Let’s be honest, it can feel like an overwhelming task knowing where to start writing a resume! And for good reason. I mean, there’s no other document that can have such an impact on your career, earning potential and ultimately your job satisfaction.
Pretty daunting statistics, right?
What Does This Mean For You, As You Start Writing A Resume?
To put it simply, a generic, untargeted, poorly worded resume just won’t cut the mustard and won’t land you a job interview.
You see, your resume needs to clearly and concisely give the employer detailed proof that you’ve got the skills and experience to solve their problem and be an asset in the job role.
“Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior”
Hiring managers are looking for you to tell them a clear and relevant story of successful past behaviors.
Plenty of research has shown, that if someone’s been successful in their last job role and done things a certain way, they are more likely to do the same thing in the future.
Before You Start Your Writing Your Resume
So, before you even begin writing your resume, you first need to decide on one of these two options.
A/ Go it alone.
B/ Hire a professional resume writer to do it for you.
Whichever path you choose, there’s still a number of points for you to consider.
Let’s now dive in and give you a general overview of the most important elements to get right when you set out to write an interview-landing resume.
Choosing The Right Format
Research has found that employers and recruiters will typically spend only 6 seconds scanning through a resume, meaning your resume needs to be compelling and eye-catching to the reader.
This is not as easy as it sounds, as even the decision on which format to choose can be as difficult as deciding which film to watch on Netflix!
So to simplify the process, consider choosing a format according to your work history and experience.
The Chronological Resume Format – Choose this if you are: View Example
- Applying for a job in the same industry
- Have you been on a traditional career path
- Have very few gaps in your work history
The Functional Resume Format – Choose this if you are: View Example
- A graduate, re-entering the workplace
- Or changing career paths
The Combination Resume Format – Choose this if you are: View Example
- A veteran re-entering the workforce
- A candidate with a few gaps in your work history
- A candidate where your skills out-weigh your work experience
Once you’ve decided upon a format, begin to collect the relevant information to form an outline which you can use as your draft.
Your Resume Heading
Your resume header section contains your contact details where employers or recruiters can easily reach you.
When you’re writing your resume, this section should include your:
- First Name Last Name
- Street Address
- City, State, Zip
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Personal Website (optional)
- LinkedIn Profile URL (optional)
If you’re applying for a job outside the city you live in, be sure to come back and read this post as well!
Right below your contact details, you must write a summary or objective statement. Your career goal and previous experience will determine which one of these you choose. They are not interchangeable and are written in a completely different way from one another. This section of your resume is your Las Vegas Stripe! It’s your prime real estate, so don’t miss the opportunity to make it shine. Keep both statements, short, punchy and relevant to the job role you’re applying for. You should write a new targeted statement for every role you apply for.
The Summary Statement: If you’ve had a traditional career path and are staying in the same industry, you’d be a great candidate to use a summary statement. Also, use one if you have no major gaps in employment (six months or more) and your work history shows growth or promotions. It should highlight your most relevant experience, skills, and traits which can be elaborated in the resume below it.
“Experienced sales manager in the retail industry with strengths in customer service, sales, and negotiations. Proven skills in marketing, advertising, product integration, and promotions. Successful in developing strategies that have resulted in an over 20% increase in new customers. Instrumental in developing an incentives rewards program with a repeat customer success rate of over 45%”.
The Objective Statement: If you lack work experience in this job field, in the middle of a career change or targeting a specific job role, then you’d be a good candidate for using an objective statement. A word of warning though, ensure you convey the deliver the value you can bring to the job posting. Avoid making this statement simply about what you are looking for in a job.
“To leverage my 5+ years of client-facing experience, public speaking skills, and expertise in the health care industry into a public relations role with Round Bow Media”
In this section, include a list of the most recent companies you’ve worked for and the job titles, location and dates of employment.
Here’s a great place to bullet point your duties and accomplishments.
Try and make your accomplishments specific and include numbers and percentages where ever possible.
Here’s what a great accomplishment might look like for someone who negotiated a deal with their office stationary suppliers.
If you have little or no previous work experience, you can always include relevant summer jobs, internships or volunteer work as long as it supports your case and the job posting.
The placement of this section will depend on where you are in your career journey. If you’re fresh out of college, a graduate or have less than five years work experience, put your education section at the beginning of your resume structure as it focuses the readers’ attention on this and not your lack experience. As a student or graduate you should include your GPA if it’s higher than a 3.0, otherwise, it might be worth leaving it out, depending on the difficulty of the course. Also, include any academic honors or certificates where they directly relate to the job you are applying for.
Use this section as a way to include all of the major keywords from the job posting.
Remember to only use hard skills rather than soft skills. Hard skills are learned skill sets such as your degree, certificates, typing speed or coding ability which are needed to do the job. While soft skills, i.e. people skills, teamwork, communication, and perseverance are personality traits. You can save showing them these skills for the interview!
There you have a general overview of how to start writing a compelling resume that lands you an interview.
To learn more, I’ve put together a free 7 step checklist to help you even further… click the image below and grab your free copy now…