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.
|How to Create a Perfect Resume - Step by step|
What is resume?
A resume is a formal document that summarizes your professional qualifications, including relevant work experience, abilities, education, and noteworthy achievements. It is usually accompanied with a cover letter, helps you demonstrate your skills and convince recruiter that you’re qualified and hireable.
During the job application process, your resume is your chance to create a great first impression. A well-written Resume may highlight both your prior work experience and your soft skills, such as good communication, writing, and organizational abilities. When it comes to writing a resume, how effectively you can portray yourself and your talents is usually a good sign of your devotion to high-quality work.
Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae: What's the Difference?
The CV contains a complete history of your academic qualifications, hence its length is flexible. A resume, on the other hand, gives a succinct picture of your talents and qualities for a certain job, therefore its length is usually governed by years of experience (generally 1-2 pages).
Why it is important to write a good resume?
Employers often get hundreds of candidates applying for a position. They are only able to spend a short amount of time going through each one (scanning for key points). Capturing their attention, and then highlighting your skills and experience will make a larger impact on them and may get you the job.
When writing about your job responsibilities, use verbs to highlight your achievements. Most people don’t like “tooting their own horn”, but this is one time when you absolutely should. Describe how you improved your company’s production, increased their sales revenues, or attracted more customers by implementing a new program. Talk positively about yourself and your accomplishments.
What mistakes should I try to avoid when writing my resume?
Though mistakes happen all the time and aren’t usually a reason for concern, resume writers are prone to making grammar and spelling errors, which can be difficult to correct. To avoid blunders like these, go over your resume with a fine-toothed comb and search for misspelled words, clumsy run-on phrases, and awkward phrasing that you can improve. Avoiding such errors may be as simple as reading through your Resume and inviting a friend to do the same.
How long should my resume be?
As I mentioned before, better to be 1 to 2 pages.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
- Email: Have a nice professional email with format:
Many people have funny emails created during their childhood days such as ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, ‘email@example.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.
- 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.
- 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.
In a nutshell, make sure to have the personal information accurate. Keeping several links might consume space, so having clickable icons is preferrable.
- 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
If you are a recent graduate of bachelor’s degree, you may add undergrad as well as high school education in the resume.
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.
It must include the following infomation:
- Job title
- Employer/company name
- Location (City, State or “remote”)
- Dates of employment
- Details of your achievements and responsibilities
Most importantly, it is highly recommended to use bullet-point and action verbs to list your achievements and responsibilities. This makes it easier for the recruiter to capture what he is interested in.
What if I don’t have any 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.
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).
|Quick tip Summary|
Cover letters are an important part of your job-search toolkit because they allow you to provide context to your resume, showcase your personality, and exhibit excitement for the position you’re looking for.
It is a great place to explain further your passion for this job and why you are the best candidate for this job role.
Make sure your cover letter is personalized to each job posting. Go into more detail on why you’re qualified for the position, and mention any skills you have relevant to the position. Remember to include contact information so they can reach out if they want more information.
Follw our guide on How To Write a Cover Letter With No Experience and you will knock this out quickly and painlessly.
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.