Resume 101: Back to the Basics

Resume 101: Back to the Basics

Writing a resume is both intimidating and overwhelming. It’s challenging to sum up your background, work history, skill sets, and education in a concise document that you then submit to a complete stranger. Your resume is often your first impression during your job search, so it must be bulletproof. However, that’s easier said than done. As your career changes, so does your resume, so it can be tricky to craft a perfect document for your job application. So, we are bringing you back to the basics to help you construct a winning CV!

Avoid overcomplicated resume templates

When you go to create or redesign your resume, stick to simple and clean templates. Services like Canva or Microsoft Word offer creative and colorful templates. Some of these templates and designs are fair game, but it’s best to pass on overly complicated templates. Unless you are a graphic designer, keep your format simple. Use nice, easy-to-read fonts, use clear section headings to organize the different content on your resume, and avoid adding a headshot to eliminate any unconscious biases. Plus, “fancy” resume formats can confuse application tracking systems, and thus, filter your application out before a human can even review it.

Don’t forget your contact details!

This may seem like common sense, but you would be surprised with how many people forget to include part or all of their contact information. The best location for your contact details is right at the top, so hiring managers and recruiters can quickly reach out to you about the positions you are applying for. Also, now is a great time to review your contact details. Is your email address one you check often? Is it professional? If it’s a goofy or inappropriate email you made back in high school, it might be time to create a new email address.

resume contact details

Work history, in reverse chronological order

After your contact details, it’s time to add your work history. Display your work history in reverse chronological order and include your job title, company name, time frames you worked there, and the location. For each role, add key responsibilities and duties and tailor them for each position. Use concise bullet points and include action verbs, specific numbers to illustrate your achievements, and use keywords that tie back into the job description.

Education section

After your work experience, you can display your education. Include the school’s name or program’s title, your degree or certification, relevant course work, and attendance dates. Unless you are fresh out of school, it’s best not to include your GPA (if you include it, don’t add it if it’s under a 3.5 GPA). If you are applying for mid-level positions or higher, you can forgo everything except the school, program, and degrees or certifications. If you are well into your career, you can save some space by removing your graduation dates and relevant coursework.

Skills section

Adding a skills section may be new to many job seekers, but it’s one of the most important areas on your resume. This section is your opportunity to illustrate how well you fit for the position you are applying for. Carefully review the job description and reflect on your hard and soft skills that are relevant for this position. For this section, all you have to do is list your skills to show the hiring professional that you are a solid match for the position. This area is also an excellent place to insert your transferrable skills. Transferable skills are vital for job seekers transitioning to new industries or career paths because they allow you to demonstrate your fit for the role, even if you don’t have direct experience.

Certifications

Your certifications section is straightforward. All you need to do is nicely list out any certifications you have earned, the issuer of that cert, and the date the cert was achieved. List out all your certifications, with your most relevant ones at the top of the list.

Looking for more resume assistance?

So, there you have it. This is a concise overview of crafting a bulletproof resume. If you are looking for more resume advice to take your job search to the next level, check out our candidate resources. We have dozens of articles with helpful resume guidance to help you find your next career opportunity!