Writing a resume can be a challenge, which is why MarvelousResume.com is here to help. We have a professional resume writer who knows the tricks of the trade that will get the attention of job recruiters and land you the job interview of your dreams. In this article, our top professional resume writer will offer advice on how to write a resume.

What Should Your Resume Look like? A Professional Resume Writer Explains

There is no one-size-fits-all type of resume. What you include in your resume will differ greatly depending on the field of work and even specific job you are seeking. As you figure out what to place in your resume, consider the type of organization, how much job experience you have, and the abilities and qualifications you have that would make you an ideal candidate. For instance, a CPA would want to include the fact that they are certified whereas an office clerk would want to focus more on the work experience component. If you were a recent college graduate looking to enter the workforce for the first time, you would want to stress your GPA and academic abilities whereas these accomplishments would not be relevant for an applicant who graduated two decades ago. While such an applicant would obviously still list their degrees, they would want to highlight their work-related accomplishments and whatever skills they have gained through their career.

Even with the differences in resumes, virtually all HR departments expect the following four sections and, therefore, you should include them on every resume you subject:

  1. Resume summary
  2. Education
  3. Work History
  4. Skills

As you determine which sections and what information to include your resume, it is also important to consider whether a functional or chronological resume would be more appropriate based on your job history. Sometimes it might not be a bad idea to incorporate elements of both.

A functional resume places emphasis on skills as opposed to your work history. This type of resume is more common among recent college graduates who don't have much of a work history to boast of and is also useful if you are planning to change careers (for example, if you are an experienced high school teacher who now wants to enter business management) or have spent a considerable time away from the workforce (such as a mother who is returning to work now that her children are a bit older). 

A chronological resume simply lists your job history in chronological order. This is more suited for those who have not spent significant time unemployed or have remained in a similar field of work throughout their career.

As you learn how to put together a resume, you should also seek out ways to format it properly. While there are many ways to do so it is often just a matter of preference. In any event, it would be helpful to look at various resume examples, especially ones that are specific to the field of work you are applying for.

Summary Statement Suggestions

Frankly speaking, job recruiters do not have enough hours in their busy day to read through all those resumes. They do a quick skim and make a judgment. This is why a brief statement that goes straight to the point can give you an edge. An effective resume summary statement catches the attention of a prospective employer.

According to professional resume writer, a good summary statement should:

  1. Consist of three brief phrases
  2. Never refer to yourself as "I" and "me."
  3. Start with the professional skill or qualifier that makes you a strong candidate

How to Highlight Your Education Background

A good tip before writing about your education background is to do some research on the field of work you want to enter. The financial industry (such as Goldman Sachs) might ask for your SAT scores even if you passed the test 30 years ago! On the other hand, certain positions might value certain certifications in addition to your college degree. Some types of work even require that you are state licensed. Carefully read the job vacancy's requirements and focus on the courses and academic projects that are most relevant to the job.

Keep in mind that certain information that might have been impressive way back when is completely unnecessary to include. For instance, if you possess a B.A, you should not include information about your high school since prospective employers can safely assume that if you got into college in the first place, you would have needed to have graduated from high school as well. On the other hand, this logic does not extend to applicants who possess a graduate school degree or professional degree such as a JD or MBA. You would still list the college you attended, but your most recent degree should be placed prominently above it.

Finally, you should place emphasis on current accomplishments. If you recently graduated from college, your GPA will matter. But graduated in 2005? Not so much. Instead, you will want to save space and boast of your work-related award in the Work Experience section.

Skills Section

The skills section is important because it demonstrates to prospective employers that you have talents that make you stick out from the crowd. Start by brainstorming and listing any and all of your unique attributes. Next, pick the ones that are most relevant for the job position. The job description will often include specific skills that they prefer in their applicants. 

It would not be a bad idea to include skills that you have developed that are not related to work. For instance, perhaps you have coached a Little League team or are a member of a board. Even skills that are not tied to the job - such as fluency in a couple of languages or participating in a weekly poetry club - demonstrates a degree of well-roundedness and intellect that often impresses job recruiters. However, make sure that you do not get too carried away. After all, your resume must remain concise. 

Suggestions on References

As a rule, if you are being asked to include references on your resume, do it. If they do not, you should refrain from including them or even writing "references available upon request." You will want to save as much valuable space as possible by marketing your other important qualifications. The fact is, if they see you as a good candidate, they will ask about references at a later point anyway. However, if they do ask for references in the job description, make sure you choose people whom you have actually worked with or for and not, say, your Aunt Griselda. An immediate boss is a major plus. Just make sure you give them a heads-up in advance. Aside from being the polite thing to do, it gives them a chance to recall your positive qualities and avoids them being caught off guard and answering with, "Ron Smith? Let me try to think who that is..."

Professional Resume Writer Tips: Common Mistakes

  1. Do not trust spell check. Your trusty software will not catch all of your mistakes and might even create some of their own. For instance, it might "correct" words that it is unfamiliar with even if spelled correctly or will assume that you worked as a teether when you meant to write "teacher." The best way to proofread is to ask somebody else to look it over. Or better yet, read it out loud. This will guarantee that you will catch your typos. 
  2. Do not write in general terms. You might be an enthusiastic worker, but what does that even mean? Focus on specific, measurable accomplishments that demonstrate how you made a real difference at your previous employers.
  3. Do not just skim through the description of the opening. Read it carefully and incorporate the requirements and skills into your resume. 
  4. Leave out certifications that are not directly related to your job. You might take pride in the fact that you are trained to administer CPR, but this skill is unlikely to help you complete your work as a financial consultant. 
  5. Make sure the formatting is tidy and easy for the job recruiter to read. Remember that they will only give it a quick glance and if it looks sloppy, they will definitely toss it in the trash.
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