Do you think that your resume is excellent? Do you know the latest trends in resume writing? Do you know how to tailor your resume to pass through the ATS? Do you know the reason your resume got rejected many times? If the answer is No to all these questions, you definitely need to read this article on steps to writing a resume. Your resume might be the issue for all the rejections by recruiters.
Resume writing is a much easier task if you gather relevant information beforehand and follow the steps below. Gathering information as much as possible will result in an impressive resume that will stand out from the crowd.
1. Contact information
Include your First Name and Surname at the top of your resume. It is not necessary for it to be your first name; if your call name is your middle name, it is fine to include that in your resume. At this point, what is required is, to use the same name as in your resume in all your profiles such as LinkedIn Profile, your publications, blogs, etc.
Credentials after Your Name:
If you are applying for a job that requires certification, professional licenses or a degree, including letters after your name on your resume will stand you out from the crowd. It is a very straightforward way of expressing that you possess the relevant educational background for the position.
Remember to put the same credentials in your LinkedIn profile. If you have more than two relevant credentials for a position, include the two most important credentials after your name.
For Example, Anne Smith, BA, MBA
You can put either your entire address or your city and province/state. If the application needs to be sent via Registered Post, then you need to include your complete home address. If you are applying via email or an online platform, they will not contact you via your postal address. Recruiters want to know your location to make sure you are local.
Sometimes, candidates tend to mislead the recruiter due to the fear of losing the position with regards to their location. Never lie, be honest and mention that you are willing to relocate.
For Example, you can mention your address as “New Town, Edinburgh” and mention you are willing to relocate as “relocating to Westminster Borough, London in fall 2019.
Cell Phone Number/ Home Number:
It is fine to include your home phone number and cell phone number if it is your primary source of communication. Make sure to answer the phone in a professional manner.
Keep it professional and use it as a personal branding method. If you have your domain specific email address, this will give you a bonus point. Do not use nicknames in your email address. I recommend setting up a brand-new email address for job search purposes.
Customised URL of your LinkedIn profile:
If you are planning to include the URL of your LinkedIn profile, you need to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to the standard.
Recruiters do not want to see the same information as on your resume. Take this as a great chance to grab the attention of the recruiter by providing more information about your skills and qualifications, endorsements, volunteer work and recommendations from your colleagues, clients & managers.
You need to create a personal LinkedIn URL using your name, as it appears on your resume (login to your linked in profile, then click “edit your public profile” then edit public profile URL). List your LinkedIn URL in the contact section of your resume after your email address.
A perfect resume should include links to LinkedIn URL along with personal websites or blogs or online portfolio.
Sometimes recruiters may find it difficult to determine the best fit for the position by only going through the resume. Therefore, at this point, a personal website gives a chance to stand out among the competitors by demonstrating your uniqueness, subject matter expertise, and professional branding.
If you want to know more about what to include and what not to include in a Personal Website, please refer articles on creating a Personal Website.
List the Personal Website URL in the contact section of your resume after your email address or after your LinkedIn URL.
2. Professional Title:
A professional title should reflect your job goal. Make sure that the professional title and the title of the job you are applying for are the same. Then the recruiter will be very clear about your job goal.
For example: if you are applying for a job with the designation of “Senior Lecturer – Business Management” then put that particular title at the top of your resume.
3. Career Summary/ Professional Summary / Executive Summary:
Career summary at the top centre of your resume should answer, why should you hire me? The recruiter does not want to see filler words like a self-motivated, hardworking individual, etc. They want to recognise your accomplishments and see how self-motivation and hardwork can contribute to making a significant change in their company. Remember, this is not a place to demonstrate your needs and wants.
Start writing the career summary after reading the job advertisement thoroughly, highlight the keywords of the job description and specification. Then think how your qualifications, skills, education, etc. make you a perfect match for this position and how you have used these qualifications to make a significant contribution to your previous or current job.
You can do this using 3-5 lines in bullet form. Make sure to tailor your resume according to the job description of the position you are applying for.
4. Core Strengths / Core Competencies/ Areas of Expertise:
This section is just below the Professional Summary. Core Competencies are a list of skills that are needed to perform the job role effectively.
For Example, if the applying position is a Human Resource Management job, then the core competencies are Performance Management, Human Resource Development, Employee Relations, HR Policies & Procedures, Project Management, MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook), Employment Law, etc.
This section is crucial to pass the Application Tracking System (ATS). As I have explained in my previous article, today most employers and job agents use a software called ATS to filter resumes to fit the job role. Therefore, your core competencies should match the skills required to perform the job you are applying for.
Anyway, keep this section short and include only the relevant and top 9-12 competencies. Use bulleted lists and columns for this section.
5. Professional Experience:
In this section include only the paid work. This should be included in the Professional Experience section beginning with your most recent work.
- Company Name, URL, City & State of the company you were employed at
- Last Position or the Job Title you held
- Employment period (Start and End Dates)
- Job Description
Focus on your accomplishments and use results-based language and avoid using task-based language. Employers do not want to see long lists of tasks and responsibilities that you have carried out. You do not need to record the entire list of duties you had and your full work history. Employers want to know about your past contributions and how you have made a significant change in their company.
Use powerful action verbs such as Chaired, Initiated, Accelerated, Enhanced, Redesigned, Aligned, etc., which can highlight your accomplishments.
You can use a bulleted list and keep it relevant to the position you are applying for, to quantify everything possible.
6. Relevant Experience or Other Experience:
If you have relevant unpaid experiences such as volunteer work or community service, this section can be utilised to fulfil career gaps and should be formatted just like the professional experience section.
7. Education & Professional Development:
You can locate your education section before your Experience section or after your experience section.
If you have just graduated or if you are writing an academic CV, locate your education section before your experience section; if you are an experienced professional, position your education section after your experience.
List out all your educational qualifications, beginning with your most recent degree, probably your highest degree. List all as below:
- Its location
- The name of your degree
- Specialization (major/minor)
- Year of completion
- GPA (optional)
2005 BA in Social Sciences
Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
You can put unfinished educational details as well.
MA in Psychology in Progress
The University of Oxford, Wellington Square, Oxford
It is fine to include professional development activities in the education section.
Professional Development consists of Seminars, Training, Certifications, Workshops, Presentations & Continuing Education that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
8. Awards & Affiliations/Professional Affiliations:
List out relevant professional organisations or affiliations that you hold membership. You can list out Affiliations at the end of your resume.
List the affiliations as below:
- Name of the Organization
- Position Held
- From YEAR to YEAR
- Achievements and Responsibilities
9. Language Skills:
Including language skills in your resume depends on whether it is relevant to the job you are applying for and the level of language skills you possess.
Beginner level language skills does not need to be included in your resume. If you hold the intermediate or advanced or native level proficiency on a particular language, then it is excellent to add the ability in your resume. Provide evidence (certification or higher qualification) of your language abilities.
Where to locate your language skills in the resume?
- AT the top of the resume after the summary – If your language skills are related to the position you are applying for
- After Work Experience and Education sections- If the language is solely a bonus point
- Within the Education or Experience section- Language is entirely unrelated to the position
Some believe it is necessary to include references in their resume and some do not. Remember every inch of your resume is essential and use the space cleverly. I recommend, only include references if the recruiter asked for references or you can mention in your cover letter, that they are available upon request.
11. Formatting your resume
The perfect length of a resume is one page. However, for seasoned professionals, two pages are acceptable. Remember, do not include irrelevant information (irrelevant responsibilities, educational qualifications, skills etc.).
Nowadays, most companies (common among larger companies) use ATS to filter applications. Therefore, you need to use ATS-friendly formatting to pass the initial screening. Moreover, a well-formatted resume will ensure that the recruiter can easily find out the most crucial information.
- Avoid Headers and Footers
- Do not include your contact information in the header or paste as a picture
- Include keywords as highlighted in the job advertisement but do not repeat the same word, vary your choice of words and do not stuff keywords in your resume, use keywords in a natural way
- Do not use graphics. Keep it simple. A creative resume might be attractive, but it may block out from the ATS
- Make sure it is free of grammar mistakes & misspelling
- Use common fonts. Do not use more than two fonts. Ideal font size is between 10-12
- Keep clear breaks between sections
- Save as PDF
- Avoid the use of too many bullets points
If you follow the above “Steps to Writing a Resume”, you will be able to pass the ATS evaluation and then impress the recruiter and secure your position for an interview.