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9 Tips and Tricks for Writing a Resume

9 Tips and Tricks for Writing a Resume

Are you wondering how to create a resume that will help you stand out? Read here for nine practical tips and tricks for writing a resume.

Keyword(s): writing a resume

A well-written resume is a gateway to almost any job that you desire. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for an advertised position or you got a referral for an open position. Most employers will ask for a resume before they offer you a job. 

Unfortunately, many candidates lose out on vacant positions due to a badly written resume. Most job-seekers aren’t professional writers, so crafting a professional resume can be a daunting task. Keep reading for 11 great tips for writing a resume that will help you stand out from the competition.

1. Tailor Your Resume for Each Position

It's understandable that as a job seeker you need to apply for all the positions you qualify for. So it's efficient to send out the same CV for each application. But sending a generic resume for each position you apply for rarely works.

You'll have more success if you identify the positions you desire and tailor your CV for each role. Creating a targeted resume will help you stand out from the crowd of applicants. 

So how do tailor your CV to each company and position? First, you must read and understand the job description for the position you are applying for. Check if you meet the skill and work experience requirements and apply if you do.

But if you don't meet most of the job requirements it is better to focus on jobs you qualify for. For instance, if you just graduated from high school, it doesn’t make sense to apply for a CEO position requiring years of experience and education. 

Once you decide to apply, research the company and position you are applying for. Find out what their values are, their corporate culture and what kind of employees they are looking for. This will help you establish if you are the right fit for the company.

If so, take your generic CV and edit it to highlight any qualities that make you the best fit for the organization. Ensure that your new resume uses the same keywords present in the job description. 

2. Highlight Your Accomplishments With Quantifiable Data

One of the mistakes most candidates make when writing a resume is copying and pasting the job descriptions of their previous roles into their CV. As soon as they see a job title, most recruiters will have a general idea of what your tasks were. Rather than filling your resume with bullet points of what you did in each role, highlight your accomplishments instead. 

Let's say you were a manager that supervised the introduction of a new system. You could state your accomplishment as something like "Oversaw the departmental move from Google Suite to Microsoft Word with Zero downtime". Showing specific data and proof of how you made a difference in your previous roles helps you stand out from other applicants. 

3. List Any Notable Awards

If you won or received a nomination for any company or industry awards, be sure to mention them. You can list these at the start of your resume under a heading called "Awards."

Don’t forget to mention the number of people you won the award over, whether it was a team of five or 500. Awards are tangible proof of your excellence and that you are amongst the best in your field. 

4. Keep It to One Page

One of the resume ideas that has stood the test of time is to limit your resume to one page. Recruiters are more pressed for time and their attention span is getting shorter. A study found that hiring managers take 7.4 seconds to scan a resume. 

If you have a lot of work experience and education, keeping your CV to one page can seem impossible. But a lot of the information you have on your CV may not be relevant to the job you are applying for. If you have twenty years of work experience a detailed description of your internship during college may be superfluous.

When editing your CV to take out the fluff be mindful to maintain a simple and clear format with lots of white space. To keep their resume to one page, many candidates reduce the font size and spacing between lines. This makes it hard for recruiters to read your CV. Maintain a readable font of size 10-12 and have at least single line spacing between text.

5. Focus On Your Skills, Work Experience, and Education

At the shortlisting stage, recruiters scan CVs for work experience and skills. They don’t pay much attention to the tasks you did in each job, hobbies, interests, and other fillers candidates add to their CVs. To grab the recruiter’s attention, keep your CV focused on the skills and experience relevant to the job you are applying for. 

6. Don’t Forget Your Contact Information

The whole point of writing a resume is to get potential employers to contact you for an interview or job offer. So, you must ensure that your resume has your correct, up-to-date contact information.

The main forms of contact information to include are your full name, main phone number, email address, and mailing address. If you have a LinkedIn profile and professional website you could also include them. 

7. Ensure Your Resume Is ATS friendly

Over 98% of Fortune 500 companies and 35% of small businesses use applicant tracking systems (ATS). ATS is a recruitment software that scans candidate CVs to extract and store their personal information, skills, and qualifications.

When top companies advertise an open position they receive hundreds of CVs. Because they don’t have the manpower to read through each application, they use ATS to filter out unqualified candidates. If your CV doesn’t pass the basic ATS screening, you won’t get to interview for the job (even if you are the most qualified candidate).

To ensure that your resume passes through the ATS filtering stage use the same keywords used in the job advertisement. For instance, if the role calls for a web engineer with knowledge of Javascript, semantic HTML, and CSS your resume should list these skills if you have them.

Recruiters will use the ATS to search for “web engineer” to find candidates that have worked as web engineers before. They will also be scanning resumes for the skills the successful candidate must have. 

Recruiters, as well as ATS programs, also have different word processing applications from yours. So a .doc version of your resume will look different on everyone’s computer. Complicated formatting may translate so badly on some computers that your CV becomes unreadable.

You can control the appearance and presentation of your CV by using plain text and simple formatting. Avoid using tables and headers and footers as these may get missed by ATS software. Also, stick to traditional fonts like Times New Roman, Helvetica, and Arial.

Finally, don’t be creative with your resume headings. Stick to the traditional headings like Personal Information, Education, Work Experience, and References. 

8. Proofread Before Submitting

Another common mistake many candidates make when writing a resume is forgetting to proofread. With the prevalence of spellcheck software, submitting a resume with spelling and grammatical errors is a mistake even rookies shouldn’t make.

Run your resume through your word processor's spellcheck. Additionally, pass it through free online editing software like Grammarly and the Hemingway app. These will help to flag any grammatical errors or issues with readability. 

One of the best resume ideas you can follow is to get your final draft reviewed by a second and third eye. If you have an HR manager or recruiter in your circle ask them if they would be willing to review your CV. If you have the budget, you could also pay a professional resume writer to review your CV for you.

Otherwise, you can also ask any willing friends, colleagues, or relatives to review your final draft. They may catch typos or errors that you missed. They may also have some great suggestions for how you could improve your CV. 

9. Save a PDF Copy of Your Resume

Another great tip when writing resumes is to save a pdf copy of your generic resume. In case a friend or reference asks you for a copy of your resume you could send them the pdf file. As mentioned earlier, .doc files can look very different on someone else’s computer.

Sending your contacts a pdf copy of your resume ensures that the format stays consistent. But remember to stick to .doc files when submitting a CV online to a company or recruiting firm. This is because corporates are likely to have ATS software that may not recognize your PDF file. 

Start Writing a Resume That Stands Out

Resumes are still the top tool used when applying for a job so a well-written one is an asset that helps you stand out from other candidates. The best resumes are brief and tailored to the job applied for.

Because recruiters are pressed for time, they scan resumes within 10 seconds, looking for certain keywords. Most companies also use ATS software to filter out any resumes that don’t have the qualifications recruiters are looking for. 

So if you want to land that interview, research the position and company you want to work for and tailor your CV accordingly. For help with writing a resume that lands jobs, contact us today.