the company. Make sure to send it in 3-4 hours after the opening to get a higher chance of HR reading all of it. Best of luck.