Writing a Winning Resume
Mastering the Art of Writing a Winning Resume: Essential Tips for Success in 2024
How to write a winning resume is a question that every student or working person should ask. If one wants to get enrolled into some studying program, win a scholarship, apply for some internship or new position, the skills of composing successful resumes is a must. It does not matter whether you are an inexperienced student, a seasoned professional, or a post-graduate, a properly written resume paper can say a lot about your strengths, qualities, skills, and accomplishments.
Resumes enable employers or HR managers to get to know an applicant better and evaluate whether they fit the given position or not. As such, if you want to write a killer resume, there is no need to make it overly sophisticated and flowery. First, it should focus on your main skills and accomplishments that relate to the applied position. Second, it should be logical, concise, and easy to read. Last but not the least, it should predominantly pinpoint your relevant experience and knowledge. In the article below you will find great tips on writing a good resume, but before you learn them, we want to make it clear that a resume is not the same as a CV (Curriculum Vitae).
We fully realize it may be confusing for you, so we provide you with technical explanations. We do hope that you will decide for yourself what you need: a resume or CV:
- The former is a brief one-page overview of your educational and career path.
- The latter is a detailed formal document that presents your entire work history. As a rule, a CV is up to three pages in length.
Still, we would like to point out that in some countries, such as Singapore, people refer to the resume and CV as to one and the same document.
Sections of a Resume
To structure your document logically and clearly, you need to know what sections of a resume are required.
Rules of Structuring
Start with a professionally written resume header. It should include your full name, job position or career title, contact details, such as email address and telephone number, and nationality. Once you have provided this formal information, organize your resume into the following six sections:
- Executive summary. The purpose of this section is to narrate about your profession and share a concise overview of the whole career path.
- Key skills. The aim of this section is to highlight your major skills to your employer or recruiter. Your hard skills should be your predominant focus – they should be visible to your target reader at first sight.
- Work experience. The purpose of this section is for you to highlight your former and current job experience, specifically the roles, positions, duties, and responsibilities you have performed.
- Accomplishments. When reflecting on the accomplishments, you will present your competitive advantage over other applicants. You may as well pinpoint the achievements in each of the role you have held.
- Educational background and qualifications. Your aim is to illustrate your academic and professional background by placing a specific focus on your knowledge and qualifications.
- Miscellaneous. Any other relevant information may be added, depending on the position requirements and job description. For example, you may mention what foreign languages you speak and their level, what software you are well-versed in, etc.
All in all, a properly structured resume should clearly convey one idea to your recruiter or employer – namely, that you are the one who should be chosen for the position. The document should make you stand out of the crowd of your competitors.
Bearing this in mind, take a look at what characteristics are considered to be bad:
- cluttered resume format;
- insufficient white space;
- many lists and columns;
- wordy sentences;
- stuffed resume keyword list;
- poor layout (unclear sections, illogical headers, flawed formatting).
As soon as you decide on the formatting style you need, please do your best to avoid the aforementioned mistakes.
How to Write a Resume for a Student?
When it comes to writing rules, many questions are about how to write a resume for a student since students have no rich work experience. So, if you are one of such students searching for professional resume writing help, check out the following guidelines:
Craft a Lead
Always start with your personal and contact information: your full name, email address, and telephone number. In case you are active on social media or have a personal brand, do not forget to mention this information as well and provide links to your profiles. Think of some appealing information or facts that you can provide on the top of the page so that your target readers want to read the paper till the end and not just give it a glance.
Previously, applicants were required to compose an objective statement under the personal and contact information. It aimed at clearly reflecting what type of recruitment the applicant was seeking. Nowadays, HR managers, recruiters, and employers prefer a brief paragraph that is a short version of one’s profile. So, use these three sentences to provide the catchiest facts about yourself.
Resume dos and don’ts
- Make your header appealing and brief.
- Provide only necessary contact information.
- Add professional and more formal email address.
- Do not provide your place of residence, date of birth, and photo as these are not essential.
The main part should be devoted to your work experience. You need to provide a list of your careers in reverse chronological order (from the most recent to the oldest ones). Besides, you are recommended to mention your accomplishments in each of the positions. If you are a student who has no or little work experience, then it should be resume education section, where you outline your educational achievements.
When you provide an overview of former positions, use specific vocabulary and keywords that would help you focus on your success in the position. Prefer to use action verbs and make your resume rich in examples and illustrations. Relate the description of the jobs to your specific roles and accomplishments. In terms of resume education focus, do the same: focus on your academic attainments.
Personal/ Career Objective
Personal or career objective that you come up with enables your employer to pay attention to your desired role and further career prospects. This objective can also be regarded as your career plan for the next five years or so.
According to research estimates, recruiters manage to review a resume in the first six seconds. As such, your point is to structure it clearly and logically so that the main aspects are easily noticed at first sight. Therefore, pay careful attention to writing your executive summary.
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Try to formulate in one or two concise sentences what professional aspirations you bear and how they meet your aims. Besides, always pinpoint how your career aims relate to your professional qualifications. Provide clear and precise justifications and examples why you apply for this specific role, what you would like to derive from it, and what skills and expertise you possess that make you qualified for the position.
One of the widespread mistakes is when applicants fail to mention what is so specific in you that they are applying. Remember that this is a fantastic opportunity to sell yourself as a professional. Be sure to outline how you can contribute to the role and benefit the company if they accept you for the position.
Example: Having professional expertise in [industry/ sphere] for [number] of years, I have in-depth expertise working as [job position]. Now I am persevering a new challenge and looking for new work environment where I can realize [my skills/ knowledge] in [areas]. Thus, I envision myself as a candidate who could drive [the company’s business objectives].
This section can be organized as a bullet-point list, where you mention your major skills, capabilities, and strengths. You can mention here both tangible and intangible strengths. This section aims to attract your potential employers and make them confident that they hire the right candidate for the position. If you have not much work experience, focus on your qualifications and educational background that could serve you good in the position. When you summarize your skills, pay attention to transferable skills, namely those that can be equally good and beneficial in any sphere or situation. Some examples of such skills are leadership, teamwork, communication, computer literacy, etc.
If you find it hard to outline your main skills, ask some of your former or current colleagues for an honest feedback concerning how they view you as a professional. They may be willing to mention some of the skills that they value most in you.
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Do not forget about interpersonal skills that are essential for your professional success. Some of these are critical thinking and analytical skills, effective time-management and problem-solving skills, verbal and written communication skills, creativity, and others.
Check out a brief resume guide on how to structure the skills section and derive most benefits from it:
- prioritize those skills that are relevant to your desired position;
- provide a brief description of your key skills and how you have realized them in the workplace;
- specify how you developed those skills and what results they bring;
- quantify this section where possible – numbers are more visible in this case.
Express your uniqueness
Pinpoint your talents that may come in handy in the company you are applying for. If you are fluent in some foreign language, you may be open for opportunities to edit some documents or communicate with foreign customers. If you have outstanding leadership skills, you can organize some meet-ups, or prove yourself as a good leader.
If you are confused as to what skills and qualities are worth mentioning here, ask yourself the following questions:
- What budget size do you have experience of managing?
- In your former position, how many clients did you draw to the company?
- Have you contributed to bringing some revenue to your former company?
- Was there any business you have previously secured?
- Do you have experience leading a team? How many members did it have?
Always try to add top three of your former career achievements.
This section is the most appealing to your recruiters, HR managers, and potential employers. So, make sure you organize it fully and properly: enlist all work experience you have. If you are crafting a resume for a college student, keep in mind that unpaid or volunteering work matters here as well. Some of the essential tips are:
- Summarize your work experience in a reverse chronological order. Mention all job titles and positions you have had and add the months and years you have spent in each of those positions.
- Enlist your duties, roles, responsibilities, and achievements in the workplace. Try to use appropriate keywords and vocabulary that would be particularly catchy for your potential employer. Focus on some specific benefits your previous company derived from your work.
- Mention any recognition or awards your former employer gave you.
Mention all accomplishments you have – they may come from different academic and professional spheres. Maybe you have got some recognition of your community or volunteering work, or some sports prize – do not hesitate to mention all that.
Education and Training
Many job applicants underestimate the role of additional training, education, or certification. Still, this is an important and inseparable part of one’s development into a fully-fledged professional. If you have some extra qualifications to boast of, share them as well. Without a doubt, give priority to those qualifications and certifications that are relevant to your desired position.
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A recommended format for enlisting additional qualifications is:
- Specify the diploma/ degree/ certificate name or type.
- Mention the name of institutional affiliation you got it from.
- Add address of the institution.
- Provide the date of graduation.
- Add any course credits or main achievements.
Hobbies and Interests (Optional)
Many recruiters are interested not only in your professional expertise and qualifications but also in your interests and ways of spending your leisure time. This information may be interesting for them to know how well you will fit into their company. Therefore, in such cases, it is a good idea to provide a list of your hobbies and interests to share what you like to do in your free time. This section may also signify whether you have a work-life balance.
The list of referees and references is provided at the end of the document. You are expected to mention a few persons who can be referred to by the company for additional information about you. Normally, you are required to list some of those colleagues, managers or co-workers who know you well. The recommended format here is as follows:
- Referees’ full names.
- Their job titles.
- Name of the company they work at.
- Location and phone number of the company.
- Contact information of your referees.
It is important to ensure reliable referees who can provide credible information about you and share their experience cooperating with you. Normally they are called to share some details about your relationships or to evaluate you as a coworker. Keep in mind that referees-to-be should also be informed that you are willing to add them on your list and asked for permission to do that.
If you want your resume to bring you success in the job application process, be sure that it serves a role of your shop window. Make sure it demonstrates all your main skills, qualifications, talents, capabilities, and accomplishments. Even though it may sound strange to many people, but a resume is a strong marketing tool that can help you stand out of the crowd.
One of the most challenging things, though, is to provide the kind of information that can sell you as a specialist. The details that you provide should demonstrate that you perfectly fit the given role. So, one of the tips that a professional writer of resume may give to you is to brainstorm all your skills, interests, and strengths that you are proud of and put them on a list. After that you can move on with structuring your resume and molding it into a coherent piece of writing. Remember that all the information you provide enables your recruiter make up their mind whether you are their perfect candidate or not. Also make sure to review the paper before submitting it – ensure there are no grammatical, spelling, or punctuation mistakes.
Resume Mistakes That May Prevent You from Success
According to the research in the industry of recruitment and hiring, there are specific resume mistakes that may prevent you from getting the desired position. Based on these survey results, check out a number of facts you should need to know when composing your resume:
- on average, an interviewer or a recruiter spends six seconds skim-reading your resume;
- the majority of interviewers take the first glance at your resume the moment you enter the room for an interview;
- if you provide a link to your LinkedIn profile, you have 71% more chances of getting a positive answer;
- if you provide unprofessional email address, you have a 76% chance to be rejected;
- if you add a photo, your chances of being rejected increase to 88%;
- up to 60% of resumes have typos;
- 75% of resumes are eliminated by a specific software since the resumes lack essential keywords.
Now that you know the most common mistakes, you should avoid them in your resume writing. Just put these things on the checklist and always review your paper before sending it.
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Apart from some general writing tips, you should also pay attention to more specific tips, guidelines, and preferences from the company or institution that you apply for. So, be sure to investigate those requirements as well. For example, some companies want job applicants to add their portfolios, laboratory works or some more precise information about their soft skills.
Resume Keywords 2024
What are resume keywords 2021 and why do they matter? If you are one of those who have read this article till this very point, we will gladly share some of the keywords employers are looking for in resumes in 2021 with you.
Check out the list of industries and areas with the examples of keywords the hiring or admission committee would look for:
- Accounting and Finance: Excel, corporate tax, financial analysis, risk management, global banking, deposit, credit analysis, financial planning.
- Learning and Education: curriculum, computer skills, private lessons, practical classes, lectures.
- Hospitality and Food Service: stock inventory, catering, culinary school diploma, preparing food for servicing, cooking methods.
- Management: Jira, PMP certification, development progress report, relationship management skills, problem-solving.
Hopefully, this resume help with a list of specific keywords will help you excel in your writing, provide a winning resume, and get the position you want. First of all, you can never be sure whether a human or a computer will be scanning your resume for the first time. So, when using correct keywords, you definitely increase your chances for moving to the next stage of the interviewing process. Proper keywords certainly give you more chances of passing the check of ATS software. After that your recruiter or HR manager will pay attention to the details that are most important and interesting to them.
When you are contemplating how to come up with a superb resume, keep in mind: employers are interested in people capable of producing an impact. So, make your resume present you in the best light of an influential professional with proper qualifications, accomplishments, and distinctions.
If you encounter problems and challenges with your resume writing, do not hesitate and contact our professional resume writing services. Our expert team of writers will help you write a striking resume with proper grammar and formatting.