Getting hired is essentially a cat race. You tend to find yourself competing with a lot of people, many of whom have exactly or more qualifications than you do. The race is often to get offered an interview and your resume plays a big part in this part. This, of course, means that your resume has to be top-notch for you to get your foot in the door (get invited for an interview). A lot of people think that a resume is just about listing your qualifications, work experience, and titles, but there is much more to it.
A good resume is not just about listing qualifications, experiences, and titles because many of them may turn out to be irrelevant to the job. For your resume to resonate and be relevant to your employer, you need to be able to point out the particular qualifications, experiences, and skill set you have that a particular employer is looking for.
STEPS TO WRITING A GOOD RESUME
STEP 1: CHOOSE A FORMAT
There are three basic formats that can be used to write a resume. Your choice of format should be determined by your qualifications and experiences, as some formats highlight a part of your resume more than others. They are;
- Reverse-chronological format. This is a very common format, but it is traditional and very familiar to potential employers. This format emphasizes your work history and experiences. As the name implies, it lists your most recent roles and positions first and from there you go on to your least recent job or role– in reverse chronological order.
- Functional/skills-based format. This sort of format highlights your skills, rather than your work history, which is good if you are considering changing careers or you have noticeable gaps in your work history. It is also useful if you are applying for an entry-level position. However, one disadvantage of this format is that potential employers might think that you are hiding something.
- Combination format. This sort of format generally emphasizes transferable skills and is mostly used by experienced professionals. However, this type of format isn’t regular and it isn’t advisable for entry-level candidates to use. A combination resume, as the name implies, tries to combine the benefits of a reverse-chronological resume and a functional one. It highlights both skills and job history. This resume style, as earlier stated, is used by people who have a high level of both skills and extensive job experience. However, combination resumes can be long and tedious to go through.
STEP 2– What information do you want to include?
When writing a resume, one of the biggest problems is what sort of information to include. Here are some things that should absolutely be included in a resume.
- Contact information is one thing you should never forget to include in a resume. Your name, email address, LinkedIn URL and phone number are absolute musts to include. Anything that doesn’t expressly fall under this is a stretch and should ideally be withheld, except expressly asked for.
- If you are applying for a high-level job or a juicy position, it is possible that employers would not have time to spend looking through your resume so it is important for you to have a proper summary. A professional heading or summary is very important, as it is likely to get more attention as it is at the very top of your resume. Summarizing your important (and relevant) qualifications, and accomplishments can help give your employer an early feel of the deal they are getting by hiring you.
- Title. A good resume title is a short phrase that highlights your value as a prospective candidate. This allows you to shorten all your experiences, qualifications and titles into a short statement that tells your employer exactly what you are all about.
- Work experience. This is really important. While it is important to state your work experience, it is also important to highlight why you think your work experience would help you perform excellently in the role you’re applying for.
- Skills. It is important that you include skills that you possess. However, these skills must be relevant to the job you are applying for or else it’s tantamount to needless information.
- Education. Your level of education and qualification must also be mentioned. However, if there’s an unflattering aspect of your educational history, like say you had a 3rd class in your first degree, it would be smart to not include such a part.
- Hobbies and interests. These should only be included if they are relevant to the job you are applying for.
STEP 3– Layout.
Questions like how long a resume should be, what font should be used, and all the technical questions (spacing, lines, and margins) that come with creating a word document need to be answered.
- The first question that should be answered, of course, is the matter of length. How long should your resume be? While your resume length mainly depends on your level of qualifications, skills and work history, it is also important to note that most employers find inordinately long resumes to be tedious. Most employers are okay with a one-page resume, but it could be two if you have a lot of experience and qualifications that you want to show.
- Headings. The kind of headings you use can draw attention to the achievements that you want to be highlighted. A good example is a “Most proud of” heading. This helps you to combine your personal and professional achievements into one body. Another good heading to use is “Volunteering”. This is one heading that many employers look it because it tells them to what extent you are willing to carry on the extra workload.
- Spaces. This is important because it contributes to the overall aesthetic of your resume. A consistent amount of whitespace on your resume is advisable. You should also avoid large open spaces and too much clutter.
- Fonts. It is important for a legible and professional font to be used when typing your resume. Having replaced Times New Roman as the default Microsoft word font, Calibri is a good option for a safe and readable font
- Margins. The standard rule regarding resumes is to set your margins to one inch on both sides to create a well-balanced look and design.
Writing a good resume is something that must be done if you have any hope of landing a good job. Following the guidelines in this article would surely point you in the right direction and allow you to create a proper resume for yourself.