Starting a resume is as simple as smiling into the mirror, but almost as hard as smiling every day.
As per the findings of an internal research done by experts at Hiration, here’s what employers want to see at the top of resumes:
- Summary statement: ~86%
- Objective statement: ~35%
- Customized for their open position: ~62%
- Links to the applicant’s online portfolio, blog or website: ~40%
What is a resume?
The term resume is a French word that means "a summary." That is exactly what your resume does. It summarizes your qualifications, unique skills, and achievements. It represents you to your future employer showcasing your past experiences with details of your skills and training, work experience and accomplishments you have had with past employers, and education.
Why do you need a resume?
Today, the resume has become of primary importance to potential employers. Before taking time to interview you, an employer would like to meet you on paper. How you write your resume is how you impress that employer.
Without a resume you cannot compete. An inferior resume will quickly eliminate you. Hence it is imperative to have a resume that effectively lets employers know what you can do for them.
It should also concisely inform the employer of your career objective and the benefits you will bring to the table.
A resume essentially looks like this when you have made it.
However, to reach the concise model you must proceed in a few specific steps. Let us discuss further.
Apart from being yourself and focusing on value, you need to know how to streamline your experiences one step at a time.
Open the Original Job Description
Both your job description and your experience decide how you start a resume. It determines which resume keywords will be important and whether you should use a resume objective or a resume summary.
In fact the job description gives you a fair idea of what your recruiter is looking for. It describes how your experiences count and whether your education section may benefit from specific coursework listed.
The instructions provided in the job description are always necessary to write your resume and cover letter.
Prepare the Master CV
Before customizing your resume for each application, we recommend compiling a Master CV that includes, quite literally, everything.
The Master CV could be several pages long. The idea behind this is to have a comprehensive record of all your activities, experiences and accomplishments.
A Master CV will save you enough time. Rather than creating multiple renditions of your resume from scratch you can optimize your resume based on your job description and you existing points.
Further, this document will jog your memory regarding what all you have done throughout your life.
Your Master CV should include all information about your past work experiences, duties and achievements, along with:
Publications and presentations
Honors, awards, and achievements
Certifications and trainings
... and anything else that could be significant in getting yourself a job.
Prepare a Resume Outline
After preparing the Master CV, prepare your resume outline. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure your resume outline is tailored for each application:
- Read the target job description carefully and research the organization to identify the significant parameters and key skills
- Use targeted headings which direct to the main requirements of the position
- Include additional section for key achievements during your work profile
- Make sure the order of your sections ensues the most important experiences to appear early
A resume outline is not only a first draft. It assists the person in more way.
- It helps ensure that you have included all key sections.
- It allows you to visualize your resume structure.
- It enhances the accuracy of your resume.
A recruiter spends 6 seconds scanning each resume on average. So, a resume outline is crucial to provide the recruiter with everything they want to know about their perfect candidate - you.
Choose the Perfect Font
You want your resume to stand out for the right reasons. Since your resume is a marketing tool to sell you to an employer, it should clearly represent your professionalism.
Professionalism does not include the tricks for artistic expression.
First, say goodbye to cartoon fonts. Do not use Comic Sans. It is almost ridiculous. Nobody takes that font seriously.
On an average, the recruiter spends 10 seconds to with your resume. So you have to make it count. That is not going to happen with sloppy or unprofessional fonts.
Anyone with basic style or design skills can know that there are hundreds of fonts out there to choose from. Picking the right one can, therefore, be difficult.
There are two categories of font:
Serif fonts are stylized fonts with decorative markings. They are reliable, authoritative, and traditional.
Some serif fonts include: Times New Roman, Bell MT, Bodoni MT, Bookman Old Style, Cambria, Goudy Old Style, Calibri, Garamond, and Georgia.
San-serif fonts are characterized as being simpler and no-frills. They are associated with being clean, universal, objective and stable.
Examples of san-serif fonts include: Verdana, Trebuchet MS, Century Gothic, Gill Sans MT, Lucida Sans, Tahoma, Helvetica, and Arial.
Of the things you must consider while selecting fonts are three simple principles.
First, no matter which font you use, you must consider legibility. The typeface you choose must be easy on the eyes and show up well in print and on screen.
Secondly, not everyone has the same operating system on their computer. So unique or gimmicky fonts might look great on one computer and might not show up or show as absolute nonsense on another.
Finally, in today's job portals, most resumes are first scanned by an automated Applicant Tracking Software program. Any font that is illegible with the software will be automatically discarded.
It is up to you which font works best for your profile. Experts at Hiration suggests keeping it simple and going with Calibri or Helvetica. It is the perfect display of style and clarity.
HIRATION PRO TIP: Times New Roman have been a tried and tested choice for job seekers. However, we recommend giving it a pass since it is extremely overused.
Choose the Perfect Format
There are three standard modes of formatting your resume.
1. Chronological Resume Format
Reverse chronological resumes are the most commonly used layout. It is what it sounds like. A reverse chronological listing of all your work history that starts with your most recent positions listed first and traces back to your initial years to your education.
It is easy for employers to quickly scan what jobs you have had held and how long you have had held them. It also often includes an objective or career summary as well as education, certifications, and special skills.
For applicants with a strong working background, this is a great way to showcase your experiences.
2. Functional Resume Format
Functional resumes focus more on skills and experiences rather than chronological resumes do.
However, in the functional format, the chronological work history is not evident. Therefore, it perfect for people who are changing careers or have gaps in their work history.
This happens by focusing attention on specific skills and capabilities. The functional resume focuses on the actual skills you possess and highlights what you know rather than when you did it.
If you are applying for a job with specific skills or clearly defined requirements and/or traits, choose the functional format.
3. Combination Resume
Combination resumes are a combination of the chronological and functional resumes.
It lists your skills and your employment history in chronological order.
Th combination resume highlights your relevant skills as well provides your potential employer with a chronological record of the jobs you have held in the past.
The first part of the combination format is your functional resume section that highlights your skills, achievements and qualifications. The second part is the time line of your work experience.
This type of format is effective for applicants who want to showcase the most relevant skills while documenting work history. This format gives you the space to explain gaps in work history as well as career changes.
Research & Groundwork
First, start Writing the Experience Section. This section is to list tasks they performed in each position and add quantifiable achievements. Focus on responsibilities and achievements which are relevant to the target job.
Once you have your work history you have a fair idea of not only what you did but also who and how long you worked for. Including the titles you held before a bulleted list of responsibilities and/or duties ensures you have the transparent knowledge to understand your potential.
Secondly, write your Education Section. Include these items to make a well-rounded education entry as you are putting together a resume:
University Name & Location
Degree & Major
Awards, Honors, & GPA
This encompasses your idea of how well you curricular scope is.
Thirdly, write your Skills Section. After bolding and bucketing, find the highlighted words. These are your skills. Although the skills section takes up little space on your resume, it has great impact, especially while writing your introductions.
This section involves a quick outline of the skills you have exhibited across your resume work experience. These can include things like soft skills, computer skills, technical skills, language skills, etc.
Check out our best examples of skills you can on a resume on our website.
Writing your Resume Summary/Objective/Profile
The Resume Introduction does the following things:
1) Quickly articulates your value
To convince your recruiter to hire you in 5 lines, what would you pitch? This is the purpose of your executive summary. Recruiters usually read the 3-5 sentences to know if you’re qualified enough before spending time on your resume.
The summary statement basically acts as a short yet powerful description of your skills and achievements spanning 4-5 sentences. Your summary is personalized to the important aspects of your profile.
The first thing recruiters see is what is up-front, so it is crucial to put the most important information.
List the most important information that demonstrate how you are uniquely qualified for the job. The objective of the resume summary is to make the recruiters want to read more about you.
The following example briefs you on how to make a resume summary which involves a cohesive structure of all skills. For more examples you can check out the
Dynamic and result-oriented Business Analyst adept at deploying analytical and database tools to scrutinize business operations across design multiple sectors & deliver client-centric solutions. Highly skilled in identifying and fulfilling client requirements within the framework of organizational work processes. Employs effective data analysis techniques to form a support system for decision-making by senior management. Adept at preparing relevant reports to direct knowledge-transfer & ensure adherence to organizational processes. Proven track record in formulating process enhancements to deliver bottom-line profitability.
|Systems Integration||Data Analysis & Forecasting|
|Delivering Presentations||Business and Industrial Research|
|Quality Assurance||Orientation & Training|
|Business Communication||Financial Modeling & Analytics|
2) Makes you stand out from the crowd
Your application for a job will likely be under a long stack yet to be reviewed. It is, therefore, essential that you stand out from others.
By leading with your education / experiences, your recruiter might find it difficult to identify how you are different than anyone else.
Make your relevant skills and experiences evident and up front in an executive summary or profile.
3) To summarize all the important points
Your proven track record of success with regards for values is pursued best in your resume summary.
In addition to highlighting your skills, a resume summary conveys the important message of you being a strong communicator.
As most industry jobs will require you to synthesize complex concepts into a few key takeaways and communicate them clearly and concisely, by crystallizing your experiences into a few essential elements, you will demonstrate you have the communication skills to craft a narrative.
The profile/summary is your most valuable resume real estate. It is your best chance to position yourself as an obvious fit for your target role in the industry. Make the most of your executive summary.
The following is an example of how to start a resume for a job in a senior level.
Resume Summary - Senior Level Professional (General Manager)
20 years experienced, value-driven & result-oriented Top-level Management Professional & Port/Shipping Specialist with a track record of spearheading teams to champion Operations Management for inbound/outbound cargo across international trade lines. Highly skilled in conducting audits and directing Quality Assurance initiatives for achieving business objectives. Proficient in conceptualizing cost optimization measures and enhancing utilization of resources for delivering compelling business value to key stakeholders.
Choosing a resume introduction
Your introduction can make the difference between getting an interview and elimination. So make your choice carefully.
There are three ways of starting the resume. It is essential to choose the one which best fits you to the position you're applying for.
1. Career objective
A career objective or a resume objective is ideal for candidates who are writing an entry-level resume.
It is comprises around four sentences targeting a specific position and addressing the requirements set by the employer in the job description.
The career objective is the best way to start writing a resume in case you do not have relevant experiences for the position.
It highlights the necessary aspects of your personality, character, and work ethic. They show that you would be well suited for the job.
2. Qualifications summary
The qualifications summary befits experienced candidates who are applying for jobs in any industry. It is laid out in five or six points in a small paragraph right after your title.
The qualifications summary demonstrate your abilities and accomplishments which meet the requirements stated in the job description. It also focuses on achievements from work and academia.
The summary is longer than a career objective and acts as a resume summary well suited for candidates who are applying for jobs in a different industry as it emphasizes an applicant’s skillset over their experience.
3. Professional profile
Start a resume if you are writing a professional resume and looking for a job in a similar role or industry. It is a combination of a career objective and a qualifications summary.
Specially designed for entry-level employees, the professional profile is a flexible style of introduction. It can also be formatted as a paragraph or as bullet points.
A professional profile is especially important if you are applying to an industry job from academia. Many jobs list industry experience but recruiters ultimately consider applicants without it. Leading with an executive summary gives you have time to persuade a recruiter you're worth considering, rather than emphasizing the fact you are fresh out of academia.
Experienced candidates can also tailor it to focus on their strengths.
Writing your resume introduction
You need to craft the summary you decide to use to start a resume. Whichever of the three formats you choose, your introductions have to be clear, concise, and focus on your strong points.
You should change the introduction for each job application aiming to match your skills, abilities, and experience with the job requirements stated in each job posting.
Follow the tips carefully for starting a resume depending on which resume introduction style you choose.
A career objective should be a single paragraph consisting of two to four sentences. It should include any relevant years of work experience, past job responsibilities, important and significant skills, abilities, and personality traits, and relevant qualifications, certificates and licenses.
Focus on your strengths. For example, if you are writing a student resume and have no relevant experience, don’t highlight this. Instead, place emphasis on your qualifications, abilities, work ethic, and personality strengths.
Consisting of five or six points, a qualifications summary should focus on a candidate’s key accomplishments, highlighting the applicant’s key competencies.
Focusing on transferable skills such as leadership, creativity, communication, efficiency, and management skills makes this format ideal for those looking for a career change. order the bullet points from top to bottom in terms of importance.
The professional profile is much more flexible and is ideal for experienced candidates.
Whether you choose to format it as a paragraph or a bullet points, you should focus on years of relevant experience, areas of expertise, career achievements, and transferable skills.
Using our online resume builder is the most ideal way of developing a professional resume which highlights a candidate’s strengths. You don’t have to start a new resume for each job application. Instead you can use pre-designed templates to make your resume.
Writing a Heading Statement
If you have followed the insructions, you are almost done with the whole resume. Finish writing the resume by touching the points up with other important guideliness. You may find these guidelines specific to your need on our blog.
Your heading statement will be the first thing recruiters start reading. It is the first impression. So you may leave it till the end. A few excellent examples of such statements are:
8+ years experienced & result oriented software engineer skilled in leading the development of multiple commercially successful products from scratch, with active involvement throughout the development life cycle.
6+ years experienced and result oriented finance professional skilled in finance, P&L management, financial policy and receivables/payables management for different industries.
21+ years experienced & result oriented business leader with the ability to set up new businesses, conduct sales & business development, manage client relationships & lead teams.
Experienced & result oriented marketing expert skilled at marketing, communications, branding, campaign management, campaign analysis and team management.
Result oriented and dedicated supply chain manager with a total work experience of 7+ years in managing supply chains.
The heading statement is an intro for a resume. The resume summary or resume objective usually follows this statement.
How not to start a Resume?
Attempting the multipurpose approach
If you try to make a generic resume which you send to all advertised vacancies then you always end up with a huge chance to be tossed in the bin. Your lack of effort is evident in your disinterest in the particular company.
Employers expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in their organization.
Establishing what you want to gain from the job.
Your focus should be on what you can provide to the employer. Here’s what to include in a resume summary statement. Writing an objective statement at the top of your resume only swallows up precious resume space! Besides, you can write about yourself in your cover letter and/or application email.
Candidates claim to be former CEOs, to have won the Nobel Prize, and to have attended colleges that do not exist. These lies are sometimes misguided attempts to compensate for lacking the necessary qualifications for the job.
However, candidates should only concentrate on the skills they can offer.
Candidates who meet three out of five key qualifications for a specific role are prospective of being called for an interview. So you may not have to add too many false details next time.
Your resume format is as important as its content. The best format is one that makes it easiest for the hiring manager to scan your resume and be able to pick out your key qualifications and career goals.
So, pick a format and stick with it. For example, if you write the month and year for the dates, then use the same format throughout the rest of your resume.
Starting phrases with I
Follow two simple instructions:
Do not write your resume in third person.
Do not include pronouns while writing it in first person.
Writing the Resume Summary & Key Skills first
Your resume summary and key skills should resonate with the proceeding profile. You should not ideally include key skills or keywords in your skills and summary which you haven't used in your experiences sections.
Therefore, experts suggest you write the experiences and bucket your responsibilities and accomplishments before you write the sections.
You should write your summary and key skills section at the end lest you add less or extra information about your words.
First, get started
- Open the Original Job Description
- Prepare a Resume Outline that suits your content
- Choose the Perfect Font that suits your style
- Choose the Perfect Format that suits your history
Secondly, research about your target job description. Analyze the keywords you can use and write your resume summary/objective/profile. Note that they serve the following common purposes:
- Quickly articulates your value
- Makes you stand out from the crowd
- To summarize all the important points
Thirdly, you should know the difference between the a career objective and a resume statement.
The resume objective statement represents your ambitious side and talks about your expectations. It is important for a candidate who is about to join the industry to include an objective statement.
A resume summary statement represents your qualifications summary. It talks about everything you have done till date in a consise format. Therefore it is preferred by experienced professionals.
Do not start your resume in the following ways:
- Attempting the multipurpose approach
- Establishing what you want to gain from the job
- Blatant lies
- Inconsistent formatting
- Starting phrases with "I"
- Writing the Resume Summary & Key Skills first
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