how to write a resume

How to Write a Resume — a Great Resume — a Perfect Resume

Posted on 23. Jan, 2016 by in resume

Snowed in? Stuck inside? Stranded at an airport? Give this unexpected time to re-learn how to write a resume — a great resume — a perfect resume. Use these resume tips as your resume writing guide while you’re stuck. Consider this time an opportunity — an investment of time in yourself — a gift. Ok, that may be pushing it, but you get the point.

How to Write a Resume

How to write a resume, a great resume, no make that a perfect resume, is within your reach with these resume tips and resume writing guide. Let’s be clear about how to write a resume. Understand that most resume reviewers do not read every word on your resume. Seriously. Many job postings easily receive several hundred resumes. So, for a great resume and perfect resume, you must quickly show your qualifications and experience at the top. That’s right. You should include an experience and skills summary at the top of your resume – great resume, perfect resume. In learning how to write a resume, you must make sure you sell yourself and let them know right away why you meet their qualifications and why you should be on their short list. The following provides resume tips on how to write a resume — say it again, a great resume, the perfect resume – a resume writing guide, if you will.

Perfect Resume Tips — #1. Skills Summary

If you’re in a technical field, the great resume and perfect resume will make it super easy for a reviewer to find your skills on your resume. As you learn how to write a resume, make sure to include a Technical Skills section on your resume now. Write a short paragraph, provide a bulleted list, or even a short table. If appropriate, break it out by technical area, such as software, networking tools, etc. Try not to make it too long, I generally avoid listing versions unless it is specifically called for as a requirement by a job posting. On an initial scan, reviewers are looking for your technical skills, so if you can make it easy for them to find, you’re off to a good start. A reviewer should be able to quickly identify what your key areas of proficiency are, such as networking, database, programming, system administration, help desk, hardware maintenance, etc. If you are not in a technical field, skip this section and focus on Perfect Resume Tips #2 for a great resume.

Make sure that if you apply to a job that details all of the technical skills needed that you include all of the ones on their list that you have. No matter how trivial. I can’t tell you how many candidates tell me they didn’t make an initial cut because the potential employer thought they didn’t have experience with x, y, or z. But they had a lot of experience with it. And anyone who knew anything about a, b, or c would know that you would also have experience with x, y, or z. And therein lies the problem. You have made an assumption that the reviewer would know that. More often than not, they do not. In learning to write resume, you need to understand that the technical people are not always the ones reviewing resumes, at least on the initial pass. So on your list of resume tips, do not assume resume reviewers know that things are related. If it is spelled out in the job posting or ad, make sure it is clearly stated on your great resume.

Perfect Resume Tips — #2. Experience Summary

Once a reviewer determines that you have experience with the required technical skills, the next step is to determine the depth of your experience related to the job posting. Again, for the perfect resume, your job is to make this easy for the reviewer to accomplish, thus improving your chances of passing the screening. The reviewer is not going to spend a lot of time and if it is too difficult to determine whether you meet the requirements, more than likely you will not make the cut.

When offering tips on how to write a resume, I always tell candidates to ditch the Objective on the great resume now. Quite honestly, it’s not very valuable to anyone. So, use your space wisely and provide a short one paragraph (3-4 sentences) summary of your qualifications for the position. The perfect resume now will include things like years of experience and the types of experience, and perhaps a few of the most important skills related to the position. Toot your horn a little bit, but be honest. And make it relevant to the position for which you are applying. Yes, tweak it for each resume submitted or at least for each type of position. These are your highlights of qualifications for THIS SPECIFIC job. It is a shortcut you are providing to the reviewer to make their screening process easier. Use it to your advantage.

The next step on how to write a resume is to make sure that each of your write-ups in your experience history (your job summaries) include these details as well. When I get into a detailed review, one of the first things I do is map the summary to the details. I want to see where and when you had the experience I am seeking for the job. If it is not there in the details, I typically assume you don’t have it, regardless of what your summary says. This is why it is so important for you to pay attention to these details. The summaries are key to getting past the initial resume screening. But you still need to make sure the details line up with what is in the summary. These tips on how to write a resume and resume writing guide tell you to clearly put the most relevant details first in each job experience write-up.

Perfect Resume Tips — #3. Education and Training

Make sure you list any degrees you hold. Many employers want to see these. If you have work towards a degree, but are still pursuing or have never finished but you make someday, list it as in progress.

Do not forget to include a listing of relevant skills training courses you have taken. Many candidates forget to list these items out. They can be very important to demonstrate expertise and exposure to different skills, especially for a less experienced candidate. For tips on writing a resume now, I usually recommend putting Training last on your resume, often paired with Education.

Perfect Resume Tips — #4. Certifications

How important are certifications? Well, truth is, it really depends on the employer and the certification. Many employers find these incredibly important, often even requiring them for certain positions. Others prefer candidates with certifications, but they are not required. Still others really don’t seem to pay much attention to them at all. At any rate, you just don’t know where the company falls so the perfect resume now will list these if you have them.

My experience is that, more often than not, professional certifications for major vendors and professional associations carry the most weight and are well worth the investment of time and cost. They are definitely good things to have and can often give you an edge over other similar candidates being considered. These can be especially important in the IT area, where certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, and the like are definitely in demand. Some highly sought after certifications from professional associations include A+, Network+, and Security + from Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA); Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) from International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)²; and Project Management Professional (PMP) from Project Management Institute.

Perfect Resume Tips — #5. Key Words

I am sure you will not be surprised to learn that a lot of prescreening of online resume submissions is done using technology. Other screenings are often done by human resources or other personnel who may not fully understand the technical skills behind the position for which you are applying. That is why it is so important to use keywords on your resume. Let me say that again, it is so important to use the RIGHT key words on the great resume and perfect resume now. This is key to learning how to write a resume.

A lot of initial resume screenings are done using a checklist of items that must appear on a perfect resume now to get it to the next stage, whether screened by computer or staff. If you don’t have the correct ratio of keywords on the perfect resume for the position, you don’t make the cut. So why do so many candidates for jobs not take the time to ensure the correct keywords are on the perfect resume for each individual position for which they apply? That is a good question. Learn from their experience on how to write a resume the right way.

As I mentioned earlier, do not assume that a reviewer will be familiar with similar terms and concepts that can substitute for the ones in the position announcement. That may or may not be true. Best tips on writing a resume is to use the potential employer’s terminology since that is most likely what reviewers will be looking for. Again, do not assume that the initial reviewers are familiar with the skills involved with the position. They may not be. Make it clear that you meet all of their requirements on the perfect resume now by ensuring your skills summary, experience summary, and experience details all liberally use the correct keywords for the position you are seeking.

Perfect Resume Tips — #6. Action Verbs

Just as important as the keywords you use, are the verbs you choose. Don’t remember your grammar lessons – these are action words. Repeat – action words. So many resumes that I see use very poor verb choices and, as a result, they are not very engaging. There are definitely skills to great resume writing, and using the right words to convey action and make things interesting is one of those skills.

In preparing the perfect resume now, here’s another tip on how to write a resume. Make sure that your sentences convey that you did something. I know this sounds silly, but consider these two sentences:

  • This approach was an improvement over the previous standard operating procedures.
  • This approach improved the standard operating procedures.

While both sentences convey the same meaning, the second sentence is more active. That is, the subject of the second sentence (this approach) actually did the action (performed). In the first sentence, the subject is the same (this approach), however the verb (was) does not convey direct action. Try your best to make your sentence convey action by using action verbs. If you are struggling in this area, you may wish to consider working with a professional resume writer as discussed in the section below.

Beyond the Perfect Resume Now: How Good Is Your LinkedIn Profile

Professionals must have a great LinkedIn profile. Potential employers and recruiters use LinkedIn every day to search for potential candidates. How much easier is it to have someone find you than you find them? But for that to happen, your LinkedIn profile must be written similar to the perfect resume now, identifying your experience with specific skills that are being searched. Remember the discussion we had about keywords? They are just as important here since potential employers and recruiters are searching on those words. You want your profile to be included in their search results, so take time and develop it well.

You might consider contacting one of the top resume writers from Resume Remodeler’s 2016 Best Resume Writers to assist you with your LinkedIn profile. It could be the difference between getting and interview and not getting an interview. And if you do get an interview, most likely your profile will be reviewed by the potential employer before you arrive at the interview. It better match your great resume. That’s why professional resume writers often prepare the resume and LinkedIn profile together. Take a look and see which best fits your personality, need, and budget. However, you can expect to spend anywhere between $150 to $400 for a complete resume and LinkedIn profile package depending on your experience level.

Good luck and if you are not getting calls within two weeks, you need to go back and revisit the perfect resume again to make it work better for you. Here are more tips that can help you continue to improve your job search and give more tips on how to write a resume. Yes, the great resume and perfect resume is a living, breathing document that needs to be continually updated and rewritten for the job market.

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