Get professional resume writing tips on how to write a resume and cover letter for resumes. See where to find the best free resume builder online.
If you’re currently looking for a job, you’ll need to create a professional resume for yourself. Long before you personally get to meet a hiring manager or have an interview, your resume will be fighting your corner on your behalf.
What Is A Resume?
A resume or a curriculum vitae is a document that is used to supplement a traditional job application. Your resume is your salesperson when applying for a job.
No matter what type of job you’re applying for, you’ll want to create a professional resume. Your professional resume needs to really stand out and showcases your skills and suitability for the job you apply for.
Why You Need a Professional Resume
Recruiters go through thousands of resumes ranging from very qualified and capable candidates spanning every industry and from students and freshers to C-level corporate executives.
Each time they review a resume, they would review it through the eyes of the hiring manager to get a sense of who the candidate is and how they are wired. The goal is to see if the candidate’s capabilities will drive a degree of success in a particular capacity.
Many employers classify all of their applicants based on their resumes. Here are just a few of the many reasons why having a professional resume is essential when you’re looking for a job.
- Your resume is the first thing a hiring employer will see
With many employers using internet job sites to find qualified candidates, many job applicants don’t meet their prospective employees in person. Most just figure out how to send their resume in emails and submit their resume as an email attachment or mail it in.
Since neither your face nor your personality is on display, your resume essentially ends up doing all of the talking for you so it must give a good first impression if you don’t want it to be discarded.
- Your resume can give you an edge
A professional resume can help give you an edge over the competition. Depending on the job vacancy you’re responding to, you could end up being one of the hundreds of job applicants.
That’s why it’s important that you get an edge over other job applicants. If you do have some writing experience, you may be able to create a professional resume yourself.
If not, look into using a resume builder online. The online resume maker tool in the Glow & Lovely Career Community has helpful tips for building your resume.
10 Resume Writing Tips To Land The Interview
Research has shown that a typical hiring manager or recruiter will only look at a resume for approximately 15 seconds. A well-written resume can do wonders for your job search.
Before you send out your resume, follow this checklist to ensure that your resume gets noticed and receives the proper consideration.
These resume writing and editing tips will ensure that your resume is an excellent quality representation of yourself and improves your chances of landing an interview.
1. Tailor your profile to the job
Don’t use the same resume to apply to several different jobs. It’s always a good idea to customize or tailor your resume to the job that you are applying for, or at least the industry you are hoping to get into.
Your resume should be custom written for each job you are targeting. When you send out something generic, it shows apathy and lack of motivation. This is not the impression you want to send to your potential employers.
You don’t want to be one of those applicants that make hiring employers wonder if they’ve even read through the job listing before applying. Tailoring your resume to each specific job description will help you get noticed in a sea of generic applications.
For instance, if you’re looking for a job in retail, your resume career objective may want to mention “looking for a career in a faced-paced retail environment,” or something similar.
Wondering how to write a profile in resumes? An effective profile should be brief and encapsulate your background while highlighting your capabilities and accomplishments.
Differentiating yourself from the other job applicants will give you a competitive advantage, so revise your profile to create a powerful effective 15-second pitch.
Always tailor your profile to fit the position, so do not use the same profile for every resume you submit. This is your chance to make a good first impression, which means everything during your job search campaign.
2. Choose a resume format style
There are several popular resume format styles, including the chronological, functional, hybrid, and targeted resume format styles.
Of these 4 resume format styles, each resume format has different strengths and weaknesses. You should choose the best resume format based on your personal characteristics, job history, and the nature of the job you are applying for.
There is no wrong resume format, though some may present you better depending on your situation and the type of job you are applying for.
3. Resume length matters
Another tip that you’ll want to remember is that resume length matters. While your resume must include as much information as necessary, you want to make sure that it isn’t jam-packed with information.
So, how many pages should a resume be? If, at all possible, keep your resume around one or two pages long. Include all essential information, like your work history and your education.
Need some tips for how to write experience in resumes? When outlining your previous work experience and your education, just include the basic information. Anything else can be discussed further in a job interview.
Employers hate reading long resumes, especially when the information isn’t always relevant to the job. So don’t worry too much about how to write work experience in resumes. Avoid unnecessary details and remember that less is more.
4. Check your grammar, spelling & punctuation
If you use MS Office, then you can learn how to make a resume in MS Word. Use the grammar and spell check function, and then print it out and read the document word for word.
The spell checker doesn’t know that you meant “manager” when you actually typed “manger.” A free tool like Grammarly will help you ensure proper capitalization, and proper use of commas and semi-colons.
Avoid using Ampersands (&). They do not belong on a resume. A few exceptions include well-known company names like AT&T or well-known industry terms like P&L.
Avoid run-on sentences and check to make sure you do not have long-winded sentences that are hard to read. Also, remember to deactivate all email and web hyperlinks listed in your resume before you email your resume to the recruiter.
What should be the font size in resumes? The ideal font sizes in resumes are 11 to 12 pt for normal text and 14 to 16 pt for section titles and headers.
5. Use numbers and abbreviations properly
Be consistent with your number usage (dates, money, numbers), plurals, and abbreviations. For example, don’t list one date as 8/2004 and then list another as 3/15/2004.
Avoid writing your education in the format – 9/1998 to 1/2002 – as many resume-scanning systems won’t recognize that you have a degree, only that you attended college for a period of time. Instead, list only the year that you obtained your degree.
Also, be aware of using software abbreviations consistently. MS Word and Microsoft Outlook are both correct, but not consistent.
6. Use your resume to build your brand
Your resume is your first introduction to your future employer and it represents your professional identity. But this, perhaps, is the most important element that most resumes fail to develop.
You can use your resume to build your brand and increase your marketing potential by ensuring that it is concise, clearly highlights your best professional traits and demonstrates how you will fit into the position and the company corporate culture.
All this must be captivating, grammatically perfect, and of course, free of spelling errors. It needs to flow, be easy to read and organized in a format that is brief, yet engaging and interesting enough for the hiring manager to give you a call for the interview.
How you describe yourself and your abilities will make the difference between your resume being pushed forward or trashed.
7. Write a resume headline
You’ve been told that you need to learn how to write a career objective in resumes so you can get the job you want, and this definitely works in some careers.
Your resume needs a clear goal, but in many domains, the traditional career objective statement is seen as outdated. So what is a good objective for a resume?
Today, hiring managers really don’t care about statements about wanting a “challenging position utilizing my experience and creativity…” Everyone knows the objective of sending in your resume is to get called in for the interview.
Instead, try using a resume headline followed by a compelling summary of your relevant skills. This is a better way to present what you have to offer to your potential employer.
But what is a resume headline and what to write in a resume headline? Also known as a resume title, this is a short sentence similar to the headline on your LinkedIn profile.
The resume headline is placed below your name and contact information and allows recruiters to quickly assess whether you’re the right candidate for the job.
Whatever you do, do not copy someone else’s career objective statements or resume headline. Write them yourself or with the help of a resume writing expert. The more unique your profile is, the higher the chances of a full review on your resume.
8. State clearly how you hope to add value
How will you add value to the position and the organisation? This is the first question hiring managers or recruiters ask a candidate. After all, that’s why they’re looking to hire you in the first place.
You can demonstrate your value by quantifying results. If you have previous work experience, describe how you helped a company increased revenue, lowered cost or increase productivity. Don’t be afraid to use numbers even if they’re not exact.
When you articulate your professional skills and ability to add value to the decision-makers, the immediate value and benefit that you bring to the company become apparent.
Finally, quantify your success and show decision-makers how you can contribute to the company’s bottom line. If you take the initiative to embrace these essential elements in defining your resume, you’ll get better results in your job hunt.
9. Avoid these resume writing mistakes
When writing your resume, there are some mistakes you’ll definitely want to avoid making. Here are some resume writing mistakes to avoid:
- Irrelevant content
Applying for an accounting position? Then don’t list the lifeguard position you had back in 2004.
There’s no need to write about your parents, spouse, children, hobbies, or favourite movie genre. These irrelevant bits of personal information are best kept private.
- Creative fonts
Wondering how to design a resume? Some tips for a good-looking resume are to print it out on traditional white computer paper, use a standard font, and make sure it is easy to read.
Many job hunters mistakenly believe that they stand the best chance if their resume stands out. Yes, you want your resume to stand out, but in a good way – a professional way. Not like a sore thumb.
Having an unattractive, unprofessional resume is the quickest way to get your resume trashed. So avoid coloured paper and flashy, hard to read fonts. Even if your font is easy to read on your screen, it may not be on someone else’s screen.
For example, if you use Arial, Verdana, or Times New Roman, anyone with MS Word can view these fonts. But if you were to use Futurama Alien Font, most likely it would look all jumbled up on someone else’s system.
- “References available upon request”
Employers will assume that if you’re job hunting you have professional references readily available on request, so this statement is wholly unnecessary and can safely be omitted.
- Using a resume to replace a job application
Don’t worry about how to write expected CTC in resumes because your resume is not a job application.
You don’t need to reveal why you left your last job, what your former supervisors’ names were, or your salary. This information will not help you, so leave it off your resume.
10. Use a free resume builder online
If your writing skills are not up to par, you can learn how to build resumes using an online resume builder to help you write a resume that gets attention and helps you get the job you want.
If you need help to write an amazing resume, check out the free resume builder online in the Glow & Lovely Career Community on SHEROES.
This free resume maker will help you create a resume online free so you can create the best resume for freshers or CVs for students with no experience.
If you need more specific information, you can download free sample resume templates for a wide variety of professions online and customize them according to their requirements.
How To Write A Resume For Freshers
Need to write a resume for freshers looking for the first job? Whether you want to write a student resume, a resume for internships, or a resume for first jobs, you’ll need some resume help to write a resume for freshers.
If you’re writing a resume for fresh graduates with no experience, you won’t have much to write about work experience on your resume. Instead, you should learn how to write about your educational qualifications in a resume for freshers.
Pay particular attention to your academic achievements and point out any additional certifications or extra-curricular achievements you may have participated in. You can add online courses and certifications in this section.
If you took on any online internships or projects then add your projects and internships in your resume and include details of the tasks you performed and skills you learned.
Wondering how to write achievements in resumes? Include an achievements section with your educational qualification or relevant job section. You could include graduation, mention projects in the resume, or include specific work-related accomplishments.
If, on the other hand, you have more work experience and street smarts than book smarts or a graduate degree, you can focus on your employment history and think about what to write in skills in your resume rather than your formal qualifications.
Remember, there’s always a chance that another job candidate has equal skills or qualifications, but by focusing on your actual achievements you will be able to stand out and make a good impression on the recruiter.
Checklist To Create A Resume For Job Applications
- Keep your resume short and precise, 1-2 pages at most.
- Write your contact information followed by a brief headline with your career goal and 1 or 2 top qualifications.
- Next, create sections for your work experience, skills, and education.
- List the names of former employers, your corresponding job titles and duration of work experience. Internships count as work experience.
- List your educational qualifications with institution name, city, state, degree, major, and year awarded.
- List your technical or computer qualifications, diplomas, courses with their content in brief, duration, institute and skills learned.
- List your achievements and accomplishments in previous job positions.
- Showcase your core competencies with an area of expertise.
- Include the languages you are fluent in if it’s pertinent to the job
How To Write A Cover Letter For Resumes
If you’re not dropping your resume off in person, you’ll want to include a cover letter. So, what is a cover letter for resumes and how to write a cover letter for a job application for freshers?
The cover letter is a document that accompanies the resume at all times as the primary support document. Whether you use traditional mail or email submission, a cover letter should always be sent along with the resume.
While your resume will cover all, or most of your professional career, and will be from one to two pages, your cover letter will be a very brief note serving as an introduction to the resume.
The goal of a cover letter is to get the attention of the hiring manager, just as it is with resume writing. So knowing how to write a cover letter is almost as important a skill for a job seeker to learn as resume writing.
Good cover letter writing is short and punchy and will take two or three key points from the resume and emphasize them. Most people have a tendency to say too much in their cover letter.
But a cover letter should be short and to the point and written in a style that grabs the attention of the reader quickly and makes them want to read the attached resume.
Besides knowing how to write cover letters and resumes, you should also learn how to write follow-up letters and thank-you letters after the interview, reference sheets, salary histories, and job acceptance letters.
If you have good cover letter writing skills, and good resume writing skills, the other documents should be easy to write.
As an example of how to write a cover letter for job applications, let’s assume that you’re a materials handling manager for a defence contractor, seeking another position.
In your line of work, the buzz words are MRP, lean manufacturing, ISO 9000, and cost savings. Your cover letter should reflect these buzz words to show your value to your current employer and any future employers.
Your resume can go into more detail about how you accomplished these goals. The cover letter will simply point out to the hiring manager that you accomplished them.
Want some resume cover letter examples? An example of what to write in a cover letter would be these two bulleted paragraphs in the body of the letter that says:
- Experienced in quality assurance and quality control, MRP, ISO 9000, QS 9000, and Lean Manufacturing.
- Demonstrated results in saving significant money for employers through cost savings, inventory level reductions, and on-time supplier delivery.
Since the hiring manager devotes only about 15 seconds to each resume and cover letter, your cover letter and resume writing skills need to be top-notch to get them to read your cover letter and resume and grant you an interview.
So if you’re wondering how to start a cover letter, start by outlining the job that you’re applying for, the experience that makes you a good candidate, and a call to action to see your attached resume for additional information.
If you don’t have the writing skills and the confidence to do this, you can hire a resume writer to tailor your message and put together an impactful and engaging cover letter that will convince the reader to review your resume.
Your resume is the most important thing that will get you a foot in the door. But unless you have a compelling cover letter, no matter how stunning your resume is, it will not be considered.
So spend some time learning how to make resumes and write a great cover letter for resumes. It will pay off in helping you land your dream job and a nice paycheck.
About the author:
Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.
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