Writing a Killer Resume
- Main features
- Resume types
- How to start writing
- Resume structure
- How to write about education
- How to write about work experience
- How to write about work-related experience
- Tips on how to write an effective resume
- Common mistakes when writing a resume
- How to make it more attractive
- Resume revision
- Resume example
- Resume Samples (Download)
Everyone should know how to write a killer resume because you will need it at one point of your life. Having an effective and reliable resume can significantly improve your prospects of getting that dream job. A resume is a document compiling your skills, educational background, credentials, work experience, and accomplishments. This document is required for almost all professional positions and it is part of the application process in securing jobs. The big question posed is how do you write a resume?
Regardless of your position, your resume should include specific features, such as:
- personal information like name, address, phone number
- a statement of your objective
- education background
- relevant working experience
- skills and proof of expertise
- activities or hobbies; and finally references to back up all this information
Depending on the kind of job you are seeking, several formats may apply. So, some types of resumes include
- Chronological – If you are confused about how to write a chronological resume, you should know what it is. Briefly, this is the most common type of resume, and it is structured in a way that lists your work experience history from the most recent to the earliest. In this way, it shows the employer most recent positions and experience.
- Functional – Unlike the chronological resume, a functional one puts a bigger focus on your experience and skills first and de-emphasizes the dates of your work history. The employment history comes after and is usually put into skills details.
- Combination – This type is structured in a way that combines both experience and skills in addition to using a chronological listing in the work history section. The combination resume is quite flexible and allows the applicant to tailor his story to the employer.
- Targeted – The details are customized according to the potential job you are applying for. The objective statement, the qualifications, and the educational experience should reflect the job requirements, therefore, making it detailed.
How to start writing
If you desire to learn how to write a great resume, you have to start from the beginning since a perfect one must start with a captivating introduction. Your resume should have content that draws the potential employer’s attention through presenting an overview of the qualities and characteristics that make you a perfect fit for the job. Even though the work experience is the primary focus for all employers, an excellent introduction is essential as it gives context. Some tips include giving your resume a title, inserting some of your core competencies or skills under the title, provide your highlights or themes, these are similar functions or positions that you have held in different organizations and most importantly, an excellent summary. This should be a brief paragraph summarizing your skills and experience combined with a number of your distinct personal attributes.
It is a requirement for your resume to be structured in a certain way to include the information that is important to the employer instead of adding unnecessary information. Contact information is a necessary component in the structure since it gives the employer a way to get in touch with you. Information provided in this section should be up to date. A solid summary statement is another essential component in a resume structure as it summarizes your skills and experiences which is what the employer is looking for. Work history follows, the employer is interested in your past job history and what you were able to accomplish at these organizations and not merely the job description you were given in your previous positions. Under the education section, formal education, especially after high school, is what matter most. All certificates, coursework or continuing education you may be pursuing that is relevant to the job should be included. These components have to be organized and grouped under different headings. Well-defined headers in your resume simplify the process of the potential employer finding what they need to know.
How to write about education
Education is the most straightforward section when it comes to how to write a job resume. In some cases, however, it is essential to identify what to include and what to omit, like not having graduated. You should start listing from the highest level of your education first, before working your way back up to high school. If you attended college, all the details need to be included, for example, the major or minor, the kind of degree you received, school location, the year you graduated among others. However, the GPA should not be included unless it was above 3.0 or the employer has specifically asked for it. If you are a recent graduate, extracurricular leadership roles and other academic honors may also be included. These roles should be dropped once you have started gaining work experience since they become irrelevant with time. For those who may have attended but not graduated from college, you may list the years, courses as well as the credits achieved towards the degree you were studying for.
How to write about work experience
The work experience section is the sole purpose why potential employers ask for resumes. Relevant work experience should be included, and this can be classified as any position you may have held previously that is similar to the one you are applying for and all previous jobs that match or support the job on offer. This section should mostly have paid work experiences, like part-time and full-time jobs, work-study, internships among others.
How to write about work-related experience (if any)
However, if you have limited or no work experience, then you can include any position you have had that can be considered work regardless of whether it was paid or not and you can call this section other experience. If you have professional experience, that is job positions that are in line with what you have studied for then all other work experiences will be categorized separately as “other” instead of relevant work experience. There is a slightly different approach on how to write a resume when you are changing careers. The resume for a career change has to mention your transferable skills and explain how the qualifications and experiences from your prior career are still relevant and applicable.
Tips on how to write an effective resume
You should keep in mind a few tips on how to write a successful resume, such as reviewing your objective, including only relevant information as not to make it bulky, choosing one type of format and stick to it. When writing a resume, your contact information should appear at the top of the document. Also, you need to have a list of your work experience, emphasize on your accomplishments and achievements in your previous positions, format and proofread your resume and, finally, ensure you have chosen a type that suits you.
Common mistakes when writing a resume
There are some common mistakes that most people make during resume writing. They are typing and grammatical errors that kill one’s prospect especially for employers that are strict. Another common mistake is mass-mailing your resume instead of tailoring it to suit each particular you are applying for. Others include being excessively wordy, overlooking keywords that are usually placed in the job description but not labeled in addition to being too vague by simply describing previous job descriptions and not achievements.
How to make it more attractive
As we have already established, it is imperative to tailor your resume for each job application. Apart from having the right content, this document also has to be appealing since most resumes are sent via email and are, therefore, read from the computer in soft copy. This can be done through various techniques, such as:
- Making use of shading and color for specific parts helps to highlight them
- Using bold typeface, especially for accomplishments and companies
- Using templates as they make work look organized
- Using infographic format for your resume whereby the text is presented visually as well as different designs (These can only be used depending on the type of job you are applying for – like graphic design jobs and many others)
After the above has been done, revise your resume before you make the final draft. This can be done through brainstorming, feedback from someone else, write different variants before settling on the one you want to use, and checking whether the font is appropriate by keeping it traditional. More tips on the revision of resumes include checking for errors, ensuring it has proper length and emphasizing on quality as opposed to quantity of the information.
Below is an example of a good resume.
- Date of Birth
- To continuously learn and develop my career to a level of high competence, for the benefit of the organization and myself.
WORK EXPERIENCE AND CAREER HISTORY
- Job description
- A positive, a team player with a can-do attitude, ability to work under pressure
- Confident communicator with strong written and verbal communication skills
- Excels at interfacing with team members at all levels to meet and surpass organizational goals
- Strong computer skills including Google applications, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other commonly used software/web applications.
- Strong drive for learning and self-development
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENTS AND LEADERSHIP SKILLS
- Secretary Catholic Association in high school.
INTEREST AND ACTIVITIES
- Reading Novels, Magazines, and Journals on current issues and trends.
- Travel and adventures