A resume is the first impression you provide to a hiring manager. But how to make a resume that will stand out? Attempting to summarise who you are and your professional experience into a single document can be downright overwhelming. At the same time, a well-written professional resume is the difference between landing an interview for your dream job and facing auto-rejections again and again.
Today, making a resume that stands out is particularly difficult. With the use of automated applicant tracking systems, numerous qualified candidates never have the chance to speak to an actual human. In this guide, we’re going to address these issues head-on. We’ll talk about how to make a resume, what you need to do to connect that resume to your LinkedIn profile, and offer some key tips relating to crafting resumes that will actually be seen by human eyes.
Steps On How to Make a Resume
Before you sit down to create your resume, make sure you have a list of key dates and information about previous employment. This information will be central to the design of your resume and will act as the bulk of your resume content. If you aren’t sure what dates you held certain positions, try to uncover this information by reaching out to previous colleagues or looking for job offer documents you may have received.
Once you have this info handy, it’s time to get started. Let’s see the steps on how to make a resume:
#1: Choose Your Format
There are three common types of resume formats:
- Chronological: In this style of resume, you list your work in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent position.
- Functional: A functional resume focuses on skills rather than experience. Instead of listing your work history, you’ll create a categorized list of skills relevant to your field.
- Combination: A blend of chronological and functional, this resume highlights skills while also listing work history.
In the majority of cases, a chronological resume format is the best pick. There are unique situations, such as when you have no work history, when a functional resume might be a better choice.
Additionally, if you are applying to an executive-level position where your skills are extremely important, a combination resume might be ideal. If you’re not sure, default to a chronological resume.
#2: Use a Template
To help ensure that your resume is formatted correctly and easy to read, start by downloading a free resume template. You can find countless resume template options online, including the following popular template choices:
There are dozens of styles available through these sources. It is recommended that you choose something simple and text-based. The only time a highly stylized resume is a better option is when you are applying for a creative role.
#3: Add the Details
With your template ready, it’s time to add your own information.
Start by adding your contact details. Be sure to include a professional email address, a LinkedIn profile link, and a phone number.
Most resumes will have space at the top for a quick resume summary as well. You can use this space to highlight your career achievements and skills.
The bulk of your resume — when using a chronological resume style — is your work experience. This is where you should focus your energy on making your resume impactful. You want to quickly summarize your experience and achievements in a way that showcases you in the best light possible. Make sure to also add in the dates you held each position.
For the education section of your resume, keep it short and to the point. Your most recent and highest degree is the most important one to list.
Finally, end your resume with a quick list of important skills or technologies in which you are proficient.
#4: Use a Spelling and Grammar Check
Once you have put together your resume draft, run it through a spelling and grammar check. Spelling and grammar errors can make your resume appear unprofessional.
It can also be helpful to have a friend or family member give your resume a once over. They might be able to catch mistakes that you didn’t notice or point out areas that need improved clarity.
Resume Writing Tips
Throughout the process of writing your resume, there are simple steps you can take to make your resume exceptional. Take the time to review your resume with the following tips in mind:
- Keep it professional. Your resume is a professional representation of you. Don’t include personal anecdotes, slang, or controversial stances.
- Keep it simple. Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes. A long-winded resume takes too much time to digest. Keep your resume to a single page and focus on the most important details.
- Be honest. While you want to present yourself in the best light possible, never lie on your resume. Don’t exaggerate skills or the amount of time you worked at a job.
- Implement numbers. Whenever possible, add numbers to your work history bullet points that showcase your accomplishments. For example, if you work in digital marketing, rather than saying, “Grew organic reach,” add a number to your description and state, “Grew organic reach by 150%”.
- Pay attention to keywords. The majority of companies — particularly large corporations — use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to automatically scan resumes for keywords related to the job. An ATS will then automatically reject resumes that do not contain these critical keywords. Make sure that your resume contains keywords that match the job listing.
- Tailor your resume for the job. When possible, rather than submitting a generic resume for every job, take the time to customize your resume for the specific role to which you are applying. This is particularly helpful in making it past an ATS. You can update your work history and skills to mimic the requirements in the job description.
- Be confident. While remaining honest and accurate is key, don’t be afraid to use your resume to confidently express your accomplishments. This is your time to shine.
- Consider the help of Artificial intelligence. With the incredible progress being made in the world of Natural Language Processing (NLP) models, AI tools are becoming better at assisting you in creating a resume. Try a free online tool, such as Rezi or Kick Resume, and allow AI to aid you in designing and writing your resume. Remember, you should always read over anything AI helps you write and ensure that it is accurate and makes sense to a human reader. AI can be particularly helpful in ensuring that your resume is ready for an ATS.
How to Update Your LinkedIn to Match Your Resume
LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for networking with company leaders, colleagues, and recruiters. Through LinkedIn, you can ensure that your professional profile is simple to view, and you can set up specific job notifications that will alert you of new opportunities.
However, before you share your LinkedIn profile with recruiters and hiring managers, it is important to ensure that the information found on your resume matches your LinkedIn page. Consistency is key when presenting yourself. When dates, titles, and information don’t align, it can be a cause of concern for a hiring manager.
Use these tips to learn how to update your LinkedIn to match your resume:
- Make a concrete list of details. As you update both your resume and your LinkedIn profile, double-check the dates and details. Make sure everything lines up and remains consistent between both places.
- Review, review, review. Don’t simply skim your resume and LinkedIn profile. Pull them both up on your computer, preferably side-by-side. Compare each line and detail.
- Expand on LinkedIn. While you do want your resume and LinkedIn profile to contain consistent information, that doesn’t mean they need to be identical in their content. LinkedIn is a great place to expand your work history. Often, you cannot fit all of your experience onto a single-page resume. Stick to the most recent and relevant info on your resume and use your LinkedIn profile to flesh out the rest.
A great resume and LinkedIn profile are the start of any job search. Continue to stay tuned as we help you put together strategies for applying to jobs, starting new career paths, and growing your professional skills.