Resume Writing Tips to Help you Get Hired

The resume is the most crucial document in your job hunting process. The resume is key to making a favorable first impression on a potential employer.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a document you use to present yourself to a potential employer. You should highlight your professional skills, work experience, education, and notable professional and academic achievements in the resume. A good resume will help you stand out in the crowd of resumes that employers choose from. Although it appears that drafting a good resume only requires common sense, you need to put a lot of thought into your resume to attract the attention of hiring managers or software bots. Software bots scan, sort, and rank applications based on keywords. Therefore, investing time and effort to create a good resume is something that you must do. Tips for Creating a Stand-Out Resume The resume writing tips outlined below for creating a winning resume are meant to help your resume stand out from the rest to hiring managers and to software bots:

Select the Right Keywords. While highlighting skills relevant to the job, include language/keywords from the recruiter’s job description. It will help the hiring manager and the applicant tracking software to establish the connection between your skills and the requirements for the job given in the job description.

You must first carefully read the job description to identify keywords that indicate the essential attributes that the employer is seeking in the applicants. Then, carefully scrutinize the ‘requirements’ section of the job description to identify keywords and add these keywords to the resume. To make the resume bot-friendly, besides optimizing keywords – use simple formats and avoid using tables and graphics, which are challenging to pick up in a scan of the resume by the software bot.

Review Resume Examples. While drafting your resume, it will help to review examples of resumes from your industry. Reviewing industry-relevant resumes helps to understand best practices for writing resumes. However, care must be exercised not to copy either the content or the template from the sample resumes.

Good resumes are simple, to the point, brief, and formatted to present relevant information in an easy-to-read manner. The best resumes include only essential and relevant information that enables employers to form a complete picture of your suitability for the role. Your review of sample resumes will also reveal that they include numbers because numbers demonstrate your value for the role more clearly than descriptive text.

⦁ Choice of Font. Employers receive a large number of resumes and skim through the resumes quickly. Use a basic font such as Times New Roman or Arial that makes the resume look professional and the text easy to read.

Also, eliminate unnecessary white spaces in the text of the resume. This makes it easier for the software bot to scan the resume’s text and ignore the white spaces.

⦁ Only Include Relevant and Important Information. It is crucial to keep the resume short. Even if you have extensive experience, include only the most critical information. Hiring managers, on average, spend about 6 seconds on a resume. Only include those aspects of your work experience, qualifications, achievements, and skills that are most relevant to the job under consideration.

Highlight skills and achievements that will position you at an advantage over other candidates. Else, while the hiring managers are skimming through your resume, irrelevant information will distract them from the more critical information in your resume.

Use Correct Language and Words. The resume should be written in an active voice and words that convey action. Describe your experience and accomplishments using words that describe positive action – ‘completed,’ ‘designed,’ ‘achieved,’ ‘created,’ ‘increased revenue,’ etc.

While using action words, take care to choose words that describe the positive achievement of a goal or a process. The use of action words conveys essential information and, at the same time, shows your confidence. Use short sentences and format the content to make the resume easy to read and understand.

⦁ Highlight Important Achievements. In stating your experience in the resume, do not just list out all the job functions performed. Instead, mention the significant achievements in each of your past roles. While describing professional achievements, include numbers because numbers quantify the effect and scope of your actions more clearly.

For example, saying “Led the project team in completing the project three months ahead of schedule and saved the company $1 million” is more powerful than saying, “Led the project team in completing the project ahead of schedule and brought about cost savings for the company.”

This section also highlights notable achievements during your education (gold medal, university topper, etc.) that convey academic excellence and intellectual ability. Also include notable achievements outside academics such as in sports, volunteer work, etc.

⦁ Choice of Subheadings/Subsections. Do not clutter the resume with irrelevant subheadings. Information that is not relevant to the role should not be included. For example, if you are a fresh graduate, your resume will not have professional achievements. Instead, include internships, projects, academic work, and courses relevant to the role.

⦁ Provide Suitable Margins. To structure the format of the resume such that it is easy to read, provide suitable margins on all the sides of the resume. Also, choose the appropriate spacing between sentences. The choice of margins and spacing between sentences should result in a resume format that helps highlight relevant and vital information.

⦁ Proofreading. It is of the utmost importance that you proofread your resume and edit any errors. A resume with errors in language, spelling, etc., conveys an impression of a casual attitude and sloppiness in your work. Recruiters tend to equate errors in the resume with incompetence and reject the resume.

For proofreading, you could use one of several proofreading tools available. You could also seek the help of reliable friends/colleagues to proofread the resume from the point of view of a recruiter to check for errors and to suggest points that may have been missed out.

⦁ Social Media Details. Increasingly, recruiters check candidates’ social media activity to screen for any inappropriate content or activity. Having a presence on professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn is a plus. Any activity on professional blogging/networking sites – for example, published articles on relevant professional subjects – also helps your cause.

A job well begun is a job half done. Nowhere is this truer than in your job search process. Your resume is the first step in this process. The quality of the resume may well make the difference between being shortlisted for an interview or being rejected. You must make the necessary effort to create your resume relevant to the role and include all the information that will make you stand out from the other candidates and attract the employer’s interest.

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