I have compiled best resume writing tips in this article that will make your Curriculum Vitae (CV) stand out among the crowd of other job seekers. The advice and the tricks written in this article are useful for college students and experienced professionals alike. You can apply them in your bio-data as well as in your LinkedIn profile.
Your CV is the primary source of information for recruiters to learn about your background and skills. It tells them if you are fit for the job profile or not. Hence, it is important to make a good first impression and avoid mistakes for securing your dream job.
Read on to find the tips and tricks to write and compose an excellent resume.
Note: You can also look at my detailed guide on resume.
Resume Tips and Advice from Experienced Recruiters
You should follow these writing tips while preparing or revising your CV before applying for any job. Every profile is short-lived before the eyes of the recruiters. So it becomes really important to make it precise and readable.
- Select a professional font
You should use a simple and basic font like Arial and Times New Roman. And select a font size between 10 to 12. This will enhance readability and make your CV look more professional.
Once finished writing try and reduce whitespaces where ever required. Too much white space makes your CV look distracting. One way of reducing whitespaces is by increasing the font size to 12.
This is one of the first things the recruiter sees in your profile. It is important to create an engaging and powerful headline for your resume. Try and update your headline according to the job applied. Make meaningful and result-oriented headlines.
3. Contact information to be more prominent
You should include your complete contact information so that recruiter can easily get in touch with you. You must include your phone number and professional email address.
Many candidates are confused about whether to put the complete address on your profile or not. You can check my article about should you include the address on CV to clear your doubts.
4. Include social media links
Many recruiters check the candidate’s social media profile. To make it easier for the hiring manager it is best to mention it in your CV along with the contact information.
You can include your LinkedIn profile or your Twitter handle. You can also include your Instagram handle if you are in the fashion industry.
5. Choose a layout from your industry
Before preparing or editing your biodata, look, and study CV layouts from your industry for better understanding.
After selecting your suitable template add your information to it. When using a template, always keep in mind to make it simple, readable, and brief. Do not copy it, twist it to highlight your skills, experiences, and abilities.
6. Keep your resume one page or two page
You should write one page or two-page profile. For entry-level and mid-level professionals with some experience, one page or two-page profile works well.
If you have extensive work experience and are from a senior post then you may write a three or four-page profile.
7. Use a reverse-chronological format
The recruiter prefers your work experience to be in reverse chronological order. It lists your experience from newest to oldest. This format is the most relevant way to describe your work history.
8. Don’t use one resume for all
You should avoid using one profile for all the jobs that you are applied for. Always try to format and update your CV according to the job applied. Check the job description find out the keywords and include them in your document to get shortlisted.
9. CV color
You should be careful while choosing a color for your CV. If you are applying for a job in law, accounting, etc then you can go for a professional CV color like black, blue.
If you are applying for a job in the fashion industry, graphics or some modern creative fields then you can use creative color but don’t use too much of it. You should try to balance color in your profile to make it more attractive and professional.
10. Avoid too much CAPS
You can use capitals to highlight certain things in headings or wherever necessary. But avoid using it all over your CV it may look like you are overemphasizing things. It will create a bad impression on the reader.
You need not include any photograph in your profile. This may look unprofessional and usually, there is no space for photos in any of the resume formats. You can include photographs only if you are making your profile for modeling or acting.
12. File format
When you are sending your document always follow the instructions provided by the recruiter or written in the job description. If nothing specific is written in the job description then try and send your document in a PDF format. This way formatting won’t get changed when the recruiter opens it.
13. Use a proper margin
Generally, you should use a one-inch margin on all sizes with a single space between the lines. You can any time increase the margin if the whitespace is more provided with the margin does not cross the two-inches limit.
14. Recent and relevant
You should include recent and relevant work experience according to the job while updating your profile. Let’s suppose if you 20 years of experience you can include your most recent 10-12 years of work history. Unnecessary details will only eat up your profile space.
15. Don’t have relevant experience
You should not worry about it if you don’t have the relevant work experience. You can try and focus on your skills and projects (if any) you have done in your career that can suit the job requirements.
You can also pair it with a good cover letter telling the recruiter how you are an ideal fit for the job.
16. Use keywords
You must use powerful words to describe your experience to highlight your achievement. It makes your profile unique and interesting to read. It helps your profile to get noticed in the applicant tracking system.
For example, if you are applying for a job as a designer then you might find keywords like “graphic designer” “creative designer” etc. Try to ignore CV buzzwords that do no good to your profile.
17. Bullet points
When you are mentioning your work experience list it in bullet points. It looks nice and readable. When you are writing your experience in bullet points think about how you frame your sentence so that it looks likes that you are not only capable but how you bring profit to the business.
18. Use numbers and figures
Always use numbers when stating your skills, achievement, and experience. When you provide the number in support of your statement it gives more power to your words. And it also proves your point that you are capable of doing what you state.
19. Volunteer work
If you have worked as a volunteer and did some good for society, then you must include such work in your profile. It will enhance your personality as a candidate.
20. Use word variant
Be careful while writing any points or sentences. Don’t just always start with the same word like “responsible for”, “worked with” etc. these redundant words will make your profile look boring and the reader will lose interest.
21. Put experience first then education
In your profile put your work experience first and then your education. If you are a recent graduate without much work experience then only you can put your education first.
The placement will vary according to how recently you have graduated and how much experience you have.
22. Highlight honors
If you have done a high honors degree then you can include it in your education section. You can leave off your GPA from your resume as it is not required after some time.
When you are having good work experience then more weightage is given to your practical experience. I have written a detailed article on when to put your GPA on your resume.
23. Skip dates
You can skip the dates from your education section. It is not that relevant detail after a certain period of time that can be shared.
Skill, Awards and Interest
24. Make a skill section
Be sure to include a skills section while crafting your CV. Your skills section must be tailored according to the position you are applied for. You should include your best skills that are required for the job role. For example – no one cares about your Photoshop skills if you are applying for a banking job.
You can include basic computer skills in your profile which are required today for almost every type of job.
25. Show your personality
Feel free to include a section which tells about your interest and hobbies You can list your interest & hobbies in your CV. It will help the recruiter to understand you better.
You can write only those interests & hobbies that are related to the job and make your profile more interesting. If you want to know more about this check my article on interest and hobbies in CV.
26. Listing awards
Do include awards accolades in your profile if you received any. You can take care of your profile space and also the relevance of the awards which you are listing. Add only those which increase your value as a candidate.
Things to Avoid
27. Use of personal pronouns
Be careful while using too many personal pronouns when listing your skills, work experience or achievements. Your profile is your personal document using too many pronouns will make the information redundant.
28. Irrelevant document name
Most often candidates don’t pay attention to the file name. It is a small thing to consider but it shows that you are organized and such names are easy to remember. Try to use only letters, numbers, spaces, or underscore, you can avoid using special characters while saving your file.
You should keep a professional file name. You can use your name and the position you are applying for in your document name. For example Harry_Lewis_Project_Manager.pdf.
29. Don’t put everything
Your profile should not include each and every details that you have. Try to take it as a marketing document that you will use to sell yourself as a perfect and suitable candidate for the job.
Do not use it as a comprehensive list of all your jobs performed.
30. Spelling mistakes
Candidates spend a lot of time writing their profile but if there are spelling mistakes in your document then it will squander all your hard work. Always do spell check after writing your document.
Many candidates lie on their CV to impress the hiring manager or to crack the screening process. You should never be dishonest about the details provided on your document this will harm you in many ways. You can check my article on how lying on a resume is not good for your career.
Some Other Suggestions
32. Proofread every time
Before sending out your CV, it is always advisable to proofread for spelling and grammar errors. Do not only rely on the grammar check or spell check tools. You should also ask your friends and family to do proofreading for you.
33. Constantly refresh the document
You can take out sometime after every 3 or 4 months and make some necessary updates in your document. You might take a new course, assigned new responsibilities, or have learned new skills.
When an updated CV is handy, you can anytime post or apply to new job opportunities. Even if not searching for a job, there is no harm to update it at regular intervals.
34. Explain job gaps
If you have a long gap in your employment, explain it and provide the reason. If suppose the gap is in months, don’t list the start month and end month of each job, rather use years like 2020-2021.
If you have changed your job frequently then explain with a reason why you changed your job frequently. For example relocation, layoff, company closed, etc.
36. Reentering after a long time
If you want to start again then don’t shy and include your honest reason on why you want to restart and explain all your achievements and experience.
37. Don’t include “References Available Upon Request”
You need not include this phrase unless it is required or written in the job description. If a hiring manager needs any references he/she will ask for them.
38. Send it to the right person
This is somewhat other than your designing or formatting tips. But it is another important aspect to be considered when sending your CV. Don’t just click on the apply button without checking its relevance.
Try to figure out the best possible way to reach out to the correct person for sending your document. For example, check the companies’ page and find out the HR email Id, you can also search on LinkedIn, etc.
39. Send a thank you letter
It is an opportunity to influence the future decision and to indicate how much you are interested in the job. After you are done with your interview don’t forget to send a thank-you email or letter to the hiring team. I have written an article on how to write a thank you letter after the interview.
Your CV is a very important written document that will help you to achieve new heights in your career. But if this document does not introduce you properly in front of recruiters, you may lose the chance of working in your dream company.
So you must implement these suggestions that will improve your profile and make it unique.
Over to You
Which one is your favorite tip? Do you use advice and suggestions provided by the recruiter before crafting your CV?
I would love to hear from you.