You’ve probably heard about the importance of customizing your resume for every job description. But what if you don’t have a good base resume to start with? Or maybe you have one, but it could use an overhaul.
Sometimes it’s best to start back at the beginning to make sure your resume is appropriate for the position you are going for.
Here, we’ll walk you through, step-by-step, how to create a resume from scratch so that you can start your job search on the right foot.
Choosing Your Style and Fonts
If you aren't sure how to style your resume, you’re in luck. We’ve done the research for you. You can find tons of templates for free, like these Office templates or you can develop one in Canva with a free membership. Once you have settled on a style you can start thinking about the formatting.
There are some general formatting rules that you’ll want to follow. Firstly, go with standard fonts such as Times New Roman or Calibri.
Next, make it no longer than one-page front and back. Additionally, use plenty of white space, and have no more than six bullets per job or experience.
Finally, you should stick to mostly black and white, with possibly one additional color for emphasis.
Choose a Base Format
The standard and most used resume format is reverse chronological. In this type of resume, you list your most recent work experience at the top and then move backward. It is appropriate to only list the last 10-15 years; this commonly involves listing three to five positions.
Another less common format is a functional resume. Functional resumes place emphasis on your relevant skills, rather than your work experience. You would be inclined to use this format if you are just starting out, a recent graduate, or switching fields.
There are also hybrid or combination resumes, which combine elements from reverse chronological and functional resumes. You will want to use this format if you have gaps in your work history. This format lets you highlight your skills without calling attention to any employment breaks.
In most cases, you’ll want to go with the standard reverse chronological format, first mentioned.
What to include in the Header
A header includes essential information that the recruiter or hiring manager needs to understand who you are and how to get in touch with you. It also might include information that can help them get a better idea of your career path, and where you see yourself going.
Ensure that there are no typos in your header because this may prevent whoever’s looking at it from reaching you, which would really set you back in your job search.
In your heading, make sure to include your name, your phone number, and your email address.
There is some question about whether it is still appropriate to include your home address in the header. It would be necessary when applying locally and the work will be in-person.
When applying for a remote position, just listing your city and state should be sufficient.
Additionally, you should list current your job title. Some additional information that is optional to include would be your LinkedIn profile, a website, or any other relevant social media platforms you want to showcase.
Now that you know what to add, let’s go over what you should purposely leave out. A safe rule of thumb is if it isn’t relevant to the position you are applying for then you don’t need to share it.
You can forego adding your date of birth, as well as any photo of yourself, as detailed by US guidelines as means of avoiding certain types of discrimination.
However, if you’re outside of the US you’ll want to check what the etiquette is regarding photos because in some countries it is customary to include them.
What are Summaries and Objectives?
You’ll need to decide whether writing a summary or objective in the header is appropriate for you and the position you are going for. Currently, a summary or objective seems only necessary when you are just starting out, don’t have very much on-the-job experience, or are switching fields.
This section allows you the space to match your skills with the needs of the position you are going for, so they are obvious and clear.
A summary is a two-four sentence summary of your career. It is where you highlight your most relevant skills. It should include numbers and measurable achievements to back up your strengths. It can also include volunteering or other experience that is applicable.
If you are making a career shift, an objective might be more appropriate than a summary.
An objective includes a summary of your work experience, but the bulk of it should be spent describing your goals and reasons for your career change.
In doing this, it’s important that it explains how your knowledge and skills from your previous work are relevant to the field you are entering.
Listed at top of your work experience in bold is your job title, the company name and location, and the dates you worked there.
Underneath each title, you will list your achievements and responsibilities in the role. These descriptions should contain three to six bullet points speaking to your responsibilities. You should always want to show, rather than tell, what your skills are. This can be done by listing percentages, numbers, and specific achievements as much as possible.
In the education section, you should always include the name of institutions attended, your program or major, and the years ended. You can also include relevant courses and academic achievements, honors, or awards. You may also wish to include your GPA but only do this if it is especially high.
Volunteer Experience (Optional)
If you have volunteer experience that is applicable to the field you are entering, it’s a good idea to showcase it on your resume.
This is especially important if you don’t have a ton of relevant work experience. When listing volunteer experience, follow the same format as work experience.
Hard skills are concrete abilities or areas that you have training in. These skills are needed to fulfill specific job duties or tasks.
They are often listed in job descriptions as essential or desired qualifications. Some examples include a specific certification, typing speed, or the ability to speak a foreign language.
Soft skills are difficult to measure with awards and numbers, but this does not mean that they are any less important. In fact, including them on your resume is crucial.
Soft skills are applicable to pretty much any line of work. They are what make others want to work with you and are essential to your success in the workplace. Some examples of soft skills are time management, adaptability, and empathy.
Writing your resume from scratch can feel like a daunting task, but using an email template and following our tips will have you ready for your new job search in no time.
We hope you found this guide useful, and that it made the process of creating your resume less intimidating. For more personalized advice on crafting your resume, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Contact@quardev.com!