How to Write a Professional Resume

Writing a resume can be difficult for people who are seeking job for the first time or people who are looking for a career change. But resume is the first thing any company sees before hiring an individual and hence it is very important to make your resume stand out in the crowd.

It can get confusing whether to write a CV (Curriculum Vitae) or a resume. The main difference between a CV and a resume is that CV contains detailed career path of the individual’s profession. CV is required mainly when applying for jobs in the public sector such as for academic and management positions. A CV can be more than 2-3 pages.

A Resume highlights an individual’s skills for that particular job. It is always recommended to keep your resume short and not more than 2 pages long. A resume is required when applying for jobs in the private sector. Resume is always preferred than CV because it is crisp and to the point. So here are the ways you can start writing your resume or make it look more attractive:

  • Go through professional resume examples
  • Choose the Right Resume Format
  • Start writing your professional title and resume summary
  • Include your education background and contact information
  • Select the font and color theme that can be easily readable
  • Match and list your skillsrelevant to the ones in the job ad
  • List all your key achievements
  • Always include a cover letter to complement your resume
  • Before emailing your resume, always proofread

Resume Formats

There are four basic types of resume formats with regards to getting a job:

1. Resume format in a chronological order(reverse)

This is a traditional resume style and is most popular resume format familiar to employers. It is ideal for people with at least 10-15 years of work experience.

The reverse chronological resume is exactly what its name implies. In your resume, start filling your work experience section with your most recent position and end it with the earliest. Your work history is listed in descending order, according to the respective dates. Although many employers prefer this, it is not the most creative type of resume design.

2. Resume format based on your skills (functional)

If you are an entry-level job hunter or lack relevant work experience because you are a student/recent graduate, your skills can emphasize over lack of experience in a functional resume. Functional resumes are also effective for people looking to make a career change or people who have gaps in their employment history. Here, the focus is driven towards relevant skills of the applicant rather than his/her job titles.

A functional resume conceals the fact that the applicant may possess imperfect work experience and hence the HR managers might think he/she is withholding some information.

3. Resume format which is a combination of the above two formats:

As the name suggests, this format uses the best aspects of both the chronological and skills-based resume formats. This is a great choice for experienced applicants and career changers as this format highlights transferable skills. Begin with writing the most recent/advanced degrees and work in descending order. Here, there is no need to list graduation dates, but if you have graduated with high distinction, or achieved other high honors, do list them in your resume as this will set you apart from other applicants.

Combination resume is not as familiar as the first two formats and it can be longer than 2-3 pages and hence it is not recommended for recent graduates or job seekers with less experience.

4. Resume which has a Targeted format

This type of resume is a perfect choice in cases when you need different resume for different jobs. A targeted resume is aimed at a particular job and should be straight forward and brief to make it easy for the employer to read.
The disadvantage of this type of resume is that it concentrates only on one particular job and that a lot of struggle is required to write this resume.

No matter which format you use, your resume layout should try to catch the eye of the employer. It should scream out “READ ME!”. The most trending type of resume layout in 2019 is shown below:

How much work experience should be included in a resume?

  • Senior-level applicants, such as managers and executives, should list up to 15 years of relevant work experience using powerful action verbs for each bullet point.
  • Mid-level job seekersshould include details of their job descriptions of relevant positions and can give a brief mention of any other positions.
  • Entry-level candidatesshould include all paid work, specifically listing out the achievements and responsibilities they got which are most relevant.
  • First-time job hunterswho have no work experience can still include other history, such as an internship, any organization role, volunteer experience, extracurricular activities etc. to fill out their experience section.

Tips for beginners/interns or people who are looking for career change

  • Network your way to a new job:
    One of the biggest struggles in getting a new job is getting noticed in the first place. If you’re only applying to jobs online, it could take you forever to get an interview. Because there are hundreds of applicants for each online posting and a lot of competition.
    If you have a large network, however, it can be much easier to find a new job. When you know a person who is working in that company or has a connection with someone who is, they can help you get a referral or let you know when the jobs are open beforehand, or ensure your resume gets in front of the right person. With the proper connections, you can find the job of your dreams sooner as you have an upper hand.
  • Get a recommendation letter:
    Good recommendation letters are of high value as they aren’t vague or general. They pinpoint specifically what the person has done well with an eye toward what they can continue to do well.Sometimes, employers ask for letters of recommendation (LOR) from people who know the applicants. LOR can be requested as part of the initial application or as the last step in vetting a job candidate.
  • Write a cover letter that will complement your resume:
    A cover letter is becoming more important as there is a raise in the number of job hunters.It is a single-page letter that you include with your resume. Unless the job advertisement clearly says not to add a cover letter, you should always include it.
    Cover letters are important as they give you the opportunity to add details about the information mentioned on your resume. They also allow recruiters to differentiate between two candidates with similar qualifications. Writing an excellent cover letter is like an icing on the cake as it can set you apart from other candidates.

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