Given that, on average, an HR manager will spend no more than 30 seconds scanning a resume, it’s important that the one you submit grabs his attention immediately. Poorly structured, sloppily presented resumes won’t made the grade, so to ensure you’re called for interview it’s important to follow a few basic resume writing rules.
When writing your resume, give a little consideration to its primary purpose, which is to secure you an interview. To achieve this, your resume needs to convince a recruiting manager that if he hires you he will get an employee who will benefit his organization. It sounds simple, but often it’s not. Because while you may believe that you can do the job that’s advertised, it’s a different matter convincing someone else that you can, especially on paper.
Structure is important for a resume, as it is for any written document. A well structured resume will help to guide the reader, which is important if that person doesn’t have a great deal of time. A busy recruiting manager will want to be able to take in as much information as possible in a matter of seconds, and if your resume isn’t structured in such a way as to enable him to do that, he will move on to one that is.
Personal Details and Profile
Head up your resume with your name, address, telephone number, and email address (also include your date of birth if you wish). Follow this with your profile. Your profile is an opportunity to sell yourself. It describes, in no more than a few succinct sentences, your value as an employee and what you can bring to an organization. However, some people believe that the work experience section of their resume will do the talking for them, so if this is your preference, omit the profile.
Employment History and Education
You should then list your employment history, starting with your current or last job and your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Place more emphasis on what you actually achieved in these roles than what your duties were. Where possible, quantify your achievements (“…achieved 30 percent increase…”). You should also list the experience and skills you gained as a result.
Also include the names and locations of your employers and employment dates (month and year).
There’s no need to include every job you’ve had since leaving college. If you’ve had a considerable number, then you can summarize the earlier jobs in a section entitled “early career.” However, highlight any achievements that you feel are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
After listing your employment history, give details of your education (university/college/high school), and any academic qualifications/diplomas you gained. If you’re a recent graduate, you can place your education details before your employment history.
While content is obviously important, presentation plays a big part too. Try to stick to bullet points with short succinct sentences. Use headings and then expand further. You want the headings to draw the reader in and to encourage him to read on. If you’re writing a resume for a specific job, list the most relevant achievements and experiences first.
Try to keep your resume short and to the point. If you’ve been in the workforce for a considerable number of years, your education will be less important, so you can pare this down to the basics which will leave you more room for your employment details.
While there’s no guarantee that a well written resume will get you the job you’re applying for, it will at least give you a good chance of securing an interview, which is its primary objective.