How To Make A Professional Resume

Introduction 

 
Your resume is you on one page – highlighting your top qualities, achievements, skills, and experiences. Basically, it is your ticket into the professional world
 
Therefore, it is extremely important that you work hard to perfect your resume so you can stand out against other candidates to get noticed by potential employers.
 
A good resume needs to be effective in portraying who you are to recruiters. Making sure it looks clean, consistent, and is easy to read, is the most important part of writing a professional resume.
 
Even if you do not have a ton of professional work experience, it does not matter. Resumes serve as your professional first impression so whether you fill it with skills, volunteer or work experience, academic achievements or awards, it is important to make sure it looks good.
 

What Is A Resume/CV?

 
A resume is an accompaniment to your work history, special skills, education, certificates, awards, and sometimes hobbies.
 
You may have also heard a resume be referred to as a CV. What does that mean? CV stands for curriculum vitae, a Latin phrase that means “course of life.” If you are applying for an international position, you may hear that phrase more often than a resume.
 
Typically, it should be roughly 10 years’ worth of employment history. However, if you are a recent graduate, any work or volunteer experience completed during your college career is relevant. Each job description can be bulleted in list form so it is easier for your potential employer to read.
 
Once you have written your resume and are ready for the editing process, it is crucial that every single detail is correct. This is in case your potential employer has questions about your resume in an interview, you want to be prepared.
 
You can leave out any jobs or volunteer positions that do not apply to your current career. For example, if you are applying for an IT Auditing position, you may not want to include your previous position as a barista on your resume.
 

Important Tips

  • Be concise!
  • Use basic, easy to read fonts.
  • Use numbers!
  • Incorporate keywords!
  • No extensive blank space.
  • Include Awards/Certifications
  • List relevant accomplishments
  • Leave out unnecessary information
Be Concise
 
Do not be afraid to list your accomplishments in bullet form. This will save your potential employer time when he/she is going through your resume, and it will also make the most important details stand out.
 
Use Simple Fonts
 
Hiring managers only have a short time to get through your resume, you want it to be as clear as possible. Also, using basic fonts like Times New Roman or Arial will help you fit all of your experiences onto one page.
 
Use Numbers
 
Using numbers gives hiring managers a clear example of the value of your experience. It also helps them determine how valuable you will be as a future employee.
 
Incorporate Keywords in Job Descriptions
 
Do your research when applying for positions and see what keywords hiring managers have included in the job descriptions. Then, try to incorporate those keywords in the job descriptions of previous positions. This will help you stand out against other candidates.
 
Not Too Much Blank Space
 
You want your resume to be neat, and have some blank space, but not too much. If there is enough blank space to include a whole other section, create a section highlighting your interests, hobbies, or special awards!
 
Include Awards/Certifications
 
As mentioned above, use the extra space on your page to include your awards and certifications. If you have any awards or certifications that are relevant to a specific position that you are applying to, make sure to find space on your page to include them.
 
List Most Relevant Experiences First 
  
How To Make A Professional Resume 
 
When you put the most relevant experiences and accomplishments at the top of your list, they will stand out to your potential employer. This way they will know right away if you will be a good fit for the position.
 
Leave Out Unnecessary Information
 
If you have experience that is not relevant to the position you are applying for, leave it out. If you are looking for a career change and your previous positions are not relevant, but your skills and accomplishments are, then include your skills and accomplishments rather than previous job descriptions.
 
Work History Section Example
 
In the example above, you can see how the bullet points are concise and to the point, the font is clean and easy to read, there are numbers that help quantify the experience and accomplishment of this potential employee, there are keywords included in his or her job description, space is used effectively and only the most relevant information about this position is included.
 

Types Of Resumes/CVs

 
There are three main types of resumes you can choose from. They include Chronological Resume, Functional, and Combination.
 
Before you begin designing your resume/CV, it is important to decide what style will best suit your work and volunteer experience.
 
And remember, these types of resumes serve as a guide but do not be afraid to get creative with your resume aesthetic!
 
Chronological
 
It is one of the most common types of resumes used.
 
Listing your work experience in reverse chronological order, from the most recent to the least recent. This will give the employer a head start to see what jobs you have worked for in the past, instead of having to dig through your resume.
 
The main goal of listing your previous positions in chronological order is to show the exact steps you have taken to get where you are now.
 
It also can be a great way to show how prepared you for the role you’re applying for.
 
Functional
 
Instead of focusing on your work history, this type of resume rather focuses on your skills and abilities.
 
The functional resume is typically used for those who are trying to minimize work gaps or are transitioning into a new industry and have no relevant work history.
 
Instead of showing your previous work history, you’ll want to showcase your skills and have a professional summary.
 
If you have any positions that are closely related to the industry you’re applying for, make sure you put them down.
 
Nowadays, more often than not companies are hiring based on professional skills rather than education level. Therefore, functional resumes are increasingly more and more common, especially for those who are looking for jobs in the tech industry.
 
Here is an example of a skill description from a functional resume:
 
How To Make A Professional Resume 
Even though this section of the resume does not include any previous work experience, it still showcases the skills and accomplishments of this potential employee.
 
Combination
 
If the name didn’t already give it away; this type of resume is to not only showcase your work history but also highlight your skills and achievements.

If you are not sure what this might look like on paper, check out this example of a section from a combination resume,
 
How To Make A Professional Resume
 
Here, this potential employee’s work experience is highlighted alongside his or her education and software knowledge. This way, neither skills nor experience is given preference.
 
Each type of resume serves a different purpose, so it is important to know what kind of job you are looking for so you can choose the correct resume.
 
If you have a ton of work experience, the chronological resume is probably the best fit for you.
 
If you don’t have a ton of work experience and instead have special and refined skills, the functional or combination resume is probably the best fit for you.
 
Keep in mind, different types of employers are looking for different types of experience, knowledge, and skills. Therefore, no matter what it is incredibly important to do research about the type of position you are applying to, as well as the company and the hiring manager themselves.
 

Formatting Your Resume/CV

 
Now that you know what to include in your resume/CV and what kind of resume you need, it is time to start writing it.
 
So let us take a look at how you should format your resume/CV! Now, do not be afraid to get creative.
 
Once again, these suggestions can serve as a starting guide, but many employers like to see that you can think outside of the box and make a creative, yet professional and effective resume/CV.
 
Beginning at the top of your resume/CV, include your name, contact information, where you went to school, and your degree.
 
All of this information should be close to one another so your employer does not have to search.
 
How To Make A Professional Resume
 
The next step is where you write a short summary about yourself. The summary should include who you are, what you have accomplished, and what you’re looking for.
 
Although humility is a great quality to have, do not be afraid to brag about yourself a little bit in this section. Otherwise, how will employers know how awesome you really are?
If you are submitting a cover letter along with your resume, it is best to not have a summary in your resume.
 
Your cover letter will take care of introducing you, your accomplishments, and your future career goals and you do not want to sound repetitive.
 
Once you have chosen the type of resume you need, written and organized all of your information, go through and make sure that your formatting is consistent throughout the resume.
 
This means that you want your fonts to be the same, the font size to be the same, the margins to match up, the headings to be the same font and size as well.
 
And let’s be real, you do not want to use comic sans or papyrus font. Ever. Stick to clean simple fonts that are easy to read like Cambria, Calibri, Didot, Times New Roman, or Arial.
 
If you have a lot of information to include in your resume choose a smaller font size like a 10 or 11 point font so you have enough space to neatly include everything.
 
If you have less information to include in your resume, choose a font size no larger than 12 point font so you don’t have too much empty white/blank space on your page.
 
Now, read over your resume and then read it over again. Send it to a friend to see if they can catch any typos in your resume.
 
This is the first impression many employers will have of you, so you want to make sure it is as perfect as you are. Once you think your resume is good to go, send it in, and good luck!
 
How To Make A Professional Resume
Written by: Audrey Teague Edited by: Mae McCreary