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How to Write a Professional Resume - A Guide

"Your resume says a lot about you; it determines whether you will be called in for an interview or not" – Anonymous.

This scenario must be quite familiar, where you enter your interviewers’ cabin, and they immediately ask for your resume. Not your name, not how your day is going, but your resume. Have you ever wondered why?

Your resume is like certification of your qualities, relevant to the company’s development in the near future. Conversing and finding out is a waste of time; so, every existing organization prefers a resume.

Shannon was facing the same dilemma.

"In her quest to finding a suitable job, Shannon had applied to a number of openings that she felt would be a perfect fit for her. However, as her search progressed and companies started responding, she realized that there was a problem. Although her resume was well-structured, it was still rejected by almost every organization."

What do you think is wrong with her resume?

One mistake that Shannon made was failing to update her resume. Incorporating your knowledge, skills, expertise, and unique professional capabilities in your resume are crucial. So, always make sure that your resume is up-to-date. 

You need to be well-aware of how to write a professional resume if you wish to be selected by the big-shots. A professional resume is your key to success.

Keep reading to find out exactly how to write a professional resume that will get you the job you desire. Here's what we'll cover:

- How do you define a resume?

- What companies are looking for in a candidate resume?

- How to create a professional resume?

- Select the right resume format

  • A chronological
  • The functional
  • The combination

- How to Pick the Right Resume Format?

- Layout of a Resume

How would you define a resume?

You know what a resume looks like and who asks for it, but when asked what it is, can you provide a proper answer? For this, you need to know how to write a professional resume. Many may not be able to describe what a resume is and why they need to create one. Your resume is a document that provides your recruiters with more knowledge about you. They get to learn about your qualification, your hobbies, experience, expertise, etc.

It basically offers your interviewer a short summary about you and how qualified you are for the available job position. This document is a certification of your qualities and ensures to provide recruiters with honest information.  

What are companies looking for in a candidate resume?

"Anyone can find dirt on someone, be the one to find gold" – Haider Ali.

A resume is like an identity certificate that you provide your interviewers with. That is why you need to know how to write a resume if you wish to succeed in landing a job interview. There are certain components that your resume must consist of. These components are what any recruiters will notice first, even before your decorative hobbies. Although the name, address, age, and contact details are mandatory, there are a few others that you will need to add in as well.

  • Experience

No organization likes spending their time training new employees, who have no idea why they are even in that office in the first place. So, missing out on writing your experience may cause your recruiter to frown a little. Know all about how to do a professional resume and mention your experience in different companies to ensure them that you are up-to-date with the knowledge and responsibilities of a particular job position. Mention the exact amount of years as it will help your employer determine your suitability for a job opening.

  • Roles and responsibilities

In your career, there may be two to multiple job roles that you have taken up and lived up to. These roles must have come with certain responsibilities that you have fulfilled and exceeded. Mention all about these experiences in your résumé to give your interviewer the impression that you possess the proper professional knowledge to handle any position offered with grace. Know well how to do a professional resume and impress your hiring managers.

  • Achievements

No one likes a blunt career path consisting of company changes and qualifications. That is why you need to learn how to do a professional resume. Interviewers love hearing about achievements, so ensure that you mention them in your resume. Any record of outstanding performance or company development that you may have been a part of must be recorded in your resume. The presence of achievements helps you segregate yourself from the crowd of applicants. It also ensures your interviewer to determine that you aim for excellence.

  • Education

It is pretty evident that education is an aspect that you will need to include in your resume by all means. Your qualification determines if you possess the correct knowledge to take up a particular job role. Qualifications also determine you have proper theoretical knowledge on a particular subject and will be able to tackle any issues that may arise in that department.

Selecting the right resume format

Your resume should be a reflection of your professionalism, making its format an integral part of creating one. On the basis of your career path, choose the format that best relays information about your experience, qualifications, and expertise. Learn how to do a professional resume if you want to know more about the resume format.

Many applicants are unfamiliar with the three kinds of resume formats that they use to professionally convey details about themselves to the interviewer. The functionalities of these three structures are different from one another, so ensure that you use them accordingly.

  • A chronological resume

"Andrew is busy sending out resumes for job applications at various organizations. Although there is no shortage in the opening, he is facing constant rounds of rejection from potential companies. He is unable to comprehend the reason for these organizations to reject him. He holds more than five years of experience in the field of data engineering and also possesses the proper educations certificates to back his expertise. "

Why is Andrew failing to get even an interview call?

The reason is his unprofessional resume, as he is unaware of how to do a professional resume. If you, like Andrew, also have a strong background in a particular field, choose to create a chronological resume. Any chronological resume is required to consist of the following factors.

  • Name of the candidate
  • Contact information of the applicant
  • A professional summary, providing a gist of the candidates' skills and expertise.
  • The experience section to relay the candidate's previous work history
  • A mention of the educational degrees that the candidate possesses.
  • What are the different abilities and skills that this applicant has that can help in fulfilling organizational goals?  

Sample:

Name: Andrew McAllen

Designation: Senior Data Engineer

Contact Details:

Location: Chicago

Experience:

Data engineer

XYZ Ltd.

2016 – Ongoing

XYZ Ltd is an online payment solution that allows consumers to pay securely within and across borders.

  • Worked as a 2nd MWD engineer in training
  • Developed an app by the name Health Store
  • Around 20 data scientists got the data that they wanted and more.

Data Engineering Intern

ABC. Co

It was a start-up that mainly focused on behavioral and mental health care

  • Revenue increased by 15% through new products
  • Used to manage L2 team 24/7
  • Helped company save 50% development time by introducing a reusable generic talented system.

Data Engineer

STY. Ltd

It was a biotechnology company with a head office based in San Francisco that was developing technology to help sequence human microbiomes.

  • Introduced automated ETL processes that helped reduce time in wrangling data by 40%
  • Offered high-performance data streaming solutions
  • Managed a team of technical as well as business consultants

Most Proud of

  • Former PMP: Was in charge of global multi-organizational projects of over 500M to 2B dollars in revenue
  • Increased gross profit by 25%
  • Helped client save 2M dollars in federal taxes
  • Created a campaign with several applications that would assist in sending real-time emails and text messages to sales representatives.

Certification

Language

English (Native)

French (Proficient)

Latin (Proficient)

  • A functional resume

Unlike a chronological resume that reflects a candidate's experience more than their qualifications, functional resumes talk about the applicant's skills. As you learn more about how to do a professional resume, you will see that it begins with a professional summary of the candidate in question and then proceeds to mention their qualifications and expertise.

There are certain aspects that you need to include when writing a functional resume.

  • Name of applicant
  • Contact information
  • A short professional summary about their career path
  • Educational accomplishments of the applicant
  • Professional achievements of the candidate in question.

Sample:

Name: Ryan Mathews

Address: Jackson Street

Contact information:

A professional data scientist with ten years of experience working with Amazon. Seeking to increase efficiency in the field further. Achievements include being able to assist in predicting stock prices with 3% more accuracy than average. Was also able to achieve a 20% improvement in investment returns.

Experience

2013-now: Data Scientist

2017-2012: exchange. Inc

  • Fulfilled duty as data scientist while working with high-end firms
  • Preserved and created models of potential holding with fund managers
  • Was able to achieve 30% better returns
  • Created machine learning tools
  • Predicted stock prices

2012-2005: Junior data scientist

  • Collaborated with health representatives to increase customer relationship
  • Assisted in increasing repeat business by 25% for real estate investors
  • Reduced wasted email time by 45%

2005-2002: Freelance data analyst

Education

2002-2000 – BS in statistics from XYZ University

  • Excelled in data integration and machine learning courses.
  • Completed senior project that helped predict tips to waitresses in busy Chicago restaurants.
  • President of AI club

Additional Activities:

Certifications:

Conferences: …

  • A combination resume

A combination resume is a format that applicants usually prefer and go for when trying to create a professional image. The structure places emphasis on aspects including skills, achievements, experience, and expertise of the candidate.

Sample:

Name: Shannon Grey

Address: Boston, NY

Contact Information: …

Summary

A passionate and value-driven product manager who has the experience of leading cross-functional teams in planning, managing, and launching innovation. Has a blend of various technical skills that comes from extensive knowledge in the field, gained through experience. Possesses analytical capabilities and knowledge in market orientation that assist in creating unique product strategies. Capable of prioritizing and managing several projects at a time by following proper specifications and budget.

Skills

  • Technical product R and D
  • Go-to-market launch plans
  • UX/ UI designer
  • Leadership capabilities
  • Agile methodologies
  • Troubleshooting capabilities
  • Competitor research
  • Financial modeling

Professional Experience

2013 – now

Product Manager

ABC Ltd.

  • Follows methodologies that led to 20% development
  • Launched products that generated 15M dollars in revenue.
  • Completed global market launch of SaaS solutions for payment activities.
  • Exceeded client expectations.
  • Assisted in creating a mobile application that ensures financial institutions with secure payment transactions.
  • Excelled in gathering feedback from consumers
  • Developed deep comprehension of business objectives possessed by internal as well as external stakeholders

Education

MBA in marketing emphasis from XYZ University

BS (Major in computer science) from ZYX University

Certificate in UX/ UI designs from T College

Skills

  • Java
  • C++
  • C
  • Ruby
  • Jersey
  • Grails
  • Spring MVC
  • JavaScript
  • Angular JS
Trivia

What NOT to write in a resume?

  • Useless and irrelevant information
  • How old you are
  • Why you despised your previous colleagues and work environment
  • An essay on yourself (this is a strict NO)
company-representatives-reading-applicant-resume-hiring_1163-4684.jpg

Do you know what happens to resumes that fail to meet expectations set by interviewers? They end up in the trash can. Try learning more about how to do a professional resume. Imagine your years of hard work and dedication are thrown in the bin simply because the format of your resume wasn’t correct. Doesn’t sit very well with you, does it?

That is why the process of selecting any one of the three resume formats based on your professional development, skills, knowledge, and experience is necessary. Think about how to be a resume writer and settle with anyone the three structures. There are certain simple tips that you can choose to follow when selecting the format.

  • Know more about your audience

You need to figure out the mindset of the person who will be receiving your resume and speculating it. Think about how to prepare professional resume. In case they are a firm believer in professionalism, you will need to select a resume format that is more appealing. Although all three resume formats are acceptable by organizations, try figuring out what it is that prospective companies are looking for and select your structure on the basis of your research.

  • Don’t make it too complicated

Keep in mind that yours isn’t the only resume that the interviewer or hiring manager will be checking today. They receive thousands of applications upon releasing job opening offers on various portals. That is why; you need to know how to write a resume for experienced professional. Try using simple terminologies and follow a neat structure to not confuse them. A simple format can also reflect professionalism if done right.

  • Try being consistent

Inconsistent formatting is not only unappealing but also reflects the lack of professionalism on the part of the applicant. For example, if you choose to bold a certain heading, then do the same for all of them, instead of just one. Know well how to write a professional resume. Often times, this inconsistency tends to determine whether your application will be accepted or rejected.

  • Select a font

“Shannon had drafted a resume and was ready to upload it on various job portals until she decided to get someone’s opinion on her resume. One of her friends, who happens to be a human resource manager, speculated on her resume and asked her to re-do it. The suggestion was that while information was input correctly, the font was terrible.”

The issue with Shannon’s resume was its inconsistent font. While many applicants fail to notice these minute details, hiring managers are pretty strict about them. They prefer lucid, well-organized resumes rather than blunt, inconsistent documents.

The layout of a Resume

  1. Don’t forget to add your name and contact information

Your resume is more like an identification certificate to potential companies informing them about your designation, professionalism, and expertise. It is important that you understand how to write a professional resume. That is why it is mandatory to include personal information such as name and contact details within this document. It not only helps in the process of identification but also assists the interviewer in sending emails or texts in the case of any update.

  • Your name: Of course, if you are going to create a resume for yourself, you will have to mention your name; otherwise, they aren’t supposed to whom this nameless resume belongs.
  • Location: Once your resume is selected, they will be sending a postal letter informing you about being a new employee of their company. This is only possible if you include your permanent or current address in the resume.
  • Contact information: Your telephone number or fax number needs to be present in your resume, solely for the purpose of communication.
  • Email: Companies prefer to update applicants about their progress through professional emails, so when writing a resume, always include your email address to ease communication.
  • Link to online portfolio: In case you possess an online portfolio, try including a link of the same when creating your resume. It increases the professional conduct of your resume, allowing it to stand out.  
  • Profile on LinkedIn: To establish before your potential employers your social presence, try including a link to your LinkedIn profile.
  1. Professional summary or objectives are a must.

A professional summary talking about your skills and knowledge is mandatory when creating a resume. It is like writing an introduction for an article; if they don’t like the first line, they don’t read it at all.

When a hiring manager reviews your resume, they proceed to read the professional summary to comprehend the potential a candidate holds. There are certain aspects that you will need to include in your professional summary to create an impression.

  • If you have more than three years of experience.
  • Mention your accomplishments over the years.
  • How is it that you plan to assist your potential company.
  1. Mention your skills

After introducing yourself and your qualifications through the summary, inform your hiring manager next about the skills that you possess. In this section, it is preferable that you provide a proper list of skills that companies desire their employees to possess. What you can do is conduct research on the kind of skills that organizations are demanding from applicants recently and try developing these skills over time before you apply. You can learn these skills by taking up certain Interview preparation courses.

  • Soft Skills: When listing soft skills, you usually mention some behavioral or personality traits that you possess, which may assist in company development.

Example:

  • Integrity
  • Reliability
  • Clear communication
  • Adaptability
  • Will to learn
  • Troubleshooting
  • Analytical thinking
  • Hard Skills: When your experience or your qualification assists you in developing certain areas of expertise, they can be regarded as hard skills.

Example:

  • Grip on language
  • Data mining
  • Statistical analysis
  • JavaScript
  • C++
  • Marketing campaign management
  • Interface Design
  1. Mention your experiences, and don’t forget to add keywords

Why do you think you create a resume in the first place? It is for communicating with your hiring manager about your qualifications. 

That is why listing your professional experience is necessary when creating a resume, as it allows the prospective company to comprehend your expertise in the field. Try incorporating keywords in your resume, as many companies tend to use ATS or Application Tracking System to scan your resume. By utilizing keywords, making your resume noticeable becomes easier. Keep reading to know more about how to list experience. Useful career advice for you would be to always include keywords.

· Try using the numerical or percentages to create an impact on your experience.

· Job descriptions by companies tend to consist of certain keywords; try using them in your experience listing.

· Don’t write long paragraphs and stick to shorter sentences.

· Try incorporating action when listing experience.

· Try adding a list of major projects that you have been associated with.

· Try adding your current experiences as well to increase the impact of your resume.

Example 1:

2016 - now

Software Engineer

XYZ. Co

  • Led a team of 20 programmers while handling an end-to-end software development life cycle for 27 projects.
  • Was in charge of a team that won the 2017 ABC award.
  • Slashed any security breach by 67%
  • Raised code efficiency by 35%
  • Increased client retention by 35%

Example 2:

2015 – now

Senior Software Engineer

ABC.Inc

  • Increased code efficiency by 55%
  • Built an infrastructure to handle millions of clients
  • Assisted in building security into a new product to achieve 100% compliance.
  • Decreased lead time by 30%
  1. Create a Pro Education Section

“What makes you different or weird, that’s your strength.” – Meryl Streep

While basic education and university degrees need to be present in your resume, you can create a separate area to address your pro educational qualifications. Learn more about how to professional resume. This section will comprise degrees that you have earned for your personal growth and development.

  • Mention certain special courses: Provide a list of special courses that you have invested your time to earn so as to increase your educational status and boost your career path.
  • Average grade point: In case you are someone who earned a GPA above 3.6, you can consider it to be a part of your academic achievements. Choose to include this particular accomplishment of yours in this section of the resume, if you want to.
  • Voluntary participation: In case you were actively part of any club or charitable activity, then you can choose to include it in your resume. This will help you segregate yourself from thousands of other applicants.
  • Leadership Qualities: In case you were in charge of any particular team or project in your previous place of work, then do mention so in your resume. Highlight the achievements that you were able to guide your team into earning in this section as well.
  • Special achievements: In case you were the recipient of any special award or position, then feel free to state that in your resume as well. This will assist a hiring manager in comprehending your efficiency in the workplace.
  1. Consider adding optional sections

Since your resume reflects your professional conduct and experience, you can choose to add a certain personalized section as well. Many applicants prefer including special skills such as proficiency in the language as a part of their resume. Keep reading to learn more about how to write a professional resume.

  1. Hobbies & Interests

Although your hobbies may not have any link with your professional career, mentioning them helps enhance your impression before hiring managers. They can comprehend that you believe in keeping your work and private life separate and dedicate yourself to a particular interest rather than sitting idle.

  1. Volunteering Experience

If you dedicate yourself to offering services to any particular charitable organization, then include information about the same in your resume. By knowing how to write a professional resume, you can offer your potential company insight on how you believe in giving back to society, allowing you to receive certain moral points.

  1.  Certifications & Awards

In your years of experience, there must have been certain achievements that earned you an award from the organizations you are working with. Feel free to mention the same in this section of your resume.

  1. Format your resume
  • The font of your resume cannot be bigger than size 12.
  • Try avoiding stylish fonts and instead choose to select the ones that are clean and easy to comprehend.
  • Maintain a margin between 1 and 1.5 inches.
  • Keep the name and section headings in bold and at size 14.
  • When you choose to list information, try using bullet points as they make your resume more readable.
  1.  Structure your resume in line with the role you're applying to

Try creating resumes as per the job role that you are applying for. Try researching the opening position and the responsibilities that fall under it. Create a resume that is able to meet these pre-set expectations.

To relay that you are an individual who is dedicated and possesses every skill that the company desires, you need to create that perfect resume. Comprehending how to write a professional resume will help you establish your impression before the hiring committee. List your experiences and qualifications in a format that appeals to the hiring managers. 

Keep in mind that being able to stand out is as important as being professional when creating a resume. Your goal is to be selected from among thousands of other applicants who are pursuing the same job position.

“Keep trying. It’s only from a valley that the mountain seems high.” – Zig Ziglar.