How to Write an Effective Resume

Photo by Avel Chuklanov

When you submit a job application, the first thing a recruiter or hiring manager does is going to get to know you by is going through your resume. Within the first 15 seconds of reading your resume, they’ll be able to determine if you’re the right fit, so you’ll want to demonstrate that you’re capable of doing the job. Over the years of applying to different positions, I’ve come across a few tips and tricks to maximize the chances of getting interviews leading to job offers.

You’ll want to start by thinking about the position you’re applying for and what kind of requirements the position has. This will help you give an idea of how to prioritize the content on your resume and which ideas to highlight. In an ideal world, your resume is tailored to the specific position you’re applying to, but this can often take too much time and limits the amount of applications you can do. What I suggest you focus on is to think about the different types of jobs you’d want to apply to and have a resume for each position. For example, as a software engineer, I should have a resume tailored towards doing mobile development, backend development, and front end development. Each version would be a different variation of my resume, but they would highlight the most relevant skills I have pertaining to the position.

Once you have an idea of the things you want to write about, the next step is to start writing it down! Think about all the different kinds of positions you’ve held over the years and write everything down. We’re going to start cutting things out later, so don’t worry about making it too long for now. When you’re writing points for your resume, make sure to use STAR statements and really focus on your impact and what you did to contribute (here’s another blog about writing good resume points). Here’s some examples of good resume points:

  • Implemented a customization tool allowing users to visually change their home page resulting in a 54% increase user engagement on the site
  • Deployed new marketing strategy using SEO, decreasing the customer acquisition cost from $5.40 to $3.20
  • Introduced new production flow in the warehouse optimizing for quality, resulting in a 10% decrease of manufacturing defects reported

From the examples above, we can see three main things for every point:

  1. What you did
  2. How you did it or implementation details
  3. What was the overall impact of what you did

Make sure to highlight all the major accomplishments you’ve done at each position especially if you think they may be relevant to the position.

The last step in writing a great resume is all about formatting and presentation. Remember that the average hiring manager will probably spend a few seconds looking at every resume. You need to show that you can be a good fit within a few pieces of paper.

If you’re new to your career or have less than 10 years of experience under your belt, I recommend using only a one page resume. Many inexperienced people often believe that a longer resume is better since they can show off all the things they’ve done, but this can lead to a big chunk of your application being full of fluff and things that aren’t necessarily related to the position. Afterwards, you should format your resume to have the most relevant things from top to bottom. The things that you want to show off more should always be at the top. Sometimes I see people formatting their resume in a specific order like Skills Summary, Education, Experience, but it’s much better to show off what you want to show off as it’s the first thing that a hiring manager will read. For example, when I was applying for internships within my school’s job board, I would either put my education section all the way at the bottom (and some people wouldn’t include it at all) since I was already being interviewed through the school. Choose what makes the most sense for you

Once you have your content and relevant points done, you want to choose a great resume format and design. You should think about how you want to present yourself so if you’re going for something like a very professional position you may want to stick with very classic looking resumes or if you’re going for a marketing company you might want to make it a bit more unique and fun. The main thing you should take away from this is to choose a design that’s easy to read and easy on the eyes. This means to pick a design that helps you read distinct sections and highlights the experience you have that’s relevant to the job. Make sure to not pick a font size that’s too small or too big. A nice way of testing whether or not your resume is formatted nicely is printing it out and holding it out in front of you and checking whether or not you can read it without having to strain your eyes or bringing it closer to you. Also, make sure to have consistent font sizes, proper grammar, and space out everything nicely.

That’s it! I hope that this article helped you write a better, more effective resume and good luck to all of you applying!

Make sure to check out Resumanage to help you build your perfect resume with prebuilt designs and tools that have gotten me and my friends hundreds of interviews!

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Resumanage helps you create an organized resume that is efficient, organized and sure to help you stand out and get one step closer to your dream job.