So many people ask me about how to make a good resume and what are the dos and don’ts of a winning resume/ cv. Today as we crack the egg, let me assure you these are the latest tips to make a good resume so, they must be your first go-to for today and for the future. You’ll surely find many articles and blogs on the best tips to make the best resume, but, most of them are rather outdated or a mixture of some old and new practices. Most of them are not even ATS-compliant practices.
How to make a good resume that helps you get noticed?
Let’s dive into the most useful tips to make a good resume/ CV without any more delay.
1) Get it written by a specialist
As a student and professional, I had always thought that I could write my resume myself and I did. But now knowing the entire process of writing a professional CV/ resume, I totally believe that resume writing/ CV writing is a specialist job just like doctors or engineers. We need to get you an interview call so, there must be no cracks in your most important professional document.
Here, we also need to understand that not everyone has good writing skills and not everyone understands how to present the competencies in a powerful way. Hence, taking the services of a resume writing specialist helps you showcase your professional competencies in a very organized manner.
2) Decide upon the best resume type
One of the most important tips to make a good resume is deciding upon the resume/ CV type for you. This is as important as choosing the best land for cultivation. If wrongly chosen, it can ruin the power of an impressive resume. For people with extensive experience in one industry/ profession, we use skills format, whereas to emphasize experiences over time, we use a chronological format. If you are re-entering the job market or changing careers, use a functional resume. Nowadays, we prefer to use combination resumes which could be the combination of any of these two resumes, depending upon your skills and experience.
3) Do not use online templates
Using the online resume/ CV builders is a big NO. People use these attractive templates for their convenience as they can make one resume roughly within an hour or so, and free of cost. I have designed my own resume multiple times in the past using these templates and I just loved the outcome which was an attractive, colorful document.
But, do you know these online templates have more than half of the resume writing don’ts? As we will progress more in this blog, you’ll see for yourself that these templates are very bad for your online job applications as they are not ATS friendly. Also, you do not require to make a colorful show of your professional journey when you are applying for a responsible position in a responsible organization. You need to look decent on the paper.
4) Read the job description
Always compose your CV/ resume according to the job description. This literally means drafting a new resume or making changes to your resume every time you are applying for a new job. Never ever send the same resume everywhere. This is one of the deadliest mistakes that you make very often. I have seen it happening 99.9% time.
Today, when we have Applicant Tracking Systems in most of the companies, your resume/ CV passes through a software/ bot screening test first. In such cases, if it is not tailored according to the job description specified in the job advertisement, your resume is thrown away. This is the #1 reason that you don’t hear back from the organization. The resume quality comes later, your resume must pass the ATS test and for that, it must score well by matching the job description.
5) Do not include a picture
One of the most valuable tips to make a good resume is to not include a picture. Yes, you might be thinking of me wrong here because today, every second blog and YouTube video tells you to add a beautiful and professional picture of yours. But I strictly say NO to this and so do the top recruiters. Why?
There is a high chance that adding a picture might result in biased hiring. We want to get you an interview call. We do not want others to judge you based on your looks or personality. You might be very competent and the best candidate for this job, but suppose, your picture couldn’t show the best of yourself. Imagine, what will the employer do in this case. There are huge chances that he might choose to ignore you, and this happens in real. Employers are humans and they have a tendency to get trapped in biasedness too.
Pictures generate biasedness
Suppose you are given the authority to screen the resumes of candidates for the position of sales manager. You would always choose people with pictures depicting intelligence, competence, and a presentable personality. There are high chances that a resume with the picture of a lousy, dull, dry or expressionless person will be thrown out. Today at this competitive time, we need people who radiate energy and vigor to handle our sales, not a dull person. Here, no matter which best resume template you had chosen, no matter which expert designed your resume, how well it was written, you just ended up wasting your money and you didn’t get the interview call. Just one picture drowned you. You were very competent, but you didn’t get the opportunity to prove yourself in an interview.
Hence, shortly, we advise you not to include your picture no matter how lovely you look because we want your document to show your competence. The remaining personality magic can happen in your interview.
If you belong to a creative industry i.e. working as a model/ actor, artist, then you must use a picture. Other than this, a picture is a big NO for any resume/ CV.
Above all, if any organization is interested in seeing you before the interview, they specially ask for a picture. Include it separately in your application. Usually, you attach it online as today most of the hiring is online.
6) Do not mention personal details
My clients usually ask me why I do not add their personal details. Your address is mentioned just below the headline therefore, mentioning your nationality is a total minus. Furthermore, do not mention your date of birth, father’s name, national identity card number, domicile kind of details.
7) Add reachable contact details
Add your mobile number, residential address and email address which are reachable. Mobile number must be reachable and keep the email app in your phone so that you are able to get real-time notifications.
8) Focus on the summary/ objective section
A very important among all these best tips to write good resume is the skill to write a summary or objective. Also, you should know when to write a summary and when to write an objective in your resume. Putting it plainly, when you have good experience in a specific field, use a summary. If you are a fresh graduate, re-entering the job market, or switching your careers, use objective.
9) Mention your experience before education
If you have some work experience, mention it before education. Today, employers are more interested in your professional expertise than your education. Yes, education matters too but a person with more skills is after all always more valuable than one with degree but no or less skills. I advise you to keep developing your skills during your education. That gives a boost to the profile of fresh graduates.
10) Do not hang down at your school
A common mistake that I see in resumes is showing every bit of your work experience and education. Usually, mentioning your school is not a good idea. Just mentioning your university and college is enough. Also, if your work experience includes 20 different jobs, do not mention each and every experience. Again, filtering in the best information is a skill which not everyone is good at. This is where professional resume writers have the edge.
11) Do not include the names of the courses studied
Few years back, there was a strong focus on your education in your professional profiles. Today, as I said earlier, we focus more on competencies. Strengthen your profile by showing that you are competent enough to do the job. Including the details of courses studied in the university and college is not preferred anymore because again we want you to assure us that you can do the job. Studying the courses doesn’t mean that you can do this job. So, wasting the space enlisting those 5,10 courses won’t help. Just mention your bachelor’s and the highest degree majors.
12) Mention GPA only if it was outstanding
This is again a very common mistake still being followed worldwide. Do not mention your GPA if it is average, poor, or just good. Only mention it if it is too high, I mean really something wow. On a side note, the biggest companies in the world assess candidates by their competencies today, not by GPAs. So, nothing to worry about if you do not have a very high GPA.
13) Never use 2 columns format
This is a big blunder when you use online resume templates or online resume builders. They offer 2 columns formats to make the resume more appealing and you can stuff more information within less space. But currently, most of the Applicant Tracking Systems can only read your resumes in a simple alignment. They read from left to right, line by line. Two adjacent lines running simultaneously in a 2-columns format create confusion, so such resumes have high chances of being thrown out by ATS. Also, there is very less space to quantify your competencies and performance.
14) Do not use funky styling
This is another feature offered by online builders. They give you options to include multi colors, graphs, scales and images to make your resume catchy. Undoubtedly, the design looks good but from employer’s point of view, this is not a creativity test. We need a serious and decent showcase of your professionalism and these artistic elements ruin it. Imagine an engineer applying for a job with graphs and multi colors in his resume. As an employer, you’ll reject such resume.
Similarly, using scales is a common but wrong practice when you showing your skills and language proficiency levels. This is entirely unacceptable from recruiter’s point of view. For example, nobody will rank himself towards poor extreme on English language proficiency despite being not so good. No one will rate his communication skills as average or poor. So, these scales are truly poor predictors of your skills. Consider subtracting these elements from today. Instead, use quantified examples to demonstrate your skills.
15) Mention your achievements
This is a must thing to do. Today, getting hired is all competency-based. Convey to the organization that you are competent enough to meet their needs. A resume is the best document for this purpose. To show your competencies, tell the recruiter about your professional achievements. Do not hesitate to give yourself credit for your professional smartness.
16) Do not include “references are available upon request”
Writing the sentence “references are available upon request” is no more in practice. Organizations already know that they can get references from you if they need to. Therefore, do not waste space writing such universal facts.
17) Hobbies & interests
No need to share your hobbies if they are just socializing, cooking, baking, sewing, internet and social media scrolling, reading books etc.
How to make a good resume? Only include the hobbies that demonstrate your ability to perform this job. Employers need dynamic people today who know how to swiftly move in a fast-paced work environment. For example, hobbies showing your dynamism might be gaming or sports. Such hobbies show you as a challenge lover and risk taker and companies prefer people exhibiting dynamism.
18) Include certifications/ training/ seminars
Showing that you have attended such events adds great value to your resume. This shows you want to grow and get the latest industrial knowledge.
I love the certifications part the most. Usually, it is not convenient to do certifications, keeping today’s busy life in mind. I have done dozens. Use the power of online certifications to enhance your knowledge and let me tell you they are far better than attending a course in your local area. Online certification portals like Coursera have the best courses from world’s best universities. The course instructors and teachers there are industry gurus and the focused, high quality education that you get is indeed valuable.
Many of our recruiters still do not think of online certifications as a reliable form of knowledge but as we are progressing to a world where everything is online: your shopping, socialization, and most importantly your work, why we are still unable to accept the power of such amazing online education platforms?
How to make a good resume? Doing an online certification is what you can always do to enhance the power of your professional profile.
19) Use past tense
Use past tense in your resume.
20) Think and rethink
Finally, this is one most important things that I demand from my clients. Think about yourself on a bigger horizon. Do not underestimate yourself. Everyone has achievements and competencies. Think deeply while we build your resume. Think of yourself as an achiever. Discuss your passions with your resume writer. This is how we can together build a powerful resume for you.
Use these top tips to make a good resume & build your awesome marketing document
Now that you have an idea of the basic tips to write good resume, following these tips will improve the professional look of your resume. Remember, companies want to hire candidates radiating professionalism. A resume is your most important professional marketing document. To get the job, you need to convince the employer that you are the most suitable person for fulfilling the company’s needs. We usually focus on looking the best in our interviews. It is equally important to look the best in our marketing document (resume) too.
Learn more about our resume designing services by visiting our resume services page.
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