12 Resume Writing Rules You Should Follow

So, you’re thinking about progressing your career with a new job?

If so, the key to landing your desired job is your resume. It must be clear, concise, and follow all the essential rules of the perfect resume. With a well-written resume, you can easily stay ahead of your competition.

Curating the perfect resume requires meticulous planning. Here, we list the top rules to keep in mind to bring yourself one step closer to success by securing your dream job.

1. Make It Concise and Direct  

An essential rule to follow when you want to create a professional resume is to make it concise, short, and direct. Hiring managers have to get tons of resumes, so it’s recommended that you keep your resume at least one page. 

The only exception to this rule is if you have an extensive career or notable work experience. The aim of your resume is not to show what you have done but rather why you are qualified for the job. That said, an excellent resume should include your relevant and notable experience, skills, and background.

2. Pay Attention to Pronouns and Tenses

When writing a resume, you must pay attention to the sentences. For example, when discussing previous experiences, they should be written in the past tense, like, ‘Completed XYZ task.’ However, if you want to discuss your current role in a company, this should be written in the present tense.

Moreover, when it comes to pronouns, experts strongly recommend avoiding writing resumes in the first person by using the words ‘I,’ ‘My,’ and ‘Me.’ Instead, write in the third person or avoid using any tenses at all.

3. Make It Aesthetically Appealing

This might surprise you, but hiring managers spend only a whopping six seconds looking through your resume. Considering they will only skim through your resume, it is imperative that you make it eye-catching and stand out from the rest.

This can be done by using short sentences, making job titles or company names bold, and creating sections for experiences, skills, and education. It would be a good idea to use a template to help you achieve this and enhance the aesthetic appeal of your resume.

4. Incorporate Relevant Keywords

Some companies now use robotic systems to scan and skim through resumes and find the most relevant ones. For this reason, it would be a good idea to optimize the content of your resume with keywords relevant to the job title or company. You could also add the job post as a keyword. Doing this will increase your chances of being recognized by hiring managers.  

5. Pay Attention to the Language You Use

When writing your resume, you should be careful about your language. The resume is, in many ways, an introduction to your professional version. It is a content piece that should convince hiring managers that you are the perfect fit for the job and company. 

Make it clear what your background and skills are. Additionally, discuss your achievements and your current role and how all of these are the reasons why they must hire you.

6. Support Facts with Numbers

Another important rule that most professional resume writers follow is quantifying their resumes by using numbers, percentages, and more. Anyone can say that they successfully completed a task. However, when you present that with numbers, it instantly becomes impressive.

7. Avoid Adding References

Your resume is not the right place to add references since the hiring managers will not want to talk to your references. Even writing ‘references upon request’ is a waste of space. HR professionals typically talk to your references later in the hiring process if the need arises. Hence, they will likely contact you themselves when they require any.

8. Add Your Social Media Profiles

Screening candidates on social media is a common practice carried out by today’s hiring managers. If you have a professional social media account pertaining to your career and industry, it would be a good idea to incorporate a link in your resume.

9. Label the Resume Correctly

When you’re ready to send your resume to hiring managers, make sure you have labeled it with your name and not a random number. When they download and open your resume, they will be able to see the file name, so it’s imperative that you keep the right one. Make sure to include your name and write ‘resume’ in the file name.

10. Send Your Resume in PDF Format

Similarly, be sure to send your resume in PDF format. It should not be in a Word file, image, or anything else. If you send it in any of these formats, it may ruin the presentation of the text and mess it up. The PDF, on the other hand, 

11. Check for Grammatical Errors

Once you are done writing your resume, review it to see if there are grammatical errors. This is a significant mistake that applicants often make. You must ensure that there are no such errors in the resume because it would make it appear unprofessional, and hiring managers will dismiss it. 

Additionally, it might be a good idea to have another individual look at your resume as it may be quicker to detect grammatical errors.

12. Proofread Your Resume a Couple of Times

When you are done writing and editing your resume, be sure to proofread and go over it multiple times. It is common for you to miss a few errors, but when you attentively review the document, you might catch them. 

In the end, the content of your resume must be impeccable, simple, and short. Additionally, it should include all the relevant details about you. Following these rules will help you achieve this and give you a perfect and professional resume. 

If this sounds like a lot of work, you can hire a resume writing service to curate your ideal resume.

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