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15 Tips On How To Write a Resume

A resume is more than a summary of your career. It contains details and critical information about you that can either make you shine or fall behind other candidates. It is important to understand the structure of a resume and listen to the experts before jumping into the writing. We have selected a collection of tips in this article that will help you maximize your chances in the job hunt.

(1) How generic or specific should the resume be?

Ideally your resume should be very specific to your professional goals, which means that you should avoid information that isn’t related to your career plans. So focus on a precise resume that doesn’t waste the time of the employer with information that he/she isn’t interested in. The more precise your resume is, the better it will be for the recruiter/employer. The key tip here is to carefully read and analyze the job description before you write the resume.

(2) How much information should I include?

You have to pay careful attention to the amount of information you add to your resume. We are often tempted to write as much as possible about each achievement in our career as a way to impress the employer, but this can actually become a trap and reduce the value of your resume. HR and recruitment professionals are very busy people, therefore going directly to the point will move you ahead of other candidates.

You resume shouldn’t go beyond two pages, so you have to find a balance when you write each section. The main pieces you should cut are those words and sentences that brag about you. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when they build a resume.

(3) Can I reuse the same resume for different opportunities?

This should rarely be the case. Each job position has its own requirements and you should focus on the specific details in order to get the job. The idea is to have a base resume that you can customize for each company and position.

(4) How can I adapt my resume to each job position?

The most relevant achievements of your career will be the same in each resume (there are rare exceptions to this rule). The points that could change are minor responsibilities and achievements from each position in your work history. So you have to adjust the resume based on the projects and accomplishments that relates to the desired position.

(5) What kind of achievements brings more value to a resume?

Achievements that contain numerical data are usually better than simple descriptions. The fact that numbers are more precise helps the employer understand your actual value. Therefore it is better to show numbers that express revenue growth, reduction of costs and any other measurable results that affected the company positively. But numbers should only be mentioned when you truly understand the methodology and math behind them. In the interview you may have to explain the origin of the numbers and you have to make sure you understand the concepts and methods that were applied.

(6) How should I describe my fluency in foreign languages?

Under no circumstances you should lie on your resume and this also applies to the fluency in foreign languages. A recruiter can easily check your Spanish knowledge in a matter of minutes. If you are not sure about what level you are in terms of reading, writing and speaking a foreign language, you should look for professional advice.

(7) Should I list my hobbies?

This is optional, but hobbies can help recruiters understand you better. What you do in your free time can explain a lot about you. Whether you keep your mind busy with interesting activities or help other people with social work, this kind of information complements your resume in different ways. It is a plus to have a website that contains pictures, videos and other information about your hobbies. In any case, keep the hobbies section as brief as possible.

(8) What kind of voluntary work fits in a resume?

Charity – such as donating money to an institution or organization – shouldn’t be mentioned in a resume. If you do volunteer work, then it is a good sign that you care about society. But keep in mind that this kind of activity will hardly make a strong point for your career.

(9) Should I list my own competencies?

Employers hardly believe in anything by default. Listing your own competencies can be more of a problem than a solution. You should avoid clichés and self-proclaimed skills that are difficult to prove without evidence. This includes:

Instead you should bring the attention to the facts by choosing data, experiences and results that confirm the claims. The employer should be the one to draw the conclusions.

(10) Should I list abandoned courses?

If you have abandoned some courses (or any training) along the way, they may show some lack of commitment or planning in your life. You should only mention such courses if you have a good explanation why you left them or if you plan to go back and continue the studies in the near future.

(11) Can I omit some experiences?

We usually have experiences that are not relevant anymore to our careers and plans. This is especially true for old or short experiences from the past that won’t contribute to our desired positions. The focus of the resume should be in the last 10 years or so. You can still mention older positions, but they don’t need lots of details and descriptions. Remember that an efficient resume has to be brief.

(12) How can I choose the best keywords for my resume?

Keywords are important if your resume will be added to a database. So you have to ensure that you use words and expressions that correctly describe the work and are common in your professional field.

You also should pay attention to job postings because they contain keywords that you can use in your resume.

(13) Should I mention the expected salary?

You should mention salary only when requested by the employer. This is another reason to always read carefully the job advert. The expected salary should always match the market, so you can look for salary surveys in your local area before submitting the resume.

(14) What kind of personal information should I mention?

Besides your name, you should definitely have your profession and location clearly visible in your resume. The employer or recruiter doesn’t want to waste time checking where you live or what position you are applying for. Having this information easily available on the top can demonstrate focus. You should avoid unneeded information such as age, religion, sex, marital status, number of children, etc.

(15) Should I include a picture?

This is usually optional, but if you want to include a picture (or if requested by the employer) make sure you pick one that shows how you currently look. Employers shouldn’t be surprised when they meet you in the interview. You should completely avoid pictures from vacations, parties or informal meetings. It should be enough to have a picture where you wear good clothes and have a smile on your face. For women, avoid heavy makeup and big earrings.

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