5 writing guidelines to follow when writing a resume

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    The importance of a well-written resume

    Learning how to write a resume is crucial in landing a job. Thankfully, there are plenty of resume writing tips and professional resume templates to help you highlight your strengths and job skills. Professional resumes are key for conducting an effective job search and are the first step towards obtaining your ideal job. 

    Before you begin writing your resume, look at several professional resume examples to help you brainstorm for your writing process. What do you like and dislike about each professional resume sample? Keep a running list to refer back to as you write your resume. This will help you stay organized and work efficiently.

    Another helpful resource to consider during the resume writing process is using a professional resume builder. Depending on your situation, you may also choose to hire a career coach so that they can assist you with their resume writing services. 

    01

    Choose a professional resume format

    The first decision you need to make about your resume is the format you want to use. Typically, there are three professional resume formats: a chronological resume, a functional resume, and a hybrid resume. Review the basic types of resumes and look at plenty of professional resume examples as you decide which format best suits your needs. 

    Chronological, functional, and hybrid resumes

    A chronological resume lists your employment history in reverse chronological order. The chronological resume follows a clear narrative arc and is considered standard. Recruiters and hiring managers are often most familiar with this type of resume and know how to read and sort them efficiently. For this reason, it is a popular professional resume choice for many job seekers. 

    A functional resume focuses on job skills, passion, and potential. It does not focus on your employment history; therefore it can be a popular choice amongst young professionals, as well as those switching careers. Depending on your situation, this innovative resume format may help you stand out amongst other applicants. 

    A hybrid resume combines elements of chronological resumes and functional resumes. There is no one set way to approach writing a hybrid resume. Rather, if you are drawn to elements of each resume type, make a list of what you like about each format. Then do your best to incorporate everything that you liked about each professional resume format. 

    02

    Use keywords and tailor your resume

    Tailoring your resume shows recruiters that you are thorough, qualified, and invested in the position. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind about how to write a good resume. Make sure to highlight your most pertinent professional resume skills and job experiences. 

    Additionally, many companies use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to help them conduct their hiring process. These computer systems streamline the hiring process by analyzing, sorting, ranking, and storing resumes on an online platform. These computer algorithms rely heavily on keyword inclusion. Ultimately, this is why it is important to tailor your resume by identifying keywords in each job listing and including them in your resume. If you do not include lots of keywords, despite your qualifications, your resume may inadvertently slip through the cracks. 

    03

    Be consistent

    In terms of grammar, this means remembering to use parallel structure. Parallel structure or “parallelism” is when you use consistent phrasing within a sentence. Typically, this is found in lists. For example, if you wanted to include a list of some professional resume skills, you would write either: problem-solving skills, communication, and creativity, or, problem-solving, communicating, and being creative. In the first list, the skills are all listed as nouns; in the second list, the skills are all listed as verbs. This helps aid readability. 

    Consistency plays a role in other formatting factors as well. For example, use phrases or complete sentences. Do not combine the two. Also, if you include a period at the end of a bullet point, include a period at the end of all of your bullet points. However you decide to format your resume, make sure it is consistent and organized. 

    04

    Use standard formatting

    Always use standard formatting. This will help limit technical difficulties by lessening your chances of a hiring manager or Applicant Tracking System (ATS) altering or disrupting your resume. There are lots of factors to consider when standardizing your resume. 

    05

    Proofread!

    This one may seem obvious, but always proofread your resume! Your resume is your one chance to make a good first impression. You want to stand out from other applicants and have your future employer think that you are intelligent, organized, and detail-oriented. If you have grammatical or formatting errors, these will reflect poorly on you. 

    To avoid this, ask someone you trust to read through your resume on your behalf. Sometimes, it can be easy to overlook an error or typo when you have spent too much time looking at the same document. This is why it can be helpful to get a fresh pair of eyes. 

    Also, because it is important to tailor your resume for each job application, you will likely have multiple versions of your resume. Proofread each version carefully. Don’t assume that it is correct because you’ve made minimal changes. Always take the time to proofread!

    Key takeaways: How to write a resume summary

    It is important to cultivate your resume writing skills so you can enter the job market with a well-written resume today. Look at professional resume examples, professional resume builders, and professional resume templates to gain inspiration. If you are a high school student, there are plenty of resources for you to get started as well, including resume outlines for high schoolers. No matter where you are in your career, writing a well-organized, professional resume is key to achieving success.

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