Your resume is one of the most important documents you’ll ever have to write in your lifetime. It holds the key to your future. A good resume can open doors whereas a bad resume closes them.
Therefore, how can you write a resume that will help you stand out? Here are eight tips on how to write an effective resume that gets results:
1) Choose the Right Resume Format
Before you start writing your resume, you have to make sure you choose the right resume format. “Resume format” refers to the structure of your resume. There are essentially three resume formats: (1) reverse-chronological, (2) functional, and (3) hybrid. Generally, a reverse-chronological resume is more appropriate for job seekers who have an uninterrupted career progression by showing their work experience starting from the most recent. At the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have gaps in your career or are considering a career change, you should use a functional resume format to focus on your skills set. In the middle is the hybrid resume format, which combines elements of the two-earlier mentioned formats.
2) Tailor Your Resume to the Specific Position
This cannot be emphasized enough. You need to tailor your resume for each position you apply to. Doing so allows you to highlight key aspects of your qualifications in function of the specific requirements of the job. It’s how you tell the person reading your resume that you’re the perfect fit.
3) Add a Summary of Qualifications at the Top of Your Resume
The top half of your resume is prime real estate. It is where the reader first sets his or her eyes. Thus, having an effective summary of your qualifications specifically targeted for the job opening is how you draw interest to your candidacy.
4) Use Action Verbs and Focus on Your Accomplishments
Use action verbs and formulate your sentences in the active tense to show you’re result-oriented. For example, you shouldn’t write “was responsible for managing a team of 5…” Instead, you should rephrase as “managed a team of 5…” It’s that simple. Further, instead of describing your duties, you should focus on what you have accomplished. That’s how you can show the value-add that you can bring if you’re hired.
5) Use a Professional Resume Layout
The substance of your resume matters, but so does its layout. You need a professional resume layout that helps the reader navigate through the information easily and highlight key sections of your resume. Here are some free resume templates you can use.
6) Use the Right Keywords
If you apply to a position in response to a job posting, use some of the same keywords therein to make sure you pass the applicant tracking system. Employers have more and more recourse to technology with its risks and perils, one being that if a resume doesn’t contain certain keywords it risks being overlooked.
7) Be Concise and Eliminate What’s Not Necessary
Your resume should only contain information that is necessary to advance your candidacy. Everything else needs to be removed. Including irrelevant information in your resume only dilutes its impact. Further, avoid including a photo or mentions of religion, politics or hobbies.
8) Avoid Typos and Make Sure to Use Proper Grammar
Depending on the position you’re applying to, you may not need the most “sophisticated” resume. Still, avoid mistakes. A mistake remains a mistake, even if you’re applying to a position where you think language skills don’t matter.