6 Tips for Writing a Winning Resume
The resume is probably the most important piece of the job application puzzle, and if you’re serious about getting hired, you’ll need to make sure yours stands out among the pack.
A winning resume doesn’t just list your skills and experience — it tells a story that shows why you’re perfect for the job you want.
It highlights your achievements, makes an emotional connection, and more than anything else, communicates to hiring managers that you’re worth interviewing. Here are six tips that will help you craft your best resume yet.
1) Use Objective Statements
Most resumes start with an objective statement. Objective statements help potential employers to know what your intentions are regarding jobs and what you hope to achieve in your career.
When writing an objective statement, avoid using clichés that express your goal as seeking work or starting my career. Instead, use concrete examples of your achievements, abilities and professional interests to paint a clear picture of what you’re looking for in your next position.
For example: My main interest is software engineering, which is why I’m eager to gain experience working on large-scale web application development projects.
This type of opening sentence states exactly what you want instead of hinting at it without being specific.
2) Customize Each Resume
Just because you sent out one resume to one job doesn’t mean you should send it out to others. Every resume should be customized in some way based on who is receiving it and what they’re looking for.
Make sure to highlight your skills and expertise in whatever way best matches your potential employer’s needs. If they want someone with five years of experience, emphasize that.
If they’re looking for someone who has demonstrated significant growth, make sure to mention that as well.
Each individual resume is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other candidates and put yourself ahead of everyone else applying — so make sure you take advantage of it!
3) Add Relevant Work Experience
One of your main goals with a resume is to get you in front of an employer, and as such it’s important to include any relevant experience you have.
If you worked at Starbucks between college semesters, make sure that’s on there. Otherwise recruiters might think you were too busy for gainful employment — and that won’t help your chances of landing an interview.
The same goes for internships or any kind of volunteer work that demonstrates you’re organized and willing to take initiative. And if it doesn’t relate directly to what you want to do, don’t worry; many skills transfer easily from one career path to another.
4) Use Numbers (A Lot)
To communicate your value to an employer, you need to show quantifiable results. Where possible, use numbers to quantify your accomplishments and skills. For example, if you increased sales by 35 percent over two years, include those figures in your resume.
It is very difficult for an employer to argue with actual dollar values. You could also include percentages of improved quality or quantity of work performed in each position you’ve held — if applicable.
Look at what previous job postings are seeking (for guidance) and make sure that your resume highlights exactly what they’re looking for — think about how you can prove you are best qualified from among all candidates.
5) Include Awards and Recognition
Make sure you include any awards or recognition you’ve received in your work experience section, as these are quick ways to boost your candidacy and set yourself apart from other applicants.
For example, if you were named Employee of the Month at your previous job, it’s worth listing that accomplishment on your resume. Honors and awards can also help establish credibility: The Association of Business Communication Outstanding Professional Award is much more impressive than just saying good writer.
Make sure to include awards and honors that are relevant to what you want to do next; they’re a great way to show potential employers what makes you unique.
6) Proofread Carefully
Great writing is imperative to communicating your ideas. When writing your resume, be sure to double check each and every detail before you press send. Typos, spelling errors, or improper formatting can come off as unprofessional or even worse, careless.
If English isn’t your first language, have someone with good grammar proofread your resume. You want potential employers reading about what makes you great — not how careless you are at spelling and grammar!
Over to you (with 2 bonus tips)
It’s often said that resumes don’t get jobs, people do. That’s true to an extent, but there are certain things you can and should do to make sure your resume is top-notch.
First off, you’ll want to make sure your resume looks good. A poorly designed document will be tossed in favor of one with a clean design that highlights your experience.
Secondly, you’ll want to showcase your qualifications in as short and concise a manner as possible. Overly wordy and redundant language will cause recruiters or hiring managers to lose interest quickly.
What do you think makes a winning resume? I’d love to know in the comments.