How To Write The Best Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide
How To Write The Best Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Write The Best Resume: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you are applying for jobs and not getting a call back, it might be your resume. Even if you are the best candidate for the position, if your resume is not well-structured, it may not be seen by the hiring manager. Your resume needs to be written with two goals in mind: beat the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and impress the hiring manager. If your resume is not ranked highly in the ATS, it won’t land on the hiring manager’s desk. In this article, we will provide you with the essential steps to writing the best resume.

Step 1: Career Summary

You may have heard or read somewhere that you need a career objective at the beginning of your resume. Career objectives are outdated and not necessary. Instead of a career objective, you should think about writing a career summary. A career summary is a snapshot of your skills, knowledge and achievements. While it is not an essential part of a resume, a well-crafted career summary can help your resume rank higher in the ATS.

When writing your career summary, focus on highlighting your key accomplishments and qualifications that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. The best way to do this is to find keywords in the job description and use those words in your summary. If the company uses an ATS, they will most likely input the terms from the job description right into the ATS. For example, if the job requires a minimum of 7 years experience, you could say “Highly motivated and results-driven marketing professional with over 7 years of experience in . . .” The more you match the job description, the better. Update your career summary for every job in which you are applying depending on the job descriptions.

Step 2: Your Relevant Experience

List your relevant work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job. You should include the company name, job title, and dates of employment. Highlight your achievements and responsibilities that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Relevant is key here. This brings us back to the ATS that searches for keywords in your resume. The more relevant your experience, the higher you will rank. Try to use words that are found in the job description when listing your accomplishments. Also quantify your accomplishments wherever possible to provide proof of your skills.

Step 3: Highlight Your Skills

Employers like to see your skill set. This shows the employer what you can bring and contribute to the job and the company. You should include both hard and soft skills in this section. Hard skills are those that are gained through education or training. Examples of hard skills include, “bilingual in Spanish and English” or “proficient in Java.” Soft skills are more of a personality trait, one that you may have been developing all of your life. Examples of soft skills include “problem solver,” “critical thinker” or “willingness to learn.” If there are any hard and/or soft skills mentioned in the job description be sure to include that in this section if applicable.

Step 4: Education and Certifications

This section should include your educational background and any relevant certifications you have obtained. Name the school or institution and the degree/certification earned. Many recommend including the year the degree/certification was obtained, but if you fear any sort of age discrimination, young or old, it is okay to leave this detail out.

Step 5: Tailor Your Resume to The Job

As previously mentioned, it is important to tailor your resume to each job that you are applying for. While you may be looking for a specific job, each company’s job description will be different. If you don’t change your resume to match the job description, it may not be seen. Tailoring your resume to match the job description also shows the employer that you thoroughly read the description and anticipate their needs.

Step 6: Be Clear and Concise

You only have a few seconds to impress the hiring manager. Literally. Hiring managers have to read through so many resumes and if yours is not clear and concise, it may get looked over. Keep your resume clean and organized. Use headings and bullet points in each section, except for your summary. Be sure to have enough space (but not too much!) between sections so it is easy for the hiring manager to quickly read through each section. Unless you have years of relevant experience, your resume should be kept to one page.

Step 7: Proofread and Edit

Resumes of very qualified candidates have been tossed in the trash for grammatical and/or spelling errors. Before sending out your resume always check for errors and typos. One small error can leave a negative impression on the hiring manager. Ask a family member or friend to review your resume for anything that you may have missed.

Step 8: Customize

Resumes vary visually depending on the industry. A graphic designer’s resume may look different than that of an accountant. What is acceptable for one industry may not be for another. Use a clean and professional design that matches the industry and job you are applying for.

Step 9: Update and Tailor Regularly

Keep your resume up to date by regularly revisiting and adjusting it as your skills and experience evolve. As previously mentioned, always adjust your resume to match the most recent job application.

Following these steps will greatly increase your chances of standing out among other candidates. We wish you luck in your job search!

DisclaimerThis article is intended for informational purposes only. It provides general information and is not intended and should not be construed as professional advice. The author is not your attorney, accountant, financial planner or any other professional and no professional-client relationship is created. We do not represent that the information provided is accurate or up-to-date as laws and regulations are always changing. If you have an issue that requires professional help, you should contact the appropriate professional to help you on your specific set of facts. Please read the Terms and Conditions for additional information.

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