“What are the best tips for writing a resume?”
If you’re planning to apply for your dream job or internship program, but don’t know where to begin, this guide is perfect for you.
In any job application process, you first need to prepare a resume. It’s a piece of document that contains your educational background, experiences, awards, and many more.
Although your school taught you how to write one, most of the resume writing tips they gave you are outdated.
If you’re searching for good resume writing tips, you’re on the right site.
Here, you will learn:
- What are the do’s and don’ts in writing a resume.
- How to choose the right words to include in your resume.
- What is chronological resume format.
- And a lot more…
What is a winning resume look like?
A good resume should highlight your qualifications for the position. It has proper actions verbs, updated information, skills, and achievements to capture your relevant experiences. Incorporating these things will help you stand out.
3 Resume Writing Tips
#1: Choose a proper format
There are 3 formats you can choose from: chronological, skills-based, and combination.
Format 1: Chronological resume format
The chronological resume format is commonly known as a reverse chronological resume. It’s the most used format for job seekers.
In this format, you need to list your job experiences and achievements from the most recent up to the least. With this, you can include most of your relevant experiences as much as possible. This is suitable for those who have rich job history.
It’s worthy to note that many recruiters prefer chronological resume format. Most of the information they want to know about you is included at the beginning of your resume. Hence, it would take less time for them to decide whether you’ll proceed to the next stage or not.
Now, you may wonder, “Is chronological resume format the most successful?”
Although it’s the most traditional and preferred format by hiring managers, choosing the right structure will depend on your work experience and other information. Keep in mind that what works best for others might not work for you, and that’s okay.
The reverse chronological resume structure is easy to follow. One important thing to remember is to arrange your work history and educational background chronologically. The recent should always come first, and the rest will follow.
Here are the components of a chronological resume:
- Proper Heading. It includes your basic information such as complete name, address, and contact information.
- Introductory Summary. This section tells a bit about who you are as a professional, including your personal vision and mission statement.
- Job History. This is the most essential section of a resume. It contains the job title, employer, location, start and end dates, and your responsibilities.
- Educational Background. This section should include your degree name and major, university address, and start and end dates.
- Skills, Seminars, and Workshops. If you have certifications, this is where you list them. You can also add your relevant soft and hard skills.
- Volunteer Experience, Publications, Leadership Roles. This part is optional since not everyone has volunteer experience, publications, and leadership positions. However, don’t forget to include it if you have one as it can be your edge over other applicants.
Note: This chronological resume format makes career gaps apparent.
Here’s an example of a chronological resume from Canva.
Format 2: Skills-based resume format
Resume or paper screening is the first step of any recruitment process. Your resume should talk on your behalf. You’ll only be able to speak with the hiring manager during the interview stage. If you have a not-well-written resume, you’ll lose the chance of getting the job.
According to BambooHR, hiring managers or recruiters screen candidates’ resumes based on experience and skills. If you don’t have rich job experience, one of the resume writing tips you can do is to highlight your skills instead.
Everyone has something to offer to the table. It’s your responsibility to determine how you’re going to sell it to the recruiter.
One way to do it is to use the functional or skills-based resume format. This format allows you to showcase your skills instead of your work experiences.
It’s the best option for those who have career gaps and fresh graduates.
“What is the difference between a skills-based resume and a chronological resume?”
In the chronological resume format, you need to include your job titles. While in skills-based format, you’ll have to create skills categories.
You should use a functional resume if you’re thinking about changing your career path. It would be challenging for you to get hired if you switch from one industry to another. A skills-based resume will surely help you since you’re selling your skills and not your work experiences.
Here are the components of a chronological resume:
- Proper Heading. It contains your first and last name, e-mail address, and other contact information.
- Introductory Summary. This portion should tell a bit about yourself. A good resume summary will help you catch the attention of the recruiter.
- Skill Categories. It’s the essential part of a functional resume. You need to create skill categories to show your relevant skills. Bullet points help explain each skill.
- Job History. Like a chronological resume, you need to list your work experiences from the most recent to the least. Don’t forget to include your employer name, company address, and start and end dates.
- Educational Background. This part is pretty straightforward. You need to put your degree name and major, university address, and start and end dates.
- Volunteer Experience, Publications, Leadership Roles. This serves as an additional section to put your volunteer experience, publications, and leadership roles.
Note: Many hiring managers aren’t familiar with skills-based resume format.
Here’s an example of a skills-based resume format from Canva.
Format 3: Combination resume format
From the name itself, the combination resume format mixes the functional and chronological components. Job seekers who want to make their resumes comprehensive must use this format.
It will allow you to highlight your work experiences and relevant skills. Another good thing about this format is that you’ll be able to prove each skill you mentioned on your resume.
You can do this by stating the projects or tasks you’ve accomplished in your previous work. This is one of the best resume writing tips. Hiring managers will surely love your resume.
“Should I use a combination resume format?”
There are factors you need to consider in writing a combination resume format. It includes your job history, career goals, and many more.
You should definitely use a hybrid resume format if you have more than a year of work experience, are a fresh graduate, and have no career gaps.
Here are the components of a chronological resume:
- Proper Heading. It contains your complete name and contact information, such as e-mail address, LinkedIn profile link, home address, etc.
- Introductory Summary. It includes a paragraph that tells the hiring manager about your relevant skills and work experiences. You may also have a resume objective or your personal vision and mission statement.
- Skills and Professional Experience. This is where you integrate your relevant skills and work experience. Remember that your work experiences will help you prove that you really have the skills and you’re not just making it.
- Educational Background. This section is allocated for your educational history.
- Volunteer Experience, Publications, Leadership Roles. If you have other experiences that you find relevant to the job description, you may add them here.
Tip: Use the job description to identify the skills and work experiences you need to put your resume. Don’t include those not relevant to the position you are applying for.
Here’s a sample of a hybrid resume from Canva.
#2: Use proper and strong words
According to StandOut CV, hiring managers or recruiters spend 6-8 seconds reading resumes to decide if a candidate could be a good fit for the job.
This means that you only have a few seconds to impress them. One of the resume writing tips you can apply is to use good and strong words to describe your skills and work experiences.
It helps you highlight the contributions and accomplishments you’ve made in your previous work.
You need to avoid using overused words such as detail-oriented, hard-working, critical thinker, etc. Instead, use action-oriented words. With this, your resume will become more specific and evidence-based.
Here are some of the words you should use on your resume:
Now, let’s try it in a bullet list.
- Launched a marketing campaign to increase the company’s brand awareness.
- Managed the marketing department to boost business revenue.
- Increased website traffic by publishing educational content.
- Resolved communication conflicts to make the workflow smooth.
- Achieved the company’s target sales through brand collaboration.
- Spearheaded the recruiting process of the HR department.
Feel free to play around with these action verbs to highlight your accomplishments.
Tip: Always check the job description before writing each bullet. You must consider the qualities they’re looking for in a candidate.
#3: Include your social media links
Many hiring managers look beyond your resume. They don’t solely base their decisions on job responsibilities and accomplishments you put on this document.
Even before the interview, they want to see another side of you. It can be an online persona.
It’s still a huge debate whether recruiters should use social media profiles to screen candidates. Nevertheless, you can’t stop them from doing so.
Having a professional social medial link is one of the effective resume writing tips. Social media pages allow you to tell hiring managers about what you enjoy doing, which you can’t put on your resume. It includes your hobbies, interests, and other activities.
“How can we create an awesome academic resume based on our social media profiles?”
For researchers and scholars, an academic CV is essential when applying for a teaching position. This document contains your educational history, professional experiences, publications, awards, and other relevant accomplishments.
You can add your LinkedIn or ResearchGate profile under the Contact Information section.
According to Richie Frieman, your professional social media profile shows how good your network is, which is vital in today’s marketing strategy. It also tells the hiring manager your willingness to keep up to date with everything that’s happening online.
Note: Adding your social media profiles on your resume is only suitable for those who have professional posts related to their industry. If you don’t have one, maybe it’s time for you to optimize your accounts.
Bonus Resume Writing Tips: Proofread your resume 3 times
Don’t be too excited to submit your resume. Once you finish your first draft read it thrice. Remember that you can’t ask the recruiter to send back your resume once you submit it.
You can use proofreading tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway to check the spelling and grammar of your resume. You may also ask your friend or anyone you trust to read your resume. They might be able to add something that you forgot to include.
You can access Harvard University’s Resume and Cover Letter guide here.
FAQs About Resume Writing Tips
1. How do you write hard and soft skills on a resume?
Hard skills pertain to those abilities that you can measure. You can get them from participating in a workshop, finishing a degree, and many more.
Hard skills may also require you to employ certain tools to perform a task. It includes bookkeeping, web designing, public speaking, among others.
Meanwhile, soft skills aren’t something you usually develop through training. You improve them by socializing with people and doing day-to-day tasks.
Some of the soft skills you can put on your resume include integrity, decision making, time management, cultural intelligence, versatility, professionalism, and a lot more.
Combining hard and soft skills is a good resume writing tip. It shows to the hiring manager that you can acquire both types of skills.
2. What do hiring managers absolutely not want to see on a resume?
It’s important to note that each company or industry requires different qualifications in a candidate. Plus, the hiring process or strategy may vary from one hiring manager to another.
In general, here are some things you need to avoid in writing your resume:
- Use resume-building software.
- Include a skill that you won’t be able to back up.
- Be inconsistent with your job history, skills, and educational background.
- Add a generic resume summary.
- Exceed two pages as much as possible.