Perhaps you have recently graduated or are a seasoned professional; In any case, a perfect resume will be vital to successful job search. This is a visual document that hiring managers will usually only glance at for a few seconds. A neat structure and well-organized content can help you make your resume stand out from the rest. Design it according to each position you apply for and highlight the skills, training and experience that make you a solid candidate.
Part 1 of 3: Structure Your Resume
Step 1. Choose a template or design your own
Most word processing apps have different resume templates that you can choose from. If you don't like any of them, you can use your own design.
- Templates are also available for download from the internet, many of which are free. If you don't want to use one of the basic templates in your word processing application, you could find another one that works for you online.
- The elements of the template can also be customized according to your needs. Think of them as scaffolding that you can adapt or remove as needed.
- Use a standard, readable font size 10 or 12. Section headings may be slightly larger. Times New Roman and Georgia are popular Serif fonts. If you want to use a Sans Serif font, use Calibri or Helvetica.
If you are looking for work in the area of web design or graphic design, create your own unique design and use your resume to show your skills.
Step 2. Create a header with your name and contact information
At the top of the page, write your full name, address, phone number, and email. Experiment with the format until you find what you like best.
- For example, you could have all the information centered. You could also put your address on the left side and your phone and email on the right, with your name in the center and a little larger.
- If you don't already have a professional email address, get one from a free email service like Gmail. Ideally, the email address you put on your resume should be made up of your initials and your last name. Never put a personal address that is silly or suggestive.
Step 3. Use a chronological resume in more conservative fields
On a chronological resume, you will list your work experience and training in reverse chronological order. This is a classic resume format that older hiring managers are likely to value more, or those in conservative fields like accounting or law.
You won't have much flexibility with a chronological resume, but you can still organize the sections in a way that puts your strongest information at the top. For example, if you've received a lot of education, but don't have a lot of work experience, you might need to mention your education first
Step 4. Make a functional resume if you don't have direct work experience
With a functional resume, you can highlight your specific skills and aptitudes without having to list every job you've ever had. This can be beneficial if you have little work experience.
This type of resume is also a good option if you have a lot of experience and want to limit the document to a single page. You can focus on the skills you've developed rather than having to list each job you've had with specific details
Step 5. Combine a chronological and a functional resume to highlight your skills
You will still be able to use a functional resume even if you are looking for work in a more conservative field. It starts with a skills section and includes chronological sections below it.
Since this type of resume can get lengthy, consider only mentioning your last 2-3 jobs and your highest academic degree. If you've been at your most recent job for more than 10 years, you may just need to mention that job. You can clarify in the functional part of the resume how long you have been working in the industry
Part 2 of 3: Make your content stand out
Step 1. Start with skill sets on a functional resume
A functional resume emphasizes what you can do, rather than what you have done. Come up with a list of 4-5 skill categories in which you have experience or training. Then include a brief description of the skill and bullet points with specific examples of when you use that skill.
- For example, if you are creating a resume for an online writing job, you could include "editing" as one of your skills. One of the bullet points could indicate the number of articles you've edited on wikiHow and any praise you've received for that work. Even if it is a volunteer job, it will still be an experience as an editor.
- You can also include relatively personal skills. For example, you could list "team leader" as one of your skills. Then you could put up bullets detailing your work in student administration, organizing a rally for a nonprofit organization, or working as a camp supervisor.
Step 2. List work experience, including relevant volunteer work
For a chronological resume, add specific jobs and other work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job. Use specific, descriptive job titles that tell potential employers exactly what you've done during the experience.
- In general, in a chronological resume you should include the month and year in which you started and left the job. However, if you've worked there for a number of years, simply listing the years will usually suffice.
- On a functional resume, you will have a little more flexibility in how you include your work experience. You won't always have to include the dates you worked for a specific employer, but you do need to indicate how long you worked there. For example, you could say, "I have led the sales team of 20 people for 10 years."
- Use active verbs to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. Specific numbers and metrics will show potential employers exactly what you've accomplished. For example, if you were a sales manager, you could include a line such as "I implemented changes that increased sales by 27% in one quarter."
Step 3. Include relevant education or certifications
Usually your highest grade is the only thing you will need to include on your resume. However, you should include lower-level degrees if they are relevant to the job you're applying for. Also, list any relevant licenses or certifications you have.
- For example, if you just graduated from law school and are applying for a job as a lawyer, you will need to include your law degree on your resume, as well as the college to which you were accepted. If you have been accepted to practice your profession in some other court, you will also have to mention it.
- If you're creating a functional resume, the education section will likely go to the bottom of the page. Some people leave out this section on functional resumes. However, you must include it if the job posting includes a specific degree as a requirement.
- If you've had a high cumulative GPA, you can include it in your education information. Otherwise, you will have to skip it. If you are including more than one grade, put your GPA in both, if possible. Otherwise, skip it entirely.
If you have a terminal academic degree that is vital to your line of work, you could include it in the heading instead of creating a separate section for your education. This can give you more space.
Step 4. Emphasize career skills that make you a more valuable employee
Even on a chronological resume, you could have a skills section if you want the hiring manager to know what skills you have that are relevant to the job. Focus on career skills that can be objectively assessed, such as computer or technical skills, or languages.
- You may be tempted to exaggerate a bit in the skills section to look more impressive. However, this can get you in trouble. For example, if you only know a few words and phrases in English, don't put on your resume that you can converse or even be fluent in that language. If the hiring manager starts speaking to you in English, you have eliminated your chances of being hired.
- On the other hand, if your job posting lists specific skills and you possess them, you should include a skills section and list them along with details about your competence.
If you don't have a lot of work experience, you may need to include personal skills, such as "diligent" or "motivated." Just be sure to support them with concrete examples that demonstrate those qualities.
Step 5. Include keywords on your resume strategically
Employers often use filtering software to check resumes for specific keywords. These words indicate what they are looking for in a potential employee. The software allows hiring managers to spend less time reading resumes. To get past the filter, include the keywords mentioned in the job posting.
Make sure the keywords you use match the rest of the text and use them sparingly. You don't have to repeat the same word or phrase over and over
Step 6. Include hobbies and interests if they are work related
A hobbies and interests section is often considered optimal, and it might be helpful if you have little content. However, only include hobbies or interests that would benefit you in the job you are applying for.
For example, if you are applying for a manager position at a sporting goods store, the fact that you play multiple sports will definitely be relevant to that position
Part 3 of 3: Finish Your Resume
Step 1. Design each resume according to the specific job you are applying for
You could have a main resume that includes all of your skills, education, and experience. However, the resume you give out to every prospective employer doesn't always need to be all-inclusive. Just list skills and experience that are directly related to that job. Match your resume with the job posting as closely as possible.
- Change the order of the sections if necessary, so that the most important competencies listed in the job description are at the top of the page. It also rearranges the bullets, putting the most relevant information first.
- Even if you are proud of a certain accomplishment, remove it from your resume if it is not related to work.
If you are applying for a job that is different from your previous profession, it may be helpful to include a summary explaining your interest or why you are applying for that position.
Step 2. Edit your resume to eliminate excess words and create space
Active, forceful text is vital on a resume, as they will likely only glance at the document for a few seconds. Eliminate pronouns, articles, adjectives, and adverbs. The final sentence should only communicate the action and its result.
- Imagine that you have worked as a barista in a coffee shop. You could include a vignette indicating that you have maintained high hygiene standards. However, you should verify that it is as quantifiable as possible. You could say "I implemented a new hygiene program, increased the cafeteria health and hygiene rating by 11%."
- Make bullets personal, rather than just repeating the job description. For example, if you were a salesperson, you could say "I exceeded all personal selling goals for 4 months" instead of "I sold clothes and accessories to customers."
Step 3. Review the resume carefully before submitting it
Don't just rely on the spelling and grammar checker built into your word processing application. Read the resume several times to make sure it doesn't have mistakes. Reading aloud can also help you identify mistakes or words that sound weird.
- Be careful with accents and commas. If you have difficulty with these elements, read what you have written carefully to determine its consistency. For example, you can easily identify errors in the sentence “Train salespeople who showed their progress” by reading it carefully (“I trained sales people who showed their progress”).
- Make sure the format and punctuation are consistent. For example, if you use bullets in one section, you must use them in all sections.
- There are free online applications (like Grammarly) that can help you find the mistakes you may not have noticed.
start with the last word and read each word separately, working backward through the entire document. This will remove the narrative structure to help highlight errors more.
Step 4. Save your resume as a PDF file
If you are sending your resume to potential employers online, they will generally want a PDF file. Use this file format, unless the job posting specifically requests a different one.
A PDF document will also benefit you, as it will preserve your formatting options. This will also prevent accidental mistakes if the hiring manager opens or prints your resume
Step 5. Print copies of your resume to take to the interview
Print your resume on a good printer using good quality white or ivory paper. You can find “resume paper” online or at office supply stores. If you have included hyperlinks in your digital resume, remove them before printing, so all the text will be black.
Bring at least 3 copies of your resume to the interview. If you know that a hiring team is going to interview you, bring enough copies for each member. You should also make sure that you have at least one copy for yourself
- Using years instead of months and years can help hide gaps in your resume. Just remember to be honest if the interviewer asks you about it.
- You can include a section at the end of the resume for references. However, if you're running low on space, you can skip this section. If the hiring manager wants references, they can ask for them.
- Include a cover letter, even if the employer doesn't request one. This can give your resume context and provide a more personal presentation as a candidate.