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Resume writing tips: organise your resume!

Jul 06 2016

Whether or not you have a resume or are working to put one together the first thing you must do is create a new set of information. This entails collecting as much info as possible that will help you with your resume. When gathering information consider the below for each topic:

Resume Writing Tips

Contact Information – With the emergence of LinkedIn profile, there has been significant changes in the types of contact information that you include on your resume. Of course, you would include general information such as; your full legal name, address, email and phone number, it is increasingly common to include your Skype contact and LinkedIn link. Providing this information will make you more accessible, which means you have a better chance of being contacted by a recruiter. In the case that you have a name that others find hard to pronounce, always feel free to put the short version of your name in brackets on your resume.

Education and Certifications – Before moving on to the objective and skills section go through your education history and collect all relevant information for the job you are targeting. When writing out courses, be sure to collect the official course name, type of certification (i.e. diploma, certificate, etc.), issuing institution, and year. In the event that it was a few days course it is not necessary to put the month and day, only the year. Also, including the city where accomplished is not necessary.
When deciding where to place your education on your resume, consider your experience. The rule of thumb is that if you have less experience the education should go to the top of the resume under the skills section, and if you have experience of two or more years the education can be moved to the bottom of the work experience.

Work History – The work history is the most important part of the resume. There are three types of resumes – Chronological, Combinational, and Functional. How you will go about collecting your information will be determined by the type of resume you are going to write.

The first thing you need to do is select the type of resume you’ll need. See below to determine what resume type is the most suitable for you:

Chronological Format – This format is suitable for individuals with a steady history of work in the same profession as it demonstrates consistency in an easy to read and interpret format. It is designed to show steady progress. This format is the most commonly used and traditional resume. It includes a profile/objective, a summary of qualifications, work history, and education.

Combinational Format – This format is suitable for professionals who are going through a career transition (have a varied career), have a broad skill set, or have gaps in work history. This format is designed to present your skills to the reader first and give them an idea of what skills you can provide in the position. It consists of 3 or 4 skills sections and examples to demonstrate your competencies. It also includes a summary of qualifications section, objective/profile, education section and the description of your work history is commonly shorter.

Functional Format – This is suitable for individuals with little experience, who have held several unrelated jobs, or are looking to work in an area they have only academic experience in. This resume is similar to the combinational format in the fact that it includes a few skills sections that explain your knowledge, skills and abilities. This format includes an objective/profile, education, skills section with 3 to 4 skill sets, and the job history doesn’t have a description of the work completed as all skills are listed in the skill set section.

Once you have chosen the format that is most suitable to your personal situation you must then go ahead and gather your work history. This is the most important part of the resume as it gives the reader a clear indication of your abilities.

Begin by gathering the Company Name, Position Held, City and State/Province, and the start and end dates. You should include all this information regardless of location and never leave any info out. The next step you should take is determining what information to put about your work responsibilities. When writing this information always consider actual duties and accomplishments.

Avoid using generic statements such as “Demonstrated teamwork by…” and talking about your communication skills these are best left to the summary. Once you have chosen your duties think out how you will write them using the PAR format (Problem, Action, Result). An example could be “Led a dynamic team of sales executives to effectively build a strong pipeline of clientele, which resulted in an increase of company profits of 58%.” Keep in mind that not all sentences will be this detailed or will be able to follow the PAR format. What is important to mention is 6 to 8 bullet points of what you did, and placing the most relevant at the top of the list.

Writing the Summary of Qualifications

The summary of qualifications section is placed before your work history, it contains your technical abilities, communication, and points to demonstrate that you are a fit for the job. Begin by placing a line about your technical skills, such as computer programs you can use and the level of expertise. Then create a line about communication, teamwork and anything related.

One thing to avoid is placing several generic statements such as “Excellent multitasker with…”, if you are going to put statements like this show how you are a great multitasker with an actual example of your work. The final step when writing the summary of qualifications is to marry the qualifications to the posting, you can do this by taking a good look at the job posting and determine the skills and responsibilities that are the most relevant to the job. For each point write out how you can assist with the employer by providing them with a benefit if they were to hire you. See below for an example:

Employer asks:
“Candidate must have experience processing payroll using excel”

Candidate says:
“Over 5 years’ experience accurately processing payroll for over 1000 employees on a bi-weekly basis using excel and QuickBooks.”

Profile or Objective?

How do you choose one? The answer is quite simple if you have steady experience and are applying for a job in the same field, use a profile, and if you are in transition or have a clear idea of the company you want to apply for use an objective.

Regardless of which you choose they should follow the same set of rules:

  • Each should be approximately 30 to 50 words
  • Use verbs and leadership words/phrases
  • Explain how you are experienced in your field of work
  • You can also include industries you have worked in and the amount of years’ experience

Example Profile:

“Seasoned Human Resources Professional with over 5 years’ experience working in multifaceted roles and organizations. An individual who has extensive experience building collaborative teams of employees, along with a strong knowledge base in relation to Recruitment & Selection, Compensation & Benefits, and Human Resources Management.”

Example Objective:

“Award winning Event Planner who has over 5 years’ experience working for fortune 500 companies to develop and execute executive events and conferences. Professional who is known as a collaborative relationship builder, accompanied by an ability to effectively manage end-to-end aspects of events. An individual who is currently seeking employment with an organization that highly values strategic employee contributions, while working in a challenge driven environment.”