8 Tips for Writing a Winning Resume

So you’re applying for a job. Everything right now is going great. You’ve entered your name in the first field and you’ve even spelt it correctly, but then you come to the next part, which says please upload your resume. Oh no, I don’t even have a resume, you think. And what’s worse, you don’t even know how to properly write one.

Fortunately, at some point, your future self travelled back to the past and uploaded an entire video about how to write a resume full of amazing tips and tricks that are nearly guaranteed to help you land that job.

This is that video. Thanks, time travel. So in this video, I’m gonna be sharing some useful tips that you can use to craft a great resume, and along the way, we’re going to establish the five maybe six, depending on who you are, sections that should be on that resume.

Before we go on, though, I do want to mention something important.

There is no best way to craft a resume. Go online looking for resume tips and you’re gonna find 18 billion differing opinions, all from so-called resume experts. Why? Well, think about the purpose of a resume.

A resume is a brief summary of your skills, your achievements, and your experience, and how those relate to the specific job or company that you’re applying to, and the job of that resume is to get your posterior into the chair across the desk from a hiring manager so you can explain in further detail why you’re the best person to hire.

So your resume is essentially an advertisement, and as I’m sure you’re well aware, advertisements come in all sorts of different forms, there’s no one perfect way to craft an advertisement that will work every single time.

You can also take resume services like from American Resumes

So keep in mind you’re crafting an advertisement, there are definitely general best practices that you should follow, but nothing so specific as never having an objective statement or always having an objective statement is going to apply in every single case, and this means that there is no one way to craft a perfect resume. There’s no perfect resume template.

All you can do is seek to make yours great, and to the end, let’s get into the tips and sections that you should have on yours. All right, first and most importantly, you’re gonna wanna have a section that lists your favourite anime, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and Space Dandy are great picks, but if you have Naruto as number one, you’re probably dead in the water.

Wait, I read that wrong, actually first section is gonna be your name and contact information. That actually makes more sense. So obviously this section should include your name, and if you’re submitting this resume directly to a company, it should also include your phone number in case they want to call you directly for an interview, though I will note that if you’re going to be posting your resume online somewhere publicly like on a personal website, I would leave the phone number off just so you don’t get spammed.

In addition to all those basics, you should also include a website and portfolio if you can. I think this is really really important.

So believe it or not, I’ve been running my company for almost 10 years at this point, and I have hired several people during that time, and every single time I’ve set up to hire somebody, the thing I’m most interested to see on applications is examples of completed work, and I am not alone in this desire, so use the rest of the tips that we’re gonna go through in just a second to craft your resume and make it shine as best as it can, but also give the hiring manager an option to go look at a portfolio or some examples of the work that you’ve done if they so choose.

That brings us to the next section on your resume, which I believe should usually be your work experience. And the first thing that I have to say about this section is that you should be putting your most relevant experience first given the job that you’re applying for, which means that you should be tailoring your resume to every single position you apply for. Yeah, it’s more work, but it is worth it.

Now for the people out there who already have established careers, and who aren’t jumping into a completely new industry, reverse chronological order usually achieves this, but this tip is very relevant for students and for new grads because you often have great summer experience, great internships, things like that, but then you have to make ends meet during the semester, and you flipped burgers and mowed lawns, but if you’re applying for a great job at a tech company, and you had a great tech internship last summer and then afterwards mowed lawns just to make some extra pocket money, you don’t want to put the lawn mowing first, because if I’m a tech recruiter.

I’m looking at your resume and the first thing I see is lawn mowing experience, I’m probably gonna move on to the next resume, I’m not gonna look down further and see that you have a great experience on your second item’s listed.

The most important thing you can understand about your resume, other than the fact that it is an advertisement, is that recruiters don’t have a whole lot of time to look at it, you might put a lot of time into it, you might put all your work into crafting it and making it the best that you can, but when it gets to a recruiter’s desk, it’s probably in a stack of hundreds of others, and according to an article put up by the ladders.com a few years ago, the average resume only gets six seconds of attention before the recruiter makes a fit or no fit decision.

So you want to make those six seconds count. All right, on to the next main tip. When you’re listing out your job descriptions, highlight achievements rather than duties, and if you can, back up those achievements with numbers.

The reality of the situation is that hiring managers are not that interested in what your duties were at your last job, what you were expected to do.

They’re a lot more interested in what you actually accomplished, especially if there are specifics involved. So for example, listing something like organizing an introductory program attended by 3,500 incoming freshmen and helping book four professional speakers and workshop leaders, works a lot better than just being responsible for organizing an introductory program for new freshman. And I will say for this trip, in particular, you may want to into the description down below after watching the rest of the video because I’ll be linking to my own resume which has some great examples of using specifics and numbers in that work experience section.

But of course, there is one elephant in the room for many of you, which is the question, what if I don’t have any experience?

Well, this is known as the experience paradox.

Many jobs need you to have experience before they’ll hire you, but to get the experience you need to have a job, right? Now, while the experience paradox is difficult to overcome, it is not impossible to overcome, and one thing I want to note here before I talk about my main tip related to it, is that a lot of companies offer internships, and when a company builds an internship program, they’re often looking for promising candidates that show a lot of potentials, but maybe who don’t have a whole lot of industry experience, so if that what you’re lacking, then show some other qualities and you may get hired in those kinds of positions, but here’s my main tip.

For many, many fields out there, nobody has to give you permission for you to go and do work that’s worth showing off on a resume. Want to become a web developer?

Well, then spend a few weeks learning how to build a website or a web app I your own time, build it, post it on the internet, and list that on your resume as work experience. My friend Martin actually started working with me as a web developer and I hired him because he had built a blog in his spare time and I knew that he knew word press design, PHP, CSS, all the skills that I was looking for in a web developer when I needed my website rebuilt.

That one is easy, though, right? What if you want to compose film scores? Well, get yourself a copy of Reaper, find some cheap or free virtual instruments and go rescore public domain movies that you can get on the archive.

org or ask a friend who’s a videographer if you can score their work, post it online, use that to get bigger and bigger gigs.

And what if you want to be a doctor? All right, admittedly that is a tough one, and I’m not gonna sit here and pretend that you can get resume experience in literally any profession just by tinkering on a computer in your bedroom, because, well, you can’t. Some professions out there are just more gate-kept than others, and many require experience with equipment that you just cannot get on your own. But there are still things that you can do to stand out.

For example, my friend Ryan, back when he was a pre-med, volunteered for an organization called Doctors Without Walls. And due to his experience with that organization, he was able to put together a really really impressive med school application, which got him accepted into several schools, even though his grades as a pre-med weren’t as good as some of his peers.

All right, let’s move on to the education section, which on my resume actually comes after my work experience section, so I guess the first tip I want to talk about here is how to strategically place your education section, so if you are in college or if you just got out of college it may make sense to put your education section before your work experience, especially if you’re trying to get into a more established field with bigger and older companies who may still put a lot of value on the school you went to and your academic achievements, but as a general rule, solid, impressive experience is gonna matter to most companies more than the school that you attended, especially for newer companies and companies in fields like design and technology, so as your experience gets more and more impressive as you accumulate more of it, think about highlighting that before your education.

That just leaves us with the question of GPA or grade point average. Do you include it on your resume or do you leave it off?

Well, here’s what I was told when I was in college. If your GPA is a 3.2 or above, put that on your resume right alongside your degree in your school. If not, leave it off. And the reason that I’m including this in the video is that I generally agree with this logic, and here’s why.

Your resume’s job is to get your foot in the door, just like your Tinder profile’s job is to get you a date, right? So in general, you’re not gonna go advertising your flaws front and centre on your Tinder profile, unless you can find a way to do it that’s endearing and funny, and even then, that doesn’t apply as much to the job market as it does to dating, but, once you’re dating somebody, they’re naturally going to learn about your flaws, and if those flaws are outweighed by the good stuff, then they’re probably gonna stay with you, and it’s the same with the job market.

Once you get into that office and have an interview, you get a chance to explain why your GPA might not be as high as you’d like it to be. Maybe your skills and experience outweigh it and you realize that putting more effort into other projects was more beneficial than trying to get perfect grades. But again, your resume only gives a few seconds of attention, so you don’t want to lead with things that are going to throw up red flags.

Speaking of red flags, let’s talk about the skill section. First and foremost, do you even need to have a skills section on your resume? Well, the answer is it depends on who you are.

So typically it’s useful to have a skills section if you have specific certifications or skills that the job is going to be looking for. So if you have a SISCO networking certification, a CCNA, or you’re really proficient in Adobe After Effects or CAD or you know how to code and know.

JS, it can be really useful to put those things in a specific skills section. This is especially useful since many bigger companies these days use what are called applicant tracking systems or ATS systems, actually, no that doesn’t work, that’s like an ATM machine, that’s kind of redundant. Anyway, ATSs basically scan resumes for specific, key terms that the company’s looking for so they can cut down on the number of resumes an actual human being has to look at. So if you’re applying to a company that you know is looking for a specific skill, you want to make sure that skill is listed on your resume, provided you’re actually proficient in it, otherwise your resume might get tossed in the bin before anyone looks at it.

All that being said, don’t include a skill section on your resume if all you’re going to include is something like Microsoft office as a general term.

And more importantly, do not list soft skill terms. Don’t put hard worker, don’t put good communicator on your resume, do not let me catch you putting these things because the laziest person in the world can write hard worker on their resume, and because of that, for many recruiters, it’s a red flag. Why are you putting down hard work instead of a listing experience that proves your work ethic? Bottom line, if you have specific skills, if you have specific certifications that you know they’re looking for, definitely include a skills section or at least make sure they’re listed in your work experience section, otherwise, a skills section is probably not needed, but what you do need are the last two sections that we are going to talk about today: extracurriculars and awards.

These sections can bolster the work experience on your resume by showing the clubs and organizations that you’re a part of by listing any leadership positions you have taken in those clubs, which you should definitely list and by listing any awards, honours, scholarships, anything like that that you’ve won as well.

These sections are essentially a non-pathetic way of writing hard worker on your resume. They might not convey specific skills, but they do convey other traits that recruiters are definitely looking for, a hard work ethic, the ability to adapt and change, the ability to work independently, and your likelihood to step into leadership roles, so absolutely make sure that you have these two sections on your resume as well.

Of course, crafting your resume is just the first step to landing the job that you want, and alone, it is not a very strong tool for that purpose. It needs to work in tandem with a well-tailored personal brand, a mix of online and offline platforms and methods of communicating and help you to show off your skills and establish your expertise in your industry, and this includes things like a personal website with a portfolio and your social media platforms, but also the way that you introduce yourself and the way that you engage and seek out others.

And if you want a good guide on how to start building that brand, I’m gonna recommend Hamza Khan’s personal branding course on Skillshare.

His course is short and won’t take up too much of your time, but it’s also pretty comprehensive, and it covers all the important bases including the preliminary work of figuring out how to tell your story and present yourself, along with the specifics of channel selection, building a website, and more.

And getting access to that course means you’ll also have unlimited access to the more than 28000 other courses that are also on Skillshare, and that can boost your skills in web development, digital animation, graphic design, audio production, and lots, lots more.

Membership on Skillshare is super affordable, starting at less than 10 bucks a month, plus once you have that membership, you can go over to the popular courses of the business section where you’ll find my course on productivity skills as well, and if you want to try out Skillshare for free, you can actually get a free, two-month, unlimited trial by being one of the first 500 people to click the link in the description down below and sign up.

Big thanks as always goes out to Skillshare for sponsoring this video and supporting my channel and as always, thank you guys for watching as well. If you enjoyed this video, definitely hit that like button, you can also subscribe right there to get new videos when they come out every single week, plus right there to get a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades in school.

As found on YouTube

About aatifriaz

Aatif riaz is a professional writer and SEO professional. He loves to write articles about health and technology.

View all posts by aatifriaz →