As the need for professional talent grows, employers want to hire people who can make an immediate impact. Writing a resume may feel like a chore, however, if you’re looking to land your next opportunity, a well written resume is your way through the door. Your resume is your initial and sometimes only marketing tool in which to promote yourself.
Whether you’re crafting your document from scratch or just want to keep it fresh, here are a few simple tips on how to write a good resume:
Minimally, your resume needs your current contact information at the top. Include your name, phone number, email address and, if applicable, links to your website and LinkedIn profile page. Unless you have more than a decade of experience in your career, limit your resume to one page and avoid using flashy fonts or unusual formats to attract a hiring manager’s attention. Instead of an objective at the top, summarize your experience, training, achievements, and appropriate job-related skills. Use this paragraph to advertise you!
Actions and Accomplishments
Although most of your resume will focus on your career experience in a chronological order, use action and result driven words to describe your past accomplishments and achievements. Let the recruiter or hiring manager know what value you brought to your previous roles. In other words, what did you do to benefit a company or complete a project. Give specific, quantifiable data when possible using action verbs such as, “created”, “saved”, or “implemented”. Likewise, list any awards or recognition you’ve earned relevant to the position that show your accomplishments.
Soft skills are often described as “people” skills. They are those characteristics that allow you to fit into a company’s culture and bring added value that goes above your technical training. Soft skills can carry over to any role despite the official job description, technical requirements or industry. These are extremely important to the overall success of your career. Again, use action words and give examples of how you communicate effectively or how you maintain a positive attitude, for example.
Technical Knowledge and Specialized Skills
Recruiters and hiring managers, whether it is appropriate or not, assume you have certain basic skills within your field, especially if you have the minimum educational requirements. Make sure to highlight unique technical or software knowledge that will make you stand out versus another candidate. Read the job descriptions to help guide you as to what the employer really needs. Show off your software skills and technical knowledge as you’re detailing your work history. In addition, any specialized training or knowledge such as additional language skills or unique experience may be enough to separate you from other candidates.
One simple mistake could be all it takes to kill your chances of landing an interview. It can be difficult to sell yourself as someone who has “attention to detail”, when your resume has grammar and spelling errors. An employer will instantly question your credibility and professionalism when your resume has errors. When you are reading multiple resumes, it is easy to quickly dismiss the one that is poorly written as it a reflection of who you are as a candidate. Read your own resume aloud to hear if it makes sense and flows smoothly.