Need to know resume basics? In this resume writing guide, you will learn what a resume is, how it should be designed, and what information you should include (and not include) on your resume.
It is important to put your best foot forward. Representing you, your resume distinguishes you from other applicants. With the right resume, your future, career, and bank account will soar. Making a perfect, standout resume is in your best interest for these reasons.
Know the basics. What is your resume?
It's easy. Your resume is your primary marketing tool. It is mandatory in today’s job market. Your resume must be a concise, eye-catching, truthful presentation of YOU. This includes your highest accomplishments, best strengths, work history, skills, and education.
A powerful resume will distinguish you from other applicants and prove that you are the best choice (of all applicants) for the job position. You must convince the reader that you deserve an interview by having a standout resume.
While your resume’s primary job is to get you an interview, it will also guide the interviewer. Make sure your resume is tailored to the position you are applying to, as well as company's objectives.
Your resume and cover letter define who you are and how you want to be perceived.
Right off the star, make sure you have a great resume design. Your resume must be professional, eye-catching, unique and easy to read.
Need some ideas? Don't know how to design a resume? Our resume templates make applying easy and will get you noticed FAST.
RESUME TEMPLATE DOWNLOAD
Next, you will need to fill out each resume sections. Here are the most important sections of your resume:
Let’s break your resume down into each resume section:
1) YOUR NAME
Your name should be clear & stand out. Make sure your font is legible. Stay away from fancy fonts that might be harder to read.
2) PROFESSIONAL PROFILE // SUMMARY
While not mandatory, this section gives the reader better insight into who you are. What you might mention in your resume summary:
- Number of years experience
- Relevant credentials, training, education
- Accomplishments directly relating to position objectives
- A quality or characteristic that will support the company’s objectives
3) WORK EXPERIENCE
- List your work history in reverse chronological order; your most recent work should be highlighted at the top of your resume
- List your accomplishments and achievements first while your tasks should be listed towards the bottom of your resume
- Quantify your achievements
- Show how you have made the company money or how you have made them successful
- List only the most important accomplishments in your resume. Try to keep each point directly related to the job objectives
- Each point should be direct, concise, and free of errors
4) PROFESSIONAL TITLE
The job title is not mandatory, but it helps define who you are and the job position for which you are applying.
- Your phone number, email, and the city and province/state should be included on your resume
- Your contact information should be on each page of your resume; this way, if printed, your contact info will be handy and not lost
- Do NOT include your complete address, sex, marital status, race, sexual orientation, social insurance number, immigration status, religious or social affiliations
- If relevant to the job position, your resume should include your LinkedIn account, website, blog, media site
- Your email address must be professional
- While a custom email server is best, a Gmail account is acceptable Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo are not considered as professional and may disqualify your application
- More importantly, keep your handle professional. Your first-last name is an obvious, professional handle to consider
- If you are a recent graduate, highlight your education at the top of your resume
- Add your education to your experience section - allowing you to expand on what you learned at school
- It is not necessary to include your GPA unless it is 3.5 or higher and for only 2-3 years after graduation
5) YOUR SKILLS & EXPERTISE
- List your hard skills & your soft skills
- Hard skills: Any skill learned that has a teachable, measurable ability
Example: Writing, understanding a computer program or specific equipment
- Soft Skills: Traits that make you a good employee. Example: Fast learner, teamwork, independent, professionalism
- Try to stay away from descriptions like “very good at” or “amazing” or “strong”. Instead, show examples detailing why
Example: Leadership, professionalism, teamwork, critical thinking
6) COMPUTER PROGRAMS & TECHNICAL
- What computer programs do you know?
- Mac & PC Platforms
- Word processing programs
- Typing Skills
- Database Management
- Social Media Literacy
- Keep each point on your resume relevant to the position for which you are applying.
7) MORE OPTIONS FOR YOUR RESUME
Note: Make sure that anything that you add to your resume shows a direct, positive impact towards the objectives of the job position for which you are applying.
HOW TO HIGHLIGHT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
You must create evidence that you will succeed in a new role. This is what a potential employer is looking for in your resume - you must prove that you are the right candidate for the job. Show them that you can be successful by showing your past successes.
WHAT IS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT?
An accomplishment is something that you did well. It can be a solution you created, a contribution, or an action that you took. This accomplishment had a positive impact on the company, employers, or employees.
Identify your accomplishment and then show a positive outcome.
By introducing new sales tactics, was able to increase sales production by 15%.
Quantify your resume statements. This will increase the effectiveness of your statements. By adding numbers like percentages, increases, profits, sizes, your resume will show your future employers your real value.
Trained 200+ employees over 1.3 years - resulting in a 25% reduction in new hires - saving $15,200.
CREATING YOUR RESUME ACCOMPLISHMENT STATEMENT?
Articulating how you have accomplished something is simple with a STARS method.
S- Situation- What is the problem, challenge, obstacle to which you were confronted.
T- Task- What did you need to do to remedy the situation. What were the challenges?
A- Action- What did you do? Talk in detail about your involvement.
R- Results- What was the outcome or change that had a positive impact?
S- Skills- Describe your abilities and skills involved in having this accomplishment.
Another way to understand your resume accomplishment statement:
I accomplished “X”, related to “Y” by doing “X
RESUME ACCOMPLISHMENT STATEMENT IDEAS
- Increase in profits or sales – Decrease in costs
- Taking initiative in finding a solution
- Improving, creating, or developing a program, product, service
- Successfully handling & critical thinking during an emergency or crisis
- Increasing performance individually or team(s)
- Improving clientele relations
- Receiving an award or commendation
- Improvement of profit, quality, reliability
- Saving time and money
- Setting record or given award for performance
NOTE: Always use strong resume action verbs. Here is a great list of verbs.
Your resume's accomplishment statements will be the most important parts of your resume as well as useful during your interview. Keep your best accomplishments towards the top of your resume. Your accomplishments will show recruiters and future employers that you are the right person for the job.
PROOFREADING YOUR RESUME
Human Resources will scrutinize any mistakes on your resume. Spelling and grammar errors are one of the most common and frowned upon mistakes you can have on your resume. Here are some easy tips on making your resume perfect:
- Use your word processing program’s spell check. Make sure the language is set to the proper country.
- Use an online program called Grammarly.com to check your grammar. It’s free and easy.
- Do not trust your word processor spell check completely. You and someone valid must check your resume manually.
- Double- or triple-check your resume. Give yourself 10-20 minutes in-between each read to keep your proofreading fresh. Print it out and check.
- If you are in school or are a recent graduate, check out the career center or any career counsellors for assistance.
- Ask a colleague, friend, or family member to proofread your resume.
- Get out a ruler and make sure everything on your resume is aligned.
- Do not use jargon or words on your resume that you do not recognize.
Congratulations, your resume is finished!
Be proud of yourself. Your resume is not an easy thing to create. Resume creation takes a lot of patience and time. Just remember, always put your best face forward, make sure your resume is clear, direct, customized for each job posting, and free of any errors! With these resume helpful aids, you will be accepting job interviews in no time!