How to Write a Good Resume

Today’s job market is highly competitive. Employers want to know at a glance if you are worth considering. If you want to get noticed, you’d better write a good resume.

In order to make your resume stand out amongst other job applicants, you need to follow a formula that presents your strengths, skills, and experiences in a way that tips the reader off to your unique appeal.
Learning to write a good resume speaks to the employer’s needs, loud and clear. The better your resume, the better the odds are you’ll get that interview!

What is the Employer Looking For?

The first step in constructing a good resume is to examine the job ad or description to determine what the employer is really looking for:

  • Take a highlighter and underline both objective and subjective descriptive terms in the ad.
  • Look for requirements, preferred experience and traits, and the exact duties of the job. Highlight these.
  • Once you have followed the step above, sit back and ask yourself- “Am I a good match for this job?”
  • If the answer is yes, jot down every reason why, using your past experience, education, personal traits, skills and aspirations. This list will give you a lot of information and determine your approach to writing your resume in order to make your best pitch for the job.

The first part:

  • Take a highlighter and underline both objective and subjective descriptive terms in the ad.
  • Look for requirements, preferred experience and traits, and the exact duties of the job. Highlight these.
  • Once you have followed the step above, sit back and ask yourself- “Am I a good match for this job?”
  • If the answer is yes, jot down every reason why, using your past experience, education, personal traits, skills and aspirations. This list will give you a lot of information and determine your approach to writing your resume in order to make your best pitch for the job.

This is your first step to writing a good resume.

Why You? Summarize Your Qualifications on Your Resume

The second step of how to write a good resume involves summarizing your qualifications. Use what you’ve articulated above to create a “Summary of Qualifications” or “Personal Profile”. The tone and format of this may vary depending on the type of job you are applying for, but we will touch on that in the next section.
Generally though, you want to give the employer a snap shot of your abilities and experience that is both informative and confident without boasting. Writing this in 1 to 2 paragraphs or bulleted summary, will help you lay out the rest of the resume by serving as the platform for the remainder of what you say.

Choose the Resume Format That Showcases Your Strengths

A huge factor in writing a good resume resume, is formatting and structuring it to your desired focus. You have to know how to set up a resume.
To begin structuring the format of your resume, ask yourself the following::

  • What do you want the employer to know about you first?
  • What do you want to maximize?
  • What, if anything, should be minimized?

Perhaps you have very relevant education, but not so relevant work experience. You will want to present your education first and put more emphasis on that. If the opposite is true, put your job experience first and with greater detail.
There are many acceptable formats for knowing how to write a great resume. Individuality is often a benefit, so don’t be afraid to use your own judgment when arranging personal and work data. You will find many templates, some free, some at a cost, on the Internet and in books. Your local library should also have good reference materials that can help you with choosing a format.
You can view some sample resumes for different professions at ResumeResource. A couple of good online sources for free resume templates, are FreeResumeTemplates, and FreeResumeSamples.

Whatever format you choose, make sure your resume:

  • Includes personal and contact information.
  • Is ordered in a logical and consistent way.
  • Is honest and verifiable.
  • Contains relevant information only, with no fluff.

Learning how to write a good resume includes using the right format and knowing how to set up a resume.

Keep Your Resume Relevant to the Position on Offer

One of the mistakes that many by people who don’t know how to write a good resume is to include too much irrelevant detail. Use the following great resume writing tips to avoid falling into this pitfall:

  • Include only those experiences, skills, traits and details that are relevant to the specific position you’re applying for.
  • Mark your work section “Relevant Work Experience,” and keep it relevant to the job opportunity at hand. For example, if you are applying for an accountancy position, including the summer you worked at an ice cream stand may not do much to boost your credentials as an accountant.
  • Conversely, if you have had specialized training that would be useful to the position, give greater detail to that. In this case, consider a nurse who has had significant training and experience in cardiac emergency care. They would obviously want to emphasize this on their resume, unless they were changing proffessions of course.
  • Re-read your first draft several times, comparing it to your highlighted copy of the job description or ad. Are you using the same keywords?

Write a good resume by keeping it relevant.

Make it “Results Oriented”- Pack Your Resume Full of Power Words

This tip on how to write a good resume is about letting your potential employers know what you can do for them.
Past results, in numbers with time frames if possible, speak loudly. So does the use of certain “power” words- action words- that describe your accomplishments and abilities. This will of course vary, depending on the position at hand, and your job experiences; but think of words such as advanced, managed, supervised, demonstrated, created, revised, growth, increased sales by, developed, authored, invented, collaborated with, shared and so on. You get the idea. Keep it formal with no unnecessary or distracting information.

Writing a good resume includes a lot of power words.

How to Set Up a Resume By Creating a Positive Visual Impact

An good resume looks appealing.

It is ordered with clearly labeled sections, and contains a balance between white space and text. If your resume looks jumbled to you, it will look jumbled to the employer.

Because your resume is your only shot at getting an interview. It needs to say “organized, competent and conscientious”.

Knowing how to write a good resume includes making it visually look sharp.

Proof Read Carefully

Every resource you look at to learn how to write a good resume includes this tip. Yes, somehow people still overlook its importance.

Let your resume develop in stages. Creating a winning resume is intense work. You need to regain perspective by taking a break. After your first draft is finished, walk away for a few hours or a day, then go back to it with new eyes. Revise and check spelling and grammar, then have someone else read through it, using the ad or job description as a guide.

You’ll be surprised by what you will miss. Employers will automatically throw out a resume with typos and grammatical mistakes. Make sure it contains neither.

How to Write a Good Resume – Some Final Tips

  • Your resume is the “you” you want the employer to see. Make it great.
  • If you need ideas or help with a resume format, search the web or use the resources listed above, and see what others have created. Sites with collections of resumes by category can be very helpful.
  • Don’t take the format for granted. An electrician’s resume is going to look and read very differently than an insurance salesman’s, and so you must structure your resume accordingly.
  • You will also need to develop a good cover letter. This is just as important as your resume, as it is your introduction to the employer and states your intent and desire to apply for the job.
  • Help for writing cover letters and some advice on common resume mistakes can be found at the MSN CareerBuilder site.
  • Happy job hunting!

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