A resume is the first step to wining a job. It is the key to the interview door where your future is decided. Hence, it requires careful designing. However, with proper planning and with the right guidelines it is actually not very difficult to create a successful resume. And we’ve put together 5 critical steps you need to know for just that.
1. Plan before-hand
Before you start writing your resume, jot down all the qualities and qualifications that you possess. It need not be ordered or organized. Just put down whatever you can think of relating to your work and academic life. This will serve as a master list to refer to when writing your resume.
2. Write Your Resume
Start writing your resume roughly. Refer your prepared master list and divide them into headers as below.
This should be at the top of your resume. Your full name is the resume’s heading followed by contact information like location, email address and phone number.
Profile or Objective
The Objective section should describe your skills and experience in precise and well-framed sentences. Do not include any skills that are irrelevant to the current job you’re applying for. Instead, find out those that are a close match to the job requirement and put them down.
Summary of Qualifications
As an alternative to the Objective section, you may begin your resume with a Summary of Qualifications. This will summarize your skills in bullet list rather than several sentences making it easy to read. Use this if you are a qualified professional having many skills and expertise to display.
Elaborate on your key skills and traits in one or more lists under this header.
List all your work experience history here. Arrange them preferably in a reverse-chronological format. However, there are other resume formats also that you can use in this section according to your situation. Some of the most popular of them are – Chronological, Functional, Combination and Targeted formats.
List down all academic degrees achieved by you. If you are an entry-level or mid-level applicant, provide your academic history in detail. Also if you are applying for internships or writing a CV, this section is of greater importance and should have more detail. Otherwise, if it’s a while since you graduated and has more professional experience to your credit, then just list the degrees acquired in bullet list without any other detail.
Volunteer Work, Certifications, Awards and Accomplishments
This section, as above, is significant only for entry-level or mid-level applicants who do not have much work experience to talk about. Otherwise, only include this section if you have undergone any certifications or training in recent times relevant to your work position or have received any awards or honors for your work.
Arrange for one or two credible people in your industry who can validate your claims regarding your skills and experience. Mention in your resume to provide details if asked for.
3. Format Your Resume Text
Once done with writing the content for your resume, the next step is to format and style your resume. Choose the appropriate font style and size for your resume. Remember to not overdo the formatting. Keep it simple and professional. The font should be easy to read and consistent throughout. Do not mix-up different fonts.
Use bullet points wherever necessary but take care to retain the consistency with the type of bullets used. Don’t use a ‘?’ bullet in one sections and a ‘?’ bullet in another.
4. Review and Review more
Now you’ve almost completed your resume writing. But here comes the most important step – proof-reading! Yes, after all this effort you’ve put in to prepare your resume, don’t let it be tossed into the trash bin. One typo or grammatical mistake can put down all your efforts. Hence, take enough time to review your document. Read it out loud and check for any weirdly written sentences. Use spell-check and grammar-check tools in your word processor to catch any errors. Apart from that, there are also many online tools that you can make use of for any additional help. Once you’ve done reviewing yourself, you may also ask someone else for a second opinion.
Also print a hard copy of the document and see if the formatting is retained or not.
5. Save your resume
Save the resume in .doc, .docx or .pdf format. A PDF file type is most preferred since it guarantees retaining the format and template in any document viewer. However, some employers might specifically prefer a particular format. Therefore, keep different file type versions of your resume just in case a need arises.