6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing

Resume Writing

This is a great article to read if you are considering writing your own resume.  Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, we are here to help you!

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For busy hiring managers, your resume provides a snapshot of your career and is often the determining factor in whether you land an interview. If job search is a journey, a stellar resume is your passport.

The fundamental principles of resume writing have remained constant for generations, but evolving technologies mean more aspects of the application and hiring processes take place online than ever before. It’s up to you to stay informed of modern best practices and really put your resume to work for you.

If you’re getting ready for your next career move, keep these six universal rules in mind as you create or brush up your resume.

1. Cover all the basics

The goal of a resume is to best represent your relevant skills and accomplishments, and there are several ways to do that successfully. That said, every resume requires these basic elements:

  • Relevant educational degrees or certifications. The importance of your educational background will vary based on the job or industry you’re interested in.
  • Relevant work and volunteer experience. Most people choose to list their experience beginning with their most recent job. Don’t include everything you did in your past jobs. Instead, focus on achievements over responsibilities.
  • Contact information. Your full name, the city where you live, your email address and phone number. Because this personal information is sensitive, you should be cautious about who you share your resume with. Read over these guidelines for a safe job search to protect yourself.
  • Relevant skills and your level of mastery (for example, “conversational Spanish” or “familiar with Microsoft Excel” vs. “fluent in Spanish” or “expert at Microsoft Excel”).

2. Explore other resumes for inspiration

Search the Indeed Resume database for the job title, industry, or company that you’re thinking about and see how others present their backgrounds and skill sets. This is a great way to uncover stronger ways to describe your experience or to avoid overused words.

You can also get a sense of the internal language used within a particular industry or company. You might have experience that isn’t directly related but is still highly relevant to the position you’re applying for, and you want to include it in your resume. Someone else’s resume might feature a similar history and offer an example of how to frame this experience in a compelling way.

3. Use as few words as possible

Employers need to quickly understand your work experience. Format your experience as a list of short, scannable statements, rather than writing out dense paragraphs. For example:

Too wordy: Applied expert budget management skills to achieve a 20% reduction in departmental expenses through diligent research, identifying significant inefficiencies.

More concise: Achieved 20% departmental cost savings by eliminating inefficiencies.

The typical resume is two pages maximum, so make sure all the information you’ve included is essential. If you can’t decide what is essential, ask yourself if what you’re including is relevant to what the employer is asking for in the job description.

It’s also important to consider the kind of work you truly want to be hired to do. In other words, don’t include past experience for tasks you strongly dislike doing. Keep the experiences that you want to keep building on and match what the employer is looking for—this meets the definition of essential information to include on your resume.

4. Quantify your accomplishments whenever possible

Numbers and data bring your work experience to life and help hiring managers envision the potential impact you could have in their organization. When you can, back up your achievements with real data to boost your credibility and add informative detail to your resume. For example:

Unquantified: Improved lead generation through strategic content marketing initiatives.

Quantified: Achieved 180% year-over-year lead growth through strategic content marketing initiatives.

5. Use keywords that employers are using in their job descriptions

Hiring managers want to see that you can speak their language and know the lingo of their industry. When they see their own keywords mirrored back to them in your resume, it reinforces the idea that you’re a strong candidate for the role. And if your resume will be posted to an online database like Indeed Resume, the right keywords are critical to getting found by employers.

To research keywords commonly used in job postings, explore Indeed Job Category Trends and select your industry. Here you can view top keyword searches and top job titles by month.

6. Proofread several times to catch typos and misspellings

Unfortunately, a single typographical or spelling error is sometimes enough to get your resume discarded early in the game. Review your resume multiple times, doing a thorough line-by-line, word-by-word edit. Reading content backwards—awkward and time-consuming though it may be—is a great way to catch minor mistakes that you might otherwise miss. And an outside perspective is always a good idea. Ask a friend, mentor, or family member to review your resume for you before you begin submitting it to employers.

A strong resume can streamline your job search process, helping you showcase your strengths and get one step closer to your dream job. With some diligent work up front—and by adhering to these six rules—you can turn this fundamental job search document into one of your strongest professional assets.

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!

What do hiring managers look for on a resume

Resume Tips

It’s not always easy finding the best match for a vacant job position.  Hiring managers are bombarded with countless resumes and have such short time to go through them.  So what can you do to increase your chances of success of getting noticed?  You need to understand what employers and hiring managers look for on a resume.

Keywords

Keywords are an important part of any resume.  These technology-driven days we live in makes it particularly critical to disseminate which keywords will increase your chances of getting your resume through ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems).  Take the time to review each job posting you are thinking of applying to and try to find similar keywords, or relevant keywords that you can seamlessly incorporate into your resume, or cover letter.

Accomplishments

Reading a list of responsibilities is absolutely boring to anyone.  Your resume should include accomplishments, facts, and figures.  We already know that you were an assistant manager or an engineer, but so what?  What did you DO with your time?  What results did you create for your employer?  Make sure to integrate these accomplishments and quantifiable figures in a way that will capture the readers attention.  Numbers can be related to sales goals, efficiencies, savings for the organization, growth for the organization, reduction in turnover, number of people you managed or trained, etc.  You’ve worked hard, show the results of your labor.

Readability

It’s important that you clarify your message with clarity.  So many resumes we see are overly wordy, use too many abbreviations, too much industry jargon, etc.  When writing your resume, try to consider the reader; you don’t know how much or how little they know and the more clear the message the easier it will be for a hiring manager to understand.  Some resume writers suggest telling a story, others emphasize the use of bullet points, some incorporate both.  In either case, you want to answer the question of “what did you do in that role?” in as clear a manner as possible.  Don’t get hung up on technical details, they are rarely relatable.  Instead, describe the effect on the organization your technical contributions.  And in general, shorter is better.  Keep in mind your resume is a marketing tool designed to get you interviews.  You can go into more detail in the interview.

Obvious embellishments

Please don’t lie on your resume.  While it is generally acceptable to speak highly of yourself and your contributions, keep your message in the realm of reality.  Hiring managers and recruiters can often smell BS, and if somehow you slip through the cracks on false accomplishments, the truth will eventually catch up with you.  If you just can’t think of the right things to say about yourself, consider working with a certified professional resume writer, they can be pretty crafty with their words!

Time spent at each job

Employers do look at the time you’ve spent in each role.  While it is becoming more common to change jobs more frequently as a way to fast-track your career and earning potential, if you’ve struggled to hold several jobs for more than a year or two, this may raise some red flags.  There are some ways a resume writer can work with this to make it less obvious on your resume but you will eventually need to come to terms with this and consider how you can explain this to a hiring manager.

Formatting

Formatting is closely related to readability in the sense that you need to give consideration to the reader.  Make your resume as clean and organized as possible.  Make sure there is a good balance of text and white space so as to not overwhelm the reader with information. If you are going to write the resume yourself, make sure you select a format that is appropriate for you industry and seniority.  A recent college grad looking for his first full-time job is going to focus more on education, relevant experiences, extra-curricular activities, etc while a senior level tech industry manager will have more emphasis on the results of their professional experience, with much less emphasis on education.  Refer to our past posting about the components of a resume.

There are a lot of resources available to you if you want to write your own resume.  But do yourself a favor, invest the time to do it right.  Your resume can have a huge impact on your career.  If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, work with a professional resume writer, it’s worth it.

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Power Writers USA wants to know what you think of this, and other blog articles we post.  Your career change is unique and PWU is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, CV’s, LinkedIn Profiles Updates, and more.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!