1. Choose the right resume format
The three most common professional resume formats are chronological, functional and combination. The format you choose should depend on your career, your work experience and skills you want to highlight to your prospective employer.
Chronological format – This format highlights your detailed work experience and professional expertise and throws light on your steady and solid career graph.
Functional format – This format focuses on your different areas of function and gives importance to your various skills and experience rather than your work history.
Combination format – This, as the name suggests, is a combination of both chronological and functional formats making use of the best of both the formats.
2. Choose the right font for your resume
Once you are clear about the format of your resume, the next step is to decide which font you want to use. A wisely chosen font style will add a professional look and feel to your resume. Your resume is not just a document that you send across. It represents yourself to your hiring managers. Therefore, your resume should come across as much professional and clear as you want it to represent you.
There is no hard and fast rule to choose a font. The best font for resume writing will be easy to read, clear in all formats and not distracting from the main purpose of the resume i.e. projecting your skills. It shouldn’t look too fancy or clumsy to read. Some of the most preferred fonts for resume writing are Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia and Cambria.
3. A well-framed Summary Statement
A clear and well-framed summary statement is very vital to a professional resume. This is the opening statement of your resume and therefore should sum up your experience, skills and work-related ambitions in just a few lines. Make sure that it is precise, condensed, yet meaningful and attention-grabbing. A well-written objective will enable your prospective employer to get an insight into what your aims are and what you are capable of contributing to the company.
4. Use keywords and terminology
It’s a good idea to include any keywords on your resume that is related to the job you’re applying for. This is because organizations these days, big or small, usually take the help of consulting/recruiting agencies to provide potential candidates for their vacancies. These agencies use keyword parser to filter candidates who match the job description best from their large database.
Also, it will help if you can research a little about the terminology commonly used in the new company through sources. There are many cases where the same skill is referred to using inter-changeable names in different companies. Using the same keywords popular with the applying company will give you a lead.
5. Use proper terminology
If you are an experienced professional, using industry-specific terminology is also advised. It will ideally help to bring your resume up to the top of the pile for the same reason as stated above. If it is a human that is reading your resume, using proper terminology can give an insight into how knowledgeable and skilled you are.
6. Use action verbs
Don’t use boring general verbs like worked on, performed, developed etc. Use power verbs and action verbs to word each accomplishment. This will project your skills and accomplishments in a powerful way.
For e.g., instead of saying “I have led a team of 5 to deliver client service” you can say “Spearheaded a team of 5 to deliver quality service to clients while also meeting deadlines ”.
7. Use bullet points
Recruiters and hiring managers are most often flooded with hundreds of resumes for each posting. While we would all imagine getting a 30-minute attention to our resume, the truth is that this just doesn’t happen. The maximum time one can spare to review a document is along the lines of one to two minutes. In such a case, you can quickly gain credibility through the use of concise, carefully worded bullet points that demonstrate your skills and accomplishments and is easy to read even in a quick glance.
8. Customize your resume
Gone are the days when job seekers would prepare an ‘all-purpose’ resume and use is for each and every job application they make, even if their highlighted skills or experience has nothing to do with the applied job requirements. Job seeking has now become highly competitive with the number of qualified and skilled candidates on the rise and employers narrowing down on their employee preferences. Therefore, thoroughly understand the requirements and business needs of the hiring organization and tailor your resume accordingly. Highlight what the recruiters are looking for in their next recruit.
Last but not the least, proofread your resume! Once completed, do not hurry to send it across to employers. Take all the time to review your resume, edit it as necessary and tailor it to the requirements of the job you’re applying for. Once you’re done reviewing it yourself, ask a friend of yours to review it for anything you might have missed or overlooked. You might also be required to carry a hard copy of your resume to interviews or to hand out to an employer in person. Therefore, take a print-out of the final resume and cross-check whether the print version looks as good as the digital version.
No amount of time is too much for designing the perfect resume. Remember that just one spelling mistake or wrong information can put all your time and effort in the trash bin!
10. Enclose a cover letter
A job application is never complete without a proper cover letter. You might have taken all the time to create a wonderful resume. But what if it comes across the hiring manager’s table as a bulk mail? He or she will take it as your disinterest in the particular job. You should be able to lead the recruiter to your resume. This can happen only if you can convince him/her that you have clear understanding of their requirement and the right potential for the job.
A good cover letter via email should include:
- The subject line specifying which job position you’re applying to (e.g., “Re: Application for Front Desk Manager position”)
- An opening statement that briefly introduces you, your work experience and academic qualifications to the reader
- A main body that highlights qualities and characteristics you have, that are relevant to the job
- A closing paragraph asking to arrange an interview
A sample cover letter for an application as Sales Assistant is given below:
Mobile: XXX XXXX XXXX
Mr Allan Moyle
RE: Application for Retail Sales Assistant position
Dear Mr. Moyle,
As a highly motivated and dedicated student with strong communication and interpersonal skills, I would like to apply for the position of Retail Sales Assistant.
As a student I have been extensively involved in my school community, including drama and sports carnivals, which has allowed me to develop strong interpersonal skills and teamwork skills.
Personal attributes that I believe make me suitable for this position include:
· Motivation: Volunteer participation and school results that demonstrated high motivation.
· Customer Service: Assisting with the sale of products at community events that allowed the development of customer service skills.
· Communication: Acting in drama performances and working as an MC for school events that has helped in the development of communication skills.
My teachers and educators have commended me for my enthusiasm and dedication to participate and help out where possible. I enjoy working with others and believe that my strong communication skills will ensure that I can meet the expectations of this role.
I would very much appreciate the opportunity to demonstrate my capabilities to you in person. I am keen to develop my skills as a professional and look forward to discussing my application with you at an interview. I have enclosed a copy of my resume for your consideration.
Thanking you in advance for your time,