20 Resume Writing Rules That Will Beat Your Competition

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Table Of Contents

Landing a lucrative entry-level job is uppermost on the minds of almost all college or university pass outs. Your chances of finding the first job of your life will go up manifold if your resume reflects exclusivity. On the other hand, having a distinctive CV will stand you in good stead if and when you’re poised to make a much-awaited career leap.

Your resume encapsulates the story of your life in a candid manner highlighting your academic and/or professional achievements. If you’ll be sending your CV to employers or organizations engaged in different industrial or commercial sectors, then you should put forth your skills in a manner that’ll help the interviewers to figure out whether you’re employment-ready or not. Creating an original and inventive resume from scratch can be an arduous task and therefore you could do with taking some professional help.

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The following tips will surely go a long way in helping you to write up a resume that’ll make most employers sit up and take notice.

1. Avoid making grammatical or spelling errors

Though it goes without saying, your resume should be completely free from grammatical or spelling errors. Ensure that you revise your CV several times, and also have the same cross checked by a friend.

2. Don’t go beyond a single page

The human resources manager will be going through or rather screening almost countless number of CVs and he cannot afford to spend more than 5 minutes on each. Since you’re applying for a job and not sending the manuscript of your autobiography, just make sure that you draft only the details that matter or in other words, the minutiae of your academic and professional background.

3. Mind your tenses

You should present your CV in a manner so that the recruitment manager should be able to figure out the timeline of your accomplishments, events, and happenings etc. To put it simply, showcase or present info on the bio-data in a chronological order starting from the most recent and ending with the earliest. Past events should be described using past tense while present tense should be used for detailing roles or responsibilities that you might be currently active in.

4. Stick to the PDF format always

If you develop your CV in a MS-word document and transmit the same across, chances are that hiring or recruitment managers may not be seeing the resume in the same way that you view it. Your safest bet would be to create a backup of the bio-data in PDF format which ensures that the receiver will be able to go through the exact image of the resume.

5. Steer clear of pronouns in first person

Avoid subjecting tasks, events or achievements by starting sentences with ‘I’, ‘mine’ or ‘my’. Bear in mind that you’d need to maintain a professional tone and hence steer clear of giving an informal touch to your resume by using pronouns in first persons.

6. Save the PDF folder of CV properly

The employer or HRD manager will not think twice about discarding your application if he has trouble making out the title or name of the file/folder containing the resume. Just key in your full name for backing up the PDF file of CV so that the recruitment can track the same easily.

7. Ensure that the resume is legible

In your enthusiasm to impress the reviewer, you may end up squeezing in too much info in a single page compelling you to use small fonts. Consequently, the CV will appear clumsy and the recruiter will have a hard time going through the same. Use a font size of 12 for drafting the words so that the HRD manager is able to read without straining his eyes.

8. Maintain an orderly structure

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See to it that you lay out the details in an orderly manner so that the person reading the resume has a fair idea whether you’re the appropriate candidate for the advertised position. Present all germane info in a fashion that perfectly showcases the manner in which you’ve progressed over the years.

9. Take advantage of a template

Taking advantage of a standardized template makes your CV convenient to go through.

10. Contextualize content

Don’t just list the jobs, achievements, and experience but key in the context or background related to the details.

11. Consistency matters

Be consistent with the formatting of the resume-from the beginning till the end. For instance, if you’ve used an arrow as a bullet-point to mention your responsibilities for a job-position then use the same symbol to specify job-roles you’ve had in other firms.

12. Don’t shy away from personalizing your achievements

Don’t shy away from elaborating your achievements and pay raise or promotions you got because of fulfilling your targets. Include names of superiors and companies in order to highlight your attainments.

13. Wherever possible quantify your accomplishments

Simply specifying that you did full justice to your previous job-positions is vague and doesn’t really prove anything. Quantify your feats by buttressing your claims with circumstantial facts and figures.

14. You can do without mentioning references

You can do without devoting space to list the names and contact numbers of your references. If the hirer feels the need, he or she can always contact you for providing details of references.

15. Mention only the relevant details

Stick to putting in only those details that are relevant for the position you’re applying. Taking this approach will make your CV more effective, to say the least.

16. Be discerning in your creativity

Your resume should be in consonance with the industry in which the opening is available.

17. Visualize the recruitment manager

Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and frame your CV from his or her perspective.

18. Customize the resume for the job you’re applying to

If you’re applying for the post of a software developer, then the resume should list the professional programs you’ve completed in software development. If you’re sending your CV for the post of accountant, then the bio-data should speak about your academic and professional accomplishments in the accounting field.

19. Make the recruiter realize your individuality

Your CV should be an extension of yourself and it should reflect that your individuality.

20. Turn your CV into a gripping narrative

Your CV should make an interesting read so much so that the recruiter is tempted to go over the same again and again.

If you're interested in expanding your job search, our guide outlines the best job posting sites available.

AUTHOR: Laura Carter is a former educator and now academic writing and higher education blogger at a dissertation writing service blog. Laura’s passion is psychology and entrepreneurship.