Crafting a professional resume helps to build your perception in your interviewer’s mind without meeting him/her. Possibly your interviewer receives hundreds of resumes every day. So if your Resume looks unprofessional & poorly crafted, the chances are high that it will find a place in a trash-can.
A difficult to read, erroneous & unattractive Resume can cost you your dream job. People often make a mistake like creating resumes riddled with typos, inconsistent formatting & using unreadable fonts.
If you are looking for a professional position using such a resume, I am sorry to say this but, you are not getting it.
So how can you perfect a resume that can entice the interviewer, boosting your chances of getting selected? I will be answering these & some similar questions in this detailed guide on how to craft a Great Resume along with some Resume Writing Tips.
So let’s get started.
Tips for creating a great resume
Table of Contents
1. Chose the right format
I understand that creating a resume when you are applying for your dream job can be overwhelming. But, you’ll have to start somewhere. Start with creating an outline of your Resume or use resume builder by picking the right resume template that meets your specific niche or skillset. List your strong-points, weak-points, your experience & what skills do you want to emphasize.
Then comes the option to chose the right format. As there is no specific rule about choosing the format, you can choose from any of the following three options.
a. Reverse Chronological order
This is one of the most common formats used by applicants all over the world. As they are simple and extremely flexible, they can be used for any job application with minor trimming.
- It’s very simple, efficient & easy to modify
- You can showcase the growth in your career.
- It’s a ubiquitous format used by thousands of applicants, so your chance of standing out is negligible.
- It’s not suitable if you have gaps in your career or you are changing your field.
b. Functional or Skill-based Resume
This type of format is widely suitable for those who possess strong skill-sets and apply for higher-level positions.
As the name suggests, these formats focus more on the applicant’s skills and less on their past experience.
- This format looks different from standard formats, so there is a chance that the interviewer will spend some more time studying it.
- It’s suitable for those who have gaps in their career, and they do not wish to disclose it directly.
- This Resume is not for entry-level applicants who lack any specific skills
- There is a strong possibility that the Interviewing department might feel you have something to hide. This creates a negative impression of yours.
c. Combination format
This format blends the best parts of both the format & creates delivers a good result. For e.g., this format mentions the applicant’s experience, and at the same time, it also mentions the unique skill sets like a Functional format.
- It’s an excellent option if you wish to showcase your transferable skills & to look for a career change
- This format is not simple, and hence we would recommend that novice applicants should steer clear from this format
2. Add Contact Information clearly
Who wouldn’t love to get an on-time response from the Interviewing Department, right? But for that, you will have to add accurate contact information in the right place.
There is always a debate over what information should be included in the Resume and what should be left behind.
First, we will take a look at the Mandatory information, then the optional information, and finally, the information you should avoid adding to your Resume.
Mandatory Contact Information:
- Name: This is pretty obvious. You must use the largest fonts on the page to write down your first and last name.
- Mailing address: Then comes the mailing address. Make sure your mailing address is easy to track, and hence it should have sufficient details. Any mistake and you might miss some important paperwork from the employer.
- Contact number: List your primary contact number here. Make sure it stays on all the time, and have an active voice-mail facility.
- Email address: Don’t forget to add your precious email address, as most of the communication will be done via email. But make sure your email id is professional and not funky or hippy.
- LinkedIn Profile: As LinkedIn has become a critical platform for professionals, make sure you add your LinkedIn account link to your Resume.
Optional Contact information
- Middle Name: You can add your middle name if you wish, but there is no compulsion about it. So if you want to leave it blank, then there is no love lost!
- Personal Blog or Website: Add this information only if they are relevant to the position you are applying for. Otherwise, adding them doesn’t serve any purpose.
Information that you should avoid:
- Secondary Contact Number: As you have already added the Primary Contact number with voice-mail service, avoid adding the secondary number. It will only create confusion for all.
- Date of Birth: Not always, but sometimes, it is good to avoid adding your Birth date. The reason is, some interviewers are notorious for ageism. So it’s better to avoid adding your Date of Birth unless absolutely necessary.
- Photos: This trend is on the rise, especially in youngsters, for only God knows what reason! But I would recommend avoiding this.
3. Write a great Resume Introduction
Multiple types of research suggest that, on average, an HR will take a look at any resume for 7 seconds only. This means, have just 7 seconds to impress your interviewer. So it’s vital that you write an excellent Resume Introduction or Resume Summary that compels the interviewer to consider you as a legit candidate.
Also, create an attractive & witty Resume heading that might give you an edge over other applicants.
Let’s understand with an example.
I am working as a Digital Marketing Executive for the last 5 years. I have Knowledge about multiple Digital Marketing platforms, and I also handle various client-related activities in my current firm. I am well-equipped to handle all the tasks vested upon me.
Highly motivated and efficient Digital Marketing executive with 5 years of experience in hardcore Digital Marketing. Achieved numerous accolades during my term in the existing firm and ready to keep up the trend. Looking for robust growth along with your firm.
See the difference? The ineffective one is more of an informative statement, while the effective one packs a punch!
So next time, when you write our Resume heading, make sure it is Effective.
4. Mention your Work Experience & Achievements
This is a critical part of your Resume. This is where you’ll have to cement your position & present proof about the skills you mentioned in the Resume. This part can make or break your interview. You can use any title you want for this section, e.g. “Professional Experience”, “Relevant Experience”, or simply “Work Experience”. But make sure you write the complete details of your previous employers, your job-profile & other relevant details.
Trim your previous experience to the Job advert.
This can be an excellent way to attract the attention of your interviewer. They are looking for a specific candidate, who fulfils specific criteria, then why not leverage it?
For e.g. the Job ad reads.
“At ABC, we are looking for a mid-level Digital Marketing specialist to meet with our growing list of Client.
As our Digital Marketing specialist, you will be working directly with potential Client, building and nurturing meaningful relationships. Your core goal will be crafting tailored Digital Marketing Solutions for the clients with your team.”
Now note the underlined words. They are occupation-specific keywords that you can use in your Resume.
For example, your “Professional Experience should have a bullet point that reads,
- Spearheaded a team of 4 Digital Marketers & managed a long list f clients from multiple Business vectors, boosting their conversion ratio by over 68%.
Here, you are highlighting your teamwork, your ability to deliver results and manage Client.
Such punch-lines can definitely help you stand out from the rest while applying for a job.
5. Write down a Stunning Education section
Your qualification is equally important as your Professional experience. Especially if you have no experience in the field, it’s best to showcase your Education and related achievements. If you are wondering how to write a Resume for fresher, this point is crucial. Placing it above your professional experience section can help too.
Here are some points to remember:
- Place your highest degree first; this goes unsaid.
- Then place your other degrees in the reverse-chronological order.
- You can also add your college information to the Resume.
- Mention your University and College’s full name & Adress
- Don’t forget to add the Date if your Graduation.
6. List your special skills
When you appear for an interview, the HR manager looks for much more than an individual with some fancy degree. He/She is looking for someone with some set of skills. Now I agree that it’s not advisable to fill your Resume with many skills, but spreading them here and there can surely help.
HRs always prefer someone with additional skills that are not a part of the Job profile. So when you add such skills to your Resume (Of course, you must have them in the first place!), you get an edge over your competitors.
Now talking about skills, there are Hard Skills & then there are Soft skills. Let’s understand them first.
Hard Skills: These are the skills that you can actually showcase at any time. For e.g., Knowledge of specific software or the ability to work on some machinery is hard-skills. We live in a digital world, so it’s advisable that if you don’t have some of them, then get them to survive!
Few examples of Hard-skills
- Data Mining
- Computer Programming
- Knowledge about CMS
- Digital Marketing
- Data Engineering
- Database Management
- UX/UI designing
Adding these skills will definitely improve your chances to get selected for the interview.
Soft skills: These skills are the ones that quantified terms of showcasing cannot measure. For e.g. being punctual is a Soft-skill. You cannot showcase it to your interviewer unless they hire you. But it surely helps them in creating your persona.
For e.g. some HR managers prefer applicants who are good with teamwork, persistent & Empathetic. So if you have some similar skills, make sure you add them to your Resume.
Few Examples of Soft Skills:
- Leadership skills
- Logical Reasoning
- Decision-making skills
- Having the feeling of Responsibility
- Versatile Knowledge
- Keen Observational Skills
- Ability to fulfil commitments
7. Add all the important certifications you have
Although not necessary, certifications, awards and accolades add a sort of special effect to your Resume. So if you have any of them, don’t shy away from adding them.
Especially if you are applying for a job that demands a certification, then it is always good to add them. For e.g., if you are applying for the job of driving instructor, you will need certification without a doubt. On the contrary, if you are applying for the post of customer support executive, there is no need for such.
You can also add any honours or awards you have received from your previous jobs or any other work. But make sure they are relevant to the job that you are applying to.
If you are fresh out of college, I would recommend adding your publications if they are relevant to the job.
8. Add gentle touch, here & there.
Choosing the Right Fonts is critical as they are the first thing your interviewer will notice. IF you use a too stylish or funky Font, your Resume might be treated as unprofessional. So here is the list of some tips for choosing your Font:
- User Fonts are easy to read and understand.
- Do not jumble more than one Font throughout your Resume.
- Make sure you don’t spend much time thinking and rethinking your fonts.
Right Font Size
Make sure you do not make your interviewer sweat for reading your Resume! If he finds your Resume difficult to read, your chances for selection will tumble. People often end-up choosing too small fonts to fit-in all the details on a single page. Never make this mistake. Make sure your Resume is readable.
Margins make your Resume look presentable. It is a general norm that the margin should be 1 inch. For someone with less experience, this will be easy. But for those with much experience, fitting all the information will take some hard work!
You can reduce your margin by a fraction if you want, but make sure you don’t overdo it. Otherwise, your Resume will look all jumbled up.
9. Craft a Crisp Cover letter
By now, your Resume is ready and fuelled, but still, there are few things that you need to work out. One is crafting a Dazzling Cover-letter. A cover –letter gives your application a human touch. With a cover letter, you can connect with the interviewer as a person and not just some another resume.
So we would recommend a pitch-perfect and crisp Cover letter that matches your Resume.
10. Proofread & Proofread once again
Now everything is wrapped up, so all you have to get to is proofread your Resume, edit and proofread again. This is vital as its better if you find errors in your Resume rather than your interviewer. Repeat the process until you find your Resume looks perfect.
It is always advisable to read and re-read the Resume three or four times. Taking a second opinion from a friend or colleague can also do some good.
11. Some additional tips
Apart from the tips mentioned above, take a look at these tips too.
- Make sure you write an excellent resume introduction.
- Add quantifiable achievements & specific job duties that will impress your interviewer.
- Prefer sharing your Resume in PDF format.
- Use the name of the Hiring Manager while sharing your Resume, it will be more impactful.
Finally, we are here. After much hard work, we hope you have understood the secret to creating a perfect resume. Hope you had had all your doubts clear and you are ready for your next interview.
If you are still confused about how to write a resume for a job Feel free to reach out for any queries.