Blog

How to Create a Great Resume: Your Path to Professional Success

ResumeOptimizerPro Editorial Team

Updated March 5, 2024

Introduction

Your resume is the first impression you make on potential employers, and it can determine whether or not you land an interview. To create a resume that stands out from the competition, you need to include the right elements and structure it effectively. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the essential components that should be part of a great resume, along with tips on how to optimize it for each job application. Additionally, we'll explore how ResumeOptimizerPro can help you achieve these guidelines effortlessly.

1. Select the Right Resume Format

The first step in creating an impressive resume is selecting the right format. There are three common formats: chronological, functional, and combination.

  • Chronological Resume: This format lists your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job. It's ideal if you have a consistent work history and want to highlight your career progression.
  • Functional Resume: A functional resume focuses on your skills and qualifications rather than your work history. It's a good choice if you're changing careers, have employment gaps, or want to emphasize specific skills.
  • Combination Resume: This format combines elements of both chronological and functional resumes. It showcases your skills and qualifications first, followed by your work history. It's suitable for applicants who want to highlight their relevant skills while showcasing their work experience.

In addition to having a proper format, having a template that is optimized for Applicant Tracking Systems is even more crucial. The primary reason for using an ATS-optimized resume template is to ensure that your resume gets noticed by the system. ATS software uses algorithms to search for keywords and phrases relevant to the job description. If your resume lacks these keywords or is poorly formatted, it might be filtered out as a poor match, even if you possess the necessary qualifications. An ATS-optimized template helps you strategically incorporate relevant keywords and ensures that your resume's formatting aligns with what the software expects. This improves your chances of passing the initial screening and progressing to the next stage of the hiring process.

2. Avoid Fancy Resume Templates

One of the primary issues with fancy resume templates is that they are difficult for ATS systems to parse accurately. These systems are designed to extract text from resumes and analyze it for relevant information. However, when a resume contains elements like pictures, fancy graphics, and multiple columns, the ATS may struggle to interpret the content correctly. As a result, your resume may not get noticed by the software, even if you're highly qualified for the position.



3. Include Your Name and Contact Information

Your resume should start with your name and contact information prominently displayed at the top. Include your full name, phone number, email address, and optionally, your LinkedIn profile or personal website. Ensure that your contact information is up-to-date and professional.

4. Include a Professional Summary or Objective

A professional summary or objective is a concise statement that provides an overview of your career goals, skills, and qualifications. Use a summary if you have substantial experience, and an objective if you're just starting your career or changing fields. Keep it brief, engaging, and tailored to the specific job you're applying for.

5. Include Your Hard and Soft Skills in a Skills Section

Your skills section is where you highlight your abilities, both hard and soft. Hard skills are specific, job-related competencies such as programming languages or technical proficiencies. Soft skills, on the other hand, encompass interpersonal qualities like communication, teamwork, and leadership.

To create an impactful skills section:

  • List skills relevant to the job description.
  • Organize them logically.
  • Provide evidence of your proficiency, such as certifications or specific achievements.
  • Prioritize skills that align with the job requirements.

6. Include Specific Skills and Accomplishments in Your Work History

Your work history section should detail your professional experience, including job titles, company names, dates of employment, skills utilized, and key responsibilities. However, don't just list your duties; highlight your accomplishments and quantify them whenever possible.

Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to showcase your achievements effectively:

  • Describe the situation or problem you faced.
  • Outline the tasks you undertook.
  • Explain the actions you took.
  • Emphasize the positive results or outcomes.

By including the skills you have utilized within your work history, matching algorithms are able to detect how recent and how long you have utilized each skill to determine how well you match against a specific job posting. For example, if you have worked at XYZ Corp. from 11/2010 - 11/2022 as a programmer and you stated that you used Python, MySQL, and JavaScript at this position, you will recieve a very high score for these skills if they are required for a job posting since you have recently these skills for 12 years.

7. Include an Education Section

The education section should feature your academic background, including degrees earned, institutions attended, graduation dates, and relevant coursework. Include additional information like GPA, honors, and academic achievements if they strengthen your candidacy.

8. Include Optional Sections: Certifications, Awards & Achievements, and Volunteer Work

Including optional sections can make your resume more compelling and tailored to specific job opportunities.

  • Certifications: List relevant certifications or licenses that showcase your expertise in a particular area. Certifications can give you a competitive edge in fields that require specialized knowledge.
  • Awards & Achievements: Highlight any awards, honors, or recognition you've received throughout your career. These accolades demonstrate your dedication and excellence.
  • Volunteer Work: Including volunteer experience can demonstrate your commitment to your community and showcase skills and qualities that are transferable to the workplace, such as leadership and teamwork.

9. Include a Link to Your LinkedIn Profile

Research has suggested that including a link to your LinkedIn profile in your resume can significantly increase your likelihood of securing more job interviews. However, if your profile is poorly maintained or lacks essential information, it is best not to include it in your resume.

10. Keep Your Resume Concise and Avoid Using Buzzwords

A lengthy resume can overwhelm potential employers and make them less likely to thoroughly review your application. They may be inclined to skim over it or skip important details, which can lead to missed opportunities. Keep in mind that employers often have limited time to review each resume, so it's essential to make your document concise and impactful.

In addition, resumes filled with buzzwords and clichés often fail to convey your unique qualifications and experiences effectively. Employers receive countless resumes, and they don't have the time to sift through pages of generic phrases to find your true value. Your qualifications may get lost in translation, making it difficult for employers to see what makes you stand out.

11. Target Your Resume for Each Job Posting

To increase your chances of getting noticed by employers, tailor your resume for each job application. Analyze the job posting carefully and make adjustments to your resume to match the specific requirements and keywords mentioned in the job description. This customization shows that you've put thought and effort into your application, making you a more attractive candidate.

Different job postings have unique requirements and qualifications. Tailoring your resume allows you to showcase the skills, experiences, and qualifications that closely match what the employer is looking for. This alignment makes it clear that you are a strong fit for the position and increases your chances of being considered for an interview.

How ResumeOptimizerPro Can Help

Now that you understand the key elements of a great resume, let's see how ResumeOptimizerPro can help you craft an outstanding resumes with ease.

  • Resume Format and Template Implementation: ResumeOptimizerPro allows you to select a format and template that is designed to parse flawlessly on any ATS or job board. Simply select one of our pre-defined templates and you are good to go.
  • Customized Content Suggestions: The tool provides tailored content suggestions for your summary, skills, work history, and optional sections based on the job you're targeting. This ensures that your resume highlights the most relevant information.
  • Content Revisions: ResumeOptimizerPro will automatically eliminate superflous content such as cliches and buzzwords that add no value to your resume and may actually hinder your chances of getting noticed.
  • Targeting Your Resume: ResumeOptimizerPro identifies and incorporates skills and other keywords from the job posting that you select into your resume. This increases your resume's visibility to applicant tracking systems (ATS) and improves your chances of passing the initial screening process.
  • Achievements Highlighting: ResumeOptimizerPro assists you in showcasing your accomplishments effectively using the STAR method, making your achievements stand out to potential employers.
  • Multiple Resume Versions: Create and save multiple versions of your resume tailored to different job applications, all within the same platform.

With ResumeOptimizerPro, you can save time and create customized, attention-grabbing resumes for every job opportunity, giving you a competitive edge in your job search.

Conclusion

A great resume is the foundation of your job search success. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog post and using tools like ResumeOptimizerPro, you can create a resume that grabs employers' attention and increases your chances of landing your dream job. Remember to continuously update and refine your resume as your career evolves, and you'll be well on your way to professional success.