Writing Your Resume – Starting from Scratch
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!
Recruiter Minute: Tips for Writing Your Resume
How to Prepare for Your Job Search
Are you looking for a new job, but you’re unsure where to start? If you read our last blog, Not Sure What You Want to Do? Let’s Figure It Out! you are becoming more familiar with your likes and dislikes – this will aid you well here.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but don’t fret–you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a simple guide to help you with a successful job search. After following these basic steps, you’ll be on your way to securing your dream job.
Do Your Research
Taking the time to dig deep with your research will set you up for success from the get-go. You can start off by just browsing job titles and descriptions to get a sense of what is available to you. Then, as you get more confident in your job goals and knowledge, you can start to do more targeted searching.
There are many tools and apps designed to aid your search. Make sure you take advantage of networking sites, job search engines, and job banks. Use a focused keyword search to find the job descriptions that best suit you. You will surely find results that interest you by playing around with different search titles and keywords.
Keep it organized
While conducting your job search, there are so many details to keep track of, and it can be challenging to stay on top of them. When your job search becomes disorganized, it may hinder your success, but could also harm your mental clarity. It could cause you to lose track of which jobs you have already applied to, and which still need tending to.
Keeping your job search organized is critically important. It will ensure that you are as efficient as possible with your most precious resource, time. To help make this easier, we have created a free Excel spreadsheet to help keep your job search on track.
Polish your professional profile
Most likely, you have already accumulated some form of a digital footprint. Try Googling your name and see what comes up. Think about the message you want to send to potential employers, and make sure that your professional profile reflects it. This means cleaning up your virtual footprint on any networking websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media platforms.
Make sure to review your privacy settings on all your social media accounts, so you can be sure who is able to see what. Your personal brand exists whether you are managing it or not, but if you are proactive and thoughtful with it, prospective employers will be able to clearly see just how amazing you are.
Working Your Network
Attending networking events might be something that you do even when you are not job searching; to learn, and to exchange ideas with motivated professionals. The tools you have gained from these events will serve you well in your job search.
During a job search, don’t shy away from attending networking events or reaching out to professionals at organizations you’re interested in. This is a great way to learn more about a job and the company’s culture. It will also help you form connections that will help you stand out.
You don’t have to wait for an event to start networking, these days you can network from your couch. Research people working for the company you are interested in or those who are in the position you are hoping for. Follow them on social platforms and interact with their posts – you could even be so bold as to send them a message! You will be surprised with the responses you get, and any inside information either about the company or the position will be helpful to you.
Prepare for the application process
Make sure that you have everything in line to apply. This is where the information that you found in step one will come in handy. Write or update your resume for each application you submit, keeping in mind the specific organization’s requests and jobs you are targeting. Visit our blog for some advice on customizing your resume to fit a job description.
When reading through a job description, notice the keywords that are used, use those same keywords in your resume and tailor your past experiences to the requirements the company lists.
Choose your references carefully, ideally, they would be professionals who are reliable and can highlight some of the best work you’ve done in the past. Practice any skills that you may be requested to perform to ensure passing any tests with flying colors. You can even practice for your interviews by reading questions that will likely be asked and formulating answers to have on the ready. It is also helpful to have someone perform a mock interview with you so that you can get comfortable answering in front of someone.
Consider working with a recruiter
If you are feeling stuck, recruiters can help you figure out your goals, gain insights into what employers look for, and provide support even after you land a job. If you want more information, check out our blog on the advantages of partnering with a recruiter.
The job search process can be daunting, but eventually, all your hard work will pay off. Stay as focused and positive as possible throughout the process — remember there are many resources out there to help you.
For job search advice personalized to your needs, please feel free to contact our team: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are standing by and happy to help.