How to create a great resumé

How to create a great resumé

It’s safe to say that your resumé or CV is the ticket to gaining entry for a face to face (or phone) interview; provided it’s done correctly. If you’ve ever wondered why your submitted applications get the silent treatment, this is tutorial for you.

Before we dive in, let’s just get one thing straight: a resumé is different from a cover letter. The latter is entails a more descriptive type of writing whereas a resumé contains basic information about an applicant in an easy-to-read format.

Below are 8 fundamental DO’s and DON’Ts for great resumé writing:

Do select the right type of resumé

There are actually two basic types of resumés. Most of us are familiar with the chronological format which displays experiences from most recent to oldest. This choice is for those with some internship or work experience and allows a hiring manager to easily view the amount of time an individual has dedicated to a particular position.

Another type of resumé is a functional resumé. For those who do not have enough relevant work experience to fill an expanse of paper, this focuses the reader’s attention on gained skills, achievements and abilities.

Do create a personalized resumé template

There’s templates for everything under the sun these days and resumés are no exception. It can be daunting to write your own resumé, but with applications like Microsoft Office providing plenty of basic templates, you’ll have a foundation. You can find other suitable templates online.

At the very least, try your best not to completely duplicate a resumé template. Experienced recruitment managers are able to spot the difference between a generic resumé and a “genuine-effort.” Don’t give your potential employer a reason to doubt your authenticity.

Do tailor your resumé

There’s many different types of company workplace cultures and expectations and your resumé should reflect the amount of experience necessary to handle the workload required for a particular job. When appropriate, tailor your resumé with keywords that the hiring organization will be looking for in a candidate. Refer to the job posting and demonstrate how you have the skills they seek.

Do use bullet points and lists instead of paragraphs

Your resumé is not the place for essay writing and long winded self-applause. If you want to further showcase your writing abilities, do it in the cover letter.

There will be certain coveted positions that elicit the submission of hundreds of resumés on a daily basis. As a hiring manager with a hire to make, the last thing he/she wants would be the job of scanning through paragraph after paragraph for items that would complete a successful search. The average time for a recruiter to skim a resumé is just six seconds!

The use of bullet points is not a demerit in any way. Rather, it’ll gain you favor in the eyes of the hiring manager when the information presented in your resumé is to the point and organized for easy perusal.

Do make your contact details obvious

There’s probably nothing worse than putting effort into creating a visually stunning resumé and then realizing you’ve forgotten to make space for your contact details.  Ensure that your name, email, correspondence address and phone number are clearly visible at the top of the first page. Depending on your chosen format, you can also bold your name to ensure that potential employers are able to locate your contact details quickly.

Don’t go on and on

The skill of elaboration will definitely play a key role in writing your resumé, but there’s a fine line between stating your case and coming off as desperate. Hiring managers are subject to hours of combing through different resumés and it’s definitely a turn-off to spend time on a comprehensive resumé that turns out to be lacking.

If you do not have the necessary work experience, it’ll be much better to focus on your accomplishments and ongoing activities during your study years (if applicable). Hiring managers will not be able to view actual work results, but you can bet they’ll be able to gauge your work potential and abilities to seriously consider hiring you. Keep things short and sweet. There’ll be plenty of opportunity for you to expand once you’re invited for an interview.

Don’t include irrelevant work experience

From internships to part-time jobs and even tackling a second and third job, it’ll all go towards showcasing  your growth and potential in the eyes of an employer. Only include ‘relevant’ job experiences in your resumé.

For example, you might be interested in applying for a copywriting position in an advertising agency. The basic requirements would usually be a good command of the English language as well as a flair for writing. Your stint as a waiter serving tables will probably be dismissed as unnecessary unless you can make a reasonable case. If you’ve ever helped create the menus and handouts for the restaurant, you can very well include this to showcase your creative skills.

Don’t skimp

Online resumés are fast becoming the norm in today’s world, but there are still plenty of hiring managers who’ll prefer to read a physical copy of your resumé.

Thin, transparent-like resumés are a pain in the neck to turn and open up. If the paper material is pretty see through, there’s also another issue of seeing words from the second page even from the first page itself. You might be hell-bent on saving the world one tree at a time, but this isn’t the time to go green. Print your resumé out on quality paper (heavier than what you usually use.) It will make a statement.

Resumé writing is definitely a journey of trials and errors. You might hit obstacles along the way, but with enough time and effort, you’ll be able to see increasingly positive results.


Is there an office issue YOU know how to resolve that other office workers might benefit from? Write for our blog and get published online. The best part? You get PAID. Learn more now and submit a topic!