When it comes to resume writing, there is a high level of creativity that surrounds the development process, but also standards that should be followed. Due to a highly competitive job market, it is imperative that you develop a document that confidently sets you apart from the competition. This calls for a balance between creativity and standard conventions of resume writing. For professional resume writers, this comes easy, but for non-resume writers you may be wondering, “So, what exactly makes an effective resume?”
In this article, we’re sharing helpful information on the rules of engagement for resume writing
1. Your Resume’s Layout, Format & Design
What should your resume look like? The visual appeal of your resume’s layout and format are super important because the overall document (and the impression it makes), is the first thing the reader will see, before they actually read the document. Therefore, it pays well to select a layout, format and design that are modern, aesthetically pleasing, and formatted in a unique way so the document stands out in a good way. Remember, your resume is essentially a personal marketing tool. In this instance, you are marketing “brand you” to today’s employers.
Think about it this way: the sole purpose of your resume is to impress the recruiters and hiring managers who will be making a decision on whether or not to invite you in for an interview. The right resume will get you on their calendar and your foot in the door. Each candidate is one of a kind, therefore, you resume must also be one of a kind. The goal with resume writing is to create a document that does not make you blend in with all of the other applicants who are vying for the same job. Therefore, strategically utilize visual cues such as fonts, font sizes, colors, and symbols to ensure your resume is spot on. Be sure to strike a good balance between standing out and not overdoing it. Check out some of our sample work here to get an idea of the formats and designs that work best in today’s market.
2. Your Resume’s Content
The details included in your resume are just as important as the visual aspects you include. Let’s start with the introduction of your resume. Most people make a very common mistake when it comes to resume writing – they include an objective statement! Today objective statements are dated, obsolete, and they actually turn employers off. Rather than an objective statement, start with a “professional profile” or “qualifications summary “that tells the hiring manager about the value you bring to the table. In 4 or 5 sentences, describe your capabilities, and provide substance to the reader. Also, be sure to write your paragraph based on the needs of the positions you are applying for. Include descriptive words that depict you as an expert in your field and someone who is serious about the next step in their career, not just someone who is fishing for any position.
A succinct resume passes on a clear message to hiring managers: you are a rock star who deserves a chance at the position! This is true for all of content within your resume – your introduction, experience, education, everything! Be sure to include persuasive copy throughout the document that is centered around your key achievements and accomplishments. The most impactful resumes incorporates numbers, percentages, and other measurable figures, etc. which could help to demonstrate your value in a real way.
Also, when it comes to content, do not include senseless fluff that has zero meaning for you or the hiring manager. Remember, you do not want to waste you or the hiring managers’ time. Why spend the time creating a resume that will not get you any results. Instead, create a full 1 or 2 page document that includes information that is meaningful, that has context, and that makes sense for the position being applied to.
3. Your Resume’s Keywords
Your resume should be written with the target job in mind. This means that relevant and correct keywords should be included. Many of our clients ask, “But how do I know what keywords to include?” There is no easy way to answer this question as every employer is different. This means that keywords can vary greatly by industry, job description, and specific employer. To figure out keywords, first start with your own industry and buzzwords that you know are used daily in your role. For example, if you work in DevOps then you know that keywords such as engineer, IT, and agile are terms thrown around everyday. The same holds true for an elementary school teacher; terms such as student, classroom, curriculm are all “keywords” that you use everyday in your profession. Start with the obvious first to give you a headstart on writing your resume.
Next, pick apart the job description to figure out other important keywords. Any words that stand out because they appear multiple times (typically 2x’s or more) are usually indictive of keywords the employer is searching for. This is a great way to prepare your resume for beating the bots - applicant tracking systems (ATS). Observe that an ATS can contrast from organization to organization, and that keywords examined by these systems additionally fluctuate from one job posting/announcement to another. All things considered, it's essential to be aware of the exact keywords needed for your resume. While an ATS score isn't indicative of your skill level, it is still an important part of the application process none-the-less. Be sure to still write your resume accordingly.
Resume writing isn't for the faint of heart. This is why there is an entire field of professionals here to help you craft resumes that are a true representation of who you are as a professional. Relying on the assistance of an expert resume writing team could prove to be the best investment that you could ever make for your career.
“To learn more about the rules of engagement for resume writing, schedule a call today to speak with one of our career experts.
(P.S. Tired of spinning your wheels with your career? If you're ready to turn your resume into a hard-hitting marketing tool then try our FREE Resume Critique service today!)”
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