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One of the most asked questions by undergraduates and fresh graduates – and even people who have worked before is, “how to make a professional resume that will actually get me hired?”
Did you know that on average, an employer will only look at a resume for around 5 to 7 seconds?
Our resume is the first thing that an employer sees of us when they consider recruiting us. The way our resume looks will tell them a LOT more about us than we think. In this article, I will be sharing how to make the perfect professional resume to absolutely impress your employer within that 5 to 7 seconds.
Like I said in the previous paragraph, the way that our resume looks will tell the employer a lot more about us than just our education and employment history. The neatness will tell them how organized we are. The choice of design and colors will tell them how professional we are. So let’s go step by step and see how we can fix all these things. By the end of this, you should have the perfect resume to show off.
1. THE LAYOUT
Before anything, you have to decide which style you want your resume to look like. You will need to choose in which order you want your details to be shown. There are four basic types of resumes.
In this style, your employment history will be listed from your most recent employment record to the earliest record of employment. This layout is the most preferred resume type by the majority of employers because they can get a good idea of your work experience in just a glance.
This type of resume focus on the skills and experience that you’ve gained through the years before getting to the detailed employment history. This layout is good if you are a fresh graduate with very little work experience or if you’re trying to transition to a different career path.
This type of resume is good if you want to show the employer the skills and experience you have gained while backing it up with the relevant work history. This layout is good if you want to show the employer a bit more about you and let them see who you are – like reading a story.
This type of resume is customized and crafted SPECIFICALLY for the job position that you’re applying for. Your bio, qualifications, skills, and experience are mentioned to MATCH the requirements that the employer is looking for. This type of resume can take up a lot of time but if done right, will produce the best results. (Note: don’t write FALSE information just to match the requirements though. Make sure that the details you write are as accurate as possible.)
Choose one of the four resume types as your layout to get started.
2. THE DESIGN
The design of your resume is VERY important. I’m not a resume professional – but I do know (from research) that employers prefer to see resumes that look good. By “looking good”, I don’t mean they look colorful and fun, but rather neat and professional.
Different employers might prefer to see different types of resumes, based on the sector. For instance, if you’re applying for a position in the arts and entertainment industry, it will be perfectly alright to add some color to your resume to make it stand out. But try not to go overboard with it because too much color can sometimes come across as unprofessional and ruin your chances.
If you’re applying for a position in the business and finance industry, you might want to keep the design aspect to a minimum by using neutral and professional colors.
There are three main colors that you need to keep in mind.
1. Primary Color – This is mainly for your header
2. Secondary Color – This color is used for the subheadings within your resume
3. Accent Color (optional) – This color is used for highlighting important sections.
Here is a color guide that will help you to decide which colors will work well on your resume.
Choose a color that you like and use it to highlight the specific sections in your resume that you NEED your employer to notice immediately. For this, you can either choose a color that compliments the basic colors you have chosen or you can even consider mirroring the colors of the brand you’re applying for.
This method is good if you’re applying for the positions around the following
- Graphic designer
- Marketing professional
- Web developer
- Advertising professional
- Make-up artist
- Interior designer
- Industrial designer
- Exhibition designer
- Fashion designer
- Game artist
- Museum/gallery curator
- Film/theatre director
- Visual artist
- Media professional
Use a darker and more professional colored accent on your resume. A few examples are navy blue, burgundy (deep purple), dark green, or dark grey.
These colors will suit your resume if you’re going for any job around the following positions:
- Civil service
- Veterinary sciences
- Real estate
It is very crucial to make sure that the colors you choose are readable. Poor readability will make the employer want to put away your resume. Always back sure the background color you choose and the font color are very contrasting. Black font on a white background is the most recommended color combination.
There are many websites that have pre-made resume templates. If you find it difficult to choose a color and layout on your own, you can choose one from the ready-made templates and fill in your details.
My personal favourite is Canva because they have LOADS of resume templates (and more) for free.
3. YOUR DETAILS
This step is where you start filling in your details into your resume. When you fill in, make sure you use a readable font type and font size. A font like Arial in either size 11 or 12 is the most commonly used and preferred.
Make sure you write down your name and contact details very clearly for the employer to know how to contact you if they like you. You can add a small photo of yourself at the top, but make sure it looks professional. If it doesn’t, it’s probably best that you don’t include one. Also, fun fact – did you know that around 76% of resumes are put away by employers just because they had an unprofessional email address? Make sure your email is a professional one and not something like email@example.com.
This is where you write a little bit about yourself, what sort of position you’re looking for and what you can offer to the company you’re applying for. This is much more elaborated in the cover letter so keep it short and sweet.
In this section, list down your work experience in the order that you prefer (chronological, functional, combination, or targeted). Make sure you list very clearly the companies you’ve worked for, the positions you’ve held, and the time period that you worked in the companies for.
List down all your educational qualifications here. Usually, only the tertiary-level educational qualifications are listed down. They have to be arranged in a specific order. Start with the most recent and best qualification and work your way down.
Skills & Achievements
This section is normally listed in point form. It’s where you can write the skills that you’ve gained aside from your work experience and education. You can also list down any important achievements that you have had. Keep in mind, this is a professional resume. Don’t mention any skills that might make it look like you’re just trying to fill up empty spaces.
After your details are filled in, make sure to proofread your document to see if you’ve made any spelling or grammatical errors. Once that’s done, make sure all the sections in your resume are perfectly aligned.
And there you have it! Your very own professional resume. Make sure you save your resume in PDF format before you submit it to the company you’re applying for.
If you need help with your resume, contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get right back to you!
Liked this article? I’m sure you will enjoy reading other similar articles. If there’s an article that you wish I wrote about, let me know in the comments down below!
Hey! I’m the founder of Smartiac – and I’m really happy to see you on my blog. I write articles on business, marketing, and other passive income streams and teach creatorpreneurs to make and sell digital products online! If you find any of my articles helpful, please share!
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