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Steps to Writing a Resume

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

Full Name:

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

 

Address: 

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.

 

 

 

Email Address:

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.

 

 

Personal Website:

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
  • Achievements

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:

  • Institution
  • Its location
  • The name of your degree
  • Specialization (major/minor)
  • Year of completion
  • GPA (optional)

 

For example,

2005 BA in Social Sciences

Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

4.0 GPA

You can put unfinished educational details as well.

 

For example,

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
  • URL
  • 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

 

10. References:

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.

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62 Comments

  1. Hello,

    I believe when writing a résumé, it’s always important for the employer to see the value you can bring into their organisation. So, apart from all the necessities, I like to make the employer know how I can improve their organisation by making sure my experiences align with the vacant post.

    I think and suggest that people should have different résumés for different positions.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great & Informative post!

    Writing a resume definitely is difficult since more and more competition is looking for a job. The resume you write has to be able to stand out from all those other potential job seekers. A well-formatted resume is crucial these days and finding a well-paying job without one is almost impossible. 

  3. That was a job well done!  Resume should be unique. There should be uniqueness in every resume and that is what most resumes lacks. A lot of people might have lost good jobs due to resumes that are not in accordance. You actually listed it in details and I  have come to know that websites are included in resumes and that can make it stand out.

  4. Hi! I really didn’t know very much about writing a resume. When I wrote my fist resumes, I just copied one and personalized it with my own information. And as time has gone by, I have continued to update it.

    But after reading you post I have realized two things:

    1. The initial resume that I copied wasn’t really a very good one.

    2. And not knowing what recruiters deem important has made me drift even more from what a good resume should look like every time I update it.

    I’m grateful I came across your post. And in my opinion, I should get to work immediately incorporating these points you have mentioned into my resume.

  5. Hello. I think that every resume should be written in  way to suit the the type of job you are searching for as well as tailoring it to the job description. Should you always send your resume only to everyone or just send both letter and resume? What is the meaning of an ATS and what it is about? Ill appreciate if you can elaborate more on that in a post related- topic. Thank you for the post!

  6. Thanks for this educative post , Indeed gathering the relevant information and follow these steps said on your post will help in getting a resume that is going to be unique, the actual problem i do have is with the resume format, which is adding  too many bullet points and using a fancy fonts . I never knew how unprofessional it was until now. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. Thank you for the informative post, I believe a resume is a pre introduction of yourself to the employer, it should be talking more on you as it reveals who you are, personally i have been writing resumes and after going through this post, I have come to realize the common simple mistakes that I always make, one being that I always use graphics like images on myself, that’s one thing I will have to change, I have also learnt something new about including a website incase you have one, currently I have several so I am sure to improve on that, I really appreciate you for sharing this post, I am sure to subscribe to your newsfeed to learn more from your posts, thank you.

    From Joy.

  8. Hi Dudulie,

    I didn’t know all this about writing a extraordinary CV.I remember having a old classmate who had a website where he would write something about himselfHis website was his name.

    I always thought he was exaggerating but now i know he was using your tips.Now i know this, i can use it if u ever want to work for someone else.

    But that is not going to happen… Now i have my own business thank GOD! 

    But this is definitely i can learn someone elseSo thank u for that…

    Besides a personal website and a personal email i like the titel as wel.I have earned a lot of titles in my life but never had used them or thought about them when applying for a job.

    This definitely i can teach others to use.

    Again hank u for this wonderful information, i am sure u are going to make a lot of people happy !

    I wish u the best,Much Love,

    Dahay

  9. I find this post very helpful, thank you.

    A friend of mine is currently hunting for her next job and she asked for my help on how to make her resume more appealing to increase her chances of getting hired by the company she wants to be a part of. She showed me her resume and I thought it was okay. However, I’m not really that sure because I have not updated mine for years as I do not see a need for that.

    I read somewhere that writing a resume has now become crucial in landing a job and so people always come up with ways to make theirs more attractive. By the way, do you recommend including a cover letter? 

  10. It’s been so long since I’ve had to write a resume that this article has been a great help! I know in the past I was guilty of putting in every single job I had, rather than just keeping it to what was relevant to the job I was applying for. Thanks for the tips! My next resume will be sure to be a success!

  11. Thanks dudulie for the eye revelling package about resume writing;I could remember my first resume was a typical example of failure in disguise. I started the first paragraph with a nicknamed email followed by address writen shabily. but thank God i later met a professional who gave me the secrets to writing resume.Most of what he discussed with me is highlighted in the article above. thanks for sharing this with us.

  12. Hi there: This is an amazing concept and structure you’ve got here. Had I known this resume optimization writing technique before hand, my resume would make such an early impact in getting me a job after graduation from school few years ago. Even though I currently have a job which I had after 11 months of graduation,  I believe I would have gotten around sooner in the corporate world using your stated format. With my experience now, I know this post is definitely a smart way to go about writing a resume. It contains exactly what it needed in writing a good resume and highly recommend this to people wanting to have a good resume that can get them that job.

    Thanks for your insightful post

    Tony

  13. Honestly, I think the number one mistake that a lot of us make, even myself, is that we write a simple looking resume we will believe that it is a universal resume. We don’t bother to tailor our resume to suit the position that we are applying for, we careless about the arrangement the order and details that needs to be included we don’t care about all of these things.Employers are up-to-date about the industry standard, so to actually convince them, we have to demonstrate that we are equal to the task.

  14. Hey, thank you very much for this great and interesting post, I find it really helpful and easy to comprehend, I always have a hard time writing a resume and that has cost me few jobs. I will follow the tips you have mentioned below and I believe I can write a better resume next time. Thank you. 

  15. Writing a resume has always been my problem, as there are lot of writers out there but the main fact is really knowing it personally. This post is really helpful and I bet a lot of job seekers will find it educative like I did. The step by step procedures you mentioned are so detailed and precise, never have I come across such on the Internet. Am going to be sharing this and some of your other posts to my followers. Good job, great write up. 

  16. Hi. Nice and educating article.

    When writing a resume, one must be able to highlight is quality and what he can bring to the table for his potential employers for the growth of their company. It might be difficult in resume writing base of the competitive job labor market. But still, your resume must be able to stand out among all because that is your selling point for your potential employer.

    Thank you for sharing this

  17. Thank you for this well detailed article on how to write a resume. I have learnt a whole lot of things from this piece of information.

    I just realize the need to include my website url and LinkedIn profile url in the resume. Also the arrangement of the resume matters a lot. 

  18. Great tips to write a standard resume. This will come very handy and helpful to write a resume that’s visually appealing 

    PS: It’s also worthy to note that the letters need to be bold enough for easy reading. Using clear sections headings will mamake the resume definitive, thereby standing out from others. Creating enough white spaces around the four sides of the pages will make the resume visually appealing

  19. This is a very valuable post as so many people lack the ability to write a good resume which will impact on their chances of getting the job they want. You have outlined all the necessary information to include without fluff. 

    Do you think it is good to follow a template with a skeleton of what you have outlined in this post so that it can be filled in with  personal information and the headings reworded to suit  personal preference? 

    Perhaps a different skeleton template for different entry levels so that a young person just entering the work force would focus more on academic achievements and goals for the future whereas someone applying for a more executive position would need to include more of the work experience and outcomes.

  20. This is possibly the best guide that I have found to date for writing a resume that will work for today’s work environment. I have looked at several websites prior to finding this one, and I must say, there were some tips that I found here that were not mentioned in the others.

    I am assisting several colleagues that are in the process of preparing their revised resumes, and I will pass this on to them. They do have earlier versions, but in my cursory review of them, I advised to all that it would be best to look at what potential employers are looking for today (things have changed over the years).

    Thanks for putting this together and most certainly the steps you have included in your guide on how to write a resume will help countless other people outside of my friends. If these people are not comfortable doing this work themselves it is likely they will contact you for your services. 

    1. I hope that your colleagues will benefit from my article. Yes, you are correct, we should consider what potential employers are looking for today. Therefore, we need to read the job advertisement thoroughly, and if possible, I recommend you to look at the employer’s website to be familiar with the key terms they are using. When you are familiar with the keywords that the employer is looking for, you can tailor your resume according to that. For more details, please refer my article on resume tailoring.

      https://resumewritingservice.org/the-golden-rule-of-resume-writing-tailoring-your-resume-to-a-specific-job/

  21. This is very good information about the items that we should include in a resume.   

    Now that more and more companies are using the applicant tracking systems, it is important that we do not leave anything out.   For those of us that are a little older and have already held multiple positions, would you recommend having more than one resume that focuses on a certain skill set that may be of interest to an employer?   Or should we just highlight the specific skill set in our cover letter?  

    For example, I had  Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor designations.  If I was applying for a company that was looking for an internal auditor, they might not be as interested in my experience helping people with small business tax issues.  And vice versa.   

    Thank you in advance,   

  22. Hi,

    I have read the whole review about this information.This is really a wonderful information about Resume.wring.Writing a resume is a very difficult task. I have learned how to write a resume in your article. It is easier to understand. It has really benefited for me.Thanks for sharing this informative article.

  23. Hello Dudulie,

    It is very interesting to refresh the important characteristics that we must know how to highlight in our curriculum. It will also be essential for the employer to make a correct selection of the candidate in the first instance. 

    I have had some time experience selecting personnel among several candidates. What is the main characteristic that the employer should have when choosing a candidate? 

    Maybe the candidate must meet several skills that the employer requires, but how to make the best decision? It will not be easy to make a correct selection. Thanks for sharing such an excellent article.

  24. Thank you for writing this article. This has broadened my perspective on resume writing and the fundamentals of the basics of writing a resume.

    I remembered that I had to write a lot of resumes back in the past and this was great because it was a great learning experience for me.

    Thank you for this article, your article nailed all the points and fundamentals of writing a resume.

  25. An excellent article with some very useful tips. The use of examples really bought each point home. I found it very easy to follow and to be sure, I will be passing on these tips/tricks and advisories to a couple of my children who are in the midst of job and college applications. Many thanks.

  26. Wow, you have written a comprehensive and informative article. I never thought about the importance of adding online links to your resume to boost your credibility. Are you suggesting that someone who is in the job market make their own personal website specifically for the purpose of linking it to their resumes?

  27. Wow, these are some great points on writing a resume. I think you are spot on with this list.

    I know in my past job experience, having a professional resume was everything in terms of getting a job. Along with dressing properly, I don’t think there is anything more important.

    I hadn’t thought too much on Linked In, but I think I will have to take another look at that now that I have read this, thanks!

  28. As someone who hasn’t had to write a resume for a while, this is overwhelming. Yet, there is all the information I need to make a start at writing a new one. Writing for the ATS is crucial, as one cannot break into the interviewing stage without it. Although the elements required all seem obvious, the order and formatting details presented are a great help.This is excellent for those in the job hunting stage…and anyone can end up there, expected or not, right?

  29. After reading your article Im starting to realize that writing a resume is a ton of work. I must admit I am a bit intimidated. For something as important as a resume, do you think it is worth it for beginners to hire a professional to do this? If so, are there any places you recommend to go to for this service?

  30. This is a very useful post, it contains exactly the ingredients required in writing a good resume.

    A good resume must be outstanding and contain your selling points  and the value your can bring to the organization.for the potential employer to seen easily.

    There must be uniqueness in every good resume unlike what was obtainable decades ago.

    Many job seekers will surely find this article helpful for their next attempts.

    Thank you for job well done.

  31. This is such an educative post. i have found new ideas from your post and i will definitely go right to my resume and make amends. Before hand, i never put my credentials after my name, but now i can see that it is necessary to put it from your post. I will also make sure to add the customized URL of my LinkedIn profile and personal website as i never put anything of such there initially. The career summary, core strengths and professional experience will also be edited to suit your recommendations. Thanks so much for this post. Hope to get more of such from you later on.

  32. There has been 4 to 5 times in my career where I’ve had to really sit down and write my resume, and there is no other way to describe the experience but a painful one. I’m glad to know now that I can turn to you to help with that, if that comes to be the case again.

    Also, as someone who hires people often, the resume is so important, as many times I’ve made the determination to not even interview someone that could be a great candidate, just by how poor their resume is.

    Thank you for this article.

  33. This is such a good article and it is exactly what I have been looking for. I have never really had issues getting a job but I have been struggling lately perhaps not only due to my visa only allowing a certain amount of hours but perhaps also due to my resume. I will follow your steps when I go to update my resume. You have pointed out a few things that might be able to make a difference for me. Thank you for this post, I needed it. 

  34. Can one also think of oneself when writing a resume I mean,  tell the employer or company how you would feel working for them so it won’t seem like one was subjected to the work if the job was eventually gotten. The Posts really great reading it just made me realise a lot of incorrect things people do while writing a resume you really put out almost everything a company or employer wants to know and see from their potential employees. A resume should speak for you more than you would in an interview. It’s a fun experience taking a few minutes to read this post very good write up helpful and lucid to comprehend. Nice write up 

  35. Hi Dudulie,

    I consider myself lucky as l stumbled upon your article. In fact, l am trying to write a resume for my wife who has been laid off by her employer to hunt for her next job. Friendly speaking, l have not write a resume for years. With the help of your advice, l am confident that l can write an appealing resume to increase her chances in landing a job.

     Thank you so much for this helpful article.

    Shui Hyen

  36. You don’t know how grateful I am for this article, l have two cousins who are writing resumes as we speak and we were googling to find ideas on how to write a great resume. I am definitely forwarding your article to them so they can get ideas.

    I remember when I wrote my first resume it was a disaster and of course it was rejected, I wish l had come across an article like this one.

    Thank you so much, this is super helpful.  

  37. I never realized just how much should go into a resume especially in this day and age. LinkedIn and your other url’s I would never have thought of. Do employers really look at your online profiles that much? This is a really good comprehensive list on how to do resume writing professionally. Thank you for the detailed information.

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