Why Do You Need to Know the Best Resume Tips?
Having an excellent resume is essential for all professionals. Unfortunately, there are many people who either don’t have a resume prepared at all, or they do it hastily without much consideration for how to make it most effective.
Regardless of the industry you’re in or the stage of your career, it’s important to know how to go about writing a resume in a way that’s going to be appealing to the person who’s reading it.
Before exploring specific tips for writing a resume and how to start writing a good CV, you’ll need to have an understanding of the general objectives you should try to achieve.
When you’re writing a good resume, you want to be able to show employers first and foremost how you’ve contributed and what you’ve achieved.
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Ultimately, one of the most important resume writing tips, which we’ll explore in detail below, is to bring an understanding of your value to your employer. If you can’t show your value when you’re writing a resume, it’s going to be essentially useless to the person reading it.
Along with showing your value as a potential employee, the following review of the best resume tips and resume writing tips will go into more specifics you should keep in mind as you’re writing a resume.
These tips for a good resume are specific, but also versatile enough to be used by almost any professional, whether you’re just starting out in your career, you’re looking to make a change, or you’re a seasoned executive.
AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Resume Writing Tips
List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the tips below to go directly to the detailed review section for that tip):
- Choose the Right Format
- Craft the Top Correctly
- Focus on Results
- Headers and Sections
- Organize Your Objective and Summary
- Tailor It
Top 6 Best Resume Tips | Brief Comparison
Resume Writing Tips
|Choose the Right Format||Formatting will impact how your resume looks and also what you emphasize||Choose a simple font, keep the style clean and streamlined, and opt for a reverse chronological, functional or combination format|
|Craft the Top Correctly||You want a strong, descriptive, attention-grabbing title and you want to make it easy for employers to contact you||Create a title that is to the point but highlights your most important characteristic with relevance to the job|
|Focus on Results||Shows your accomplishments and how you bring value||Focus on quantifiable measures of your achievements and follow methods like PAR (problem-action-result) to describe your past job experience|
|Headers and Sections||Headers keep your resume organized and readable while using the right sections puts the emphasis on your strengths||Use bolded, brief and to-the-point headings paired with relevant sections that include results-oriented bullet points|
|Organize Your Objective or Summary||Your objective or summary provides the first glimpse of who you are||Create an objective or summary tailored not just around your qualifications but the needs of the company|
|Tailor It||Customizing a resume will show enthusiasm and interest to the employer and also help it be found in applicant tracking systems||Tailor your resume around keywords from the job description and also research company culture and core values|
What Should You Never Include When Writing a Resume?
Sometimes the best resume tips and tips for writing a resume aren’t just about what to include; sometimes, they are also about what not to include. When you’re writing a good resume, don’t include the following:
- Your GPA: Unless your college GPA is stellar, you really don’t need to include it on a resume. If you’re worried about a low GPA, this is even better.
Most employers aren’t going to need to see that, and if they do you’ll know it. You don’t need to automatically include it when you’re writing a CV.
- Unrelated Work Experience: If you’re just starting out in your career field it can be tempting to include every job you’ve ever had. Don’t do that unless you’ll otherwise have gaps in your resume
If you can avoid putting those minimum wage and hourly jobs you held during high school and college, that’s better. It’s most important to highlight your relevant work experience, rather than all of your work experience.
- Hobbies: In almost all cases, including hobbies on your resume is unnecessary and may not look mature or professional. If you have hobbies directly related to the position you’re applying for you might include them, but otherwise, leave them off.
- Salary History: There is no need to include your salary history when writing a good CV, and by doing so you can actually hinder yourself.
You probably won’t discuss salary until you’ve been offered a job, or maybe during the interview, but if you add a salary range to your resume, you may be limiting yourself.
Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Tips for Writing a Resume
Choose the Right Format
The format of your resume might not seem like an important factor, but in reality, having the right format is one of the essential resume writing tips. First impressions are everything in the job search, and having the right format should focus on making your resume look aesthetically appealing and easy to read.
Key Ways to Get Format Right When Writing a Good Resume
Below are some tips for writing a resume, specifically related to format and stylistic details.
A lot of people find it difficult to get the perfect length when they’re writing a good resume. In general, one of the first tips for writing a resume that you should know is to keep it a page or less whenever possible. The shorter, the better in the eyes of most hiring managers.
The only time there might be exceptions in the length when you’re writing a CV is if you’re in a highly technical field or you have a long career history, as long as it’s all relevant to the current position you’re applying for.
You might also need a longer resume if you’re applying for a high-level position that requires lots of experience.
Otherwise, a god rule of thumb when considering tips for a great resume is to keep it on a page.
Make It Clean and Easy to Read
Don’t use a strange font when you’re writing a resume. Stick with a Microsoft Word standard font such as Calibri or Times New Roman, because it will look streamlined and professional.
Bold your headings (which we’ll discuss later in more detail), and give some white space between each section, which tends to be easier on the eyes for the person reading it.
If you’re sending a hard copy of your resume, use good quality paper, and if you’re sending it electronically, make sure you attach it as a PDF, so it’s compatible with a variety of computers.
Choose the Right Format Option
There are three main formatting options you can choose from when you’re writing a good CV or searching for tips for resume writing. These include:
- Reverse Chronological: This is one of the most popular styles of writing a CV, and it’s one that many professionals recommend to people looking for tips for writing a resume.
With this formatting option, you start with your work experience and job history with the most recent at the top and then through the years in a reverse timeline.
- Functional Resume: Many career experts will recommend the functional resume when they’re offering the best resume tips to someone with less job experience. This is more about your skills than your job history, and it can include an emphasis on your academic history and performance.
- Combination Resume: This is a resume that combines functional and chronological elements. You would emphasize your strongest skills and integrate them with your job history.
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Craft the Top Correctly
You need to assume that whoever you’re submitting your resume to has very little time and is poring over hundreds of other resumes. Just having that realization is one of the most valuable tips for writing a resume. With that being said, what you put at the top of your resume is incredibly important, because it’s a key way hiring managers and employers will decide whether or not it’s worth continuing to read.
Key Ways to Craft the Top Correctly When Writing a Good Resume
Details of why this is included on this list of resume writing tips are below.
Strong Descriptive Title
When you’re searching for tips for writing a resume, one of the big ones is to create a strong, descriptive title for yourself. Think about your resume as if it were a book in a bookstore, and you were surrounded by hundreds of other books.
What title can you give yourself that would make you stand out?
You don’t want to try for a humorous, kitschy title because humor in a resume tends to fall flat. Instead, try to choose something that directly states what you are.
For example, “Marketing Director Certified in Google Analytics” is much better than “Marketing Professional Seeking Fulfilling Position.”
It’s brief and to-the-point, but you’re already showing a lot about who you are as a professional, whereas with the second title, you’re really telling nothing about yourself.
What Else to Include in Your Title
Another important thing to consider on this list of resume writing tips and tips for a great resume is to include other pertinent information in your title if applicable. For example, if you have a particular job experience you’d like to highlight or a credential, go ahead and include it in your title, especially if it’s something you know they’re looking for when filling the position.
If you just have a lot of experience, consider including that, as long as you can still keep your title brief.
“Help Desk Technician—CompTIA A+ Certification—5 Years’ Experience”
When you’re writing a CV or looking for the best resume tips, you’ll also need to ensure you include your contact information at the top of your resume. Add your first and last names in bold to begin, then your mailing address, phone number, email and personal website URL, each on a separate line. If you have a LinkedIn account or relevant social media profile, you might also include that URL.
You want to make it easy for an employer to get in touch with you for an interview, so don’t make them have to search for your contact information.
Focus on Results
If there is just one of the CV tips on this list of the best resume tips and tips for resume writing that you follow, it should be this one. One of the primary mistakes many people make when attempting to start writing a good CV is that they focus on things such as the position they held with their previous employer, and the daily responsibilities, but they don’t highlight the results and their achievements they’ve had throughout their career.
Key Ways to Focus on Results When Writing a Resume
Specific ways to focus on results, one of the best resume tips, is featured below.
Keep Track of Your Accomplishments
Keeping your resume updated should be an ongoing process. You should always have a well-written resume on hand in case an opportunity presents itself. As part of this, one of the essential resume writing tips you should keep in mind when writing a CV is always to have a list of your accomplishments on hand.
When you’re working at a job, keep a list of your achievements and the results you’ve brought to the company so you’ll have something to quickly refer to when you’re writing a resume.
Some career experts when offering the best resume tips for writing a resume recommend job seekers follow the PAR Method. This is a streamlined way to create an accomplishment-oriented resume. PAR stands for problem, action, and results.
To do this, you would first identify the problem, which is a responsibility or an issue you faced at work. Then, the action would outline how you addressed that problem, and results would show the outcome of the action.
“Drove new traffic to the company blog by implementing new ROI metrics and creating tailored content, resulting in a 25% increase in new site visitors.”
Don’t put your focus on tasks when you’re writing a CV or writing a good resume. Instead, one of the most important tips for a great resume is to put your focus on results. Also important on this list of resume writing tips and tips for a good resume is to make sure you quantify your results with numbers whenever possible.
The Google Method
Another way to think about focusing on results, one of the most important resume writing tips, is to follow a formula highlighted by the HR chief of Google in an interview with The New York Times. Laslo Bock, who handles Google’s hiring, suggested that people frame their strengths in the following way:
“I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.” He gave an example to The New York Times that read this way:
“Had 50 op-eds published compared to an average of 6 by most op-ed writers as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.”
He compared that to this way of doing things, which is the approach many people take when writing a CV that isn’t effective:
Headers and Sections
The headers and sections you include in your resume is related to your formatting, but it’s so important that it’s worth going into in a separate section on this list of tips for writing a resume. When you’re writing a CV or looking for the best CV writing tips, you want to make sure that you include the right sections and that you’re adding the best possible headers.
Key Ways to Include the Right Headers and Sections When Writing a Good CV
When it comes to the most important resume writing tips and tips for a good resume, the following are some specific ways to write the best headers and sections.
When you’re looking for CV writing tips and tips for a great resume focused on headings, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, headings are important because they provide a sense of professional organization when you’re writing a CV, and they draw the eye of the reader to pivotal content areas.
Headings should move from the most general, critical areas of focus on your resume to the more specific but less important.
You want your headings to stand out, but not be jarring, so consider something simple when it comes to formatting, such as bolding them.
Also, remember when you’re writing a resume that not everything needs a heading. For example, if you include additional skills, such as foreign language or computer skills, you can add them as a sentence or two, rather than giving this area its own heading.
Most resumes will have the following sections:
- Summary of accomplishments or qualifications
- Job experience
- Other experience (such as volunteer work)
- Awards and honors
It should be noted on this list of tips for a great resume and writing a good resume that when you’re choosing the order to do your sections, you should do so in a way that’s most beneficial for you.
What this means is that if you’re a recent graduate or you went to an impressive college, add that directly under your objective or summary.
On the other hand, if you have an excellent job history, add that first.
Customize the order of your sections based on where you excel. You can also leave areas off, rather than trying to think of information to fit in them that isn’t really relevant. For example, you might leave off awards and honors, and instead show your value by creating a results-oriented job experience list.
Use Bullet Points Wherever Possible
Your resume does not need to be a wordy story of your life. In fact, when you’re looking for the best resume tips, you’ll often see it should be the very opposite of this. You want to be as brief and to-the-point as possible, while effectively highlighting relevant information.
A good way to do this is to include bullet lists under each of your headings. You can do a brief description in a sentence, such as your job role and overall achievements, and the rest should be bulleted.
It’s easy to read and draws out salient points and information, rather than making the employer dig through your resume to find it.
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Organize Your Objective or Summary
There are a lot of career experts who believe the objective or summary portion of your resume is one of the most important aspects of writing a good CV, yet it’s unfortunate that so many people either get it wrong or don’t give it the attention it deserves. This section of this list of resume writing tips and CV tips isn’t just about the objective, but also the summary, which are not the same thing, as we’ll point out below.
Key Ways to Write a Great Objective
As mentioned, taking the time to create a great objective is probably one of the best resume tips for writing a good CV, but also one of the most overlooked.
Objective vs. Summary
First and foremost before exploring this tip for writing a resume, it’s essential to understand the difference between an objective and a summary.
A career summary covers your work history quickly and succinctly and serves as an introduction to the remainder of your resume.
An objective, on the other hand, highlights the role you’re most interested in.
You don’t need to include both an objective and a summary, so a good rule of thumb if you’re looking for tips for resume writing and CV writing tips is to include the objective if you have less job experience or gaps in your employment history and the summary if you have a lot relevant experience.
When you’re writing a good CV or looking for CV tips and CV writing tips as they pertain to the objective, the best rule of thumb is to use it as an opportunity to show that you’ve researched the open position and the company.
Yes, your objective highlights your employment goals, but don’t make it about you. Make it about what you can bring to the company within the specific framework of the job you’re applying for.
Be as accurate as possible with your objective, and put it into terms that are relevant not just to the position, but to the employer. You can also bring specific skills into your objective, but keep it to a sentence or two.
If you’re writing a resume with a summary rather than an objective, consider the following tips for resume writing:
- Keep it brief. A few sentences should work just fine.
- In general, when writing a good resume, your summary can provide an overview of your qualifications. It should be seen as a synopsis of why you’re qualified for the position.
- Highlight your most impressive and concrete achievements in your summary—for example, sales numbers that are particularly impressive.
- Craft it like your own personal elevator pitch.
- Try to use keywords from the job listing in your summary.
- Don’t waste space with non-specifics or general skills that most job seekers are going to have.
- Don’t use this as an opportunity to explain things like employment gaps. You can do that in your cover letter.
Let’s say you have a resume on hand from a few years ago and you come across an amazing job listing. Should you submit it as is? The answer is no. It’s important when you’re looking for tips for a good resume and tips for resume writing that you understand the importance of customizing your resume for each job you apply for.
Key CV Tips for Customization When Writing a Resume
Specific CV tips for customization when writing a good resume are detailed below.
The Job Description
First and foremost, when you’re looking for resume writing tips and tips for a great resume, you’ll often see the importance of not just reading and understanding the specifics of the job description, but also incorporating the description into your resume.
Create links between your qualifications and past job experience to the concepts in the job description, and pick out keywords from the description that you can also incorporate into your resume.
When you’re writing a good CV, many people don’t realize that one of the most important resume writing tips is to craft it around the job and the company, rather than crafting it around themselves.
Job Title and Objective
As mentioned, every time you’re submitting your resume, you should customize it for that particular job. Make sure you create a title and an objective that reflect the open position.
With your job title, you should match it very closely to the title of the job description. This will help you regarding keywords if you’re submitting your resume on an Applicant Tracking System, and it will also make it completely clear what you’re applying for.
With your objective, you’ll similarly want to line it up with the title of the job and highlight a few of the key skills in the job description in terms of your own qualifications.
Company Values and Culture
Also important on this list of the best resume tips and CV tips is understanding the role of company values and culture. You’ll want to customize your resume with these concepts in mind as well.
You can find this information from a few different primary sources when you’re writing a CV. First, you can explore company values on their website. They’ll usually highlight their values and you can take a few keywords from here and weave them into your resume.
You can also browse social media profiles and sites like Glassdoor to find what employees say about the company and its culture and use these when you’re writing a good CV. For example, does it seem like collaboration and teamwork are emphasized? If so, you could write about your job experiences, highlighting how you’ve contributed in a team environment.
Conclusion—Top 6 Best Resume Tips
Tips for writing a resume are essential to grasp; writing a good resume is the foundation of a successful career, whether you’re just graduating and starting out or you’re an experienced professional who wants to make a change.
The following is a summary of the most pivotal resume writing tips and CV tips on this list of tips for writing a resume.
- Choose the right format so that the resume matches your experience and job history, and also looks organized and professionally put together.
- Craft the top correctly with your contact information and a strong, descriptive title.
- When you’re writing a good resume, make sure you focus on your achievements and results, rather than simply your responsibilities at your past jobs.
- When you’re writing a resume, think about how to organize headers and sections so they are reflective of your most important qualifications, and also so that they’re easy to read.
- One of the most important resume writing tips and tips for a good resume involves writing an objective or summary that’s direct, focused on the available position, and appealing to the employer to keep reading.
Finally, when you’re writing a resume or looking for CV writing tips, make sure you always customize your resume not only to the specific job you’re applying to, but also to the company.
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