How to Write a Resume

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Your resume presents “who you are” and “where do you stand” in the corporate world in terms of your skills, talents, achievements and accomplishments. Let us have a look at "how to write the perfect resume" to catch the attention of big firms.

Before knowing the correct way to write a resume, let’s see – “what exactly a resume is, the main purpose of it in the job hunting process, and the impact of a poorly written resume?”

What is a resume?

Pronunciation of a resume, "re-su-me"
First, definition - A resume is a printed proof of your educations, qualifications, skills, work experiences, certifications, and accomplishments that plays a very important role while hunting a job and sending a job application.
Second definition - It is not an autobiography, it is a quick summary (or snapshot) of your interest and talent that advertise it-self to emphasize you in the corporate world.

What is the main purpose of a resume?

Although, resume is a vital tool of job hunting in the corporate world, purpose of a resume is to highlight,
  • You have the right qualifications, experience, and skills required for the job 
  • You are able to work in an environment
  • You meet the employment and the company's requirements 
  • You are flexible to accept the change and different challenges
  • You completely sound proficient for the job

 

Impact of poorly written/presented resume

Nobody knows, how best you are for the job on the basis of your knowledge, qualifications, skills, and experiences – your well written resume expresses your interest and activities suitable for the job profile, but if, your resume is badly presented or written, you are going to face problem in getting the job interviews.

Therefore, take time to place all good points in your resume in summarized, clear, ordered, and understandable manner to become a first attraction in first glance.

How to Write a Resume

Writing a resume is not an easy task; a well-written resume should be in clear, ordered, reliable, to the point, and easily understandable manner that can pull the attention of the hiring manager/HR/Interviewers/employers towards you as a best one to apply for a job.

Here, you will get to know, how to write a resume that can be noticed easily to receive quick calls for the job interviews.

First Step: Style your Resume

Customize your resume with different styles to beautify your resume in a manner to pull the attention of the hiring manager towards you. Let’s see, how to beautify your resume with different styles,

Resume Length:

A standard length of a resume should be “a page or two pages” long, but, the length of a resume varies with respect to your experiences, educations, skills, achievements and accomplishments.

So, the length of a resume depends on two things,

  • The Level of experiences you have
  • Which industry/job/platform you have chosen for your positive career growth

Here, you will see “how a resume length varies with respect to different level of experiences”,

Resume’s length of a page – For fresher, entry level job seekers, and job seekers who frequently change their career path for them one page length of a resume is more than sufficient.

Resume’s length may extend up-to two pages – Candidates who are having 6 – 10 years of experiences and have many things to add in their resume related to the skills they have acquired and knowledge they have gained in their previous jobs can extend their resume up-to two pages.

Resume’s length may extend more than two pages – Senior managers, senior project leads, senior doctors, senior scientists, etc…..have many things to add to their resume in relation to their achievements, accomplishments, awards, experiences, and many-more things. Their resume may go up-to three pages to beautifully list everything to catch their resume in the hiring manager's eyes.

Whatever the length of your resume, make sure, your resume is well presented and well written, because, sometimes, one page length of a resume with necessary information brings out better resultant than two/three pages length of a resume with unnecessary information.

Font Style and Size:

These are the main areas where you need to focus when you think of keeping the best font in your resume.

Font -The best appropriate font for the resumes are – “Times New Roman, Arial, Arial Unicode MS, Arial Narrow, Cambria, Calibri, Helvetica, or any other similar kinds of font”, application of these kinds of font in your resume may make easier for hiring manager to view and understand your resume content very easily.

Make sure, the font you have chosen from the beginning point of writing your resume, continue the same font in the whole resume.

Font Size - A standard font size in a resume should be between “10 and 12”. This is the size which has been considered as an ideal one for any kind of legal and confidential documents.

Name of Yours:

Your name which is always being placed at the top of the page should be slightly larger in font size than all.

Highlighting Features:

Don’t make use of more highlighting features in your resume; those features include “capitalization, bold, italics, underlines, background color, text color, etc”.

Consistency:

Maintain consistency in your formatting style; make sure, if your one section heading is bold, all heading should be in bold. Similarly, if in one place, a company name is bold, make sure, in other places, companies name should be in bold.

Page Margins:

The standard page margins in MS word should be 1" in all sides of the page (in the top, bottom, left and right side). As per your needs, you can reduce the size from 1" to 1/2" on all the sides of the page to accumulate the resume content in a page.

Secord Step: Pick a most desired resume from different types of resumes

There are many different types of resumes, choose a most desired one by understanding the requirement of the job you have applied for. Here are the different types of resumes,

Traditional Type

  • Chronological Resumes (most frequently used)
  • Functional Resumes (focus on skills)
  • Combination/Hybrid Resumes (skills and work history)
  • Targeted Resume (specially dedicated for the job profile you have applied for)

Non-Traditional Type

  • Infographic Resumes
  • LinkedIn Resumes
  • Online Portfolios
  • Social Resumes
  • Video Resumes

Traditional Type

Chronological Resume (Reverse Chronological Resume):

A chronological resume begins by listing your job history (also named as employment history or work history) in the reverse chronological order, that means, the information about your overall employment history will start from your current or most recent job position and end with your first job position. Most of the job seekers and hiring managers prefer this format because it displays all industries and levels of experience at a place. 

It is easy to write and highlight the employment history with - “the job title”, “numbers of years you have worked at a specific job profile”, and “the role you have played & responsibilities you have taken on a particular job”.

Listed information in the job history makes easier for the hiring managers to screen-out the best suitable candidates for the interview. The best used for,

  • The job seekers with decent, cleaned, stable, and strong work background 
  • The job seekers who want to apply to the jobs in a similar field by highlight their regular job progress in a place vertically.

Less useful for,

  • The job seekers with major gaps in their employments
  • The applicants who change their jobs and career path very frequently

Format of a Reverse-Chronological Resume,

  • Contact Detail
  • Objective: Reverse-Chronological Resume format supports all three - “Career Objective, Professional Profile, and Qualifications Summary”, choose any one from all three which is best suitable for you.
  • Professional Experience: Complete detail of the work history
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Rest things you can add after this to strengthen your resume

Functional Resume:

A functional resume gives more consideration to your skills, talent, strengths and numbers of experiences you have rather than your work history.  Instead of highlighting the dreadful work history, highlights your-self in terms of your existing skills matches to the job you are applying for, and the experiences which you may not be clearly highlighted in poorly chronological resume format. The best used for,

  • The job seekers who have experienced their job with different industries and different career path 
  • The job seekers who maintained gaps between their past employment 
  • The job seekers who want to highlight specific skills related to the applied job post

Less useful for,

  • The fresher with less experience and less skills

Format of a Functional Resume,

  • Contact Detail
  • Objective: Preferably use “Qualifications Summary” to fill this section.
  • Relevant Skills: Main skills (Related to the job you have applied for), Technical Skills (If you have then only), and Other Skills (To strengthen your skills part)
  • Professional Experience: Name of the job profile, Name of the company, and the company’s address (city, state, country)
  • Education
  • Rest things you can add after this to strengthen your resume

Combination (Hybrid) Resume:

A combination resume format is a merger of both “chronological and functional resume format. Although, the format is giving more stress to the skills, first, you should list your skills relevant to the job you have applied for & next to that, your work history in the reverse-chronological order.

The format is ideal for a job position that requires an employee who is expertise in many technical skills and other skills that can be helpful to interact with the client and customers. With the superb skills, company also likes to see “how sound professionally he is”. The best used for,

  • An applicant wants to highlight a specific skill set related to a specific job in a resume
  • A job seeker wants to change his career path
  • An applicant, expert in the skills required for the job you are applying for.

Less useful for,

  • A fresher with lack of experiences and skills
  • An applicant wants to highlight his educational background only

Format of a Hybrid Resume,

  • Contact Detail
  • Objective: The format supports both “Qualifications Summary & Professional Profile”, you can choose any one of them as per your needs and the job requirement. 
  • Relevant Skills: Main skills (Related to the job you have applied for), Technical Skills (If you have then only), and Other Skills (To strengthen your skills part)
  • Professional Experience: Complete detail of the work history
  • Education
  • Rest things you can add after this to strengthen your resume

Targeted Resume:

A targeted, the name it-self says – It is a resume that customizes with respect to the job you are applying for. Look at the requirement of the job and customize the skill and experience section of the resume to make the resume relevant to the job you are applying for. It is a bit daunting task, but, considered as the best for those professionals/job seekers whose skills and experiences matches to the job requirement. The best used for,

  • The professionals/job seekers whose skills and experience perfectly match to the requirement of the job where they are applying for.

Less useful for,

  • Entry level candidates with lack of skills and experiences
  • Job seekers who frequently changes their jobs and career path

Non-Traditional Resume

Infographic Resume:

The infographic resume (visual resume) is a highly graphical representation of a job seeker’s professional story (contact detail, work experience, and skills) to the recruiting world in a quick and clean manner. The visual effect of a resume includes many images, photos, graphs, charts and other graphical features to showcase the information about a job seeker in a place.

A very effective networking tool that can be used to increase your contacts and popularity in the corporate world by sharing it with the old connection, new connection, Pinterest, and many prospective employers.

LinkedIn Resume:

Now days, LinkdIn has become a very powerful online medium to showcase your professional profile to “N” numbers of hiring managers, companies, and employers. Using LinkdIn as a resume, you don’t have to personally send your resume to the employers and the companies for the job, your LinkdIn resume automatically works out to the place where the job position is vacant and your LinkdIn resume matches to the job requirement.

Online Portfolios:

Now days, it is easy to create an online portfolio by creating your own personal website with a little money. The website you create that is completely yours where you can showcase your talent to all over the world. Also, you can make one of a page of your personal website as a resume to highlight your skill, talent, work history, and educational background to everyone on the web.

This is a great way to know everyone about your talent, professional profile and overall skills and also a great way to pull the internet traffic towards you.

Social Resumes:

This is also a way to showcase your professional profile to the people with whom you are connected. You can use social tools that are “Facebook, LinkdIn, Google+, Twitter, etc.” as a resume to highlight your skills, talent, employment background, and educational history to your contacts, and also, you can use these social tools to highlight the URL of your personalized website or any other website that can showcase your talent.

Video Resumes:

A video resume makes easier for the hiring managers/recruiters to know about your skills, talent, experiences, and education in easy manner by only listening and seeing a simple video resume. It is similarly popular as a traditional resume which any job seeker can create by standing in-front of a camera to express his skills and experiences. Instead of making your video resume too simple, you can make it creative and attractive with the inclusion of animated infographics and musical effect.

Third Step: Order your resume

There are many things you need to include and order in a manner to make and highlight your resume to get a quick response to the job interview and career growth success. Here, you will get to know the way to systematically place the thing in your resume,

Contact detail/Contact Information (Mandatory):

Preferably, place your contact detail at the top of your resume, but, labeling this section with the name “Contact Detail/Contact Information” is optional. You can follow this order to list the contact detail in your resume,

Name (Mandatory) - This is the first and the main identity of your resume. Highlight your name (first name & last name) on top of your resume with the slightly larger font.

Resume Heading/Title (Optional) - A resume headline is also known as a resume title. It quickly highlights your skill, abilities and work experience in a compact and short phrase using the best suitable keywords. To put the straight vision of the recruiters on your resume title, place it at the top of your resume under your name, and keep it unique for each job. The best used for,

  • Preferably, it is ideal for applicants with numbers of years of experience in the same profile, but less experienced applicants can also use this to highlight their abilities and qualities.

For Examples,

  • Senior Accountant with Five Years of Experience in Accounting 
  • Senior Graphic Designer Skilled in Web Designing
  • Geography Honors Student with Curatorial Experience
  • Nursing Graduate with Experience in Sagar Apollo Hospital

Telephone Number/Mobile Number (Mandatory) - Give your own phone number/telephone number which you use frequently for day to day activities. It is better if you can receive voicemail messages on your phone.

Email Address (Mandatory) - Make sure, you are listing your professional email address (like; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) instead of immoral email address (like; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).

Mailing Address (Optional) - Mostly, you should avoid putting your home address in your resume because it is not a good idea in few cases.

Link of online portfolio, website and social networking profile (Optional) - Make sure, your online portfolio is relevant to the position you have applied for, and your social networking links are correct that can directly visualize you on those portals at one click.

Apart from your online portfolio and social networking profile, you can also place the link of your website on your resume if you feel the link can help in getting the interview calls faster.

Important Note:-

  • Avoid including contact detail in the header section of your resume because recruitment software (applicant tracking systems) may find difficult to track and read the information from there.

You can showcase your contact detail in the footer section of your resume, but, make sure; the same information is there in the main body of your resume.

Objective (Optional):

This is the first optional section of your resume that can be highlighted in a resume based on a job seeker’s qualification, skills, experiences, abilities, achievements, accomplishments, and the job requirement. It can be handled in three ways; choose the best way as per your needs,

  1. Qualifications Summary
  2. Career Objective
  3. Professional Profile

Qualifications Summary - It is a replacement of objective, can be handled with 5-6 brief sentences. It is good if you can write all sentences with bullet points. Each sentence should be unique and to the point that can showcase how good you were, good you are and good you will be being as an employee of the company in terms of your skills, qualification and experiences.

The best used for,

  • The Job seekers whose knowledge and skills are relevant to the job they are applying for 
  • A job seeker with different industries of experiences, but skilled in the particular areas of the job requirement.

Less useful for,

  • A fresher with less experience, skills, achievements and accomplishments.

For example,

Qualification summary of the Software developer profile

  • Having five years of experience working in TCS as a software developer
  • Hard worker, quick learner, and ability to understand & handle project activities in a responsible manner
  • Expert knowledge of computer software system and hardware system
  • Proficient at managing day to day work activities in a high-volume atmosphere
  • Confirmed talent to get customer’s confidence and belief
  • Collaborate easily with all ranks of employees and customers
  • Outstanding spoken and written communication skills & interpersonal skills
  • Work well without anyone support

Career Objective - A resume objective is also referred to as a career objective provides an idea to the employers that your skills, experiences, abilities, and goals matches to the organizational culture and the job requirements or not. It is a 2-3 lines long sentence statement, best for the entry-level candidates.

The best used for,

  • An entry-level applicant (fresher or recently graduated candidate) with a few years of experiences/no experiences

Less useful for,

  • Applicants have numbers of years of industry experiences with specific skill set that can be used in numbers of industries.
  • When you are changing a career path.

Professional Profile - The professional profile is another replacement of objective presents the employers that why you are the best match for a specific job opening in terms of your skills, experiences, talent and goals.

A professional profile is a short summary that highlights an applicant's objectives and goals for the job she or he is applied for. 

A well-written professional profile is very informative, very fast come to the vision of the hiring manager to become a resource of interview call.

The best used for,

  • Job seekers who have had good experiences and achievement in the job profile they have applied for 
  • Job seekers who are expertise in all the skills and technologies required to apply for a specific job.

Less useful for,

  • Job seekers (fresher) who have just passed out from the college or still in the final year of the degree. 
  • Candidates who just have a little bit of knowledge about a specific job profile and never experienced the job in the past.

For example,

Professional Profile for a technical writer resume

  • Over 5+ years of experienced technical writer in software industry. 
  • Completely skilled in using tools “Robohelp, Snagit, and FrameMaker”, and writing technical documents. 
  • Experienced working in a broad range of platforms. 
  • Excellent writing skill; capable of explaining complex things in an easy-to-understand manner.

Educational History (Mandatory):

Having a clean and strong education history displays how serious and good you were during your studies and also display your area of expertise and the knowledge you have gained in the overall study period.

In the education section of your resume, list the schools you have attended, the degrees you attained and any special awards and honors you have earned. Also, you can list the information about the professional development courses and certifications you have attained during your studies.

The Best used for,

  • Having a strong education history in a resume is good for both “experienced professionals and fresher”, but, it is better for entry level candidates (fresher) who have just passed out from the college, or still in the final year of the collage.

Here you will see, how to order the education section of a resume to give a glance look,

Degree Detail (Mandatory) - Keep the degree detail in reverse chronological order - order of listing the degree details will start with the most recent degree detail and end-up with the high school detail (don’t place the high school unless you have not attended the college).

Make sure, the degree detail must display “the name of the institution, its location, and the date of graduation (or expected date of graduation)”. If you have been in profession for past many years and have done the graduation long years back - no need to mention the year of your graduation.

Awards (Optional) - List the detail of the award and honor you have been received during your studies and/or in your profession for your good works.

Certification (Optional) - If possible, mention the detail of the special certification courses you have done/doing at present, the extra curriculum activities where you have participated, and the leadership role you have played during your studies and/or in your profession.

Note: Mentioning detail of school and/or college time awards, honor, certifications, and achievements in your resume works good until and unless you don’t have professional experience, but once you are professionally sound, your school/collage related detail doesn’t sound good.

Basic Format of Education History,

Format 

Name of the Course, Course of specialization/Honors, Passing year (Master degree)/Starting Year – End Year (For graduation degree)
Name of the University/community, Name of the School (Location of the schools: City, State, Countrys)

Awards and Certification (Short detail of Awards and Certification, if any). For Example,

1) The highest (last) degree of education is “MBA” 

Masters of Business Administration in Marketing, June 2004
XLRI jamshedpur

2) The highest (last) degree of education is “Graduation” 

If graduation is your last qualification, in an education history, it is best to mention the duration period of the graduation, the honors you have been taken in your graduation.

BSc Computer Science, Jan 2004- Jan 2007
JK Knowledge Center, Mumbai

SAP programming certification in 2008

Professional Experience (Mandatory):

This is a core section of a resume, the uniqueness of it among thousands of different candidates resumes may become a quick approach of getting the interview call faster.

Apart from “Professional Experience”, you can also name this section as “Work History”, “Work Experience”, “Employment Experience”, “Relevent Experience”, “Employment History” or with any other similar kind of a short name.

Mostly, in this section, try to include experiences of the jobs for which you have been salaried – the jobs belong to this category are “Full-time jobs, part-time jobs, Internships, Freelancing/temporary jobs, and seasonal jobs.

In special cases, you can include experiences of the jobs for which you have not been salaried - those jobs are “Volunteer jobs, college/high school project experiences, and charities work”. These jobs can be included in the professional experience section to relate the experience to the job you are applying for.

Certain points to be considers while writing your Professional experiences,

  • In this section, list your experiences in Reverse-Chronological format by considering the objective you have mentioned above in the resume.
  • If possible, list the experiences related to the job you are applying for
  • You can also mention about your promotion, but try to make this paragraph as short as possible.
  • Each experience should include 4 - 5 bullet points of your role, responsibilities, achievement, and skills you have gained at each job.

Formatting tips,

1) Company_Name
City, State
Dates of employment (Numbers of years you have worked for the company on a particular job profile, mention as Month/Date/Year – Month/Date/Year)
Job Title (Name of the Job Position)
Role, Responsibilities, achievement, and skills
Role, Responsibilities, achievement, and skills

Skills (Mandatory):

This is another core section of a resume for employers to screen-out the candidates based on their skills relevant to the job profile. Skill differs from company to company and profile to profile, in your resume, carefully, list the skills that are relevant to the job profile and the company you are applying for.

Even if, you have already highlighted your skills in the career objective or qualifications summary, you can separately highlight it in the skill section of a resume too.

Technical/software/computer Skills - Most of the IT companies hire engineers, programmers, project managers, etc…… with their specific knowledge and hands-on skills required for the specific role of the job they are going to play for the company. There are different type of roles in the IT jobs - sometimes, the roles are for the higher designation and sometimes for the lower, each role of the job requires a specific skill set in an employee to handle the process involved with the job.

Job seekers who hold specific skills set relevant to a specific IT job profile can highlight their skills at the top of the page instead of putting it at the bottom of the page.

For example,

Technical Skills for Graphic designer

Tools: Dreamweaver, Snagit, Adobe Photoshop, Coral Draw, Paint, SketchUp, and MS Office
Programming Language: HTML, CSS, javaScript, and XML

Technical Skills for Programmer

Languages: Java, XML, C, C++, JavaScript, SQL, HTML, UML.
Tools: JBuilder, Dreamweaver, Python, C++, C#, C, C++Builder, Oracle SQL*Plus, UML
Operating systems: Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 7, Linux, Mac OS X.

Job & industries Specific Skills -There are many industrial jobs where technical skills are not much in demand, companies hire candidates on the basic the skills just required for the job.

The jobs and industries belong to this category are,

  • Nursing, 
  • Accounting
  • Cashier
  • Marketing
  • Receptionist
  • Retail
  • Sales
  • Teaching

For Example,

Skills for Cashier

  • Basic Arithmetic skills for Money Handling process
  • Good communication and interpersonal skill for customer assistance and services
  • A good team player and team worker
  • “Punctual” to understand the value of time and self-decision maker
  • Good knowledge of product and customer handling skills
  • High Level of Accuracy, informative

Additional skills - Additional skill is an additional ability of a candidate that can add value to the main skill required for the job. These skills you can either add separately after listing the main skills or you can merge it with the main skills. Many times, a job requirement doesn’t ask for these skills, but if you showcase these skills in your resume, you resume will get extra importance among others resumes.

For example,

Skills = Communication skill, interpersonal skill, self-confident, punctual, good team player, leadership skills, etc.

Certification/Licensing (Optional):

Adding this section is not mandatory for all industrial jobs, but for some it is mandatory and can strengthen your resume.

For all kinds of jobs, proof of your work permit (certification/license) is not required to mention in a resume, but for some jobs, it becomes must to show-off in your resume to work on the floor. Although, nursing field requires a certification/lisense, hiring manager while screening out the best suitable candidate for this profile, search for this section in your resume and job application.

IT and Retail kinds of jobs don’t require a work permit (certification/license) to work on the floor. So, for those jobs, this field is not mandatory.

Publications (Optional):

The addition of this section is useful for those who publish their work online in the form of books/articles/blogs/tutorials that are relevant to the job profile you are applying for. In this section of your resume, you can place the links of your books/articles/blogs/tutorials that you have published online in reverse chronological order with the publish date. Also, you can mention, in the future, when you are going to publish your work with the publishing date.

Awards/Honor/Activities (Optional):

In this section, you can add the information about the Award/honor you have been received in your previous jobs due to your good work, information in this section may help in strengthening your resume.

Hobbies and Interests (Optional):

If you feel your hobbies and interests are actively matching to the job profile you are applying for and the addition of this section can strengthen your resume, you should beautifully list your hobbies and the field of interested areas.

References (Optional):

In this section, you should list two people who have worked with you and can positively recommend you as an employee. Give their name and contact detail correctly to help the hiring managers to know more about you.

Best Practices

Since your resume plays a major role in the job hunting process, it needs to be cautiously written by keeping all important points in summarized form that are required for job success.

Before sending your resume, properly edit, update, and review it in order to ensure its accuracy in terms of grammar, spellings, and correct order.
Important note: Unless and until the position requires you to add your personal information in your resume avoid it.

These are the things you should avoid putting in your resume - Birthday, height, weight, marital status, children, family members, your lover, etc.

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