close-up of a person’s hand writing with a blue pen How to Write a Great Resume

How to Write a Great Resume: 10 Tips for Writing a Resume Employers Will Love

Having a great resume puts you one step closer to landing your dream job. Getting your resume right will help you get responses from every other job you apply for. If you want to succeed in any industry, you need to learn how to write a great resume. 

According to a recent study by the job search service Ladders, the average employer takes just 7.4 seconds to decide whether to forward or discard a resume. This is why you need to make sure your resume is eye-catching and well-made. If your resume is excellent, you will not have to wait months before being called in for an interview.

This article will provide tips on how to make a resume look good, how to make a resume with no experience, common resume mistakes to avoid, and where to find career programs that will help you craft the perfect resume.

The Benefits of a Great Resume

Your resume is your first chance to make a good first impression on your employer as a job applicant. It should highlight all of your technical and soft skills, accomplishments, and relevant experience. 

Employers typically have a large number of resumes to review for each vacancy, and you only have a few seconds to persuade them that your resume is worth their time. As a result, your resume must stand out. Some of the advantages of a strong resume include the following. 

  • It attracts the attention of the hiring manager. 
  • It reduces the legwork in your job search by distinguishing you from the competition.
  • It makes it easier for the recruiter to understand your qualifications and additional experiences, as well as your preferred career path.
  • It increases your confidence in your professional achievements, technical skills, and soft skills. 
  • It allows you to set the stage for a successful job interview with a future employer.
  • It can highlight your excellent communication skills.

10 Tips on How to Write a Great Resume

Resume notes on a clipboard next to an open laptop How to Write a Great Resume
Figuring out how to make your resume look good will help you stand out to a hiring manager.

Having the perfect resume enables you to present yourself concisely and clearly, highlighting your relevant skills for whatever position you’re applying for. Most importantly, it improves your chances of impressing hiring managers and acing your interview. With so much on the line, some people hire a professional resume writer to help them create better resumes. 

However, you can also create an excellent resume on your own. You can use resume sections, resume bullets, and a professional resume template. You need to highlight your career objective and level of experience. The 10 resume tips below can help get you started.

1. Use a Template 

Using a resume template or resume builder allows you to bypass the stressful design stage. Products like Canva and Microsoft Word even have resume builders where you can pick a template, fill it out with your information, and optimize it according to your skills and abilities. Just be sure to make it your own. The template should be a guide, not a crutch. 

2. Review Successful Examples

Before settling on a template, you should also look over examples of successful resumes for the types of positions you’re interested in applying for. These will probably be more relevant to your search than a generic template, and you might just stumble upon a style and format that works perfectly for highlighting your abilities and accomplishments.

3. Keep It Short and Direct

Your resume should be brief and concise, no longer than a page. You should not include any experiences, skills, or accomplishments that are unrelated to the job posting. Do not go past the first page unless you have a compelling reason. Valid reasons include a long career, numerous relevant accomplishments, and many relevant work experiences. 

4. Add Your Desired Job Title

You only have a few seconds to catch the attention of your potential employer. As a result, it is preferable to place your desired job description at the top of your resume. This will give the recruiter an idea of what your resume will contain. You should make sure your professional history and relevant experiences are appropriate to the job title. 

5. Let Your Accomplishments Stand Out

A recruiter is interested in what you can offer the company, not what you did in your previous roles or current job. Therefore, your resume should place more emphasis on your skills and notable achievements than your job duties and responsibilities. Create a separate section where you can focus on action verbs and specific tasks that have outstanding results. 

6. Tailor Your Resume to the Appropriate Target Audience 

A resume is a marketing document that highlights your relevant skills and abilities for a job application, not a full-length biography. It should begin with the appropriate keywords that show your skill level and illustrate your fit for the position. These keywords can get picked up by applicant tracking systems.

7. List Critical Information First 

When listing your career history, the most important information should always come first. This includes awards and significant achievements. The more appealing the information, the more likely it is to catch the attention of your prospective employer. In most cases, the most important information is the most recent information.

8. Only Include Relevant Work Experience

Including jobs irrelevant to the position can reduce your chances of receiving a callback. Moreover, if you’ve been in the workforce for a long time, you can cut out your oldest jobs. The most seasoned professionals can afford to leave out the jobs they had early in their careers. Listing relevant experience from the last 10 or 15 years is more than enough.

9. Avoid Highlighting Your Age

It is not uncommon for employers to reject job candidates based on their age. For this reason, you should not indicate your age on your resume, cover letter, or resume summary. Avoid including employment dates from too far back in your career, and concentrate on what you will offer if you are given the job.

10. Always Proofread 

This is an important aspect that should not be overlooked. A single misspelled or grammatically incorrect word or sentence could make you look inexperienced and unfit for the job, blowing your chances of getting an interview. You can use tools like Grammarly to ensure that your resume has correctly spelled words and is free of grammar errors.

Common Mistakes People Make When Writing a Resume

Your resume and cover letter are your best opportunity to make a good impression and show that you are the best person for the job. Several common mistakes could prevent you from progressing to the interview stage. Even if you have a good resume outline and language skills, you need to avoid these errors. 

Most common of all is using the same generic resume for every position. If you don’t tailor your resume to each job, you are unlikely to stand out. Other job seekers make the opposite mistake of exaggerating their qualifications to match the job ad. Lying about your skills could cause problems, especially if you’re hired and it turns out you’re unable to do the job.

The key is to highlight your achievements without overselling them. When applicants focus too narrowly or too broadly on their accomplishments, recruiters are unlikely to give them the time of day. It is important to give appropriate emphasis to the parts of your previous experience and key skills that will make you a competitive candidate for the role. 

Other common errors have to do with the look of the resume. Some people use a personal email address, whereas a professional email address should be a simple variation of your name. Always double-check your contact information before sending out your resume. You should also make sure your online presence and social media accounts are appropriate.

Unfortunately, typos, grammatical errors, and formatting mistakes of all kinds are all too common. You must proofread your resume or ask a friend to once it has been completed. You should also choose a font that is easy to read, such as Arial or Times New Roman. A creative resume that uses a whimsical font like Comic Sans may not be taken seriously.

If you want to avoid vital mistakes, you can hire a professional resume writer. This person can analyze the job description and help you apply with the perfect resume. If you find yourself good at writing your own resume, you can become a certified resume writer and earn $54,496 per year, according to PayScale.

How to Write a Resume with No Experience

A laptop next to an iPhone, a notebook, a pen, and a glass with a clear liquid How to Write a Great Resume
Any candidate can overcome their lack of experience with a great resume. 

It can be frustrating to start a job search without any prior professional experience. After all, most employers prefer to hire candidates with real-world experience, and you can’t get this kind of experience unless you’ve already had a job. If you’re looking for your very first job, there are some resume tips to help you get around this problem. 

You should start with a great resume summary. This should be two sentences emphasizing who you are as a professional and what you can do for your employer. As the first thing a hiring manager sees, it is your first chance to pique their interest. This is also known as a resume objective.

On a similar note, it is good to send a brief cover letter along with your resume, even if it is not required. This is another chance to demonstrate your personality and prove you are the ideal candidate. You can use cover letter templates and cover letter tips as a guide, but do not follow the template too rigidly. It would be much better to individualize it. 

Next, you should highlight any unpaid experience that shows off your transferable skills. This might include education, life experience, academic achievements, community service, applicable technical and soft skills, or employment history. Some of the most attractive soft skills are communication, teamwork, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills.

Most importantly, choose an accepted resume format. These include chronological, functional, and hybrid. The chronological resume format emphasizes work experience. The functional resume, or skills-based resume, highlights skills and achievements instead. The combination resume format is a balanced hybrid. 

Career Programs That Help You with Writing a Resume

Most forms of higher education provide students with ways to improve their resume writing skills. These include online courses, college degree programs, and coding bootcamps. Read below to learn more about the best resume resources.

Online Courses

Because of advances in technology, you can now learn almost anything online, including how to write an effective resume. Such courses will help you stand out to recruiters. You can get resume advice and even talk to other job seekers and resume builders to get help. You can access original resume templates and resume writing tips.

Massive open online course (MOOC) platforms give you several options. Udemy, for example, has an entire section devoted to career development. On Coursera, there’s a project-based course called How to Write a Resume and another called Writing Winning Resumes and Cover Letters. To move toward your dream job, just sign up and start learning.

College Degree Programs

There is a growing concern among some people that universities do not prepare students for the workforce. Most colleges do, however, have career centers where students can go to prepare for life after school. These centers assist students in meeting their career goals, and their services often include help with writing resumes. 

Each college’s career center is different, but they all strive to produce graduates who can excel in their chosen fields after graduation. You can inquire with an advisor to learn more about your school’s career services.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are intensive, fast-paced programs on in-demand tech subjects such as software engineering, UI/UX design, or digital marketing. Whatever the focus, most bootcamps offer career services as well. Students are expected to know how to land good jobs after graduation, and excellent resume writing skills are a key piece of the puzzle.

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