If you've made the decision that 2020 is going to be the year to achieve your career aspirations, there is one task that stands between you and your goal - writing a resume. To put your best foot forward, you need to create a resume that does justice to your experience and skills – one that presents you in the best light and sets you apart from other candidates. However, standing out from the competition is not easy when you are trying to figure out how to properly format, organize, and create content for your resume. And all the contradictory information on the Internet makes even the most experienced professionals dwell over every single word they type. If you are looking for a one-stop shop where all your questions are answered in a clear and understandable way, you've come to the right place! We've created this step-by-step guide and resume templates aligned with all best practices to make your job search in 2020 easier. From your contact details to the length and formatting, this guide has all your resume-writing questions covered.
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What's included? The Resume Writing Guide for 2020 works like a recipe. You will get information about all the ingredients you need to create a perfect resume. Additionally, you will learn how to combine them to make a resume you are proud of.
The guide is divided into two main sections:
Creating content [part 1]
Polishing the structure [part 2] - coming out on 9th January 2020
In this part, you will find out:
► How to structure your resume
► Which parts should be included in your resume and which shouldn’t
► What to include in your personal statement [template included]
► How to describe your job responsibilities in the work experience section
► How to quantify your responsibilities and key achievements
And much more…
Simply said, you will learn how to create a perfect resume that will win interviews and land jobs in 2020.
Ready? Buckle your seat belt and let's start!
1. Open MS Word/Mac Pages
...or any other program you are comfortable with.The important thing is that you feel confident with the program you choose, so you can make all the changes with ease. Additionally, you should be able to save your document as a PDF file. This is the most common document type companies are looking for. It will also preserve your original formatting. Regardless of the operating system readers might have, they will see it in the form you want them to see it.
2. Introduce yourself
The very first thing you will write down should be your name and surname.
Don't include nicknames, no matter how close they are to your heart.This part is easy and straightforward, however, there are two things we want to highlight:
Write down the name from your legal documents to avoid any issues with hiring. Be consistent and use the same name and surname in all your job search documents and communications.
Your name and surname are the first thing employers will read on your CV. You want them to be seen and remembered. So, it should be easy to find them.
3. Tell them how to reach you
Contact details should be right below your name and surname.They need to be visible and clear.
Don't confuse recruiters with three phone numbers and two email addresses. One phone number and one email address - those you are always available on - are more than enough.
Also, you don't need to include your full home address.
Ditch the street and home number, leave only the city and country/state. If you are applying for international opportunities, include your country/state too.
Based on the above, you should include the following:
Your contact details section should be brief and straightforward. At this point, you also need to save valuable space for the rest of the content. Thus, the best way to write them is in one row, separated by slash or other symbols.
It should look like this:
JANE DOE Paris, France ● 00 123 0000 000 ● email@example.com
4. Double check your contact details
Are your contact details accurate? Do they look professional? Think about your email address - how does it make you come across?
The most professional addresses always include your name and surname. Avoid offensive, cute or funny nicknames and aliases.
Never include your work email address. From the future employer's perspective, it’s a big turn off. It shows disrespect to your current employer, which is always a red flag.
This rule doesn't apply in case you are looking for internal opportunities within your company. In that case, it is fine to use your work address. ONLY in that case.
5. Include additional information in contact details (optional)
Thinking about including your LinkedIn profile, website or social media? LinkedIn and your website are perfectly fine, if they add value to the information from your CV and if done professionally.
However, social media can be tricky. Do it only if you strongly believe they present you in the best possible light. Otherwise, they will hinder your application.
6. Categorize sections
Take your time to think about your content forehand, before you dig deeper into writing it. Create subheadings for the different sections of your resume. At this point, focus on the content instead of the layout, as you cannot know in advance how long will your resume be.
The sections you MUST include are:
Contact details (if you followed the previous steps, they are already included)
Work history/professional experience
'Nice-to-have' sections are:
Professional profile/personal statement
Areas of expertise
Recognitions and awards
And these sections can be skipped:
Interest and hobbies
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7. Ditch objective - write a personal statement instead (spoiler alert – a template is included here!)
2020 is the year to ditch the objective in your resume. There, we said it!
The sentence ‘Looking for a challenging role to progress both professionally and personally’ simply doesn’t add any value – you are just stating the obvious. What’s more, you are making it all about yourself.
Surprisingly, resumes are not about you – they are about employers and the benefits you can bring to them.
So, instead of a me-oriented personal objective, write a summary of your career to show employers how your skills, experience and previous achievements translate into their success.
Even though this section is not a mandatory part of a resume, we highly recommend starting with it.
When done correctly, starting your resume with a personal statement is the most efficient way to show employers you are the person they are looking for.
The thing is; recruiters, hiring managers and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) all work like scanners - they quickly skim your resume looking for the right keywords. So, the most important thing is to fill this section with the same keywords that you found in the job description of the role you want to apply for. Make sure to reference them in the first three sentences of your resume.
If you tick all the boxes from the job description, let them know it right from the start.
Start with a sentence or two describing your experience and areas of expertise. The next two sentences should be your key selling points. Think about the experience, skills or achievements that make you perfect for the job. Finish with a sentence about your career goal, focusing on long-term personal and career development.
You can write a brief description of your work experience and skills by using the past-present-future formula.
If you need inspiration, this template can help: