Beginners Guide For Writing A Stunning Resume In 2021 (Updated)
01 Octomber 20215 min read
Wisedoc
Wisedoc
Wisedoc Expert Team

Are you a beginner in job searching and writing resumes?

You must be browsing across search engines for help regarding how to write an effective resume which puts you ahead of curve, which template to choose, which color to choose, or do they all even matter for getting a phone call?

Some of you might be wondering, “I have a great skillset and qualifications, why does the look or the color of resume even matter to me?”

Maybe you are an undergraduate or a high school student in search of internships and wondering what to showcase in a resume with minimal career history.

All these confusions are natural, and this 10 min article is here to help you clear most of the questions and save hours of your time.

Let’s dive in.

Following are the questions which gets answered in this article:
  1. What do we write in the key sections (Personal information, skills, education, projects) of resume?
  2. Does the layout of the resume, colors, or the beauty matter?
  3. Does length of the resume matter?
What do we write in key sections of resume?

Following are the key sections which matter to you if you do not have any prior work experience. This applies well for recent graduates (with NO work experience), high school students, and current undergraduate students in search of internship opportunities.

Personal Info
This section is probably the most straight forward to write and following steps will help you to make a best version of it:
  1. Name: Maintain a simple, easy-to-remember name on your website which matches with that on the other professional networking websites i.e., Linkedin.

    Given recruiters shortlist your resume, they do quick research online to learn more and you need to help them with that process by keeping the name which matches with your web portfolios.

  2. Email: Have a nice professional email with format: firstname.lastname@email.com

    Many people have funny emails created during their childhood days such as ‘angelprincess1993@yahoo.com’, ‘flameboy.2394@hotmail.com’ etc. Imagine yourself as a recruiter and the feeling you must send this person an email. You might still pull it off, if your skillset is beyond expectations, however, as mentioned several times above, the probability is already low for getting a phone call, and our effort needs to increase the chances in every possible way.

    If you are already using your childhood funny email across the places, it is never too late to change it or have a separate email for professional purposes.

  3. Phone number: Please make sure you provide a right phone number. After all the effort put forward, the last thing you want is to have recruiter call a false number because of a typo in your resume.

  4. A link to professional networking or personal page: This is very important part of your personal info. If you are not a great user of professional networking, we recommend you have a link of personal page with extra details which are not added in the resume, so that, if the recruiter wants to learn more, it should be easy for them to explore through the link provided in the resume. This will keep you one step ahead of other applicants.

    Inventor

    Header from 'Inventor' template

    In a nutshell, make sure to have the personal information accurate. Keeping several links might consume space, so having clickable icons is preferrable.
  5. Career objective (optional): There is a major confusion among young applicants like yourself in differentiating between career objective and summary. A career objective needs to be one line statement about why you are applying to this company, stating how you would make use of your skills to perform the functions and carry responsibilities in a mutually exclusive manner. A summary presents the bulleted details of career history, skillset, and interests moving forward. You may find the expert tips while creating the resume as well in your Wisedoc file.
    Typically, it is better to write this in an elaborate way in your cover letter which you attach along with resume, however, this one liner within the resume maybe helpful before the recruiter gets to open your cover letter. Most recruiters start reviewing your application with resume first and cover letter next.
Skills

Now let’s talk about the skills section which is the most important part of your job application. The applicant tracking system (ATS) used by recruiters crawl through the resume in search of skills keywords and ranks your resume accordingly. So, it is very important to mention all the keywords relevant to your career, in form of skills and abbreviations (if applicable) and divide them into respective sub-sections.

DO NOT add all your skills in one single line. Please segregate them into several sub-sections so that it is easy to focus for recruiter.

Following are some of the key pointers for creating effective skills sections:

Pointer 1: Taking fullest advantage of recruiter’s 6 seconds of time on the resume is to make sure their focus gets on sectional headings. Now when the recruiters look into skills section to start with, imagine a scenario where all the skills are written under one heading called “Skills” without any sub-headings. If he/she is a technical manager, they might want to focus quickly onto technical skills first. If he/she is an HR, they might want to focus on soft skills as well. Your job is to make sure they observe what they are looking for as quickly as possible. That is where segregation of skills into several sub-sections becomes extremely important. Checkout this image to see the comparison yourself:

AK2

Pointer 2: Adding abbreviations and the complete form of the skills on the resume is essential because it will help you pass through the ATS filters. One of the important functions of the ATS system is to cross-compare your resume content to the keywords provided by the recruiters.

AK3

Education

Always have your education in reverse chronological order. Try to minimize your levels of degrees to two in your resume as they are most important ones. For example, if you are a recent graduate of bachelor’s degree, you may add undergrad as well as high school education in the resume.

For example, if you graduate with a master’s degree, you may add masters and undergrad education.

Adding more number to degrees all the way to childhood is not going to help with the application, rather, it will just increase the length of your resume.

Shall I add the GPA?

Well, showcase it if your GPA is good. If your GPA is low, and your skillset is good, you might be underselling yourself. Bear in mind that even if you do not add the GPA in resume and still receive a phone call interview, a question about GPA may still pop-up, but you will have an opportunity to explain it yourself.

What can I add in the description?

Keep your descriptions and achievements very limited and straightforward. It is suggested to keep them in bulleted points (2-3) with quick details about key courses you have taken and relevant success stories.

You need to change the description of education such as courses or success items, based on the job description you are applying to.

For example, you are a computers student and you have learnt JavaScript and python during your study. If you are applying to a python role, highlighting JavaScript in the description is not going to keep you ahead of other applicants.

Projects

Do not have work experience? Fear not, projects become a key replacement of work experience. But before we think about why projects are key and what to showcase in them, the question we need to ask ourselves is why is the work experience very important for getting an interview?

Everyone has a theoretical knowledge of their skills via university or college courses. However, having work experience means that you have applied your theoretical skills, which is key for performing in your future position.

Projects demonstrate your applied skills more than theoretical ones unless you are heading to an academic career. So, be sure to include any projects you have accomplished as part of a team or an individual.

PS: If you are an applicant without work experience, Wisedoc provides the resumes for free with 4 sections you need for application.

What to add in a project description?

The impact you have created, the idea behind that project and what made you to work on it in the first place. This speaks about your creativity and self-motivation.

Write about your role in the group and what responsibilities where handled as part of this project. This shows your teamwork and/or leadership.

Finally, describe the success criteria you have achieved through the project and any awards your may have received (optional).

  1. Always make sure to keep your skills separated into sections.
  2. Keep all your descriptions limited to 2-3 bulleted points. Try to avoid paragraphs.
  3. Make sure to update your resume with skills/description accordingly based on the job you are applying for.
  4. Projects is going to be a very key sections if you do not have a work experience. Without that, the recruiter has no way to know your applied skills.
  5. Keep all your descriptions as straight forward as possible.
  6. Remember, attaching a cover letter for every company you apply will put you straight ahead of the pile.
Does the layout of the resume, colors, or the beauty matter?

It is said that a piece of paper cannot define you completely.

That is true.

But when you apply for a job, sometimes a resume is all the information that the firm has on you to decide if they want to give you a phone call.

Fun fact: On average, hiring managers spend 6 seconds on a single resume.

Yes, that means you have 6 seconds to grab the attention in every possible way. Your skill sets, which basically are the most important part of your resume should be visible at a single glance, so that the manager will spend more time on the resume if your skills are related to job description. Your personal info, projects, education, and other relevant fields should take part in visually attracting readers.

Moreover, the layout and design of resumes matter depending on the field of work you are in. If you are a graphic designer, software developer, business/marketing major, or in artistic domain, the beauty of resume reflects your ability before even reading the content of resume. If you fall into other categories of STEM, the general format will still do the job.

Most applicants who use general format also need to make sure about the perfect fonts and line spacings to be used for making the resume look vivid.

Now let us talk about color. You must be thinking, “Really? How does that even matter or reflect anything about me?”. Actually, color matters when we present ourselves or a virtual version of ourself to managers according to color theory. Although it is least focused part in the hiring sector so far, it is very important to be perfect in all dimensions to get a phone call. Considering the fact that only 2% of resumes get picked up for first interview, we need to put all the efforts towards increasing the probability.

Following is the mostly used and appreciated resume by our users’ hiring managers.

Elegant resume

Elegant Resume

Now before we proceed to individual sections and what to add in each of it, let’s clear the mostly asked question:

Does length of the resume matter?

Let’s take a step back for a moment and think from recruiter’s point of view. As a recruiter, you review hundreds of resumes per day in search of a great candidate for a job role in your company, and then you receive a resume with 5 pages full of every work detail. Now, would you go through the entire resume? Chances are, you will glance through the skills and the titles of work or project experience the resume presents and nothing beyond it. Most times, you may skip through these resumes as they are time consuming.

Remember, it is always easy to expand your resume by providing extreme details of your projects, and it is hard to write everything in a concise way and still deliver the fullest information.

It is very important to keep your resume restricted to one page and a maximum of two pages. You need to put a lot of effort with respect to your content and keep your descriptions limited to two lines for each section.

You are not expected to present entirety of your details via a resume. Your job is to put the details in resume just enough to create interest and excitement to the recruiter for dialing your phone number. If you really wish to provide more information and your interest towards the company, it is recommended to attach a cover letter as well, to present your determination.

There can be a million samples online for the content to add, but it is recommended that you write every section of your resume by yourself in a crisp and clear fashion. At the end of the day, only you can portray the best version of yourself and Wisedoc definitely helps you along the way with expert tips.

Follow these tricks and your resume will be strong for job applications. Got a call from recruiters? You may help your friends creating a great resume too by sharing this article. Good luck!


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Wisedoc
Wisedoc
Wisedoc Expert Team
Wisedoc's team of experts organizes the key learnings of career growth from recruiter's point of view and help users to add right content in their career profiles.