If you are trying to find a new job, one of the tools you will use is a resume for highlighting your experience.
Your resume tells your professional story often before you have an interview with a prospective employer, so its definition and how it’s written is absolutely critical. There are two main types of resumes to use in pursuit of your next job: Chronological and Skills-based.
A chronological resume starts with an individual’s career objective. This tells employers your career goals, and helps them to understand the intended specific direction in your next career move.
Second, it should contain your most recent employer and work back to the first employer. Each place of employment written on your resume should also outline the title(s) you held, the dates you worked, and the responsibilities for which you were accountable.
After that, the resume should outline your professional achievements, again, in chronological order. This portion of the resume should be separate from your professional experience, and should highlight the awards and accolades you have acquired in your career. The resume should next contain your key skills-those things that set you apart as a potential future employee.
Finally, in a chronological resume, you should briefly describe your education. The education section on your resume should just tell people where and when you went to school, as well as your applicable degree or military experience.
A skills-based resume is designed for an experienced professional who either has a variety of key skill sets they have acquired throughout their career, or for the individual that is trying to change careers and wants to shift the focus of their career away from their primary career field.
This type of resume should still start with a career objective. Since you won’t be highlighting your work experience, the employer needs to see your career objective to understand how you intend to use your skills.
Secondly, you should start with your key skills, such as leadership, technical skills, communication and/or interpersonal relationship skills. Anything that is tangible, credible, and can be validated through a background check should be included.
After you highlight your skills, the resume should contain your employment history, with titles and dates only. There is no need to discuss your responsibilities with this type of resume. Next, your resume should contain your key awards and accomplishments as well as your educational information.
Recruiters will not look at resumes that are too long. A good resume of an experienced professional should be no more than 2 pages in length, and should only contain the individual’s career accomplishments and responsibilities.
However, if the individual is newer to the work force, for example, less than 5 years, the resume should be no longer than a page. Again, it should only outline the professional’s work experience and key accomplishments.
Regardless of the type of resume you choose to write, keep it simple, using short, phrased bullet points and action words to start each bullet point. Action words or phrases include (but are not limited to):
Using action words or phrases throughout your resume demonstrates your drive and focus, which are what employers look for in a new employee.
Writing that Perfect Resume
Writing a clear and effective resume is an important part of getting a job. Resume writing, however, is not a simple task, and may seem overwhelming at first.
It is helpful to think of a resume as a tool — a selling tool for presenting yourself to a potential employer. Therefore, it is important to write a good, clear, well formatted document. Here are some tips on writing that perfect resume.
Good Looking Effective Resumes
When creating a resume it should be simple to read. Use words that are easy to understand. In short, too much game jargon can ruin one’s resume.
A resume is an instrument to get a company interested in talking to them. Don’t get yourself rejected as a candidate because the company was looking to hire an assistant producer but one confused the reader by calling themselves a Development Director.
Resumes are Scanned
Next, one should keep in mind that people generally do not read resumes. Instead, they quickly scan over it and then determine if it is really worth going back to pay more attention to the details. So one should understand his or her resume is probably on a manager’s desk along with 30 others, so presentation is important.
Layout the resume so that with one simple glance, the person eyeing your resume catches:
- What you have accomplished
- What it is you do; and one’s resume should present his or her skills in a way to capture the attention of the reader.
No more One Page Rule
Change in style of resume writing as time passed. Now forget the one page resume rule. While this was the advice given in the 70’s to the conventional business community, it does not apply to technology companies or creative people.
Give spacing i.e. break one’s resume into paragraphs making it comfortable to look at and read. Put oneself in the reader’s shoes or eyeglasses, as it were. The point is one is more likely to scan a 3-page resume that is nicely laid out and comfortable to look at, versus a one-page resume that is written like a novel in tiny font.
Keep the Layout Clear
Overcrowded documents make the reader feel tense and one will not want the reader’s first experience with them to be a tense one, right? Be snappy and clear, and also be succinct in one’s resume presentation. One should be looking for the reader to feel comfortable and relaxed when scanning his or her resume, so think carefully about layout.
The rule of thumb with a resume is to plan it for easy “scan-ability.” Here are a few suggestions for one to achieve this:
- Use a clean font like or Times New Roman or Arial.
- Use regular 12-point type except when trying to draw attention at which time you can use larger type, italics or bold. But use with good judgment.
- Also, use MSWord if possible. It has become the industry standard.
- When presenting a resume electronically, one may utilize different color fonts, etc. Again be very careful not to over do it, and less is always best.
- Be bold with discretion, i.e. be very careful about what you highlight and bulletined within one’s resume.
- Promote oneself carefully. Summarize your top 2 to 5 selling points right under your name.
In short, within the first few lines of one’s resume the reader can do a brief glance and quickly get the candidates name, function, and also accomplishments. It is as simple as that.
The key to writing a good, solid resume is to remember that your resume tells your professional story. It is only one component of obtaining an interview, but it can be the most critical component if you have not done any networking in advance of submitting your resume to a prospective employer. Keep it short, simple, but focused and direct.
A well-written resume is an essential component in helping you stand out against your competition, and will keep your name in the mind of the company you are targeting in your career journey.
2 thoughts on “Resume Writing Tips”
Thanks for pointing out that MS Word is still the program of choice when it comes to resume writing. I’m thinking about hiring a resume writer in order to make sure that I have all the edge that I can possible have when trying to get my dream job. I just have to make sure that it would remain concise and not too flashy.
My brother would apply for a job this month, and that is why he has decided to start consulting with a service that will help him write a resume. Well, you are also right that it would be best to highlight his personal achievement. Thank you for clarifying here as well the importance of including his skills.