Writing a Perfect Resume: The Secrets Behind the Art!

Are you tired of your old job or just setting off your professional career? Then, it is quite obvious that you need to strike the headhunters with something compelling a.k.a. a mind-blowing resume rather than going for typical resume formatting templates. Some of you might think – “it’s not too hard; I just need to list out all of my qualifications!” Well, my friend, you are just being naïve.

Don’t get me wrong but a resume is far from just a list of qualifications – it’s a form of art. You might be looking for the best resume format in Google, but the thing is the perfect resume should never be a cookie cutter. It has to be fresh, smart, out of the box, and, of course, completely personalized.

You cannot just copy someone else’s resume and change things here and there, hoping to get the call from the human resource manager. Today, we would teach everything about writing resumes, and you will surely know how to make a good resume at the end of today’s blog.

Resume Writing 101: The Definition, Types, and Why Do You Need It?

It might surprise you, but a lot of jobseekers can’t even answer a simple question in the interview board – what is a resume? Everyone knows what it is but struggle to describe with proper words. By definition, a resume is a piece of document that has a summary of the qualification of a job seeker targeted for a particular job.

Yes, a resume has to be targeted for a particular job. So, by definition, you will need a specially curated document for a specific job if you want to call it a proper resume. In other words, you can call a resume to be a formal advertisement of yourself.

Technically, you can classify resumes into three categories. Such classification is based on the formatting of the resumes. Here are the three –

  • Reverse-chronological
  • Functional
  • Hybrid or Chrono-functional

We would talk about them in the later section.

The question “Why do you need a resume?” is a silly one.

The headhunters want to screen the applicants before they decide whom should they be calling for the interview process. A resume is a perfect tool for them to screen numerous applicants at a short time and a great tool for you to describe your skills and traits to them.

How Should You Start You Resume Writing Process?

Do you know how a writer, any great writer come up with a big novel or a story? First, they brainstorm, then come up with a plot, do some research, and then finally starts writing.

The art of resume writing is not an exception here! First, you will have to brainstorm about yourself. We would suggest you sit in an empty room with a pen and piece of paper. List out every major incident of your life and write in chronological order. Don’t miss anything!

So, the brainstorming part is done. We would suggest you take as much as time you need to finish the first step – it is the most important one.

Now, it’s time for research. Look for different information about the company you are hoping to join. List out all the things you like and goes with your personality and taste. After you are done with that, try to gather all the information about the job role you are going to play in the company.

Finally, you will have to cross-check everything that your personality, life experience, skills have in common with the company and the job description and ask yourself “why you are a good fit for that particular job post?

The answer you will get from the inner voice in your mind should be core about which you would build up the whole resume.

Now, you are all set for writing it up – it’s about maintaining a proper format and your word processing skills (MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Adobe Illustrator, etc.). No matter whichever your preferred platform of creating the resume is a PDF file is considered the most standard final document to submit.

Major Components of a Perfect Resume: Best Resume Formats 2019

It doesn’t matter which type of resume you are choosing – they all have some common and standard sections that you would want to include in your resume.

Although there is no perfect resume format template, we will discuss the most common ones or what should a resume include.

So, here it goes –

  1. Contact Information

Pretty much all the resumes have the contact information section at the beginning of a resume. Here, you should add your name, professional title, and your contact information (phone number, e-mail, LinkedIn ID, present address, etc.)

Except for the professional title, you don’t have that room for showing your creativity in this section.

  1. A Resume Objective/ Career objective

We love to call this section – the attention grabber. This section clarifies the objective of the resume that you have written or in some cases, your career objective. You should go full-on creative mode while writing this section.

It is really disappointing when we see that a person is copying someone else’s career objective. You must remember one thing – an HR manager has a strong sense of detecting an authentic resume and a stolen one.

There is a big chance that your resume will go to the dustbin if they feel that you have copied your resume/career objective section. We highly discourage you from doing so.

So, how should you write it?

Just tell them what your career-related dream is. If you haven’t found a dream yet, it’s fine. Just picture yourself working in that company and think of where do you want to see yourself in the next five years or so. We know we sound typical, but this is an actual solution – ask yourself again and again and listen to your inner voice coming up with an answer.

  1. Work Experience

This section is pretty simple, yet the most important one. Most HR personnel want to hire someone with a previous experience backing them up. So, your chance of landing into the interview segment gets a massive boost if you have similar work experience.

As you are writing your previous experience section, try to imagine the bigger picture and your impact on the overall growth in the company.

Here’s a story for you – two construction workers were mixing cement for a high-rise building construction. A guy came and asked them the same question – what are you doing now?

The first one replied, “I am mixing the cement.” But the second one replied, “I am building the future of this country by being a part of the construction team of this building!”

Being witty often shows your higher intelligence. However, never oversell yourself – it is the last thing you should do. There is a fine barrier between being smart and being arrogant. You don’t want to be later one.

  1. Educational Qualification

We think the headline says it all – you will have to list out educational qualification from the most recent one to the oldest one.

You can also use a table if you want. The choice depends on you. However, don’t bother writing your results to pinpoint (adding individual results of each semester!)

  1. Skills

Depending on the resume format, you can add the skills in the earlier segment or the next segment. But you cannot ignore this section.

A Big Warning! Never write generic skillsets like hardworking, passionate, confident, punctual, etc. Everyone hates the generic skill description; even we hate it!

Try to be creative and honest. Remember the paper that we asked you to write about yourself and the major life incidents before writing? Yes, that would come in handy while writing your skills and strengths.

  1. Additional Information

We would suggest you make your resume a bit humane. Try adding up your hobbies, tell them about some co-curricular activities. If you joined any clubs (science club, debate club, sporting academy), let them know. These traits are important, and they can make a huge difference between you and a regular joe.

Structuring Your Resume

Just remember one thing – you are writing a resume, not a novel! Try finishing your resume on one page, if not it can have a maximum of two pages. HR teams hate long resumes as it tends to get boring.

You don’t want to frustrate them, do you?

Here is a table that would help you structure your resume like a professional –

Criteria Standard Metrics
Page Count 1-2 pages
Alignment Typically, left alignment, you can be creative about it
Margins One-inch margin (in all sides)
Font Sans Fonts (Calibri, Tahoma, Open Sans, etc.)
Font Size 11-12pt
Line Spacing 1 or 1.15

Resume Format: Types of Resume Formats

As we have said already, there are three common resume formats – reverse-chronological, functional, and hybrid or combination.

A reverse-chronological resume focuses on professional experiences and educational background before other factors such as skill or strengths. Professionals who plan to switch the job similar to the last job position should consider this resume format.

Who should use it? Management professionals, bank employees, engineers, etc.

Then comes the functional resume format. This type focuses on skills more than educational qualification or previous professional experiences. Mostly, creative personnel tends to stick to this format where skills matter more than experience.

Who should use it? Architects, musicians, designers, military transitioners, etc.

Lastly, comes the hybrid or the combination of the reverse chronological and the functional resume types. Here, you will have to focus on additional skills (such as being an organizational secretary at a student committee despite having an engineering background). This idea could come handy for those who seek to change their career path, so they want to include their expertise in something else compared to the last job.

Who should use it? Seasoned professionals, career changers, people with career gaps, etc.

Resume Formats FAQs

You should have some questions bugging your mind right now. So, we have decided to have a FAQ section for the probable questions you might have –

Q: Is there any unbreakable rule for resume writing?
A: We can think of two – don’t have any spelling or grammatical mistake, and NEVER lie.

Q: Should I have more than one resume format written?
A: Depending on your career choice, you shouldn’t need more than a format (either reverse-chronological, functional, or hybrid). However, you should write the resumes targeted towards different jobs. That means you need only one format covered but need a changed or a tweaked resume for different jobs.

Q: Is it mandatory to have a single-page resume?
A: No, but you shouldn’t go beyond one page. HR managers love a single-page resume, as it is concise and clear. However, due to the variation in the job spectrum, your resume can have more pages.

Q: Can I skip an objective career section?
A: Yes, you can skip it. Most applicants use some generic, self-promoting career objective which can be vague at times. So, the recruiters even skip reading it from time to time. But it is a section that should include so that nothing remains untouched.

Q: Which should I include first, experience or education?
A: It depends. If you are a fresher, you will have to skip the experience in any way. For those who think they want to pursue their career in the same way just like the previous job or have a substandard academic performance, should include the experience section first. Those who are seeking academic like a lecturer or a teacher should include the education segment first.

Is a Cover Letter Mandatory?

Cover letters are a great way to introduce the recruiters to your resume. It works as a link between you and your resume. Unlike a resume, the cover letter is more personal oriented and a great way to tell the recruiters – why you are a great fit for the job.

A cover letter can talk(!) while a resume is like your personal advertisement. Moreover, a resume tends to be concise often has a single page, so the HR team cannot know more details about you. That’s why they ask the job seekers to add a cover letter.

A cover letter should be written as if the resume was a continuation of the letter

Resume Templates and Some Samples

We think you pretty much got the idea about how to write a resume or how should a resume be formatted. Now, it’s time to check out some modern resumes that can inspire you to write a compelling one by yourself. Check them out –

Tips for Formatting a Resume

To finish the blog off, we would like to give you some final suggestions. Follow them, and you can also be a star resume writer!

  • Maintain standard structuring parameters
  • Use bullet point while discussing previous experience
  • Use spacing before each section
  • Every information should be targeted to the job you are applying to
  • Don’t be too much graphic, Applicant Tracking System (ATS) cannot read them properly
  • Your resume should meet minimum job requirements

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