Easy Resume Writing Help: Free Advice from Professionals! 70 Tips
Creating a well-written, readable and attractive resume can often be very challenging. They should be made to make you look good and leave the best impression possible. It is the best opportunity to secure an interview for the desired job.
How many times did you sit down to write your own biography, not knowing where to start, what to include or avoid in order to make it look professional? Have you ever thought about how it would affect the reader’s opinion of you?
But the job is not simple. Best resumes have no more than three pages mostly filled with boring information about work stuff. But will It be interesting enough for your readers?
In order to make your resume stand out from the rest, you must beat the algorithm with original and innovative ideas, convincing employers that you’re the one they need.
Here we offer you more than 70 helpful tips for writing your biography like a professional, from the professionals!
1. Choose the right font for your resume. Better stick with basic ones that look serious and professional – the ones that you would expect to see from others. Fonts that are recommended: Arial, Verdana, Helvetica. The ones we don’t recommend are Comic Sans, Papyrus and any other childish or hard to read font.
2. Choose the right font size. This depends mostly on the chosen font. However, it’s recommended to use font size around 10-12 points to make it easier for reading.
3. Make your content readable. This includes aligning all content to the left and leaving some space on the right side for basic info such as contact information, list of skills, short education list and similar. That way the reader will need less time to scan the resume for keywords and important info.
4. Use symmetry. Put your lists in a few columns where each column has around 5 skills. Another great idea is putting the list in the center and separating skills with minimalistic symbols.
5. Don’t forget margins. Texts that take the whole page from edge to edge, without any blank space will definitely look messy and hard to read. To avoid looking unprofessional add margins on all sides. A bare minimum for side margins is around 0.75”, 0.5” for top and bottom ones.
6. Make an outstanding headline. Some experts call it a It’s usually used for introducing yourself to the reader, so it needs to be attractive and includes useful info so they know clearly what you offer them. It can be compared with a newspaper headline as well. According to Nelly Grinfeld, nationally certified resume writer, employers spend around 10 seconds glancing at each resume at first. Make sure to grab their attention with something they won’t expect to see.
7. The headline should include a career summary and some of your strongest qualifications. It’s best to only write key points of your skills and education level (for example years of experience working, studying, etc).
8. Keep the headline short and concise. To make sure your headline isn’t too large to draw attention or gives too much information and misguides, write it in only three rows.
9. Change your headline style. You must agree that sentences in basic font and black color that is so much alike with the rest of the text are boring. Use bold letters and different colors or designs to enhance the headline, but don’t go too far. You want your resume to be taken seriously. Too much contrast can also distract readers from the key point.
10. Make a sub-headline if there is a space under the main one. This way you have more space to add keywords and more important info about your skills, especially if there wasn’t enough room in the main headline. There is always something to add.
11. Customize the headline to suit the job you’re applying for. It’s a good sign for employers when they see keywords that show skills they’re looking for or work experience in the same area of expertise. You want to show them you have what they need.
12. In case of applying for different positions, include keywords for both. Add enough information focused on every job you’re applying equally. There are high chances of at least one of the readers will find what he was looking for.
13. Don’t forget the contact information. Turns out – many people leave their strong resumes without proper contact information.
14. Add the right information. Some of the important contact information is a name, address, email, phone number, link to a LinkedIn profile if you have one. It might seem obvious at first, but many people still forget to add some of the necessary information.
15. Include your physical home address. Many professional resumes include the home address. It helps the employer determine whether you’re close to the future workplace or you would have to move closer. However, some people avoid this part to protect their own privacy.
16. Include your phone number. This type of contact is more personal than email messaging because employers have a chance to hear your voice, voice tone, speaking skills, etc. Also, take care of your voicemail; make it sound professional.
17. Include your email. Don’t leave your personal email address used for chatting with friends or reading the daily news. Create a new one for professional use only, with simply your full name in the address.
18. Add URL of your professional website, blog, social media or any web address relevant to your profile that could help you get recognized. This usually includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and others.
19. Exclude some personal information such as birth date, religion, marital status and similar. They are not necessary. You have a right not to give this information or respond to related questions on the application.
20. Plan the framework of the resume. Choose conciseness over length since long resumes aren’t always a better option. Employers won’t look for everything you have ever done in the past.
21. Determine the right resume length. Different job positions and employers require different resume lengths. Research and see whether your dream job requires a concise one-page resume or three pages of text with lots of details. Although this task can be a little tricky, there are some basic rules to follow. If there are more than five jobs or 15 years of work experience in your history, limit yourself to these numbers.
22. Write only the crucial previous work experience in order to save some space for the more important stuff. Experts even recommend using bullet points to shorten the biography and make it less boring.
23. Choose the right words. We all want our first impression to be good, and our resumes are the first things that employers will see. Make it count. Try replacing some basic words we use in everyday conversation with the ones people use in the business world. For example, replace “did, made, went” with “managed, achieved, participated”.
24. Double-check the spelling. It is easy to fix but still many people don’t take a minute to check the grammar and spelling. Even automated programs can take care of these mistakes now. Better spare a few hours fixing what you’ve written wrong than getting rejected for sounding uneducated.
25. Determine your career objectives. Think of what you want to achieve. Once you define your career objective, you’ll be able to write the biography without leaving any vital information behind.
26. Write a career goal in the right place. An objective section is not a good place to start, instead, make sure to put your goals into a career summary.
27. However, the career summary is not always necessary. “While a summary could clarify your goal or objective, I don’t think it is a necessary part of one’s resume. Recruiters review candidates’ information every day and look for certain skills and experiences found in the body of a resume. Save the extra space for accomplishments, goals achieved, awards and unique skills relevant to the job”, Bob Hancock, senior manager of global talent acquisition at Electronic Arts, claims.
If you still decide to write one, here’s how you can do it.
28. In resume objectives, describe your contribution and benefits that you would bring as a worker. People don’t want to hear about how you would benefit from the position you’re applying for. Avoid objectives that only explain what you’re seeking.
29. Make reasonable and clear requests. “Looking for challenging position” doesn’t explain much what you’re really asking for. Also, stay away from demanding statements as you may drive off potential employers.
30. Make the objective short and clear. Managers will have less work and be more patient if they don’t have to spend the whole eternity reading this part of the resume. Keep your objective concise by adding only one target or desired job title.
31. For every career, the goal creates a new version of the resume.
32. Research and learn job titles. A very important step is to learn the names of job titles that managers in your area use. “First, conduct a search for jobs that interest you,” said Ginger Korljan, nationally certified resume writer, certified career management coach, and principal of taking Charge Coaching in Phoenix, “Whatever title you choose, the remainder of your resume should demonstrate why you are qualified for that position.”
33. Keep the resume readable. Instead of using only bullets for outlining work history or write it in a narrative style, better make a combination of bullets and paragraphs. You could make a paragraph for every employer, explaining your responsibilities. After each, add a bulleted list of your best contributions. The list will point out your top accomplishments so the reader doesn’t have to look for them in the text.
34. Focus more on skills, not jobs you want to apply for. This is quite tricky for everyone but is certainly manageable. Take a look at the skills you need for the job you like. Create a resume that focuses on these skills (in case you have them) more than your previous experience in the same field.
35. Add the experience from freelance and volunteer work as well. If you lack work experience in a specific field you would like to work at, you can add experience from similar volunteer work.
36. Put details in employment history. Add employers’ names and their companies, job titles, years of work, dates, accomplishments and contributions, awards for each position.
37. Remember that degree sometimes doesn’t matter. Many people apply for jobs in different fields from the previous ones they worked in. Most of them don’t even have a degree related to the applied job position. And although it proves that you have a good knowledge base for the job, employers will appreciate more skills and experience related to it.
38. Experience is before education if you have a long experience in fields related to the one you seek a job from. Your accomplishments and contributions say what you can do, while degree only says what you’re supposed to be able to do. It’s more likely that managers will appreciate the first one more.
39. Education is before experience if: you don’t have enough work experience, you just decided to change a career, you graduated recently, you seek a job in the academic and scientific area. These are the cases where education beats experience and should be placed at the top of the resume.
40. Education is the center of a student’s resume. Since many students have very little or no work experience at all, it’s suggested to focus on the education including academic achievements, contributions to the school, additional and volunteer activities, projects, courses, etc.
41. You can also list a course or degree that is incomplete.
42. Students can add the expected degree date. Managers will also like to see their progress during their studies or course.
43. List all your degrees (if you have multiple), starting from the most recent one. The rule is to write the latest degree or course taken at the top and then list the rest of them the same way.
44. Add high school information. Both those with a college degree and without it could add information about the high school they’ve finished. It’s not necessary if you have a degree, otherwise, you’ll need to include it.
45. List all related courses in the education section if you don’t have a degree. Every seminar, course, and training is useful if there is nothing else to write In the education area of the resume.
46. Skip the education section if you have no education at all. Focus on all your skills that could be useful to the potential manager.
47. In case you have a good GPA (it means higher than 3,5), you should add it to your education section as well.
48. The experience section shouldn’t seem like job descriptions. Forget about copying job descriptions you like and placing it in your resume. It makes the biography look boring and gives no information about your abilities and your real job performance.
49. Expose details. By adding details, sentences will sound more powerful and more attractive to the employee. In case you don’t know how to ask yourself these questions: What problems I solved? How did I complete the task better than the others? How did the company or organization benefit from my work?
50. Show how valuable you are. Employers will look for every detail you missed, every mistake you’ve made previously, a negative experience or bad habits. Make sure you represent yourself as a productive, cooperating and optimistic worker who’s ready to give his best in any task. If you were an employer reading your resume, would you give that person a chance?
51. Make your results measurable. Use numbers and percentages. You can’t add a skill you don’t have, but you can make yours sound much more worthy by quantifying. For example, if you significantly increased sales this year, you could write that sales increased by 30% since you were hired. The number will draw attention and show the value of your work and effort.
52. Include no more than 15 skills. A list of your top 10 strongest skills is far more effective than 3 pages list of every single skill you could think of at the moment.
53. Find the right place for a skills section. The best option is right after the career summary, but it depends on your resume design. Find a place that will have the effect you want, there is no rule.
54. Gather similar skills together. For example, if you speak several languages, you can write these abilities in a separate paragraph, while in others you brag about your computer and programming skills.
55. In case of changing career, write down skills you can transfer from the previous field to the future one (working in specific programs, typing, communicating, file organization, researching, etc).
56. Include hard skills. “Hard skills are required to perform the functions of the job and are acquired through experience and/or education,” said Jane Roqueplot, certified professional behavior analyst and owner of JaneCo’s Sensible Solutions, a career advancement firm in Pennsylvania.
57. Include soft skills. On the other hand, soft skills are your characteristics that describe your personality and work style. These also include emotional intelligence and strength, behavior, communication with others, etc.
58. Don’t lie about work experience and skills. If you don’t have enough work experience, focus on education and other job-related skills.
59. Add a competency level for all skills in your biography. Beginner skills: You’re familiar with the skill and know basics. Intermediate: Better knowledge than the beginner, there is more to learn to reach the expert level. Expert: the Highest level of knowledge, no improvement needed.
60. Offer something original and unique. “Your resume should definitely show that you have the required skills, education, and experience to perform the job successfully,” says Sherri Thomas, author of Career Smart: Five Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand a career-coaching firm in Chandler, Arizona, “But you can build a stronger personal brand by including additional information that shows something special about you that your competitors do not offer.”
61. Choose the right information. Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether additional info is really needed or it just takes too much space which could get better use. You can’t add absolutely everything you know, everything you’re good at, every talent, every accomplishment. Choose according to your desired job.
62. Include previous awards. Show that other organizations and companies valued your work and efforts. If it mattered to them, it must be important for the future company as well. Every formal recognition is a good sign that you’re a respected worker worth the position.
63. Add testimonials as well. “Testimonials add credibility and validate the accomplishments, personal traits, and areas of expertise highlighted in the resume,” says Judy Friedler, NCRW, principal of resume-writing firm CareerPro International. This can contain excerpts from performance appraisals, snippets from reference letters, maybe even emails that compliment your performance and productivity at work.
64. Check your resume: First impression. Is the resume unique and original? Does it look like it’s made on a template? Are sections separated well and easy to read? Is there enough blank space? Is it a design professional? Is career summary well written for readers who want to know your value propositions straight away? What is the resume’s length and does it follows your level of experience or education?
65. Check your resume: Appearance. Is the resume visually pleasant and draws attention from others? Did you choose the right font and font size for the job you’re applying for? Do you have useful design parts that serve as a guide through the text? Did you highlight the key content? Are margins large enough? Are there too many pages? Is the font changing rapidly?
66. Check your resume: Sections. Are your resume sections clearly separated and each of them labeled? Are these sections in the right order? Did you highlight your strongest side (education or work experience)? Have you written your work history in reverse chronological order as it should be?
67. Check your resume: Career goal. Did you determine your main career goal? Is your resume a “one size fits all” type of biography? Is your career goal relevant to the job you’re applying to?
68. Check your resume: Writing style. Have you written the whole biography in a first-person voice, with pronouns such as ME, I, MY? Is there a logical order and simple flow in the resume? Are there any grammar mistakes, typos, and similar errors?
69. Check your resume: Accomplishments. Do you have a good list of all important career accomplishments? Have you quantified accomplishments by using percentages and numbers? Have you used strong action verbs in your statements?
70. Check your resume: Relevance. How relevant is your biography with the job position’s needs? Did you offer what the employers were looking for? Are there enough relevant keywords, acronyms, and skills? Have you excluded unimportant personal info such as nationality and religion?
71. The resume must prove that you’ve made something, solved issues and been productive in the past. It needs to show how we contributed to the workplace and made an impact.
On the other hand, it has to be realistic and real. The reader must believe that you’ve done things on your own.
So, instead of taking credit for every job in the past, we should give it to someone else and prove the ability for collaboration and teamwork skills. Managers need people who will work with others and share tasks with their teams.