Sending out applications for a job can be intimidating, especially when you are faced with the challenge of producing a resume that sets you apart from the competition. We all know that a well-crafted resume can increase your chances of getting employed immensely and help you build a lasting first impression on your future employer. After all, it serves as more than just a document. It is an influential tool that can significantly improve your likelihood of landing your dream job and leaving a lasting impression on potential employers.
In this comprehensive article, we delve into the essential tips and tricks that will transform your resume into a standout masterpiece. We will guide you through the intricacies of resume writing, helping you understand what elements should be included and how to structure them effectively. With our guide, you will possess a deeper understanding that answers your question of “what should a resume look like” and tailor it to match the specific job you are applying for. So get ready to highlight your skills and experiences along with appropriate formatting to align with the employer’s requirements. Keep reading!
Understanding the Purpose of a Resume
As we mentioned earlier, a resume is more than just a piece of document iterating your qualifications and professional journey. Your resume is the first impression you will make in front of your potential employers. Before you even meet them to sit down for a job interview, your potential employer has already formed an image of you based on the score of your resume. Therefore, it is this document that can make or break your chance of landing any job.
Firstly, you must understand that the purpose of your resume is not to highlight your most celebrated skills but to showcase professional prowess. Instead, it should focus on showcasing the precise abilities that, in turn, make a lasting impression before your future employer so that they consider ‘YOU’ as the best choice for the job. To make that happen, your resume must include all the relevant details, such as a snapshot of your professional journey, a well-tailored resume that perfectly fits the demand of the job application, and relevant hard and soft skills that make you a great asset to the company and achievements that align with the specific job requirements.
Structuring Your Resume for Maximum Impact
As stated earlier, your resume should not be a comprehensive list of all your professional wins. However, it should not even be just a 10-line summary of your professional journey either. The best resumes are the ones that are well structured with all the necessary details that grab the attention of employers. So, when you get down to crafting the ideal resume, note that the structure includes all of the following components in the given order:
This is a crucial section where you must provide your complete contact details to ensure potential employers can easily reach you. Thus, you must include your full name, accurate email address, phone number, and current location. Additionally, consider mentioning your availability preferences, whether on-site or remote, based on the specific requirements of the job application. By clearly conveying this information, you show professionalism and facilitate effective communication with hiring managers
Crafting a compelling professional summary can serve as a snapshot of your journey in this workspace. You can concisely highlight your significant experiences, notable achievements, and essential skills relevant to the job application in 3-5 sentences. You may further tailor this section to align with the precise requirements of the position you are applying for. Note that a well-crafted professional summary can create a powerful first impression. This section can entice employers to delve deeper into your resume and consider you as a top candidate
The apt order of presenting your work experience is in reverse chronological order. It would help if you began with your most recent position and progressed towards earlier roles. This arrangement allows employers to see your most impactful accomplishments and contributions immediately. In this section, you can emphasise key achievements and responsibilities for each role and showcase your ability to deliver results. There are better chances of grabbing the employer’s attention and reinforcing your suitability for the position if you highlight your best skills and experiences early on in the resume. This helps leave a positive and lasting impression
In the section that focuses on your education, list your degrees and diplomas in an organised manner. Prioritise the most relevant degree or certification related to the job you are applying for at the top of the list. Subsequently, you can include all other degrees in chronological order. If the job application does not specifically require your school details, omitting them from this section is acceptable. Presenting your educational qualifications in a clear and structured format helps employers quickly identify your academic background and its relevance to the position
The section talking about your skills is an opportunity to showcase your expertise and abilities that align with the job requirements. Herein, you must include a good combination of hard and soft skills that are relevant to the role. Pay attention to highlighting skills such as quick learning, leadership, adaptability, and any other qualities that demonstrate your fit for the company’s culture and work environment. Here, you have the flexibility to tailor this section to align with the specific skills sought by the employer. By effectively presenting your skills, you demonstrate your potential value to the company and increase your chances of being considered for the role
Once you have decided what information to include in the above-said sections, make sure you organise the information in a way that grabs the attention of your future employer. Not only will this help you get the recruiter’s attention but organising your resume clearly and concisely also helps with easy navigation of the information, making it easy to read and act upon. When structuring your resume, you have the flexibility to choose from three formats: reverse chronological, functional, or combination. Each of these formats serves a distinct purpose, which allows you to present your qualifications and experiences in the most suitable and impactful way.
Reverse Chronological Resume Organisation:
This is the most commonly used and preferred structure by recruiters. It prioritises the most relevant components, such as work experience and skills, at the beginning of the resume, ensuring they catch the recruiter’s attention first. This is followed by your contact information and other details to provide a clear and concise presentation of your qualifications. This format allows employers to assess your suitability for the position quickly and is an effective way to make a strong initial impression.
Functional Resume Organisation:
This structure is centred around highlighting your skill set and work experience. It is particularly advantageous for candidates with substantial work experience under their belts. However, it may not be the best choice for freshers or recent graduates who lack extensive professional history. This format lets you showcase your relevant skills prominently, making it easier for employers to identify your qualifications and suitability for the job
Combination Resume Organisation
This structure is a combination that blends elements from both the chronological and functional formats. It places significant emphasis on the work experience section, showcasing your career progression and achievements. Simultaneously, it dedicates ample attention to the skills section, accentuating both your technical and soft skills. This format offers a well-rounded view of your qualifications, enabling you to showcase your expertise in a balanced and effective manner
Crafting an Attention-Grabbing Professional Summary
The summary segment of your resume is the most important of your entire resume. This section gives a clear idea to the hiring professional of what to expect from you as a potential employee. The summary section should be written in clear and concise 3-4 bullet points, with each bullet point comprising 2-5 sentences for maximum readability and impact. To craft an attention-grabbing professional summary, make use of the following tips to create a standout resume:
- Your summary section should be tailored to the applied job. Mention any work experience or skill set in summary for maximum impact on the recruiter to increase your chances of getting a good job.
- Practice the art of brevity and be concise while crafting your summary section. The rule of thumb is to cut out all the fluff words and make the point clear in fewer words.
- Do not waste the summary section mentioning soft skills like “excellent team leader” or “great communicator.” Instead, you can mention these details in a separate area so that your resume has a clear and converting summary.
- Make use of the reverse-chronological structure to write your resume summary. Summarise your career achievements and goals in a chronology that is well-suited to the job application. This way, you can grab the attention of your recruiter.
- The summary section should highlight all points on why you should be hired for the job. Ensure you do not include any point that goes against you. Researching the company’s requirements and work culture is always a good idea before writing your resume summary. Adding specific research points can also impress your recruiter and help you secure that job.
Showcasing Achievements and Accomplishments
Recruiters skim through multiple resumes every day. To grab their attention, your resume needs to be built on the foundation of your achievements and accomplishments. This can be done by utilizing the work experience section of your resume. It would be best if you highlighted all your accomplishments tailored to the job description to help you stand out in the competitive market and make a lasting impact. Your work experience should be written in a way that makes the recruiters say, ‘This is what a resume should look like”.
All your professional wins and work experience go in this section of the resume. Make use of the following tips to showcase your achievements and accomplishments in the best way possible:
- Highlight your wins in your previous job and tailor them to the current job description to grab the employer’s attention. This can include the number of projects you completed, the number of sales you closed, and how much revenue you helped the company generate.
- Quantify your accomplishments to make a lasting impact. For example, you can mention something like, “Converted ten clients in 30 days for X company that increased the revenue by 200 percent.”
- Mention all the skills and experience you have gained in your previous job that can massively help the new recruiter’s company. Any course, diploma, or certification you have taken to enhance your skills goes into this section
- Use this section to mention your work experience and all internships you have done that can help you in getting the job
Tailoring Your Resume for Specific Job Applications
Hiring managers look at multiple job applications daily, many of which do not make the cut. To make sure this does not happen to you, modifying your resume to match the specific job requirements is essential. To begin tailoring your resume for a job description, you first need to understand that every job is unique, and so should your job application. This means you should not simply copy and paste the same resume to all recruiters and expect a great result. Thus, to effectively tailor your resume to the job description and ensure it captivates the recruiter and leaves a positive impression, you must follow these essential strategies. By implementing these techniques, you can improve your chances of standing out as the perfect candidate for the position.
- Read the job description carefully and understand what the recruiter wants. While doing so, understand how you will leverage your skill set to meet the demand of the recruiter.
- Write the most relevant skills and work experiences first and then taper down to include the slightly less relevant points to create a strong impact. This way, you highlight your entire skill set while focusing more on the in-demand skills.
- Research the company’s work environment and culture to fine-tune your soft skills to fit the job description. Try to make it relevant to the company’s policy or slogan to show how you are the perfect fit for the job.
- Write an objective statement only if you are making a major career or industry change; else, skip this statement. Ensure your tailoring is clear and concise
Highlighting Your Skills and Core Competencies
Making use of highlights gives your resume a much-needed edge and helps you grab the employer’s attention. You can either manually highlight your skills or use a digital marker on your online resume. Highlighting your skills has many benefits, such as:
- It helps the recruiter visualise your skills at a glance and helps them in forming an image of you. This can help immensely if you have tailored your resume and highlighted all the necessary parts.
- Highlighting helps strengthen all the plus points in your resume and makes it easy for your recruiter to decide whether you are a good match or not
- Highlighting makes the resume easier to read and helps your employer skim through it quickly. It also makes the resume fun and appealing to read and can help with the retention of the employer, thus increasing your chances of getting selected for the job.
- You should highlight how your skills meet the demands of the recruiter to maximise your chances of getting selected. This also shows the recruiter your professional prowess and helps you stand out in the crowd
- Highlight all the core and soft skills that fit the job description first, then go on to the less relevant points in the resume
The Power of Keywords in Resume Optimisation
- Do not apply for the job of a dentist if you are a marketeer. This indeed sounds ridiculous, but many people apply for jobs randomly without having the necessary qualification and thus get rejected by the ATS. In short, you must apply for jobs only if you are qualified for them.
- Use keywords in your resume that are relevant and align with the job description. For this, you need to read the job description carefully and conduct research on the desired job to include more words in the resume to fit the job needs. You can also use tools available online to help you find out the relevant keywords.
- Write the resume in bullet pointers and highlight all the necessary sections to ensure that it is readable for the ATS and the recruiters. Resumes written in paragraphs instead of bullet points have a high chance of getting rejected by both ATS and recruiters.
- Once you have figured out the relevant keywords, do not overuse them. The ATS filter straight-up rejects applications that are loaded with keywords as the interface considers them as bot applications. Even if your resume bypasses ATS, there are high chances that it will be rejected by the employer immediately for not being well-crafted.
- Keep the resume simple and concise for both the interface and the recruiter to read and process
The Role of Formatting and Design
Resume formatting and design play a crucial role in improving engagement and conversion rates. An impeccably designed and well-formatted resume creates a positive first impression, effectively capturing the employer’s attention. By adhering to these recommended practices, you can craft a standout resume that increases your chances of receiving a favourable response from potential employers.
- Create a visual hierarchy by using fonts and headers of different sizes. This helps lay more emphasis on the most relevant components of the resume — skills and experience.
- Instead of submitting a plain, black-and-white document, craft a resume that shows your creative side. This can help significantly in creative jobs. However, you must be careful not to overuse the design, as it can overwhelm the recruiter.
- Use text elements like different fonts, bold, and italics to highlight the parts you want to stand out in your resume for the best results. You can also try a unique font to do the same. Just ensure that it is easy to read.
- Make use of white space to craft a clear and concise resume. Ensure you do not include too many visual elements in the resume, as it can overwhelm and confuse your potential employer.
You can create a high-end resume by using the above said tips and tricks and grab your recruiter’s attention easily. To take things up a notch, make use of these bonus tips to create a resume that stands out and increases your chances of getting employed:
- Research the company’s culture: Before applying for any job, research the company’s culture and job requirements to tailor your resume to meet the required demands. This will also help you get an idea of the kind of job you are applying for and help you prepare for both the job and the work environment.
- Reach out to your network: Connect with people with similar job profiles to craft a clear and concise resume. Your network can also help you identify all the objections that you might face in the employment process and help you make the entire journey smooth.
- Include relevant links: You can add links to all the previous companies or employers you have worked with to build credibility and trust. You can also find links to all the courses you have taken to show your expertise. If your skill set is vast enough, create a link with a complete document of all your achievements to get the best results.
- Design your resume for skimmability: Ensure that your resume is skimmable and easy to read for both the ATS filter and the recruiter. Use good fonts, make use of headers and white spaces, and highlight all the relevant skills and work experiences to grab your employer’s attention and maximise your chances of getting that job.