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How to Write a Professional Resume


Professionals reviewing a resume

When you submit a resume for a job opening, you want it to demonstrate that you are a professional who would be a good fit for the position. If a recruiter or hiring manager receives dozens (or even hundreds) of resumes, they have to narrow the pile to determine who to call in for an interview. They may cast aside a resume that doesn't appear professional even if the person has the qualifications for the job. Why? Well, soft skills are important too. Organization and communication skills are two soft skills that are often vital and are reflected on your resume. An unprofessional resume may indicate that those skills are lacking. But, how should you write a professional resume? Let's explore some key features.


Correct Resume Section Headings


A resume should include the following main section headings:

  • Executive Summary

  • Key Skills

  • Work History

  • Education

Sometimes people try to get creative and instead of including a section titled "Work History" they call it something different. A teacher might say "Teaching Jobs," for example. This causes an issue because the resume may be passed through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) before it reaches the hiring manager's desk. If that happens, the ATS may not recognize that "Teaching Jobs" is actually the "Work History," and the hiring manager may receive a report that shows no work history.


Candidates often include outdated resume headings. For example, it is no longer acceptable to include an "Objective" or "References" section. Including either of these shows you didn't take the time to do your research and determine what is appropriate for a 2021 resume.


Formatting


A resume needs to be cleanly formatted. This includes using indentations, bullets, spacing, and bolding to make it easy for the hiring manager to scan through the resume and find the important details.


Job-seekers may not realize the importance of formatting and instead submit a resume with a large blocks of uniform text. Or, it may not be easy for the hiring manager to find the job titles or dates of employment for previous roles. A hiring manager does not have time to search through your resume looking for the information they need. Make sure it is formatted in a way that is clear and easy to read.


Appropriate Grammar


One of the things that makes writing a resume difficult is the fact that it isn't normal writing. Sentences can not start with "I" or "My." Those words need to be left off the resume. Instead sentences should start with action verbs. And, the tense of those verbs is important as well.


For example, instead of saying "I lead the department to achieve a 25% increase in sales in 2019," you might word it "Achieved 25% increase in sales as department leader in 2019."


If you are including a role that you are currently doing on your resume, you will want the tense of the verb to be present tense. It is still important to leave "I" and "My" off the resume, however.


Proofread


Nothing says unprofessional like a resume with obvious errors. Revision Resume suggests triple checking your resume for spelling, grammar, and other mistakes. Even better, have someone else read your resume to see if they find anything obvious that isn't jumping out to you. Revision Resume would be happy to help--we offer a resume critique service that will alert you to any mistakes, omissions or red flags.


Since it is difficult to write a resume in the proper form, it is also difficult to notice mistakes in your finished document. Revision Resume recently posted a blog providing tips on how to notice errors on your resume. Another helpful blog provides details on revising your resume to ensure you haven't overlooked any details.


Keep it Relevant


It's 2021: you can no longer create one resume and submit it to multiple job openings. Your resume needs to be aligned with the job you are applying for. What does this mean?


If you are a teacher but also have experience in the insurance business, you will want to highlight the work experience that relates to the job opening. So, if you are applying for a teaching position, you would not include your insurance experience. If you are applying for an insurance position, you may find it is best to leave the teaching experience off the resume completely, or minimize the amount of space you allot to covering that work history.


The resume you submit needs to demonstrate you are the right person for the opening. If the hiring manager has to weed through irrelevant information to determine if you are the best candidate, they may end up putting your resume in the discard pile.


Take the time to modify your resume for relevancy before submitting it to a job opening. Along the same lines, be sure to submit a unique cover letter for each job you apply for as well.


Revision Resume specializes in providing professional resumes and cover letters so clients can feel confident that they have submitted optimized documents. This increases their chances of obtaining an interview and ultimately being offered a position.


If your resume is discarded because it is not professional, you will not have a shot at the position. Don't take that chance. Contact Revision Resume to learn more about our services and how we can help you submit professionally written documentation that highlights your unique skills and capabilities.



Related Reading:

Why is Resume Writing so Hard?

Quick Ways to Revise Your Resume

Common Resume Writing Pitfalls






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What’s Next?  With the Right Resume, the Sky’s the Limit!
 

The challenge for most job applicants is crafting the right resume. 

Revision Resume is here to help offering the following writing services:

Resume critiques are also offered to those who have already created their own resume but would like a second set of eyes to check for errors and to ensure the document is up to modern standards!

With up-to-the-minute knowledge of the hiring industry, Revision Resume can make sure you are submitting the right resume!

In addition to our blog that is packed with useful information and tips, Revision Resume also offers a monthly newsletter and group educational programs. 

Finally, for the "do-it-yourselfer," we offer a checklist package that helps you ensure you haven't missed any vital details. 

 

To learn more, contact us.