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How to Write the Best Resume

You might be surprised, but even the most experienced and skilled professionals often have difficulties with writing a resume. The task can bewilder anybody, though, it is not so hard to learn how to write a resume. A resume is a standard paper with a definite structure and demands for the contents. If you are familiar with them – you need only some time to write it.

Choose the Type of a Resume

There are two kinds of job application forms, Resume or CV, and they are different. So, first of all, you need to check which paper you have to send to apply for the position. If they demand a resume, then stay with us because this is what we’ll talk about in this article.

A resume is a document that summarizes your skills and work experience. It is simple enough, but there are traps. You should not just list your previous jobs or describe your awards and certifications. For you, a resume should be the means to present yourself as more than a set of skills. The resume should depict you as a personality which they need to get acquainted with. That is why it is crucial to understand how to write a resume in the right way.

The first step is to choose the type of resume.

Chronological Resume

This is the format you might already know, the most popular resume type. Its focus is on your work experience.

The chronological resume is ideal if you want to describe your previous career and your progress, or apply to the new job of the same sphere – it shows that you already possess the skills, knowledge, and familiarity with the sphere.

However, it is unsuitable if you want to switch a field of work, or come out of a long idle period, or simply had too many different jobs.

The structure of the chronological resume:

  1. Contact details – this element is the same in all formats of resume paper. Provide these details at the top of the document.
  2. Career Objective – here you specify which position you apply for.
  3. Experience – provide an impressive history of your previous employment proving that you are an expert in this area.
  4. Additional skills – here you indicate those personal features which can work in your favor.
  5. Education – give information about the university, college and high school in the reverse chronological order. Mention all your degrees and certifications.
  6. Awards & Honors – if you possess them, mention the most outstanding ones.

Functional resume

This format concentrates on your current skills and knowledge instead of the previous career.

The functional resume will be the best choice for some freelance experts with a great level of expertise. It is also a good option for a person who wants to change the field of career.

However, don’t refer to this type of resume if you don’t master the required level of skills.

The structure of the functional resume:

  1. Contact Information.
  2. Qualifications Summary – you need to stress your knowledge and skills at once.
  3. Work Experience – you will notice a very moderate size of this section in the paper when you write a resume. Besides, you don’t need to provide dates. Here it is more important what you know and can do than where you did it.
  4. Relevant Skills – the job position description probably included the requirements. You must list your skills which will present you as a great candidate. Make sure to give a full picture and many details.
  5. Education – you need to mention the main certifications you have and the highest degree you obtained.
  6. Awards & Honors – again, list the most notable ones.

Combination Resume

As it is stated in its name, this type of resume includes the elements of the chronological and functional types. A candidate should provide information on both skills and work experience. This can be the most informational resume format, and it is favored by the experts of some industries.

Use the combination resume if you have a great experience in this field, or if you want to illustrate which skills you obtained in that industry. This format is useful for those willing to change the career staying in the same sphere.

Avoid using this kind of a resume if you are not an expert, or if you want to appeal to your education rather than the employment history.

The structure of the combination resume:

  1. Contact Information at the top of the paper.
  2. Professional Profile – the focus is on your skills, list them all and explain concisely.
  3. Work Experience – this resume format does not go into details deeply as the chronological resume, but you still have to provide information about the past jobs and your achievements there.
  4. Skills Sections – here you should describe the work-related skills and arrange them according to their importance for the job duties performed.
  5. Education – this information is slightly less important, the resume concentrates on your job experience, but you should describe the educational as well.

Practical Recommendations on How to Write a Resume

Though the three above-mentioned resume formats differ in their approach to your career history and skills, they all cover similar scope. The type of resume you choose will regulate the detailed elaboration of the provided data. Let’s explore these obligatory sections.

Personal and contact details

This is the common rule: your personal and contact information must be placed first at the top of the document, and marked additionally to catch the recruiter’s attention. The block is mostly located in the center, or on the left.

The following details must be out there:

  • First name and last name. We’ll examine the requirements to the fonts to use in a resume further, and here we’ll simply indicate that you should apply the largest font size to the name. In most cases, it is 24 pt.
  • Physical address.
  • Phone number. Please make sure to activate the voicemail option for it.
  • Email address. It should look solid, so, don’t use any nicknames or voluntary numbers in it. The ideal format is a combination of your name and the last name, you can combine them with the middle initial.
  • Link to the LinkedIn profile.
  • Links to the accounts in other social networks if they are relevant to the position you apply for and contain the information in your favor.

Check and assure that all these links are correct and clickable.

Resume Introduction

The purpose of this section is the same as of Introduction in any other paper. You need to grasp the attention of the audience, that is your prospective employer.

There are also three types of Introduction which you may use:

  • Summary of Qualifications. It is a very clear and laconic description of your qualifications. The format is a bulleted list, the accent is on the specific skills that you possess, and that is necessary for the job. It must be as precise as possible. This summary suits experienced employers best of all.
  • Career Objective. It is a short description of 2-3 sentences that should tell about the duties you want to perform and how well you can do the job. Note that this couple of sentences must be written very well to catch the reader and make them stay. This format is good for graduates having little professional experience so far. Or, you can use it if you deliberately target this definite company. However, avoid this format if the job requires specific skills that you don’t have.
  • Professional Profile. This can be the most efficient type which combines elements of the qualifications summary and the career objective. You need to give a summary of the skills you have and the explanation of why you suit the position. This format can help you if you want to refer to your experience and achievements in previous positions, and also want to emphasize your skills as well.

Professional Experience

This is the section you have to work on thoroughly to write a resume correctly. Your professional experience is the information that the recruiters seek. Thus, here the recommendations on what and how you need to write in this area:

  • List your previous work in the reverse-chronological order.
  • The format should be: the name of the company in a bold and bigger size, then the title of your position, and the period of work.
  • Include a bulleted list to illustrate your accomplishments and achievements under the “job position” entry. Note that this should not be a list of your duties, here you should claim that you are a highly qualified person. You should not list them all, of course, so, choose 3-5 most prominent and impressive evidence.

Provide information about your education:

  • If you are a fresh graduate, you might place this block closer to the top, before the employment history. If you are an expert, you may place it after the information about your work experience.
  • The format should be the name of the institution, city, state, country (if you studied abroad), the date of graduation (or a planned date if you are still a student), your degree.

You have to do the fact-check for this section and assure that the information you provide is correct. Check the dates, the spelling of the names, etc.

Skills

You are supposed to give a summary of your skills at the beginning of the resume paper. There is one more area in this document where you can provide more details. Besides, the latest trends in the recruitment industry claim that employers pay more attention to the so-called “soft skills”, your personal qualities. Thus, you should not be deprived of winning arguments.

You can sort and group your skills in the following manner:

  • Technical skills are those which are relevant to the job. E.g.: if you plan a career in the IT industry, include your knowledge of the programming languages. 
  • Additional skills are those which are not required directly for the position, however, they might be useful. E.g.: foreign languages you know.
  • Soft skills are the qualities that define if you match the work environment. These are leadership skills, or being a responsible team player, or the ability to stay calm under high load, etc.

The main tip is: do not include the skills which are genuinely not relevant, or not strong enough.

Awards, honors, activities

This is the optional section. If you are a well-known expert in your field, include your honors and awards list into it and sort according to the sphere. E.g.: if you apply for the manager’s position, and you are a great sportsman at the same time, include the information about your titles, as they also emphasize your qualities which may be demanded the job.

Certifications and Licenses

Some jobs demand that you have certain certifications proving your level of expertise. However, if this is not mandatory for the definite job application, you still can include this information. E.g.: certificates from the foreign language schools, specific certificates from the IT training, etc.

Publications

The information in this section can be critical if you apply for the position where you must present your published works, e.g. media jobs. If you got publications in the relevant fields, present them too, even if they are not required. These data will serve you right.

Writing Style Recommendations for a Resume

A resume is an official paper, but it still has its “marketing” angle. You use it to present yourself, that is not so easy if you only list your skills and experience. There are too many candidates, so, you have to attract the attention of your future employer with your writing style and word choice. 

  • Use the first-person voice to speak to the reader – this shows you as a person, and not just words on the paper;
  • Speak specifically about your talents;
  • Give real-life stories to illustrate your qualities (e.g.: explain how you helped the team instead of just saying that you are a team player);
  • Let them feel that you are proud of your accomplishments;
  • Consider your vocabulary and use specific words belonging to the industry.

Visual Presentation of a Resume

A proper layout of the document and correct formatting do matter when it comes to how to write a resume perfectly. An excellent visual look of the document makes it easier to absorb the information too.

There are some rules to follow to format your resume:

  • The length of the resume is no more than 2 pages.
  • Choose the common fonts which are correctly displayed by all systems – Times New Roman, Arial.
  • The most usual font sizes scheme is 24 pt for your name, 14 pt for headings, 11 pt for the texts.
  • 1-inch margins. It is possible to reduce them to 0.5 inches if this is necessary to not transfer small fragments of text onto the next page.
  • You may use some color to distinguish some important prices, but don’t make your resume multi-colored and too busy.
  • Check the requirements for the file format and make sure to save your resume in the correct one.

A resume must be impeccable in grammar. You must check it and correct all the errors.

The skill of writing a good resume is crucial nowadays. And though even the best resume can’t guarantee that you get the job, it can help you to get to the next stage of the interview and impress your future employer. We hope that this guide on how to write a resume will help you greatly. Good luck!

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