Extensive Guide to Know How to Write a Resume

Resume Writing Tips
August 22, 2018

Extensive Guide to Know How to Write a Resume 

A resume often confused with being a synonym for CV (Curriculum Vitae), is in reality, reasonably distinct from it. According to its definition, a resume is a representation of the essential skills that one possesses, the previous professional accomplishments along with the academic qualifications. Its importance should be acknowledged because it is one such document that every recruiter looks for along with the application and cover letter of the job applicant. The content of a resume should be in line to the desired job goals and what needs to be understood here is that a resume is basically an advertisement of the capabilities of an individual. It is not just a record of your work history, a gist of competent skills or even a guarantee of successfully securing a job; thereby, every effort has to be made and every fitting input has to be given, to present oneself optimally.

The most significant differences between a resume and a Curriculum Vitae lie in the length of the document, the way of writing it and the purpose of composing it. A CV is a detailed document of the all that is accounted for, in brief in the resume. While a resume at the most can extend to three pages, a CV is capable of continuing to five pages and even more.  This extensive guide to know how to write a resume will help you understand the distinction between these two and thereby discern which one is suited to your purpose more appropriately.how to write a resume

A resume could be customised, as regards the order of the work experience; contrastingly, the CV maintains a strictly chronological pattern. A resume targets and highlights the skills that are pertinent to the job description given by the recruiter, but a CV does not focus on the specific attributes of the individual. Instead, it provides in-depth information on the professional life of the individual along with the personal details required for the job with emphasis on the academic accomplishments. It should not be difficult to comprehend that the essence of the two documents is hugely contrasting; the CV is mostly for the academic fields of work, including scientific research. The resume, on the other hand, is preferred in all different types of jobs apart from academics and science research such as non-profit organisations, professions of the public sector and also the numerous other industries.

As already mentioned the CV focuses on the academic work areas, its composition, therefore, is designed accordingly, where the academic qualifications and descriptions are provided in complete details from the beginning. However, when one follows an extensive guide to know how to write a resume, it becomes clear that a resume of anyone who has earned a minimum experience of a year should always begin with the essential skills which would be inherently relevant with the job description. The educational qualification then becomes a section of less importance and acquires a place somewhere towards the end in the resume structure.

Once it is clearly understood that a resume and a CV are majorly distinctive, the next vital information one ought to have is of the various types of resumes which are available. For this, careful browsing through the job description offered by the hiring company and comparing the same with one’s current background is required. In identifying and comprehending the responsibilities of the position put out for occupancy, it becomes more straightforward for the applicant to decide and use the most appropriate type of resume.

The Various Types of Resumes

There are four basic types of resumes that are known to exist, namely;

  1. Chronological or Reverse Chronological

    – This is the most commonly used resume; it is primarily availed by those who have continuity in their professional lives, and are looking to changing their job for a better position in the same area of expertise. In other words, those looking for a vertical advancement are the people who prefer this format of resume because it focuses on the work experience of the applicant. The professional history of the applicant is enlisted in the resume in the reverse order, i.e., the list begins with the current place of work and its responsibilities, gradually enumerating the experiences to the time when the individual started working.

    Using addendum pages to a Reverse Chronological Resume will create Reverse Chronological Long Tail Resume which is applicable to professionals who are from Research/academic/public service viz. District Collector/Magistrate/Chief Secretary etc. Here, it is important to leave a note at the end of a particular section to refer to the addendum page where additional information about that section is available.

  2. Functional

    – For those who have had significant gaps in their professional history, this is the most suitable kind of resume. The reason for this is that the focus of this resume is on the relevant skills of the individual applying for the position. A resume of this specification is mostly suited for those intending on changing their area of the profession entirely and working in a new sector altogether. Also, those wanting to highlight any particular skill should opt for this resume type because it is the chief skill of an individual that gets emphasised in a functional resume, in such a way that it affects the decision-making process of the recruiter positively. (Click the link to learn more about how to write a functional resume)

  3. Combination

    – As the name suggests, this is a resume that is an amalgamation of the Reverse Chronological and the Functional types of resume. It includes both the work history as well as the required traits for the offered position, but the abilities and skills of the individual are described in detail before the professional chronology. Each skill set is taken individually and elaborated describing the place where this particular ability was displayed. The individuals who wish to change their work sector and do not have any history of unemployment within the career can use this form of resume to their advantage.

  4. STAR or Situation Task Action Results 

    – This is the format of resume which digs deep into the required traits of the applicant. Through it, one presents complete details of the particular skill one wishes to highlight; to say, what situations were present, what tasks the candidate was entrusted with, what actions the candidate performed and the ensuing results of the action taken. The STAR format of a resume, basically answers the mentioned queries of the recruiters and is by far the easiest method for deciding whether or not the applicant is worthy for the position offered and can be hired or not. The recruiters prefer this format of the resume because in most other forms the individual contribution of the applicant is often not clear about a particular skill set. Answering a resume in the STAR format also evades a lot of the follow-up questions that would otherwise be necessary to comprehend the competence of the applicant. This kind of resume is beneficial for both the recruiter and the applicant, those who have had convincing experiences in their professional tenure of the past can employ this to their advantage by describing in details how they had made optimal use of their particular skill. This resume type is more suitable for defence professionals.

The ‘Resume Objective’ and How to Write it

After knowing the wide variety of available resume, it is imminent that one would want to learn the contents and arrangement of sections is each format of resume. This extensive guide to know how to write a resume will undoubtedly prove helpful to anyone seeking information on anything concerning a resume. The next thing that should be understood is that every type of resume begins with the section that clarifies the objective of the applicant to the recruiter immediately. It goes by the name of ‘Resume Objective‘ or ‘Job Objective.’ Though many believe that mentioning an objective in the resume has become outdated, yet there can be no denying the fact the kind of effect it has on the recruiter. To be able to grow aware of the purpose a person is looking for the concerned job simplifies the task of selecting those who are most keen to take the role on and therefore would be dedicated to the cause. Considering the kind of weight this segment carries with it, one ought to be thoroughly thoughtful in composing it in just one or two lines, yet conveying the message of why he/she wants the specific position, strongly.

Assigning a few lines to a ‘Resume Objective’ is exceptionally beneficial for those who are attempting a shift from their present career sector. At times even if one does not have sufficient related experience for the post offered, yet an emphatic statement on how ambitious one is and his eligibility for the role put up in the offer; could persuade the recruiter to consider at least once. Now, it should be mentioned here that the ‘Resume objective’ varies with each type of resume.

In a Reverse Chronological resume, the Job Objective is composed of an entirely straightforward manner targeting the position of vacancy; this is supported by the experiences of the individual if any. Also named the ‘Career Objective,’ the objective of a job in a functional resume does not relate any real-time; one of the past, it instead vividly states the intent of acquiring of the position. This section is not of much consequence in the functional format as it is a purely skills focused resume type. The Combination format of the resume deals with the objective in another way; the applicant here has to talk the transferable skill that he/she possesses and how it would be relevant to the one required for the said position. The experiences of the past have to be justified in a way that the recruiter is convinced to hire the applicant despite the absence of any direct relevance to the skill needed for the position. Click the link to read about creating a stunning job objective which never fails.

The Frequented Errors in Writing a Resume Objective

Depending on the person and the profession that one is targeting, the ‘Career Objective’ may vary; it is different for an entry-level candidate, a high-school pass out, and an experienced person looking for a sector change of profession. Nonetheless, often there are some glaring errors in the constitution of this segment of the resume and hence the reason, one should learn to master the art of writing a resume flawlessly. Provided below are some of the most typical mistakes found in writing a ‘Resume Objective’ for any kind f resume, and by any genre of an applicant, that should be avoided.

  1. Filling out the blanks in a default ‘Career Objective’: Often the applicants are not just applying in one company or organisation for their job, so they look out for a convenient method of doing so at several places simultaneously. Finally, they end up taking an already structured Objective, wherein there are standard objective statements, and merely filling in their personal information in the given blanks. This is a grave mistake that one should avoid and never consider giving the same resume to different recruiters, one should make efforts to customize each resume differently, even if the details of it are the same.
  2. Placing the spotlight in the Objective incorrectly: A resume objective should ideally emphasise the skills of the applicant and how the hiring company could benefit by recruiting him/her. Unfortunately, some job seekers rule out the part where they have to build confidence in the recruiter by stating how hiring him for the position is going to be profitable for the company goals. Instead, they focus entirely on themselves and speak about the unique skill they possess. This kind of ‘Job Objective’ fails hugely in creating any positive impact on the hirer and has no value in their regard.
  3. Making Vague Statements: A lot of first-time resume writers do not understand the value an ‘objective’ holds in a resume and end up making unclear and vague statements both about their skills and how they can prove to be indispensable for the hiring organisation. They fall short in bringing in ‘specification’ of the intent of looking for that particular kind of job. One should avoid using generic phrases such as ‘looking for a high paying job.’ This does not give a clear picture to the recruiter in the decision-making process and is thus not appreciated in any way.

While composing the ‘Resume Objective,’ it is very crucial one remembers that it is like the first impression that will be created on the mind of the recruiter which is precisely the reason why one should make it count. In spite of being written in just a few lines, but this is what will leave a lasting impact on the hiring company, therefore, making sure that this introduction to the resume is to the point, brief and yet impactful is of profound importance.

Resume Summary – the other kind of introduction to a resume

A ‘Resume Summary’ is another kind of an introduction that one can render to a resume, in place of a ‘Resume Objective.’ The summary comprises of all the necessary information about the individual, as one would be asked in a “Tell Me About Yourself” section of an interview. It encapsulates, briefly, one’s educational background, professional accomplishments, specialisations and unique selling point. It has to be compiled in not more than four to six sentences, which can be presented in bullets. Similar to the ‘Resume Objective,’ because the placement of this segment of the resume is right at the beginning, it becomes the most decisive part of it and therefore needs thorough planning before its composition.

The summary is sure to catch the attention of the reader of the resume and thus, the owner of the resume must by all- means make sure that the best side is highlighted. For the freshers who are applying for a job for the first time, the educational qualification forms the crux of the summary; but in the case of experienced individuals, emphasising the high points of their career plays a vital role in getting hired. Any summary that can capture the relevant strengths of the applicant is bound to receive recognition and appreciation. The recruiters do not always have enough time to go through a particular resume in complete details; they have enough time to skim through it, and the ‘Resume Summary’ in that situation comes of great help to draw the attention of the hiring company. However, minor mention of the objective of showing interest in the available vacant role could further enhance the of being considered under a favourable light.

While writing the summary, it is good to bring into limelight the kind of job functions that have were performed in the past and to validate it more; one could elaborate on the technical strengths and concepts that one possesses and how those were employed to perform the specific job functions of the past. A resume summary carries a lot of weight in the entire resume, irrespective of the status in life of the job seeker. Whether one is looking for the first job, has a bagful of experiences in the said field of work because of the  years of work in the same genre, or even if one is planning on making a complete change of career; an alluring summary at the onset of a resume can surely be the way to secure a positive response from the hiring company.

Managing the Core Competencies

The resume summary is supported for authenticity through the next most crucial segment ‘Core Competencies’. This is the section that gives the details of how competent one is in certain traits that would be beneficial for the position up for grabs. In a Reverse Chronological resume, this section is presented in a bulleted list within a table but needs to be remembered here that only those traits which have some relevance with the responsibilities of the job in question, should be listed. Also, there are specific industrial keywords such as team leadership, decision making, warehousing, flexibility, and several more, specific to different industries of work, which should be used instead of randomly writing self-created words. This helps in easily drawing the attention of the recruiter.

Since this is the essential section in a Functional resume, it needs to be written with a little more details than just merely listing the competencies. The responsibilities and job functions that were performed where these competencies were instrumental in achieving the desired goals require to be stated at length. These experiences might be a thing of the, but still possess those competencies, and that is the reason, it is advisable to write these sentences in the present tense. It would also be good if one gives a complete picture of the past incident from the beginning to the end; that is to say, you group all the related skills of one competency and compile it into one sentence in the core competencies. This segment of the resume is either placed before the resume summary of qualifications or after it or even alongside it.

The combination format of resume has this section too, and it is placed before the division of work experience. It is better to keep this section as organised as one can because any hiring company is more interested in your skills rather than your achievements. They need to be convinced that they will be profited by hiring you as an employee; similar skills ought to be thus correctly grouped so that there is no repetition and it can create the best impact possible.

The Most Vital Part of your Resume: Work Experience

All the experience that one has gathered over the years will be recorded in this fourth and most vital section of the resume. This can also be called the Key Achievements, but that depends on the number of years one has worked; if one has an experience of below twelve years, then it is better to name it as Work Experience. However, if it has been more than twelve years that one has been working, then this segment can be called as Key Achievements.

How to Compose the Work Experience

If one has opted for the functional resume format, then the section comprises of the employer’s name, the tenure of service along with the designation at which the individual was employed. When following the Reverse Chronological format of a resume, this section should appear different as it is meant to contain all the work responsibilities performed in the past in elaborate details. Writing all these things by using an active verb is highly preferential. In case one has an experience which is less than five years, it is best that they focus on some skill such as a ‘team player’ and narrate the incident that highlights the specific trait. But if you have managed to gather a professional experience of more than five years and less than ten years, then the best option to describe is one’s ability to cooperate and collaborate with people in the best way. To put this across in the resume, the phrase ‘Liaising Skills’ is what will draw the attention of the reader. For those who have crossed even that timeline and reached the expertise of more than ten years in a field of work, then the thing one ought to project in this section of the resume is ‘Leadership Skills’.

It could be challenging for one to remember such details while composing a resume and they end up making certain prevalent mistakes such as not using the past tense when explaining the by-gone incidents. Often, in the bid to impress the reader of the resume, the vocabulary consists of some scarcely written words, rendering it an adverse effect on the contrary. The reason for this is a recruiter does not have a lot of time, considering there are so many resumes to look through, so they look out for certain stock words that can convey to them the confirmation that they have got the skills that they were on the hunt for.

If however, one does have a lot of achievements that can be listed, the part that describes the responsibilities can be reduced. This will help to emphasise the kind of things one has accomplished with the help of the skills that he/she possesses.

The Convincing Element of a Resume – the Achievements Section

Making one’s achievements known to the recruiter is the next most crucial section in a resume, irrespective of the format you are using. They are the window to seeing how efficiently your skills have ever been put to use and successful outputs acquired as a consequence; thereby making it convenient for the recruiters to make their decision. They act as evidence to substantiate the claims of the possession of specific traits that may be necessary for the position in question.

The section on achievements is usually amalgamated with the segment of unique skills when it is in a functional or a combination resume; but when it comes to the Reverse Chronological format, there is a whole dedicated section for this criteria. To be able to draw the attention of the recruiter to the achievements, one could employ the tactics of making sure the results obtained should be mentioned and how that profited one’s previous place of employment. However, missing out on talking about the improvement in any specific function and its ensuing commendable result, is a frequent error that ought to be avoided.

It is beneficial if one can get a grasp of the fact that all awards are considered as achievements, but not all achievements necessarily need to be an award. Therefore, even a recognition received at an internal level can be regarded as an achievement and should be written under this heading. Having taken the initiative to head something due to which good outcomes were witnessed can also be listed as an achievement; the appreciation acquired either by the management or a client, the promotions one may have been given, are all things which will add value to the achievements segment.

The entry-level candidates could dedicate a maximum of 2 to 3 sentences for this segment, while a little more experienced could use a fair 4 to 6 points, but those who can be categorised as senior-level professionals need to devote a good 8 to 12 of achievement.

Some Other Categories Which May Be Added

After giving all the essential information in the categories as mentioned earlier, one could add some more areas of showcasing their ability such as:

  • Training and Certification – if one has undertaken any specialised training and received a certificate for the same it can be listed under this specification; however, it is better if that training has some relevance to the post being offered.
  • Extramural Engagement – this is applicable for applicants of all levels, there is no discrimination here. If one has been involved in any activity in the past that can be helpful in doing the job, then it is worth the while to enlist it under this label.
  • Education – one’s educational qualification does play an essential role in a resume and hence something that cannot be missed out on under any circumstance. The recruiter, by all means, would like to know how far one has been educated so that they can be sure that the applicant has a certain level of understanding and comprehension about the position available.
  • Personal Profile – This is a slightly variable segment because it bears more weight for the applicants from the foreign lands.

The Final Suggestions

  • The contact information that one provides should be carefully written so that it fulfils its purpose. Things such as the Name, Mailing Adress, Telephone Number, E-mail Id (Ensure that it is an appropriate Id and is used for professional purposes only), ought to be provided with accurate details. Having an online portfolio and a LinkedIn profile makes one eligible to put that down too in the resume.
  • Photographs are not a very crucial criterion for a resume; nonetheless, if a recruiter has shown an inclination towards requiring one in the job description, one should most definitely provide one.
  • Avoiding overt usage of tables, graphics and text boxes in resumes is encouraged, and applicants must follow the same thus, as this promotes a disadvantage in the interlinking process.
  • Writing a resume of any format using the text mostly is highly recommended, this is so that the ATS or the Applicant Tracking System can operate effectively. The ATS is a sophisticated software that is used by recruiters to ease out their process of collecting, sorting and scanning the resumes they receive to shortlist the applicants.

A resume can be considered to be the passport to one’s journey in the professional life which is why one cannot afford to make any glitches in it. The primary requirement of a resume to a recruiter is most certainly to know why they should hire a particular applicant, so what needs to be remembered here is a rich vocabulary is not something that can help one bag the job, instead, following the criteria mentioned above could surely help one do the same with ease. Being able to represent oneself in the best light is the fundamental goal of a resume and that is what one should strive towards, but having said that exploring through as many resumes as one can, is a way one can educate oneself on the subject, and then improvise on it. Quantifying the resume, that is to say, providing statistics for any achievement is an excellent way to enrich a resume, in place of making vague statements. Spelling mistakes and typos could be a matter of concern, making it a mandate to check the resume several times before handing it over to the recruiter.

Composing a resume following the given suggestions cannot be a difficult task if however, there is still some doubt taking help from professionals is the wisest thing to do. I hope this article provides all the possible information relevant to a resume; for any kind of further advanced assistance in designing of a Resume, click here Resume Writing Services and the avail the best services in resume writing from us.

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