How to Write a Resume More Effectively

The quality of your resume makes a huge impact on getting a job. Here’s some best practices for writing a resume.

What is a Resume?

A resume is a formal document that summarizes your professional qualifications, including your work experience, skills, education, and achievements. It is used by job seekers to apply for positions and by employers to evaluate potential candidates.

How to build a resume the right way

Before we get started, let's take a look at what a great resume looks like when it includes the right sections

The Information You Should Put On Your Resume

Whether you want to update an old resume or you are about to begin resume writing for the first time, there are certain sections that should always be present in a good resume. These components are:

  • Contact information

Your resume should feature your complete name, phone number, email address, and any professional portfolio links, such as your LinkedIn profile, at the beginning. This positioning guarantees that a recruiter can easily reach out to you for an interview when required.

  • Relevant skills

In crafting your skills section, prioritize those that align with the job’s requirements. After covering the essentials from the job description, you can then include additional skills. For instance, for a programmer role requiring Python or CSS, emphasize these while also mentioning complementary abilities like design (for front-end positions) or project management.

  • Work experience/history

When you list your work history, you should start with your current or most recent job title and work backwards in reverse chronological order. Do not include more than 10 years of past work experience unless it is specifically requested that you do so.

  • Professional certifications

Although this section can be optional, if you work in a specialized role or a field that relies on specific technical skills or knowledge, professional certifications can be crucial. If you possess certifications relevant to the job you are applying for, you should definitely list them.

  • Education and achievements

As you gain professional work experience, the emphasis on your education will diminish. However, certain professions still require specific educational qualifications and notable achievements, such as academic awards or specialized coursework. Ensure that you highlight your most recent or most advanced relevant academic qualifications on your resume.

Including all this information will enhance your chances of creating a compelling resume that offers a concise professional summary, making a positive first impression on recruiters.

Choosing From the Three Resume Formats

Before you even start to write your resume, you should consider the format that you intend to use. Different formats have their own strengths and weaknesses, so you should try to choose the format that best suits your skill set and work experience. The three main resume formats are:

1. Chronological resume (reverse-chronological resume)

The most traditional resume format, the chronological resume, presents your professional experience in reverse chronological order. Your current or most recent job title should be listed at the top of your resume, right below your resume summary statement and header. Limit your listed work experience to the past 10 years unless potential employers request more. This format is best suited for individuals with substantial professional experience.

2. Functional resume

A functional resume format prioritizes your hard and soft skills over your work history. In this format, place your skills section at the top of your resume, just below your resume summary statement and header. Use bullet points to list your soft and hard skills, making the most of the available space. This format is ideal if you have a limited work history or are applying for a job that values skills more than experience.

3. Combination resume (hybrid resume)

A combination resume fuses the strong points of the functional and chronological resume formats. This leads to a resume that puts equal focus on the skills and work history sections. The result is a resume with equally sized skills and work experience sections. This is a good option for most job seekers unless they work in specialist roles.

How to write a resume
Job hunting can be quite stressful, especially when you realize that your chances of securing an interview often hinge on how you present your professional profile—your resume. But fear not, we're here to help. Learn how to write an effective resume that grabs recruiters attention and boosts your chances in the job market.
A resume provides an overview of your professional background, skills, and achievements.
Its goal is to show employers why you’re the right fit for the job you’re applying for.
Customise your resume for each job application to highlight the most relevant information.
Pick the resume format that best showcases your experience and skills for the job you want.
Depending on your work history, career level, and job requirements, you can choose a chronological resume or a skills-based one.
Include your name, address (or at least the city of residence), phone number, email, at the top of your resume.
Make it easy for employers to contact you by making sure your contact details are easy to find on your document.
Craft a short, impactful personal statement at the beginning of your resume.
Summarise your experience, skills, and career goals.
Tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for.
List your work experience in reverse chronological order, meaning start with your most recent experience.
Include your job title, company name, location, and dates of employment.
Below this, use bullet points to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments in each role.
Use a separate section to highlight your skills, including both hard skills (technical abilities) and soft, transferable skills, like problem-solving or communication.
Include skills relevant to the job description to show you’re a good match.
List your education, including degrees, and certifications. If you’re writing a skills-based resume, you can also include any relevant coursework.
Include the name of the institution, degree earned, and graduation date.
Highlight any academic achievements or honours.
Consider adding extra sections like certifications, awards, or volunteer work.
Include only information that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.
These sections can help you stand out and show your unique qualifications.
Proofreading your resume is essential to ensure professionalism, make a positive first impression, and communicate your qualifications clearly and accurately. It helps to avoid errors in spelling, grammar, and formatting, which can impact credibility and hinder job prospects. By investing time in proofreading, you demonstrate attention to detail and commitment to presenting yourself effectively to potential employers.
Instead of sending a generic resume to every suitable job offer, tailor your resume for each position by highlighting the most relevant experience and skills. Use keywords from the job description to navigate past automated resume scanners, ensuring your resume directly addresses the requirements specified by the employer.
How to Polish an Existing Resume

1. Update Your Content

Review and update your work experience, skills, and achievements regularly. Remove outdated or irrelevant information.

2. Improve Formatting

Use consistent fonts, bullet points, and spacing. Ensure your resume is easy to read and professionally formatted.

3. Quantify Achievements

Wherever possible, use numbers to quantify your achievements (e.g., increased sales by 20%, managed a team of 10).

4. Proofread

Check for grammatical errors, typos, and inconsistencies. Consider having a friend or professional proofread your resume.

Benefits of Resume Creation

1. Professional Presentation

A well-crafted resume presents you professionally and creates a positive first impression on potential employers.

2. Highlighting Skills and Achievements

Allows you to showcase your skills, achievements, and experiences in a structured manner.

3. Career Focus

Helps clarify your career objectives and focus on the positions that best match your qualifications and goals.

4. Job Application Efficiency

A polished resume streamlines the job application process, making it easier to apply for multiple jobs quickly.

5. Competitive Advantage

In a competitive job market, a strong resume can set you apart from other candidates by clearly demonstrating your value.