Just like everyone else, you dread the moment you need to start putting some real work into your resume. Even though you are eager to get a job, you are purposely delaying the process and keep putting it off, just like a college student does when his essay assignment is due.
Quite often you read about the things on the web you should never put in your resume and things you should do to make sure you’ll succeed. What’s rather interesting about writing a resume though is that people have different skills, qualifications and experience hence they have their own way of presenting their credentials. Even so, there are some basic rules every job-seeker should follow, and I shall discuss these in the article.
See Also: 5 Alternatives to the Traditional Resume
Your Resume is Important
From the amount of information available online, it’s no wonder how easy you can get confused when writing your resume. But as difficult as it may sound, coming up with your own marketing document – which is what a resume essentially is, shouldn’t make you want to avoid it. A resume is the key to your next job even though you may not be able to see it that way.
In fact, many people don’t even have a resume – perhaps for the obvious reasons that they don’t take it too seriously or fail to realise how important it is to their job-hunting efforts. Instead, they expect to get a job through networking or via a recommendation given by someone they know – which can be effective, but not always successful. Since the written word will always have more impact on people and can be preserved through time as opposed to the spoken word, a well-constructed resume is your secret weapon.
The way I see it, there are many reasons why you don’t like writing a resume. In an attempt to define the psychology behind writing a resume, this is what I came up with:
- You don’t like talking about yourself.
- You don’t know how to talk about yourself.
- You feel like you have nothing to include on your resume.
- You don’t believe in your abilities.
An obvious problem that every graduate seems to be facing at the moment is that they can’t talk themselves into jobs and by ‘talking’ I also mean ‘writing’. Despite being skilled enough to carry out the job, they find it difficult to talk about themselves and their abilities on their resumes. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they have low self-esteem, poor communication or writing skills. However, for any job-seeker marketing themselves is one of the most important skills they can master.
This brings us back again to the basics of resume writing and how effectively you promote yourself to get your foot in the employer’s door. While there are some general rules when writing up a resume, these shouldn’t frighten you. On the contrary, these are merely instructions as to how you should construct your resume in a way that makes sense, is well-organised, straightforward and easy to read.
Here are the three basic resume-writing rules that ensure your resume will leave a positive impression on employers:
Your main objective when writing your resume is to inform employers about what you are good at and what you can do for them. So you are essentially selling yourself while exhibiting your skills. Providing them with a comprehensive professional profile will allow them to effectively assess your suitability for the job and make their decision-making process easier.
The best way to do this on your resume, is by giving examples (storytelling), demonstrating how you’ve come to develop your skills and what you’ve learnt from your experiences.
In order to be successful your resume needs to speak on its own. Provided that you use the right keywords and target your resume to the job, that’s all you need to make it to the top of the pile. Just don’t forget to scatter buzzwords throughout the document when talking about your skills and achievements.
Keep it brief and simple
There’s nothing more off-putting for employers than implementing weird styles and using a range of colours on your resume. For this reason, you should make sure it’s simple, brief and eye-catching in the right way. Also, with employers spending approximately 9 seconds on every resume, yours needs to stand out through a minimalistic bullet-pointed format.
In order to make your resume-writing easier, here are the steps you should take:
Step 1: Decide on a resume format
Prior to talking about your skills, you need to think about which resume format you’re going to use. Here are the four types of resumes to help you decide which one is the most appropriate depending on the job.
- Chronological – lists most recent positions and qualifications on top. It’s preferred by employers.
- Functional – puts focus on skills and experience. Perfect for career change.
- Combination – combines chronological and functional. Focus on detailed work experience.
- Targeted – it’s specifically customised to the position you are after. Although most time-consuming can be very effective as your credentials mirror the requirements of the job.
In some cases, there might be minor differences in the resume format depending on the job on offer. For example, if you are after a career change but don’t have relevant experience in the field you should focus on your skills rather than your job history.
Step 2: Write down the basics
Introduce yourself through your resume adding personal information such as name and contact details. Then get your sections right, and begin with your objective, a short career summary, your work history, education, skills, voluntary experience, interests/hobbies (optional) and references.
Step 3: Target your resume to the job
Targeting your resume to the job includes using keywords from the job description in your career summary and throughout the paper. Make it as relevant as possible and make sure you are contributing to your personal branding e.g. your logo, professional message.
What you need to realise is that writing resumes is something that you are going to do forever. By saying that I am not saying that you’ll never get a job. Instead, I am stressing the fact that even when you do, you will need to constantly work on it, adding the work experience and skills you learn along the way. Not to mention, you will need to make several copies of it anyway so that it’s tailored to each position you are applying for.
If you aren’t yet convinced as to the significance of a resume within your job search, check out this video from The Interview Guys that demonstrates how your resume can be the key to getting your next job interview:
So do you think writing up a resume is a difficult process and a waste of time? I am interested in your opinions so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box below…