How to Write the Best Resume: The 10 Basics to Cover
As a recruiter, I have seen candidates submit resumes using various formatting styles such as functional, a resume that focuses on a candidate’s competencies (i.e. experiences, knowledge, skills, and abilities), chronological, a resume that displays a candidates work history by date. Typically, chronological resumes start with the most recent employer and lastly, combination. Combination resumes allow an applicant to put their work history chronological while focusing on their competencies. Despite the varied resume styles, resumes should cover a few basic details. Below is checklist of basics that should be included on a resume.
10 Basics for Resume Development
- Name: This seems to be an obvious detail however, many applicants will submit a resume without a name. Don’t forget to put yours so the recruiter will know who to refer to when they select your resume for a phone screen!
- Contact Information: Along with your name, also provide contact information, e-mail address, phone number (put the best contact number to reach you) and your home address.
- Professional Summary or Objective: A professional summary or objective will provide the hiring manager/recruiter with insight as to what you are looking for in a new job opportunity.
- Name of Employer: Don’t forget to put your employer name on your resume. Without this, your employment history cannot be verified.
- Work History: For your work history, provide details of your job duties. Provide the recruiter/hiring manager with as many details as possible as this will ensure you fit for the position. Additionally, don’t be afraid to speak towards any knowledge you may have gained while working with a current or previous employer.
- Dates of Employment: Remember to put the dates of employment and try to be as accurate as possible. Additionally, ensure your dates of employment are consistent. Review your resume so the dates do not “skip” around. Inconsistent dates will raise a red flag for the recruiter / hiring manager reviewing your resume.
- Location of Position: While adding your dates of employment, also add the locations for each of the positions. This will show a hiring manager/recruiter that you are familiar with particular locations. Also, this is helpful when it comes time to perform reference checks.
- Formatting: Before submitting your resume, run a spell and grammar check on the computer and print a copy for a final review. Additionally, check the spacing and font. The font should be large enough for a recruiter / hiring manager to read and should be one that is not too “fancy”. A Times New Roman font, Calibri, Arial or Tahoma are good fonts to use for a resume. Lastly, utilize bullet points instead of a paragraph format. Bullet points highlight job duties and experience. A paragraph format can be overwhelming for someone that is reading a resume. Remember recruiters and hiring managers could potentially review 100s of resumes a week!
- Certifications and Degrees: Put them on your resume! This shows your qualifications and can potentially make you stand out amongst the “crowd” of resumes. Also, put the dates you obtained your certification and degrees. If you have not obtained your degree you could indicate that you are pursuing this degree and the tentative graduation date.
- Systems, Software, and Hardware: If you have experience with specific systems, hardware and/or software (i.e. HRIS, SAP, PeopleSoft, ADP, Peachtree, or Microsoft Applications) put them on your resume. Once again, this could make you stand out in a “crowd” of resumes.
Take your time when building your resume. If you have to revise it a few times that’s okay as you are looking for an ideal employment opportunity. Remember you want your resume to stand out amongst the multitude of other resumes.