If you’re looking at writing your first resume ever, you might be feeling a tad overwhelmed by the mountain of information out there. We feel you. It can be hard to decide which tips to apply and which to ignore. But the smallest detail could affect the overall message and impression it makes on the recruiter.
To simplify matters and to help you navigate the process better, we’ve curated our top 10 basic but powerful resume writing tips for fresh graduates:
#1 Use simple language
Stay away from jargon and complex terms, unless absolutely necessary. The easier your resume is to understand, the less effort it takes on the hirer’s part to read through the whole document. On the other hand, a badly-written resume or one full of bombastic and technical language will be an instant put-off.
Remember that HR professionals are not technical people. They might have a general understanding of the skills required for technical positions, but they will not be experts in that field. So keep the language simple and easy to read if you want your resume to be included in the shortlist pile.
#2 Keep it relevant
As a fresh graduate, you might not have a lot of relevant experience to include in your resume. This is where you would include extracurricular activities from school, as well as voluntary work or internships to demonstrate your social, communication, and leadership skills.
That’s all good, as long as you describe those experiences to show relevance to the position you’re applying for. Yes, that’s another tip: always customise your resume to the particular job application.
#3 Make it personal
Besides customising the resume so it doesn’t read like an indifferent document pitching your skills and attributes to whomever will listen, it also needs to shed some light into your personality. Here’s where a carefully crafted resume summary makes a world of difference. Check out these personalised resume summary examples for inspiration.
#4 Short and sweet is the way to go
Some people think that the more information you manage to squeeze into your resume, the more impressive it will be. We’re here to say that on the contrary, less is more. This is one of those situations where quality matters a lot more than quantity. But don’t just take our word for it.
Times reports that, “recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing an individual resume.” Six seconds. That’s all. How much information do you think a person is able to read and digest within those six seconds? One thing’s for sure, the recruiter will be skimming your resume to find a reason to give it a second read.
#5 Start with “why”
The most important question your resume needs to answer is simply, “Why are you the best person for the job?” Your resume’s job is to interest and intrigue the hirer enough for him or her to want to meet you in person. This is another reason to include a well-written resume summary at the top of the resume that provides a clear and focused overview. It should sum up your “why” in a few short and simple sentences.
#6 Presentation is key
In addition to addictive and entertaining cat videos and social networking sites, the internet has also brought us a world of countless free online tools, including high-quality resume templates that can be downloaded for free. Even better, you can now customise professionally designed resume templates on Canva and download them for free once you’re done.
With all these amazing tools at your disposal, there’s really no excuse to hand in a resume that looks like it’s from the ‘90s. Your resume needs to look the part if you want to be taken seriously.
#7 Go digital
Show hirers that you’re technologically savvy and relevant. For starters, save your resume as a PDF file and use hyperlinks as a direct and user-friendly reference for supporting information, which helps maintain economy of words.
Having an online portfolio in the form of a website or blog that’s relevant to your profession would certainly help you stand out from the crowd. Alternatively, there’s always the option of creating a digital portfolio by storing relevant docs and files in the cloud, using free services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
#8 Highlight specific achievements
The more specific you can be, the better. Avoid vague statements and phrases such as “good communications skills” or “results-driven”. Describe specific scenarios where you’ve applied your skills and attributes and (where relevant) achieved clear results. For example, “Spent 6 months teaching English to underprivileged kids in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, focusing on their conversational and social skills.”
#9 Use free editing tools
If you don’t already do this, start making it a daily practise. Always use the spell checker on your writing as a basic editing step, and then go a step further by doing a grammar check. For really important documents or write-ups, use the Hemingway Editor to ensure clear and concise writing. There’s really no excuse for sloppy writing with all these free tools at your disposal.
#10 Put yourself in the reader’s shoes
Finally, and most importantly, always, always put yourself in the reader’s shoes. This requires a certain degree of detachment from your resume which might prove challenging, but maintaining an objective perspective will allow you to look at it from the reader’s eyes.
If you find it too hard to stay objective, get a couple of friends to review your resume and tell you what they think. Your resume needs to speak to the hirer, not put them to sleep (which alas, is what most resumes tend to do).
Now put those skills to good use when you create a jobsDB profile. Make your profile stand out even more when you upload your powerful resume to capture hirers’ attentions. With a profile and a resume, they are sure to get a better perspective of what you have to offer.
Happy resume writing!
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