How to Create a Top-Notch Resume
To succeed in your job search, you need to craft a top-notch resume that forces hiring managers to stop and carefully examine it. If you can’t achieve that, you’ll have a hard time landing a job. Since most hiring managers only spend about 5-7 seconds looking at any resume, your goal is to have them dedicate more time to yours. This means you’ll have to spend more than just a few minutes creating your resume—after all, it’s one of the most important documents in your career, and slapping together a generic, lackluster resume won’t get you anywhere.
For maximum results, you can hire a professional resume writer to do the work for you. These experts have plenty of experience crafting stellar resumes, and they know all the latest trends, so their work can attract employers’ attention.
No matter who writes your resume, you want one that’s consistent with who you are as a person and a professional. You want something that clearly highlights all your qualifications and paints you in as positive a light as possible without being dishonest or disingenuous. As you go through the stages of creating your resume, check out these tips for putting together an outstanding one.
Preparing to write your resume
If you’re writing a book, you’ll end up with a total mess unless you plan your content before you put pen to paper. The same goes for your resume. Carefully consider what you want to include before you begin typing because that’s how you craft a professional resume.
Create social media profiles
Hiring managers nowadays browse social media profiles to get a better idea of who the candidates are. Most of the time, they will go to LinkedIn since it’s a career development platform. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, create one and start networking to build connections. A LinkedIn account is also a great opportunity to provide information you couldn’t fit on your resume.
As for other social media (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram), go through your posts and make sure anything potentially objectionable is deleted or set to private. Bottom line: Employers want to see that you are passionate about your career and developing yourself as a professional; what they don’t want to see is anything that indicates you’re irresponsible, incendiary, or unprofessional.
Search sample job descriptions
A generic resume won’t get you anywhere. Is it annoying and tedious to tailor your resume to each job you apply for? Yes, of course. Is it worth it? That’s another resounding “of course.” There are tons of sample job descriptions available for a wide range of fields, and this gives you an opportunity to practice locating keywords and requirements in job descriptions and tailoring your resume.
Writing your resume
Writing your resume is the step that will take the longest, but this is also the stage where you should put the most effort. If you do your homework, this step will go smoothly. Here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you end up with a top-notch resume.
Your personal information
This section includes information such as your home address, phone number, email address, and even your social media accounts. The most crucial thing to remember about this section is to be consistent with your personal brand. If your name is Benjamin but all your social media accounts say “Ben,” use “Ben” in your personal information. This helps avoid confusion when the hiring manager is searching for you on social media or even considering you for the position.
Your career summary
Your career summary should be no more than five lines, but it’s one of the most important elements of your resume because it briefly describes your top skills and experience that make you a great candidate for the job. It’s the first thing the hiring manager will see, so you want to present your strongest attributes and entice the recruiter to read more.
If you want a top-notch resume, don’t focus on just “getting the job.” Instead, stress how you can successfully fulfill the responsibilities of the position you’re applying for. You want to show the recruiter why you’re the right fit for the job, not why the job is the right fit for you.
Your skills section
This is where you get to use all those keywords you identified. Fill your skills section with keywords and requirements from the job description. However, don’t list skills that don’t apply to you. If you lie, expect the hiring manager to find out. Then all the skills you do have won’t matter, and even if you’re phenomenally qualified, no one will want to hire a liar.
If you simply fill this section with generic skills one could find on any resume, it may not pass the applicant tracking system (ATS). These days, most companies use ATSs, which are computer programs that scan resumes and toss aside any that don’t contain the relevant keywords. If your resume doesn’t make it past this system, it will never get into the hands of the hiring manager. A top-notch resume must include skills and requirements from the job description to reach the recruiter.
Your work experience
This is where you prove the skills you listed earlier. As you detail your work experience, go in reverse order, beginning with your most recent job and moving backward. Instead of merely providing a description of your responsibilities, demonstrate how you used or developed your skills to succeed at your job. Here’s an example of a job description versus a skill demonstration:
Job description: Responsible for creating marketing strategies to improve seasonal sales.
Skills demonstration: Created marketing strategies that improved seasonal sales by 23%.
It’s important to demonstrate your skills and show how you can deliver results, ideally by providing numbers, statistics, or percentages. This helps hiring managers see that you have what it takes to fulfill their needs.
Keep in mind that work experience extends beyond paying jobs. It can include internships, volunteer work, or involvement with any association that’s enhanced your skills. Your work experience section is meant to highlight anything that demonstrates the necessary qualifications for the job you’re applying for.
How much education you need depends on the job you’re after. It’s always important to look at the educational requirements, but don’t lose hope just because your education doesn’t match what the employer wants. Apply nevertheless and use your skills and experience to show you can work for them. If you’re applying for a job that requires a college degree or higher, don’t list your high school diploma—start with your college degree and work up from there.
You don’t have to stop at listing your college degrees. If you’ve completed any job-specific courses or received a relevant certification, include those in your education section. Hiring managers love to see that you’re still learning. In fact, showing off your extracurricular studies or autodidactic tendencies is a way to demonstrate your tenacity, drive, and passion. Just as in your work experience section, include anything relevant to the job.
If you’ve been working for more than 15 years, you don’t have to list all the jobs you’ve had. In fact, it’s often a good idea not to since you could face age discrimination. The key is to list the jobs that are most current and relevant to the one you’re applying for. You can always include a “previous work history” section that briefly presents other jobs and helps clarify any gaps in employment.
Completing your resume
When you finish writing your resume, don’t immediately submit it and forget all about it. The final touches may be more important than you realize, and if you neglect them, it can have serious consequences for your job search.
Proofread your resume
One of the top reasons why hiring managers stop considering a candidate is a typo or a formatting issue in the resume. To avoid this, carefully read through your resume to catch any spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization errors. Also, look for any formatting issues, including margins, spacing, and line divisions. You want your resume to look clean and consistent throughout. The best practice is to hire a professional proofreader since it’s incredibly difficult to proofread your own work.
Hire a resume expert
Even if you choose to write your resume yourself, it’s wise to hire a resume expert to inspect it. There are many benefits to hiring a professional resume writer. They know how to craft a resume that passes the ATS and lands on the hiring manager’s desk. To ensure the best results, they get to know you a little so they can tailor your resume to you and the job you’re applying for. Invest in a resume expert—you won’t regret it!
While you’re waiting to hear from the hiring manager about the job, continue to hone your skills and increase your value. If you’re continuously learning, you can discuss this during your interview. Employers love team members who constantly strive for improvement. Whether that’s reading books about your industry and specialty, furthering your education, or practicing your craft, do what you can to develop as a professional. Success comes to those who work for it.
Writing a resume is no joke. It takes careful thought and serious planning at every stage of the process, but if you do it right the first time, you might just land the first job you apply for. If the job is important to you, your resume should be important to you, too. If you want an even better chance of snagging your dream job, have our professional resume writers do the work for you!