We’ve all been there. You’re ready to apply for a new job or looking for a career change, and you haven’t updated your resume in quite some time. Or it’s your first job, and you’re not sure where to start. Resumes are a standard part of the job application process. Not having one - a good one - makes it very difficult to near impossible to land your dream job.
Unless you have some incredible connections that can help you bypass the interview stage, which is pretty rare, we highly recommend you give your resume a second look (or first!).
Your resume is a way for you to market yourself and promote your career experience. Creating a resume lets hiring managers see how you'll bring value to their company.
It's important to know that your resume doesn't need to present all there is to know about you. It should summarize the most important aspects of your professional experience. As well as your education, interests and activities - when applicable. We recommend you tailor your resume to the position you're seeking. This means highlighting specific accomplishments and skills to the job you're applying for.
In this guide, we'll walk you through the following sections to help you craft the perfect resume:
Tip: Use an online resume builder. Don't use Microsoft Word. Always use an online resume builder. You'll never have to worry about finding files and you can export your resume as a PDF.
So you’re ready to get started on your resume. The most obvious of choices is to open up Microsoft Word, create a new document and get writing. If you haven’t already done this before, formatting in Microsoft Word is a painful experience.
You'll end up with an ugly resume template that has poor legibility and incorrect margins. Or due to the lack of design options, you’ll end up with a resume that looks standard and boring. In both cases, the chances of potential employers overlooking your resume are pretty high!
Crazy isn’t it? You've spent years building job experience but have to use Microsoft Word to tell that story. And if you can’t navigate around complicated tools, it'll lead to poor results. You might miss the opportunity to land your dream job. That doesn’t sound fair, and it isn’t.
Luckily, there are other options that exist. We’ve created the fastest and easiest resume builder available online. With a variety of pre-existing templates that are professional and field-tested. And there’s no messing around with font sizes, margins or colors. We’ve taken care of all that for you.
The benefits of using an online resume builder like the one we’ve created are much higher. Here are some of the top reasons to use a resume builder:
The other benefits of using Easy Resume’s online resume builder are:
Let’s break down the different types of resumes that employers generally look for.
Tip: When in doubt, use a reverse chronological resume format. - About 95% of resumes use the reverse chronological format. Hiring managers are used to this as it lets employers see how your career has progressed.
The most common is the Reverse Chronological format. It’s the most used and formatted to tell the story of your work experience in a chronological way. Employers prefer this format, as it gives them a historical overview of your career. Including the different job titles and responsibilities that you’ve had.
This is a very common question that we often receive. It’s usually in the form of:
“I’ve been out of work for 6-7 years after a certain life situation (i.e. having kids). The last job I had was in 2012, but recently I'm starting to apply for jobs again in 2019. What’s the right resume format for someone like me?”
First of all, no worries. This is a very common situation and happens with many people. As a hiring manager, having a gap like this can lead to questions and uncertainty about your resume. Which is why we recommend that you use a combination format.
The second type of resume format is the Functional or Skills-Based resume. This can be common for students and recent graduates starting to apply for their first job.
Reasons why this is common for students and recent grads is due to their lack of prior experience. Given the fact that they’re starting to enter the workforce and apply for their first job. It’s well understood amongst employers that students won’t have a huge depth of work experience. There are other ways to let them know what you can help bring to the role you’re applying for by showcase the list of skills that you excel at.
It usually depends on the role you’re applying for. But there are some common ones that you can try to focus on like: Communication, Organization, Customer Driven, Effective Listener, Teamwork, etc.
We recommend adding some extra activities for your career. Even if you haven’t attained any professional work experience yet. The few ways you can do that as a student is:
Not only will you have more examples of experience to show on your resume. You can show employers how much initiative and leadership you’ve performed on your own. This helps you stand out much better than a candidate who only lists generic skills.
For example, instead of only listing skills like:
An employer might prefer to move forward with a resume that looks like this:
Fear not, your chances towards landing your first job can still be within grasp. We recommend taking an approach that explains the skills you’ve acquired. And how you’ve applied them in real-world settings.
Here’s an example of adding depth to your skill sets:
Do you see how this can be more effective than listing out a set of skills? Taking this approach will let employers know that you’re not only listing skills. But have also demonstrated how you were able to apply these skills and put them into action.
The final type of resume that we mentioned earlier is the Combination or Hybrid format. This combines concepts from both reverse chronological and functional/skills-based formats.
We recommend this format for jobs that expect relevant experience and technical skills. An example might be a Graphic Designer who has experience working in design agencies. As well as necessary skills like Branding, Sketching, Illustration, and Adobe Creative Suite.
Now that we know which software to use and the most common resume formats, let’s break down the actual template. This is the make-or-break deal. Picking the right resume template can be the deciding factor if a hiring manager gives you a call. Or if they skip past your resume and never bother to read it.
Our mission here at Easy Resume is to make sure that never happens to you! We’re working hard to make sure your resume is high quality and presented in a way that will impress recruiters.
When speaking with hiring managers, we found that 78% of the time they skip your resume is because of the design. Again, we don’t think that’s fair.
We always use this checklist whenever creating any new resume template.
Incorrect: Don’t make all headings and body copy the same size.
Correct: Do use typographic hierarchy by using varying heading sizes and font weights.
Incorrect: Don’t use quirky and eccentric fonts like comic sans or papyrus.
Correct: Do use professional fonts that are easy to read and familiar. Fonts like Georgia, Helvetica, Calibri, and Cambia.
Incorrect: Don’t go overboard with spacing. Using a lot of white-space might spark joy, but not when your resume becomes three pages long because of it.
Correct: Do keep your margins tight but spaced even enough that your text isn’t hugging the borders of the page.
Incorrect: Don’t try to write your entire life story with every single job responsibility you’ve ever had. Recruiters on average spend about 7-8 seconds skimming through resumes. If it's two pages, the chances of them not spending even more than 2-3 seconds reading the second page is pretty low.
Correct: Do keep your information brief, relevant, and clear. If you REALLY need another page, make sure it’s valuable information. Otherwise, choose the right template that can fit the most words on a single page.
Incorrect: Don’t write very long paragraphs about your work experience. Remember, your resume is a summary and a brief overview of your career. Your resume is not an autobiography of everything you’ve ever done.
Correct: Do use 3-4 bullet points to briefly describe your responsibilities. Feel free to add more bullet points if you have worked at only one or two jobs to fill up some more space.
Whew, that was a lot of information. Let's quickly summarize what we've learned.
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