Everyone struggles with questions on how to make a resume from time to time. Although there are as many ways to writing one as there are resumes, some principles don’t change. Following them makes your resume stand out and helps you get that desired position. Here are some guidelines you need to stick to when you write your resume.
In learning how to make a resume, it's helpful to start with a truly horrible sentence and improve it step by step showing you the how’s and why’s of resume writing.
"I was responsible for a large, profitable department at ABC industries.”
Tip # 1: Don’t personalize your resume with “I”
Your potential employer knows it’s about you. This screams amateur. Eliminate all uses of he, she, I etc.
Let’s rewrite it…
Tip #2: Write with Power
Writing style separates resumes that get tossed from those that get read. What is a resume? It’s a sales letter and the product is you.
Given this let’s begin with word choice. When you write about your experience, lead with a strong verb that doesn’t describe the job but describes the achievement. In other words don’t write a job description.
Managed a large, profitable department at ABC industries
It’s a bit better, but still needs a lot of work.
Let’s rewrite it…
Tip #3: How to Make a Resume Using Details
Details convince. Detail persuade. Details make things seem real. Another helpful hint is to use specific numbers that are not even (when possible of course.) 17 seems less arbitrary than 10. Here’s our example again…
Managed a large profitable department at ABC industries which grew profits by 47%
Doesn’t it seem more real? It’s more believable because it’s more specific but it lacks benefits.
Let’s keep working on it…
Tip #4: It’s all About the Benefits
It’s critical to talk about benefits your employer will receive by hiring you. Remember people get hired because their employers believe they will benefit by hiring you.
Managed a 100 person marketing department for ABC industries which grew profits by 47%. “Profits enabled ABC to increase R&D spending; boosting market share.
Much better. Now, there is a tangible benefit to your management skill – increased market share. But let’s make it easier to read. How? Add a bullet. Let's reformat it...
Tip # 5: Bullets
The bullet grabs attention, it arrests the eye and makes your resume easy to read. One of the most important points in how to make a resume is making it easy to read. Bullets make lists and multiple entries easy to read.
The bulk of the fat is cut out of the sentence and we led with a strong verb. Do all your sentences in the experience section of your resume this way. Can we make it better? Yup. Let’s cut more fat out of the sentence and make it easier to read.
Tip # 6 Easy to Read Font Sizes
Wasn't it a royal pain in the ass reading those example sentences? Can you imagine reading an entire resume in that font size? I can't and neither does the HR person. Use easily read fonts and 10 to 12 point type. Don’t try to stand out by using fonts that are hard on the eyes. Courier and Times New Roman are standards.
Let's rewrite it in 13 point type...
Tip # 7: How to Make a Resume: Fire Your Big Guns First
Another tip in how to make a resume is to always put the “juice” in the first sentence. Never bury important points further back in your listings. So in our little example the “managed a 100 person” part is too important to be a second or third listing. When you have multiple work experience listings in a sentence, lead with the most important one first.
In our example, "maintained an employee information data base" is not as important as “managed a 100 person marketing department” and so should come after it.
Tip #8: Match the Terminology in the Job Description
If you see “full-time ESL teacher needed” in the job description, your resume shouldn’t read “English Instructor.” If you match the wording in the job ad you see, the chance that you’ll catch the HR persons eye is higher. This means more job offers.
Tip #9 Tailor the Information in Your Entire Resume to Support Your Job Objective.
There is no reason to include information that doesn’t do this. So for example if you’re looking for work in a teaching field, there isn’t any reason for listing a waitress position on your resume. However don’t cause gaps in your work history by doing this.
Tip #10: Other Ways of Saying “Fluent”
If you can speak Japanese a bit, don’t write fluent. You’ll be found out before the interviews is done. If you have achieved a certain fluency level, list it. If you can speak Japanese but never took a proficiency test, you can quantify things this way - “conversationally fluent” or “business level fluency.” You can even say things as "able to function with Japanese staff."