Your resume is more than just an ingenious compilation of all the job descriptions you’ve held from day one of your career. Figuratively, in job searching, you are selling yourself off to a possible employer and your resume must contain your best sales strategy that merits an interview. Of course, whatever your sales pitch is, you have to maintain the truthfulness of what seems to be a brief overview of your character and what you can contribute to the company. It is ultimately how you answer those tricky questions or how well you present yourself in person that lets you win the rightful position. But, in the meantime, here are some tips on writing the perfect resume that compels the employer to contact you for an interview.
1) Always see to it that your resume starts with your name on top of everything else.
Your full name must be the first thing the employer sees in your resume. You may type it in bold, in all caps or in a bigger font for emphasis. Contact information must then be appropriately placed below your full name and must be limited to your current address, telephone or mobile numbers, and a professional email address. If you have upsized the typeface of your name, then your contact information must be typed in a smaller size.
2) Set a catchy tone for your resume by putting an opening statement.
An opening statement could either be an objective or a brief summary of one’s skills. Although there is no specific preference between these two, some employers may even prefer having none at all. Opening statements are common among fresh graduates and young applicants who want to make their resumes look fuller. Your choice will depend on the type of industry you are in or whichever is more comfortable for you to express yourself. Just keep in mind that this part ought to be short, ranging from 10-20 words only. Also, take extra care in your choice of words as this part may inadvertently send implied messages to the employer.
3)Your professional experience must be composed of your career highlights, achievements and employment history.
You would naturally prefer putting your achievements first but you have to keep it simple and straightforward. Narrow down your list of achievements and career highlights to 3-5 bullet lines. Because achievements can somehow be more appealing than responsibilities, you can set aside modesty and flaunt what you can offer. Just be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive. Stick to the facts by stating actual figures, like the percentage of revenues you have brought in or the number of products you have successfully promoted. Never claim something you have not done.
On the other hand, your employment history must be arranged in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job listed first and so forth. Put emphasis on the job title. The company name and the year of employment need not be as prominent. Describe your responsibilities using strong verbs in past tense to convey what you have actually done and not just what you were tasked to do. Although you may want to declare your multitasking skills, you do not have to write every little thing you have done that is no longer within your job description. For example, if you are an Accounts Assistant, you do not have to say that you clean up the pantry on your free time. Moreover, it is a general rule not to use “I” in these types of statements.
4) Unless you are a fresh graduate with no job experience, keep your education details simple.
You only have to list down the degrees attained, school names and graduation years from the most recent down to the oldest. Academic awards and above average GPAs may be worth mentioning, too. You can highlight your education if it’s remarkably outstanding. However, this can no longer be as significant if you have graduated 5 years ago. If you have already stated substantial job experience, you may skip through your high school details and focus on completed courses that are relevant to the job or trade you are applying for.
5) The last section of your resume must be intended for some boost on technical skills and professional development.
It is appropriate to dedicate a small section in your resume that mentions additional skills and abilities that may boost your potentials as a prospect employee. This is where you write down your advanced knowledge in software applications or your proficiency in a foreign language. Of course, you still have to stick to what is relevant. Your advanced bartending skills would not increase your chances of being hired as a Payroll Officer. Recent trainings and other professional development activities may be inserted here as well. Organize these according to category and condense each detail to single-line descriptions.
6) Hobbies, interests and personal details such as religion and number of children are often considered superfluous and need not to be mentioned.
Remember that you do not reveal everything in a resume. You only need to catch the employer’s attention to give you a shot at an interview. Your hobbies and personal details can be trivial and may only add pages to your resume. References, on the other hand, can be labeled ‘Available on Request’. This way, you are protecting the confidentiality of your reference’s contact details.
7) Attaching a photograph is not necessary, but if you prefer doing so, choose one that is unquestionably appropriate.
It is a common practice to include a decent photograph of yourself in your resume. Should you decide to attach one, make sure it is the correct size with appropriate clothing, make-up and hairstyle in it. Although your photo is not strictly compulsory, you have to see to it that it is carefully positioned in the right place, usually on the first page’s upper right-hand corner, aptly beside your full name and contact details.
8) Your resume should never be longer than 3 pages and should be accompanied by a formal and proper cover letter.
While most applicants do not give much attention to the cover letter, a lot of employer’s first impressions are based on the way the letter is presented. Constructing a letter is one of the most intrinsic essentials in business communications, so you might want to spend a little more time on your grammar, tone of context, proper spacing and overall letter structure.
Always review your resume for typos, grammatical and spelling errors before submitting. It is a rule of thumb to use plain typeface (Times New Roman, Arial, and the likes), black ink and clean, white, standard-sized paper. Keep in mind that your resume says more than your employment potential – it reflects your personal image, too. Recruiters may have different criteria to the perfect resume, but make the most of it and use it to your full advantage any way you can.
List of resume samples & templates
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Felix’s work has been appreciated and shared on many well known online publications such as: BusinessInsider, FoxNews, SmartRecruiters, Business.com, Huffpost, ZipRecruiter, SnagAJob and many others.
Felix has extensive experience in human resources, recruitment and online business development. On ResumeOK, he uses his 10+ years of experience in the recruitment industry to provide step by step instructions on how to write solid resumes that will catch the attention of the recruiter.
Over the years, Felix has been responsible for reviewing resumes and conducting job interviews, for his own startups and also for other companies. After going through tens of thousands of resumes, he has learned what makes a resume stand out from the crowd and what are the most common mistakes people make. All the experience and knowledge gained over the years are being used in making ResumeOK the go-to place for finding great resume samples, job interview advice and resume writing tips.
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