Ever wondered exactly what makes a professional resume services so much better? Well, you’re in luck! On this page we reveal the secrets behind resume writing services: what factors we consider, how to write a job-winning resume every time, and how we overcome common issues faced by clients with complex work histories. We also provide a cool infographic giving you lots of facts and statistics about writing a resume – How to Write The Best Resume, Statistically Speaking!
Table of Contents (Click Below To Navigate Page)
- Setting a goal
- Opening 1/3rd
- Resume formatting & style
- Work history on a resume
- Using abbreviations & number
- Highlighting your achievements
- Common resume problems FAQs
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar
- Which font should I use?
Click on image to enlarge
CPRW WRITING GUIDE: HOW TO WRITE A RESUME
FIRST THING: SET A GOAL
A professional resume writer maintains one central goal during the resume writing process: to create a personalized, unique document, specifically designed to target a given industry. Before you start writing your resume, first identify your field of work, then make sure every element of the resume targets this.
Take into account your individual career history, along with your specific job goals. When it comes to a resume one size does not fit all, and no two careers are ever the same. Your resume needs to be individually crafted from scratch.
It’s paramount that if a hiring manager only reads 10 seconds of your resume, they read the most important details first. The strategy of writing an impressive first 1/3rd also helps engage the reader…”
FOCUS ON THE OPENING 1/3RD
In light of certain horror statistics that show recruiters spend only a few seconds reviewing a resume, our professional resume writers discovered that the most successful resumes are always constructed with the first 1/3rd loaded with key information.
It’s paramount that if a hiring manager is only reads 10 seconds of your resume, they read the most important details first. The strategy of writing an impressive first 1/3rd also helps engage the reader; if what they first read pricks their interest, they are likely to keep on reading, significantly increasing your chances of gaining interview.
To achieve this, we advise against using a Career Objective section, since it’s considered a waste of space and only serves to point out the obvious (our experts explain why you need to remove your career objective here). Instead, you should include a summary of your key skills relevant to the industry you want to target. You could also include a summary of your career highlights, or a Career Profile that summarizes your top 3 selling points. Our business owner resume sample shows how to use such sections to write a powerful first 1/3rd.
What is a CPRW?
To become a CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) a writer must gain extensive experience and hone their resume writing skills, focusing on the goal of earning a client interviews. This is achieved by working with clients from a range of different career backgrounds, each with unique qualities and problems. A typical CPRW has written hundreds of resumes, and for every industry. Once they become a confident writer that fully understands the intricacies of each industry, they are then ready to take the CPRW exam.
CHOOSING THE BEST RESUME FORMAT & STYLE
Resume formatting is one of the most influential factors affecting your resume’s ability to generate interviews. The amount of information you include also hugely influences your resume. Luckily, our resume writers created this full guide on how to choose the best resume format.
In general, there are three resume formats that we find get the best response from a hiring managers:
Reverse-chronological resume suits people with strong work history timelines; this is great if you want to show your career progression up an industry specific career ladder.
Mixed functional/Chronological (combination resume) is typically the best option for most people targeting a specific industry or job role. This resume format also provides the most scope for personalized sectioning, e.g. the inclusion of a Key Skills or Core Competencies section nicely complements this format. Focus on weaving your career highlights, skills, and achievements seamlessly into your new resume.
Here are some useful resume writing tips that will help you with resume styling:
- Avoid lengthy paragraphs
- Use bullet points to highlight key information
- Choose an appropriate sized font; smaller than 9 or 10 and you’ll populate the page with too much information
- Leave appropriate amount of space between each section
- Don’t crowd contact details together – separate them out
- Use page break lines – these help space out sections, making the page appear more open
- Don’t obsess over having a one-page resume. Two pages is perfectly acceptable if it means having a more inviting resume
- Use your instinct; you know whether it looks good or not!
WORK HISTORY ON A RESUME
“Ultimately, your resume is a personal marketing tool used to showcase your most important experience, skills, and achievements. Like an advertisement, it should be concise and high-impact – garner enough interest to get called for interview. You are NOT trying to catalog your entire professional career.”
The decision of what to include in your resume and more importantly, what to omit, is something a LOT of people really struggle with – and often get wrong.
As a general rule, you should only include work experience that is relevant to the job you’re applying. This should only be included if it’s from (at a maximum) the last 10-15 years. for example, if you’re applying for a sales job, the two years you spent working as secretary isn’t relevant and should be left off.
When listing your work history your resume should resemble a funnel; your most recent relevant experience should have the most emphasis (consider 4-5 bullet points expounding your key achievements and duties), while older experience should have less detail and fewer bullet points.
If your only relevant experience is from a long time ago, you should use a Functional resume format (see above explanation) to take the focus off the timeline of your experience.
Ultimately, your resume is a personal marketing tool used to showcase your most important experience, skills, and achievements. Like an advertisement, it should be concise and high-impact – garner enough interest to get called for interview. You are NOT trying to catalog your entire professional career.
WHY RESUME WRITING SERVICES ARE BETTER
Our team have spent years researching what makes a good resume. We’ve deconstructed every aspect of a resume, conferring with HR experts and hiring managers, testing ways to optimize each feature: formatting, language selection, layout, font, content, diction…everything. Check out our specialist resume writing plans and pricing or give us a call today: 1866-706-0973
USING ABBREVIATIONS & NUMBERS ON A RESUME
The effective use of abbreviations, along with acronyms, contractions, common industry phrases and industry specific jargon can really help boost your resume’s visibility in search engines and ATS (applicant tracking systems) used by HRs – and thus your ability to earn interviews. Although the exact rules differ from case to case depending on industry, job, etc., here are some easy to follow rules:
- Including acronyms if they are typically used by management level employees in your industry
- The first time you abbreviate or use a contraction, provide both forms: e.g. Account Receivable (A/R)
- Remain consistent when abbreviating or when using contractions; if you use it once, you should use it throughout the document
Our lead CPRW resume writer Mike explains why it’s important to abbreviate:
“JIT, MBA, and LBO are common business terms that most management-level readers would understand, as well as the functions they imply. Written in proper context, these abbreviations carry a shared meaning across corporate America and can save space for the writer.”
Industry terminology should be used to help keyword optimize your resume. Also, by speaking the reader’s language fluently, you help communicate a knowledge that is important to the hiring process and to the job itself – hiring decisions are based on these implications.
When including quantitative data, i.e. numbers on your resume, use effective abbreviations and stick to these rules: numbers one to nine should be spelled out. Numbers larger than nine should be typed out in numerical form e.g. 21, 40th, etc. Numbers larger than 999,999 should be written like this: $250 million, $2 Billion (this helps emphasize the million/billion).
HIGHLIGHTING YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Achievements are key to changing a resume from what I did in my last job to why I was good at my last job. A bad resume is just a list of your work history with a summary of primary responsibilities in each position. A good resume shows what you achieved. Quantify your achievements wherever possible – statistical data jumps off a page and catches the readers eye. Here’s an example of how our professional resume writers do this:
What the client told our writer
“Jan 2011- Jan 2012 I managed a sales team that met company’s monthly sales targets (100k+ dollars per month) for the whole time I worked there we never missed our target and did better than any of the other ten teams in the country.”
How this can be improved by quantifying the information
Developed and lead a 20 person sales team that generated $1.2 million revenue in 1st year, becoming the company’s no.1 top performing sales team while meeting 100% of sales targets.
To really help highlight achievements, this information can still be improved by utilizing formatting enhancements such as italics and bullet points. Here’s a good example of where this has been done to highlight achievements
(What the client’s old resume said)
Oversaw buying and marketing plan development for seven stores totaling $5.4 million in annual sales. Negotiated and placed media buys (radio, TV, print, Yellow Pages, in-store flyers, and community marketing events) based on demographic analysis to gain the greatest promotional value for each market. Increased traffic by 18%. Improved 2005 fourth-quarter sales by 30% to $1.4 million, representing an ROI of 70% over invested co-op advertising dollars.
This is pretty good, right? Its good, but it can be further improved. Everything is in paragraph form. The writer is hoping the reader will read the entire paragraph out of curiosity. Now consider this presentation of the same information:
- Oversaw buying and marketing plan development for seven stores totaling $5.4 million in annual sales.
- Negotiated and placed media buys (radio, TV, print, Yellow Pages, in-store flyers, and community marketing events) based on demographic analysis to gain the greatest promotional value for each market.
- Increased traffic by 18%.
- Improved 2005 fourth-quarter sales by 30% to $1.4 million, representing an ROI of 70% over invested co-op dollars.
It’s certainly a lot easier to read and the achievements stand out. Now here’s how our CPRWs would further optimize:
Oversaw buying and marketing plan development for seven stores totaling $5.4 million in annual sales. Negotiated and placed media buys (radio, TV, print, Yellow Pages, in-store flyers, and community marketing events) based on demographic analysis to gain the greatest promotional value for each market
- Implemented new merchandising strategies that increased traffic by 18%.
- Improved 4th Quarter 2005 sales 30% to $1.4 million, representing an ROI of 70% over invested co-op advertising dollars.
If you write everything in bullet form, or in bold face, nothing will stand out. Formatting enhancements used correctly help to emphasize key achievements. This helps do two things: 1) Differentiate between job duties and accomplishments; and 2) Shorten the entire presentation into more readable chunks of information, which increases the likelihood of a positive impact.
COMMON RESUME PROBLEMS – FAQS
Not everybody has a perfectly ordered career history showing steady growth within an industry, rising up the career ladder via promotion – in fact, very few people do. There are a number of factors that will influence how you write your resume, including:
|Lack of education||Career changers|
|Age concerns (60+)||Mixed work history|
|Lack of previous experience||Military background|
|Fired from previous job||Stay at home mom|
|Work history gaps||Long-term unemployed|
Work History – How Far Back Do I Go?
How far back in your work history do you go depends on what’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. Rule of thumb, stick to the most recent 10-15 years. Old jobs from 20 years back from different industries aren’t worth including.
Do I Include Experience From Different Industries?
Whether you include jobs from different industries depends on whether what or not your experience helps sell you as a good employee. Some skills are transferrable and represent a valuable worker regardless of industry, for example leadership, multitasking, etc. Anything that showcases your ability to perform your job well is potentially worth including, as long as it won’t bore the reader or destroy the harmony of the document.
How Much Detail Do I Need to Include?
How much detail do you include explaining each job depends on whether the person reading the resume wants to know such detail. Don’t talk about watering plants in a reception job or keeping the desk tidy. Do talk about tangible achievements such as increasing company efficiency or profit. A good bullet point is relatively short in length, begins with an action verb, and showcases your skills, knowledge, or achievement. Leave out “day-to-day duties.
I Went to College but Never Graduated
If you are applying for a job where the entry requirement include a 4 year degree then you’ll need to focus on highlighting your experience on your resume, while finding other ways to help boost your chances such as contacting senior managers directly and sweet talking them. Our career experts explain all you need to know about finding a job without a degree here.
If you have a complex work history, check out our blog where we address many problems including having a mixed work history, being a stay-at-home mom, and having a military background. If you want more information about resume length read this article about how long a resume should be. Alternatively, give us a call and we can discuss your options.
Speak to a resume expert now! Call us toll free at 1866-706-0973 or LiveChat via our site. Get 10% off if you order with the code blogreader
SPELLING PUNCTUATION & GRAMMAR ADVICE
Writing mechanics have a huge influence on the success of your resume; this means using correct spelling and grammar, and strategically using punctuation to help with the resume flow, such as colons and semi-colons. Title caps can also be used to help highlight specific information, but as with any other formatting effect, you need to be consistent with its use throughout the resume.
Before any resume is finalized you need to run a spell & grammar check. You may also find our resume check list pretty useful.
TIP: read your resume backwards; this means starting from the bottom and reading back. By doing this, you won’t be distracted by the meaning of the sentences – spelling or spacing errors will be easier to spot, including commonly overlooked spelling errors that don’t get picked up by spell check.
It’s important you do this, since spell check often misses typographical errors that haven’t caused misspelled words. A common example of this is manger instead of manager. Online grammar check websites also provide a useful tool, like this one.
WHICH FONT SHOULD I USE?
When choosing a font, aside from aesthetic reasons, our CPRW advice is:
- Select one that is proportionately spaced. This is favorable since it produces a more balanced resume, looking just a little bit neater.
- Choose a serif font; serif fonts have hooked wings on the T and a small base. This is proven to help improve the readability of your resume – we’ve found minor details really do make a difference!
How To List References on A Resume
Many people worry about how to list references on their resume. Based on our research however, in most cases references are not required until after the first interview has been conducted.
Smaller companies sometimes ask you to bring a list of references to the first interview; these should be printed out on a separate document titled “references list”.
In larger companies, the recruitment and hiring process usually consists of multiple stages that include a series of interviews, as well as an HR screening process where educational certificates are verified, and where your referees will be contacted.
Unless specifically instructed by the company you’re applying for or within the job advert you are responding to, you should not list references on your resume. This is especially so when posting your resume online; you should avoid sharing onto public websites the private contact information of your referees.
This guide was written to help you write the best resume possible, by providing the expertise of professional resume writers. If you have any questions about resume writing, or have any suggestions on an area of resume writing you want us to explain, feel free to add a comment below. We always welcome feedback and have expert resume writers who can answer any questions you may have!
Why not give us a call today and get specific help with your resume? Call 1866-706-0973 10am-6pm ET M-F. Find out more about our plans & prices here.