How to Write a Resume for a Job: A Step-by-Step Guide

A resume will contain your credentials and tell employers if you are fit for a specific position. Submitting a well-written resume can impress employers and imply a positive impression towards the applicant. The tips and instructions on this article should help you write a good resume for a job.

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How to Write a Resume for a Job: A Step-by-Step Guide

The first objective of any fresh graduate is securing a job and starting their professional career. These fresh graduates will have to compete for job positions against experienced individuals. Companies and employers are always looking for individuals who are already experienced in a certain field since experienced individuals often need less training and can perform tasks efficiently. This leads most fresh graduates to spend a few months up to a year submitting their resumes before finding a job. This is why fresh graduates should learn how to write a resume to reduce the time of finding their first job.

Fresh graduates face different problems when they are just beginning their resume writing. They will proceed with writing their personal details, introduction, and skills. Once they get to the work experience section, they find themselves confused about what to write. Since they are fresh graduates and are just starting with their careers, most of them have never worked for a company or organization and have no idea how to write a resume.

It is not only fresh graduates that face this problem. Individuals that decide that they want to work while in school will have to learn how to write a resume, and if a person is changing career and transferring to a new industry, their previous experiences may have little to no relevance. This makes resume writing a difficult task. However, there are other contents of a resume that an individual can focus on. Their skills and extracurricular activities may be enough for their resume to get them a job interview. This article should help students and applicants learn how to write a professional resume and increase their chances of getting the job.

1. Choose the Right Resume Format

Depending on a person’s professional status, they may need to use a resume format that highlights their most marketable qualities. Students who have no work experience will need to use a format that helps them highlight their skills rather than work history. Professionals who decide to change their career and work industry will need to focus on showing their work experience but also the skills that they can apply in the new industry. Individuals can choose from three major types in their resume writing.

Chronological Type

The chronological type focuses on a person’s work history. It lists an individual’s work history and experiences in reverse-chronological order. This means that an individual should place their most recent work experience at the top part of the experience section. Experienced professionals commonly use this type of format in resume writing. Employers are familiar with this type and so applicants should have no problem using it. However, the chronological type requires applicants to have some work history related to an industry. Individuals, such as fresh graduates and professionals changing careers, should opt to use other types to better highlight their qualifications.

Functional Type

The functional type highlights a person’s skills and talents. This type lists the relevant skills that an applicant has and often skips the experience section. Some applicants who use the functional type still write an experience section but the section is shorter than normal. Most applicants will only indicate their most recent job title functional-type resume writing. The functional type will have a longer skills section that goes into detail about how they apply the skills in their work. The functional type suits fresh graduates who have no work experience. Individuals who are from other fields but are considering transferring to another industry should also use the functional type.

Combination Type

The combination type combines the chronological and functional types in resume writing. It focuses on highlighting all of an applicant’s qualifications: it contains extensive skills and experience sections. Experienced professionals can benefit from using the combination type since they have a lot of skills and experience that they can include in their resume writing. Due to the social impact of the Internet, employers are able to receive more applications. They then use programs or applications to easily find candidates that perfectly fit the job description. The combination type allows an individual to use more keywords that can help increase their chances of getting an interview.

2. Add Your Name and Contact Information

The main goal in resume writing is to grab an employer’s attention and secure the job interview. This is why including an individual’s name and contact information is necessary when making a resume. Failing to add contact information will cause an employer to be unable to contact the applicant and invite them to an interview. The applicant should place their name and contact information at the topmost part of the document. This should be the first thing that employers see when they examine an application. This part of the document should include:

  • Name: The document should include the applicant’s full name. However, an applicant may choose to not include their middle name. Individuals should use large but formal fonts when writing their names. They should avoid including a picture of themselves in the document unless their employer requested it.

  • Contact Number: An applicant should include their cellphone number and if possible, a home phone number. Employers use this information to contact the applicant and tell them if they are available for an interview.

  • Email Address: Besides the contact numbers, employers also use email to contact job candidates. Some employers interview their candidates online, they will then require an applicant to submit an email address that they can use to send links and employment documents.

  • Home Address: Applicants can include their home address when making a resume. However, most employers do not require this unless it is relevant to the job position. Instead of a home address, an applicant can include their LinkedIn profile. Most employers who are doing background checks will look for an applicant’s LinkedIn.

3. Write a Standout Resume Headline

Individuals should include a resume headline below their name and contact information. The headline should be a one-liner that shows the professional status of an applicant. It should be a brief phrase that shows an applicant’s previous job title and years of experience. Applicants should capitalize the headline as if it is the title of the document when making a resume. They should use keywords that are relevant to the job title. If a person is applying for an IT position, they should write a headline that includes the words “IT”, ”software”, “programming”, and other related words. An example headline would be:

“Network Architect with 6 Years Experience in DNS Implementation”

The example provided is concise and gives employers an idea of the person’s work experience. Individuals should write a headline with the intention of catching an employer’s attention and providing a good first impression. The example headline also uses keywords, such as “Network” and “DNS”. These keywords are added so that the recruiter can easily find the candidate’s application.

4. Add Your Professional Resume Summary Statement

In resume writing, an individual can add a resume summary below their headline. This summary highlights the person’s most important qualification. Candidates should include specific and quantified details about an individual’s work experience when making a resume. The quantified details are numbers or statistics related to a person’s work. A salesperson can say in their summary that they consistently exceed their weekly sales quota. To add quantified details, the person should include a percentage. They can say that they consistently exceed their sales quota by 30% for six consecutive months. This will help an employer get a better overview of a person’s qualifications.

The summary should be related to the headline. It can act as a bulleted list that supports the document’s headline. Depending on the individual’s experiences, their summary can focus on their career achievements or most relevant skills. Candidates should also incorporate relevant keywords when writing a summary to help with the document’s visibility. If a person is changing career, making a resume summary can help highlight skills that they can integrate into the new job position. 

5. Detail Your Work Experience

One of the most important parts of resume writing is detailing work experience. A recruiter will look at a person’s work history to see if they are qualified for the position. High positions, such as managerial and supervisory positions, will require a candidate to have multiple years of experience in a job industry. The work experience section should be the largest section of the document unless a person is using a functional format.

Individuals using the chronological format in resume writing should list their job titles in reverse-chronological order. This means that their most recent job should be on the topmost part of the work experience section. It is common for applicants to use bullet points to organize this section. An individual should provide detailed information of their previous job descriptions. The work experience section should include the following information:

  • Job Title: Job titles will serve as headings for the subsection of a work experience section. Candidates should write the job title in bold and increase its font size to separate it from the subsections.

  • Company Name: Candidates should write the company name below the corresponding job title. This is to help recruiters gain an overview of what type of company did the applicant used to work for. The candidate can also include the company’s address in the same line as the company name.

  • Employment Start and End Date: An individual can write their employment start and end date under the company name or beside their job title. When using the chronological format, the individual should use the start and end date as the reference for which title should go on top. The date should include the months and years of employment.

  • Job Description/Responsibilities: People commonly use a bulleted list to write down the description and responsibilities of a job title. An individual can state the job title’s description in one of the bullets but should focus more on giving quantifiable information. They should write down tasks that showcase their abilities and are relevant to the new position. An individual should also include their achievements with regards to the job title. This will help recruiters know the productivity level of a candidate.

When making a resume work experience section, an individual should include keywords. This not only helps the document’s visibility but also helps recruiters know that a candidate is familiar with the job environment. If an individual previously worked in a fast-food restaurant but is currently trying to apply for a teaching position, they should try to highlight duties that are relevant to the teaching position. If they have experience in orienting trainees, they should highlight it in this section. They should incorporate keywords, such as “orientation,” “training,” “evaluating” and “educating” to let recruiters know about their relevant experience.

Fresh graduates often have a hard time making a resume due to the work experience section. This is because they do not have any work history to indicate in the document. However, they can fill this section with volunteer works and extracurricular activities. They can also search for resume examples for college students online. Fresh graduates can include their internship in this section. Volunteer works in orphanages, homeless shelters, and medical programs can also count as work experience. Individuals can even include part-time jobs like babysitting and dog-walking. They should, however, make sure that the task is relevant to the job position.

6. Put Relevant Skills that Fit the Job Ad

After the work experience section, the skills section is the second most important part of the document. Skills are the person’s abilities that make them stand out from the competition. Job ads have a list of requirements that includes relevant skills. A person applying for a bank position should have skills like bookkeeping and data analysis. A person applying in the IT field should have skills related to JavaScript, SQL, and Ruby on Rails. The skills in a document help recruiters assess the qualification of a candidate.

2 types of skills

Individuals should be aware of the two types of skills that they can include in resume writing. These are the hard skills and the soft skills. Hard skills are specific quantifiable skills that individuals learn while doing a job or while being trained. Some examples of hard skills are computer skills, coding ability, bookkeeping, and data analysis. These types of skills are what most recruiters are looking for in an application. They let the recruiter know that an applicant has the technical skills to perform the daily tasks in a job. An individual can emphasize their hard skills by stating specific tasks and providing quantifiable details.

Soft skills are abilities that an individual develops throughout their life. Soft skills are personality-based and an individual cannot learn some of these skills if it does not fit their persona. Leadership, team-player, good work ethic, adaptability, and interpersonal skills are some of the common soft skills that applicants list in their application. Skills like leadership and adaptability are hard to prove until the individual starts working. When citing soft skills in resume writing, an individual should provide a task in which they showcase the particular skill. This will support the listed soft skills in the document.

Tip: use keywords

When making a resume skill section, the candidates should remember to use keywords. As previous paragraphs stated, employers, will use keywords to easily find applicants that best suit the job position. Applicants should look at the job ads and job titles that they are targeting. They should examine the job’s requirements and use the skills as keywords. Looking at a Human Resource job posting, an individual may see “interpersonal skills” and “MS Office literacy” as requirements. They can then include these words as keywords in their resume writing.

7. Add Your Education, Certifications, and Any Other Relevant Information

An individual’s educational background is one of the most influential pieces of information in a resume. Lacking a certain educational level can make an applicant unsuitable for a job position. The educational background can also dictate the industry in which an individual can start their career. An engineering graduate will easily find a position in construction and architectural companies. A graduate of medical technology may not be able to apply to an accounting position since their educational background does not fit with the career path. Individuals should completely indicate all the information regarding their educational background in resume writing. Here are the important details that applicants should include in resume writing:

  • School/University Name: Some employers see certain universities with high praise. Schools like Harvard, Stanford, and MIT are some of the most prestigious universities that a person can attend. Employers may schedule an applicant for an interview simply due to the fact that they attended a certain university. Of course, this does not mean that a person who attended a regular university should avoid indicating their school name. Employers can use this information when doing background checks for their candidates.

  • Degree/Course: The education section in resume writing should include an individual’s course and highest degree. These are important information that employers require their applicants to submit. Job positions have specific educational requirements. A marketing graduate will not be able to fill in a medical position since they are not knowledgeable in the field. Indicating an individual’s highest degree will also help in an employer’s assessment.

  • Grades/Latin Honors: An applicant should only include their grade if it is high above average. For college graduates, they can indicate their GPA if it is above 3.0. Individuals with Latin Honors, which are Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude, should also include them in resume writing. Some recruiters may even skip the examination process if an applicant has an impressive list of grades.

  • Academic Awards and Certifications: If an individual is active in school activities, they may have collected some contest awards and seminar certifications that will be beneficial in resume writing. Depending on the job position, some of these awards and certifications may be relevant. Winning a regional marketing contest between universities can be a great addition to an applicant. Attending medical seminars and symposiums can give medical students certifications that can help them secure a job position.

Individuals can also include their hobbies and interests in resume writing. An individual applying for a copywriter position can include blogging as their hobby which can indicate that they are familiar with SEO tools. A candidate for a football coaching position can include MMA fighting as their interest which can indicate that they are leaving a healthy life and are knowledgeable about the human physique. If an individual is going to include their hobbies and interests in resume writing, they should only use a small part of the document, preferably on the bottom sides of the paper. Individuals can also include languages that they can speak and understand.

8. Complement Your Resume With a Cover Letter

Applicants should consider writing a cover letter to complement their resume writing. A cover letter is a letter that should introduce the applicant to the employer. It is similar to the scholarship essays that top-performing students write to receive a scholarship. It should support the information that is listed in an application. Since resume writing limits an individual to use one or two pages only, the cover letter can help provide detailed information about a person’s qualifications. Pairing a well-written cover letter with a resume can impress an employer and help an applicant get an interview.

A cover letter should be formal and have the format of a professional letter. The letter should include a person’s name, phone number, home address, and email address. They should format the body of the letter as they would a normal letter. This means including a proper greeting, such as “Dear Mr. John.” If the name of the employer is unknown they can use greetings like: “To Whom It May Concern” or “ Dear WXY Company.” A formal closing should also be included in the bottom part of the letter. Applicants can use common closings, such as “Best Regards” and “Respectfully Yours.”

The content of the letter should tell a recruiter why an individual is perfect for the job position. They should expound on some of their achievements that can showcase their relevant abilities. They should also state the reason why they choose to apply to the company. The letter should also tell a recruiter the applicant’s career objectives and long-term plans. A person should view the cover letter as a way to personally and professionally introduce themselves to a recruiter and build a strong first impression.

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9. Proofread, Save, and Email Your Resume the Right Way

The last step in resume writing is proofreading. As with other documents, an individual should proofread their resume and cover letter to make sure that there are no grammatical and typographical mistakes. Proofreading can also help an individual find unnecessary information that they may accidentally place in their document. They could have written too many hobbies and interests that are irrelevant to the job position. They may have included their ethnicity, nationality, and marital status while resume writing. This information should not be included in the document and it is even illegal for the recruiter to request them under the Anti-Discrimination Laws.

Most individuals will save the resume writing as a Microsoft Word document. While this is acceptable, it is better to save the document as a PDF. This will allow employers to open the document on any device without needing to use specific applications. Saving the document as a PDF will also ensure that the format an applicant used will remain once an employer opens the file. It is a good idea to upload the document online to ensure that the applicant can access it anywhere online.

After proofreading and saving the resume writing, the next step would be to submit the document to an employer. Today, this is mostly done through emails. There are some websites that allow an applicant to submit an already uploaded application without sending it through their email. However, to create a good impression, it is best for the applicant to personally send the email. The applicant should use a professional-sounding email. This can be as simple as their name, for example, “johnsmith@abc.com.” Avoid using “gimmicky” names. A recruiter may find it unprofessional and reduce the applicant’s chance to get an interview.

Resume Writing Service

Writing a resume is not a simple task where individuals just jot down their qualifications in bullet form and submit the document to an employer. Creating the document will require an individual to choose words that will act as keywords and at the same time, show that the applicant is qualified for the job. The way an applicant writes the document can also impact the employer’s impression. To avoid making mistakes and produce a high-quality document, applicants should consider CustomEssayMeister’s writing services. The website offers services for any type of academic writing including resumes and curricula vitae. The website has writers that are experts in different fields. This guarantees that the resume and any document that they will submit are top quality and career-appropriate.