Looking for a new job can be a grind. With so many details to attend to — researching prospective employers, lining up professional references, practicing interviewing skills and checking the salary range for your role — it’s tempting to recycle an old resume and top it off with your newest work experience.
Resist the impulse. If you’re hoping to score an interview for that dream job, you need a freshly polished, customized document that will grab readers’ attention.
Start with these resume writing tips.
Every list of resume writing tips will tell you the same thing: Start with your contact information. Your name, phone number, email address, and links to your website and LinkedIn profile. Then list all the jobs you’ve had.
But there’s more to it than that. Here are seven steps for boosting your resume writing skills and building a resume that brings you success:
1. Craft A Lead
At the top of the page is valuable real estate. If you want the reviewers to give your resume more than a quick scan, you need something up there that will make them want to keep reading.
Back in the day, resumes had an objective statement below the contact info that explained the type of job a candidate was seeking. Today, many hiring managers and recruiters expect to see a short, snappy paragraph like a profile. Think of these important two or three sentences as your 30-second elevator pitch: They should quickly summarize your experience and training and highlight your relevant skills for the role you’re seeking.
Expand on your qualifications deeper in your resume and your cover letter.
2. Show Impact
The bulk of your resume should focus on your work experience. List your past jobs in chronological order, from most recent to oldest, and take a results-driven approach to describe your duties and accomplishments. That means including meaningful information about how you benefited from a project or the company.
To show how you excelled in the position, use action verbs, give specific examples and add quantifiable results. Don’t simply say, “oversaw project management,” for instance. Instead, give a concise, specific project description and your role (“Project manager for a six-person team with impeccable deadline accuracy”) and concrete numbers to show the impact — the costs you saved your employer, for example, or the percentage growth in sales revenue. If you don’t have that kind of data, report the solutions your team delivered or other project outcomes. The goal is to show you made a difference.
3. Include Soft Skills
Remember that interpersonal skills are critical to your career success. Effective writing and verbal communication, critical thinking, time management, creativity, and problem-solving abilities are highly prized today. It’s important to add them to your resume. But how do you show, rather than simply list, these attributes?
Building a resume and cover letter that are thoughtfully written is a start. Both documents, if carefully organized, free of grammatical and spelling errors (see tip No. 7), and tailored for the role you’re applying for, will be clear demonstrations of your writing skills. You can also frame your work history and accomplishments to show collaboration, adaptability, and leadership abilities.
Other soft skills might be more difficult to showcase. For example, few of us can point to a TED talk or other online video or podcast to prove our verbal and presentation skills. But we all have LinkedIn profiles. Ask a handful of your colleagues, former coworkers or others in your professional network to write recommendations that include some mention of your creativity, leadership qualities, teamwork and similar qualities. Know more at https://resume-example.com/ to know how to write the best one.
4. Highlight Tech Skills
Share your software knowledge and technical skills. For example, job candidates for an administrative assistant position or similar role are expected to have Microsoft Office experience. Smart candidates would list their proficiency levels with each of the suite’s applications and any training or certification programs completed.
Many jobs will require more advanced tech skills. Using the job description as a guide, discuss your expertise with the software required for the role. Again, certifications and training should be listed. Even better, include mention of relevant software in your work history to demonstrate professional experience.
5. Be Unique
This tip on how to write a resume is about highlighting talents that are relevant to the position or company. Foreign language fluency, for instance, could give you an edge in getting an interview if the employer has international operations. Your role as an organizer for a Meetup group related to your industry can show leadership skills. Whatever your passion, use your unique qualities and experiences to make yourself stand out.
Many hiring managers like to gain a complete picture of potential employees, so don’t be afraid to mention some outside interests. Don’t go overboard by providing a laundry list of hobbies and personal pursuits. Always keep in mind that your resume is a professional document.
6. Include Keywords
Many companies scan resumes and cover letters for the keywords used in their job postings. Tailor your resume for every job description you reply to — and that means sprinkling the document with some of the languages each posting uses. For example, if an employer is seeking an applicant with experience “maintaining executives’ calendars,” use that same wording in your resume instead of a more casual phrase like “keeping track of schedules.”
An employer sorting through a dozen or more resumes doesn’t need much reason to remove you from consideration. Meticulously proofread your resume for spelling and grammatical goofs. In addition to running spell-check, read your document aloud slowly so you can focus on each word. Finally, ask a friend to double-check your work. One simple typo can kill your chances of landing an interview.
The Last Word
Every job, industry, and candidate will require some adjustments to these resume writing tips. Creative professionals, for example, will want to include links to their portfolios. New college grads won’t have much work experience to highlight, but they can still draw from class projects, labs and seminars to discuss their hard and soft skills.
When you consider how to write a resume that leads to a good outcome, the takeaway is this: Employers want to hire people who can make an impact. Write a tailored resume that shows a distinctive, results-driven professional, and before long, you may find yourself preparing for the job interview.