Steps to Writing a Great Resume
Create a CV that gets results
Many of us think we know how to write a resume – but when it comes to crafting that career-furthering snapshot of our professional lives, many of us lack the insights to be able to transform a good CV into a truly great CV.
Having a polished, succinct and professional resume makes a crucial difference to your chances of being invited for that all-important interview. To help get you noticed and on the shortlist, here’s our guide to writing a resume that stands head and shoulders above the rest.
How to write a resume, one step at a time:
Step 1: Contact details
Include your full name, address, phone numbers, email address and, if relevant, your LinkedIn and Twitter account names, ideally as hyperlinks.
Only use a professional-sounding email address, and avoid ones that sound too casual or which use nicknames such as ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ or similar.
We recommend leaving out your date of birth, unless it’s relevant to the role.
Step 2: Opening statement
It’s a great idea to give a quick snapshot of your key strengths, either as a two or three-sentence summary of how you best fit the role, or as a bulleted list of your main skills, talents and selling points.
The opening statement also gives you an opportunity to tailor your resume for each job application. Adapt it to be as relevant as possible and create different versions that directly address the requirements listed on a specific job ad.
Step 3: Work history
Outline your career history, beginning with your current or most recent role, listing your job title, employer name, dates of employment, responsibilities and skills acquired, and highlighting your achievements.
Choose only your key responsibilities and achievements, and tailor them so they’re relevant to the specific job for which you’re applying.
Use active verbs rather than nouns or passive verbs, e.g. ‘Managed and delivered key projects on time and within budget’ rather than ‘Projects were delivered on time and within budget’ or just ‘Project management’.
Step 4: Education & Training
List your highest qualification first.
Unless you’re only recently out of college, there’s no need to list your secondary school qualifications in much detail (if at all).
List the institute name, years you attended and qualifications gained.
Step 5: Hobbies & Interests
A brief snapshot works best here, to reflect your personality without going into excessive detail.
Avoid listing overly personal or mundane hobbies and interests. If you don’t have any interesting hobbies, it’s better to leave this section out altogether.
Step 6: References
It’s generally advisable, especially if space is an issue, to indicate that references are available upon request or leave this section out altogether. Your referees would generally only be contacted if your application progresses, and in this case you should contact them to let them know that the hiring manager or recruiter will be in touch.
If you are asked to include references with your application, provide the names, job titles, email addresses and phone numbers of your two main referees. Wherever possible, choose former managers, or people in positions of responsibility in your former workplaces or industry, rather than friends or family members.
By following this basic structure when you write your resume, you’ll give yourself the best chance of success when applying for any job.
Next, read our top tips for resume writing success, as we analyse the finer details of resume writing to help you dazzle that potential employer even further.