What is a Resume?
Let's start at the beginning shall we? A resume is a condensed summary of professional and personal experiences, education and skills. In short, it's a brief summary of what you've been up to for the last number of years, framed in such a way that will make you look like an attractive candidate to a potential employer.
The main goal of your resume is to quickly communicate to a hiring manager that you have not only the skills and experience to succeed at the job to which to are applying, but also that you're a well-rounded person that will bring a positive dynamic to the team.
What to Put on a Resume?
Starting from the top of the page and working our way down, the most common sections in a resume are your contact information, a summary or objective statement, work experience and education experience. These are the most basic sections that every resume should have. You definitely don't want to leave any of these out when creating your next resume.
Additional sections that you might want to consider including that will make you look like a more well-rounded and interesting applicant are your volunteer experience, hobbies, skills and interests. If you've invested time into developing a skill of which you are proud, then find a way to include it on your resume and frame the experience in a way that highlights connections between your experience and the specific requirements listed in the job description.
How to Format a Resume?
Typically, there are three ways to format an effective resume:
The first and most common format is a Reverse Chronological Resume which orders your work and educational experience from newest to oldest.
The second format you might want to consider for writing your resume is a format called Functional Resume which focuses on grouping your experience by skill as opposed to their date. Work and education experience that are similar are grouped together, even if it means that overall, the dates on your resume are out of order.
This might be a useful format to employ if you're applying for a highly specialized position or you've recently made a significant pivot in our career and want to highlight the most relevant experience first.
And finally we have a format called Combination Resume which, you guessed it, combines both formats to grab your potential employer's attention.
Choosing a resume format mostly comes down to personal preference and which format you feel makes your look like the most attractive candidate to your potential employer. If you're using a resume builder to format your resume in minutes, then make sure it allows you to use the format you want.
How Long Should a Resume Be?
The short answer is: one-page. A potential employer or hiring manager is most likely going to have a lot of applications to sift through in a short amount of time and you need to get your point across as quick as possible. Find a way to include your most relevant experiences and trim the rest in order to fit everything into a one-page resume. Be brief with your words and eliminate any fluff.
The more information you can pack into shorter sentences, the better. This also speaks to your skill when it comes to language and communication which will indirectly make you look like a more attractive candidate.
If you have a lot of experience and is particularly relevant to the application, then a two-page resume is appropriate and we recommend printing it double-sided. If you're using a resume builder or a professional template, make sure it offers you the option of adding a second page if needed.
How to Write a Resume Summary?
Arguably, your resume summary might be the most important part of your resume. It's the "hook" at the top of your resume that is designed to catch the eye of your prospective employer. As they're flipping through a large stack of job applications, you're going to want to stand out as best you can and crafting a catchy, well-written resume summary that pitches your unique set of skills and experience is going to give you a let up on the competition.
Here's a quick formula to writing your next resume summary:
"Adjective [job title] with X years experience in [industry or skill]. In the past Y years I've accomplished [1-2 goals with outcomes directly related to the application requirements]."
Of course this is just a basic formula and you should find a way to add your personal flair so that it doesn't feel too formulaic. But start by completing the formula with your specific details and you'll start by having a structure for your resume summary that communicates the most necessary information.
Save time writing your resume
Writing a resume can feel like a huge task that takes a lot of time. You not only have to pull together a lot of details and dates and you put together a history of your work experience and education experience, but you also have to dig deep into your language skills in order to communicate your best attributes quickly and effectively. This alone is quite the task itself.
We not only want to help you save time when creating your next resume, but we also want your application to stand out from the crowd of other applicants. If layout and design are not your strong suit, or they are and you're just tight on time or need a little boost of inspiration, we've designed a wide range of both professional resume templates and modern resume templates to help you with this.
Fully editable and completely customizable using Canva, our creative resume templates only take minutes to edit. Our resume builder and professional templates are formatted to include the sections listed above and you can move and delete sections in order to use any of the resume formats you choose.
Included in each simple resume template kit is a one-page resume, an optional two-page resume, a cover letter and a reference page. You'll have everything you need to rock your next job application and land your dream job.