10 Key Steps To Writing a Winning Resume

Although it takes most of us a while to write resumes that create a lasting impression, it usually takes 20-30 seconds for a prospective employer to decide whether or not you should be on the interview list. There are hundreds and thousands of tips on the web on how you can create a “killer resume,” but the one that can master the art is you.

As in everything else, writing a resume requires practice. A sure fire way to make your resume stand out and deliver a perfect speech on your behalf is by following a few simple steps, simple but something that needs to be reminded often.

  1. Length and Format

The first thing that you need to analyze while writing a resume is the length and the format. If you are a recent college graduate, a one or two page resume is more than enough. However, executive level summary can sometimes take upto 3-4 pages. It is also necessary to choose the correct format. The two most popular resume formats are:

Chronological

Use if

  • you have held job responsibilities or positions with increased accountability
  • your work history follows a specific career path

Functional

Use if

  • the potential career change shows transferrable skills
  • there is a need to de-emphasize positions, job descriptions and employment dates
  1. Visual Appeal and Ease of Read

Unless you are trying to break the norm and applying for a creative position such as web designing, avoid creative resumes. As bad as it sounds, most employers prefer white space over colorful graphics. When it comes to the visual appeal follow the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) rule for your resume. Make sure your resume is easy to read. Another important thing that job applicants need to pay attention is the font type. It is ok to use two different types of fonts (one for section heading and another for description) but avoid using more than two. Keep it simple.

  1. The Power of Opening

When employers are going through piles of resumes, they do not have time to guess what you are trying to convey. The opening of your resume should be strong so as to draw in reader’s attention. To make sure your resume helps you deliver a strong introduction, try and showcase powerful qualification summary or professional at the top of your resume.

  1. Communicate Why You Are Valuable

Whether or not you have ever held a job before isn’t the question at this point. The question your potential employer wants answers to are : will you be able to help them make money? will you be able to solve problems? will you be able to get more customers for them? etc. Make sure to communicate why you will be an asset to that company through your resume.

  1. Ask Yourself a Few Questions

What your resume needs to do is spark employer’s interest in meeting you. Ask yourself some of these questions after looking at your resume to analyze whether or not it will stimulate a request for a job interview,

  • Is my resume targeted?
  • Does it contain the relevant industry specific keywords?
  • Does it highlight challenges undertaken and problems solved?
  • Do the accomplishments I have mentioned support why I should be hired?

Those are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before sending out your resume. If your paper handshake doesn’t convert into a real one, you probably failed to ask yourself a question. The questions listed above are examples and there are a lot more but hopefully these gave you an idea.

  1. Exclude Irrelevant Information

Most job applicants get a little too personal in their resume. Personal information such as marital status, unrelated hobbies or interests, etc. should be excluded on your resume. Once again apply the KISS rule. Convey what needs to be conveyed. Anything more might be a bit too much information and anything less might be not enough. It’s a fine line so do your homework before including information on a resume.

  1. Organization Is Key

Organizing the information on your resume is of utmost importance. No matter how experienced and qualified you are, if your resume isn’t organized the chances of it ending up in the garbage bag are pretty high. When a guest walk in your home and the home is cluttered, the first impression generally isn’t good. Think of your resume as your home and the reader as your guest. Organize and present it in a way to create a lasting impression. The saying “first impression is the last impression” is in fact true.

  1. Proofread

You know all about it. Once you are done writing your resume make sure you go over it. Grammar, punctuation, language, etc. are some of the things that are heavily counted while selecting someone for a job interview. We all like to keep our hands clean while shaking hands, do the same for your paper handshake, keep it clean…proofread.

  1. Proofread Once Again and Pass It On

If you caught a few mistakes while proofreading the first time, you will catch a few again. Go ahead and proofread your resume again. If you can’t find any, it’s time to pass it on to your friends and family members to see if they can find any that might raise a red flag. The more eyes the better.

  1. Get To Work

The nine steps that you went through were simply for practice. Now that your practice resume looks nice, elegant and has gone through the rigorous testing of friends and family members, go ahead and write another one following the sample you just created. Your real resume will turn out much better and you will have more ways to make it even more compelling.