Writing a Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide
Writing a resume is the first step an applicant should do to land a job. It can be a challenging task, whether you are writing your resume for the very first time or updating your resume for a job or career change.
In writing a resume, you need to construct meticulously the information you need to share with the employer to make a good impression. You should also tailor and optimize your resume to the job you are applying to fit preferably on one page.
According to a report, 75% of resumes get rejected before they even reach the hiring manager and are never read by the human eyes. This is because companies use software such as the applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan every resume they receive.
Companies receive hundreds and thousands of resumes for multiple positions almost every day. ATS helps them scan and filter all of the resumes to save time reviewing each resume. Incorporating keywords related to the job position and desired skill set helps recruiters and hiring managers to do their job and optimize resumes for the ATS they are using.
Seems a lot of work and a lot to take in? Don’t panic because we will provide you the steps to writing a resume that will land you an interview and a job. Just follow these simple steps.
1. Read the job description and application instructions carefully.
It is a common mistake by most applicants to send their resumes hastily to a job posting without even reading the job description and application instructions thoroughly. It is important that you do exactly what is requested in the instructions. If it requested a resume in PDF format and with a cover letter, then do so.
You should also study the job description and take note of the skills and keywords that show what the employer is looking for in the ideal candidate. You can list those in bullet point format and tailor your resume incorporating those skills and keywords in your resume where relevant.
2. Create a header
A resume header is composed of your name, phone number, email address, location, and extra information like LinkedIn or skype ID, only if relevant. You should make sure to put the right contact information in the right order. It can be placed at the center or in the left margin, as long as your header is at the topmost part of your resume. Here’s how you can format the header of your resume in order.
Name– This should be the most prominent item on the page. You can use a bigger font for your name.
Title– Adding a working title is optional if you have work experience. You can add your title under your after name using smaller fonts. You can also add your key license or certification in your resume header.
Address– You don’t need to add your complete address. You just need to add your city and country.
Phone number– List the number that is active and one that you use the most. Use your personal number and not your work number.
Email address– Just like your phone number; use your personal email address and not your work email address. Also, having a professional email address is essential in the market. This includes your name or part of your name.
3. Write a compelling profile statement.
A profile statement is sometimes called a personal statement or career summary. This is a brief statement placed at the top of your resume after the resume header. It usually consists of three to four sentences that give you the opportunity to give a pitch or snapshot of your skills, accomplishments, and knowledge.
A study shows that a recruiter only spends on the initial screen of a resume for 6 to 7.2 seconds. Therefore, you should tailor your profile statement, add keywords, and help your applications get the recruiter’s attention to secure a job interview.
Tips in writing a strong profile statement
- Assess your skills and credentials and align those to the skills and qualifications in the job posting.
- Choose what you want to highlight in your profile statement.
- Summarize your experiences, skills, accomplishments, and knowledge. If possible, use numbers to quantify those.
- Use impactful phrases in describing your professional role, e.g., Accomplished, Experienced, Expert, Proven track record for…, etc.
4. List your skills.
You might get tempted to list all the skills you can think of, but you just need to select the skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for. There are key soft skills you should include in your resume. Some of these are:
Include these skills together with the hard skills or technical skills needed for the job. If there’s one takeaway here, it’s that you should keep your resume skills relevant to the job you’re targeting.
5. List your work experiences.
There are different ways you can list your work experiences, but the most commonly used is the reverse chronological resume list. You can start with the most recent position and work experience at the top and following with your previous experiences and so on in reverse order.
At this point, you just need to select what information you will include in your resume carefully. You can exclude your work experiences that are not related to the job position you are applying for.
To stand out from other applicants, instead of listing your work history and what you did in general, you need to highlight your achievements. You need to show and prove how you handle your work.
Most importantly, you need to stress the relevant experiences and skills to the position you are applying for to address your prospective employer’s needs. When possible, include numbers to measure the value you have provided for the organization. Including relevant and most impressive achievements will help you stand out.
In listing your employment history, you must include companies you worked for, locations of the companies, employment dates, job titles, responsibilities and impact, promotions, awards, and recognitions.