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10 Resume Writing Tips that will Make You Stand Out

A resume is a self-marketing tool, which highlights your relevant skills, experience, and knowledge. This is the key to getting the job you are interested in and part of the first impression you make on the employer. Employers devote no more than few seconds to reviews resumes, so it is important to know how to stand out and spark the interests of recruiters. Read More ...

Here are some helpful tips on how you can ensure that your resume not only highlights your accomplishments and skills, but also captures employers’ attention immediately.

1. Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Your resume should showcase your skills and accomplishments as it relates to the role you are applying for. Even if your employment history is not aligned with the role, it is important to find elements that match the requirements of the position you are applying for. This will show employers that you have the potential to grow within the role, and therefore will be more inclined to move forward with your candidacy.

2. A good self-introduction can do wonders. Before you dive into the technical details of your past roles and education, try to add a short introduction of no more than 2-3 sentences. This is your place to tell employers a little about yourself and don’t be afraid to be creative. A few sentences can give employers a chance to get to know you and your potential contribution to their companies. Also, a self-introduction can be useful if you are applying for a role that is outside your current field - use this section as a means to tell employers why this specific position or field interests you.

3. Remember to use a reverse chronological order when listing your jobs, degrees and/or projects (from new to old). Your resume space is limited to one page (unless you have particularly extensive experience) and employers read it from top to bottom when looking for the latest employment experience at the top.

4. Do not use first person in your writing, such as "I made presentations", or “I managed people". This is incorrect and it makes the resume seem like a story. Since this is an official document, it should speak a professional language. For example, you should write that your role in a certain company included: "Preparing presentations", "Managing employees", "Creating collaborations". These should appear as bullet points and neatly organized.

5. Be brief! It is not necessary to list all the roles you have ever held. You want to showcase your most recent experience as it is most relevant to who you are today, and share your less relevant experience in one line at the bottom of your resume. Refrain from including short-term positions that are not relevant to the skills that are required for the position you are interested in (working as a waiter during the studying for a degree, etc.). Also, be careful not to leave "blanks" in your resume, or period during which you did not work. This can make employers wonder about your credibility and reduce your chances of being considered for the role.

6. Use quantitative information to outline your accomplishments. People find it easier to grasp quantitative information, so try to use numbers and percentages when describing your professional experience. Using data will not only specify your experience, but also make it sound more powerful by using concrete examples. For example, instead of saying "budget management", try using "budget management of 10 million dollars per year". Or instead of "employee management", you can say "managing 6 employees". This tip is also useful for entry-level jobs - instead of saying "responsibility for handling customer inquiries", try saying "responsibility for handling about 10,000 customer inquiries a month".

7. Don’t forget to include your soft skills. In your skills section, you should emphasize both your technical and analytical skills, as well your human relations skills. Employers want to know that you will be able to get along with others on the team, so even if you are a security expert with extensive knowledge on the most innovative software, your resume should also emphasize your ability to work in a team environment and communicate well with others.

8. Incorporate keywords into your resume. Use keywords that derive from the job description, from recruiting company’s website, or from descriptions of similar jobs in other companies. For example, if it says that candidates must have knowledge in Microsoft office, add it to your resume - do not let the employer make assumptions about your experience. Be mindful to not overdo it - stay true to yourself and your experience.

9. Pay attention to the smallest details. Impressive design, no spelling errors, a uniform font, bulleted chapter headings, and spaces between paragraphs with reasonable margins. All of these finer details show that you not only invested in your resume, but also you are organized and attentive to detail – which are important qualities to have in any position.

10. Make sure your resume is neat, easy to read and symmetrical. You will have a lot to say about your accomplishments, but the important highlights of your career will be lost if your resume is cluttered and tires the employer. Choose a professional design that highlights your experience and capabilities, and do not be afraid to add a little color so that your resume stands out from other candidates.

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What is the difference between Resume and CV?

The distinction between a resume and a CV lies in their length, content, and purpose. In the United States, the terms are often used interchangeably, but in other parts of the world like Europe, they have different meanings.

- Length: Typically 1-2 pages.
- Content: Summarizes your work experience, education, skills, and achievements. It's tailored to the specific job you're applying for, focusing on relevant qualifications.
- Purpose: Mainly used for job applications in various industries. Its concise format makes it suitable for quickly showcasing your qualifications to potential employers.

CV (Curriculum Vitae):
- Length: Can vary in length, often several pages.
- Content: Provides a comprehensive overview of your entire professional history, including all jobs, education, research, publications, presentations, awards, and more. It's more exhaustive and doesn't necessarily get customized for each application.
- Purpose: Commonly used in academic and research fields, as well as when applying for positions where a detailed overview of your accomplishments is crucial.

In the US, the distinction between these two terms is prevalent. However, in many other countries, especially in Europe, the term "CV" is used as a synonym for what Americans would call a resume.

It's important to note that conventions can vary, so when applying for jobs or academic opportunities, it's always wise to follow the regional norms and expectations.
If you're interested in delving deeper into the subject of Curriculum Vitae, explore our comprehensive guide: "How to write a Resume."

What to include in a Resume?

A resume is a concise document that highlights your qualifications, skills, and experiences, tailored specifically for a job application. It should effectively showcase your suitability for a particular role and capture the attention of potential employers. Here's what you should include in a resume:

  1. Contact Information:
    • Full Name
    • Phone Number
    • Email Address
    • Optional: LinkedIn Profile (if it's professional and up-to-date)
  2. Professional Summary:
    • A brief statement that summarizes your career goals, skills, and what you bring to the role.
    • Tailor this section to match the specific job you're applying for.
  3. Skills:
    • Highlight relevant skills that align with the job description.
    • Categorize skills into sections like Technical Skills, Soft Skills, Language Proficiencies, etc.
  4. Work Experience:
    • List your relevant work experiences in reverse chronological order.
    • Include the job title, company name, location, dates of employment, and key responsibilities and achievements.
    • Use bullet points to describe your accomplishments in each role.
    • Quantify your achievements when possible (e.g., "Increased sales by 20%," "Managed a team of 10").
  5. Education:
    • List your educational background in reverse chronological order.
    • Include the degree(s) earned, institution name, location, dates attended, and any honors or awards.
  6. Certifications and Training:
    • Include relevant certifications, workshops, seminars, and training programs.
    • This section can demonstrate your commitment to continuous learning and professional development.
  7. Projects (Optional):
    • Highlight relevant projects you've worked on, especially if they demonstrate your skills and accomplishments.
    • Include the project's name, your role, a brief description, and outcomes.
  8. Achievements and Awards (Optional):
    • Include any relevant awards, honors, or achievements that showcase your capabilities.
  9. Professional Memberships (Optional):
    • List memberships in industry associations, organizations, or societies that pertain to the role.
  10. Volunteer Work or Extracurricular Activities (Optional):
    • Include relevant volunteer work or extracurricular activities that highlight your character and skills.
  11. References (Available Upon Request):
    • Similar to the resume, you can mention that references are available if required.
  12. Formatting and Design:
    • Use a clean and professional format with a readable font.
    • Use bullet points for easy scanning.
    • Keep the resume to one page for early-career professionals; consider a second page for more experienced candidates.
    • Ensure consistent formatting for headings, bullet points, and text alignment.

Tailor your resume for each application by aligning your experiences and skills with the job description. Focus on the most relevant information that will make you stand out as a strong candidate. Proofread carefully to ensure accuracy and clarity. A well-crafted resume will enhance your chances of getting noticed and progressing to the interview stage.

What is a chronological resume, and what order should it be in?

A chronological resume is a type of resume format that focuses on presenting your work history in reverse chronological order. This means that you list your most recent job or experience first and then proceed in reverse order, highlighting your earlier roles. This format is commonly used and is particularly effective if you have a consistent and strong work history.

The order of sections in a chronological resume typically follows this structure:

Remember to keep the layout clean, use clear headings, and employ bullet points for easy readability. Tailor your descriptions and achievements to align with the job you're seeking. The chronological format is effective for showcasing a strong work history, but if you have gaps in employment or are changing careers, you might consider other resume formats that better highlight your strengths in those situations.

  1. Contact Information: Include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the page.
  2. Summary or Objective Statement: Provide a brief overview of your skills, experiences, and career goals. This section is optional but can be beneficial if tailored to the specific job you're applying for.
  3. Work Experience: List your work history in reverse chronological order. For each position, include:
    • Job Title: Your job title in that role.
    • Company: The name of the company you worked for.
    • Dates: The duration of your employment (month and year).
    • Responsibilities and Achievements: Use bullet points to outline your key responsibilities and accomplishments for each role. Focus on quantifiable achievements and specific contributions.
  4. Education: List your educational background, starting with the most recent. Include:
    • Degree: The degree you earned.
    • Major: Your field of study.
    • Institution: The name of the institution where you studied.
    • Graduation Date: The date you graduated or expect to graduate.
  5. Skills: Highlight relevant skills, both hard and soft, that are pertinent to the job you're applying for. This can include technical skills, languages, software proficiency, and more.
  6. Optional Sections: Depending on your circumstances, you might include additional sections such as certifications, awards, volunteer work, or relevant projects.
  7. References: Mention that references are available upon request. You can include this statement, or if requested by the employer, provide references' contact information.

Remember to keep the layout clean, use clear headings, and employ bullet points for easy readability. Tailor your descriptions and achievements to align with the job you're seeking. The chronological format is effective for showcasing a strong work history, but if you have gaps in employment or are changing careers, you might consider other resume formats that better highlight your strengths in those situations.

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a formal document that accompanies your resume or CV when applying for a job, internship, or other professional opportunities. It's typically sent along with your application materials, either as a physical letter or as part of an email. A cover letter serves as an introduction to your application and provides additional context about your qualifications and motivations.

Key components of a cover letter include:

  1. Contact Information: Similar to your resume, include your name, address, phone number, and email address at the top of the letter.
  2. Date: The date on which you're writing the letter.
  3. Recipient's Information: Address the letter to the hiring manager or relevant person. If you have their name, use it. If not, a generic salutation like "Dear Hiring Manager" can suffice.
  4. Introduction: Begin with a professional and engaging opening paragraph. Mention the specific job title you're applying for and briefly state how you learned about the position or the company.
  5. Body Paragraphs: Use one or two paragraphs to highlight your relevant skills, qualifications, and experiences. You can expand upon points from your resume, but avoid restating everything verbatim. Focus on specific examples that demonstrate your suitability for the position and how your skills align with the company's needs.
  6. Motivation and Fit: Explain why you're interested in the role and the company. Show that you've done your research and discuss how your goals and values align with the company's mission and culture.
  7. Closing Paragraph: Express your enthusiasm for the opportunity and invite the reader to review your resume or CV for more details. Indicate your willingness to discuss your application further and provide your contact information.
  8. Closing Salutation: Use a professional closing, such as "Sincerely" or "Best regards."
  9. Signature: Sign your name above your typed name.

A well-crafted cover letter allows you to showcase your communication skills, demonstrate your genuine interest in the position, and provide insights that may not be fully covered in your resume. It's an opportunity to make a personalized connection with the employer and stand out from other applicants. Customize each cover letter for the specific job you're applying for, addressing the company's needs and showcasing how you can contribute to their success.