Nobody likes the process of job searching.
It’s tiring, tedious and it feels like an endless process.
With such great effort spent on the job hunt process, it is crucial to have a solid resume to up your chances in securing an interview.
We’ve heard how recruiters are spending lesser time screening through resumes now, making it more important to have one that stands out from the crowd.
Especially in a job climate where competition has risen, and companies are probably bombarded by an even higher number of potential candidates.
If it makes sense, a good resume is just like a good dating profile.
Hiring managers won’t take a second look if it isn’t attractive.
With so many resume templates and instructions out there on the Internet these days, it’s easy to get confused about where to get started.
No more having to scroll through various resume samples just to find a good one.
Let’s see how we can make your resume worthy of a swipe-right.
What You Should Include in Your Resume
One of the most important things to do for a resume is to keep it short and succinct to retain the reader’s interest.
This means that the ideal length of a resume should be kept at 1 to 2 pages long.
Your resume would become longer as you gain work experiences, but it’ll still be good to keep it at 2 pages.
With this limitation in length, what information you include in the resume is important.
These are the type of information one could include:
- Title / Identifier
- Contact Information
- Executive Summary
- Professional Skills
- Work Experiences
- Achievements & Awards
Some of these pointers are self-explanatory, so let’s dive right into those that require elaboration.
Title or Identifier
This refers to what you wish to be identified with for the job you’re applying for.
This could represent your specialisation or your previous job position.
It would usually be one of the fields placed above, especially if your area of skills is highly aligned to the position you’re applying for.
There are some pointers to note when it comes to your contact details.
Your contact details could include the following – contact number, email address, personal website (such as Linkedin).
A tip is to ensure that your contact information looks professional.
A common method is to incorporate your name into the email.
If you’ve heard of inserting an objective statement at the top of your resume, please do not do that as it is already outdated.
Something that’s more recently accepted and approved of is an executive summary.
(Some would say this is one of the most important parts of the resume.)
An executive summary is something like a sneak peek of who you are, and what you can offer to the company.
Just like a movie trailer, it includes details that would attract the hiring manager to dive deeper into your resume.
It also creates a value proposition as to what skills you can bring to the table and problems that you could solve for the team.
It could include your industry, credentials and skills.
The rest of your resume would then be an elaboration of this summary.
An example of an executive summary could be:
A marine biologist with over 25 years of experience, with a passion of saving animals and discovering new species. Pioneered the expedition to the Gulf of Alaska and headed a team of 12. Improved rate of retrieving data by 38% by implementing a new Bio-hacks system, decreasing costs by 15%. Also won the 2018 Pearson Award with a published research paper on baby Emperor penguins.
In this section, you can list keywords that showcase your competencies.
For this, it would be ideal to tailor it to the job posting.
If you haven’t known, many companies nowadays use software systems to filter through resumes.
Using this would greatly cut down the number of resumes hiring managers would need to screen after.
An example of such a system is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
In a bad job market, companies would be receiving thousands of resumes.
With the ATS, an average of 75% of resumes are rejected.
And over 90% of large companies use such a system.
This shows how important is it to tailor keywords to the job postings!
How it works is that the system matches the words in the resume with what’s posted in the job listing.
Matching skills and keywords would allow the system to recognise that you’re a good fit for the role.
These are short sentences that talk about your main responsibilities based on past experiences.
It usually includes a job title as well as its description.
A great way to phrase these achievements would be:
Action verb + Task + Outcome
It can be something like:
- Streamlined IT logistics and operations and cut costs by 30%
- Implemented the new ABC process and improved the production speed by 25%, saving $20mil a year
- Facilitated nursing care and discharge of up to 50 patients a day, improving work efficiency by 15% through the improvement of existing processes
They should be presented in bullet points to keep it concise and clear.
If possible, try to include quantifiable results (numbers!), which include percentages, dollars, measurements and data.
Keywords should also be included in these accomplishments, as it could also help in the ATS process as well.
Also, it’ll be good to list accomplishments which are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
This would provide the hiring manager with a direct tie to the job position.
In terms of the order, start listing the one which is the most recent, followed by the second most, etc (i.e. reverse chronological order).
Tip for recent graduates: Insert your internship experiences listing relevant achievements as well, or start with the latest education qualifications on the top.
Tips on the Format of Your Resume
There are so many resume templates out there to download for free nowadays.
My personal favourite is Canva as it is like a treasure trove of aesthetically pleasing templates.
How do you know what is a good template to have?
Here are some general rules when it comes to the format of your resume.
Firstly, format your resume to make it visible.
This means a clean look without any unnecessary details, but just the data and details that are required.
There should not be any lengthy blocks of texts, with everything broken down into relevant segments.
Bullet points are a handy tool when it comes to keeping sentences tidy and concise.
A clean look also means an effective use of white space.
White space refers to the unused space that is used to separate different sections and helps the hiring manager maintain focus.
An example of the creating of white space is through the usage of margins.
Another important factor for the format of your resume is the font selection.
Fonts should be easy to read, with a font size that is not too small (10 to 12 would be good).
Times New Roman and Arial are overused fonts, so avoid them if you’d like to be slightly less mainstream.
For your resume to look slightly different, some fonts to choose from would be Garamond, Gills Sans, Helvetica, Tahoma and Verdana.
Do not choose handwritten type of fonts!
Also, try not to include graphics and tables into your resume even though it could make it look more appealing.
This is because it could make it less ATS-optimised, and reduce the chances of it getting past this system.
Tips and Tricks to Write a Winning Resume With a Higher Success Rate
Resume writing doesn’t only need to happen when you’re actively looking for a job.
It is a document that could be well-prepared even while you’re in a job, and made available online for recruiters looking for potential candidates.
By creating something that blows recruiters away, you’ll never know when it could provide you with your next job opportunity!
In case you’re looking for some other career tips to help in your journey, don’t forget to drop by our SeedlyCommunity!