Not just any resume - a great resume!
Hardly anyone is a natural at writing their resume. However, your success in finding your ideal job is largely dependent on having a fantastic resume. Your best bet? Read on….. and learn how to write a resume.
- Why you need to learn how to write a resume - a fantastic resume
- Writing a resume - Follow these steps from the Pros to learn how to write a resume
- Recall your past - The best way to quickly writing your resume
- Put your resume in order
- Make your resume a masterpiece
- Resume Language
- Free template to write a resume
Why you need to learn how to write a resume
It’s been a big day at the office for Mrs. UK Recruitment Consultant. She has made 57 calls today, read 92 CV’s, wrote 8 and now one of her best clients has just called in asking for “someone good” for Monday. It is 5pm and the rest of the office is starting to leave for the day. Just as she is about to tell her mates she won’t be meeting them at the pub - she remembers the candidate from WORKgateways earlier that day. She remembers YOU because your RESUME clearly expressed your abilities. Ah but you haven’t even arrived yet. As it turns out that’s OK because your resume is so good the employer will wait until you arrive the following Monday.
It could be you and it DOES happen.
As a former UK recruiters, we at WORKgateways have read 1000’s of Resumes and written many 100’s more and I can tell there is no time for hoping that someone notices your brilliance and understands how great you really are. You must show people what they want to see when they look at your resume. Of course this does not mean you exaggerate or lie, but you must literally spell it out for each job to which you apply.
UK work and travel news delivered to your inbox monthly – e-newsletter.
The fastest way to write an effective resume
If you are applying for a job, you are essentially selling your skills and experience to win an interview. Your goal is to write a CV or resume that highlights your accomplishments and skills effectively and shows that YOU are the candidate that needs further consideration.
This guide takes you step-by-step through the creation of a resume - exactly the method a professional Resume-writer would follow. We also have a free template to write a resume.
If you do not have the time to really construct a powerful resume we would recommend you employ a resume writer. It could be the best investment you ever make!
Step 1 - Recall your past - this is the fun bit
Spend 30 minutes total time writing bullet points highlighting your working/university life.
Do focus on the work you want to do, but also jot down experiences that may not seem relevant at this stage.
Get everything down and then you will refine it later. Do not worry about layout, writing your name at the top, or choosing the correct font. Forget all that for now; just get some good content down.
What Projects, Experience, Responsibilities and Tasks are required for your future jobs? Do not spend much time on anything over 5 years ago, unless it is particularly relevant to the jobs you want to do and you have not done anything similar since. If you only have two years relevant experience since graduation, spend 25 minutes on this.
Set the clock and write fast. Here are some questions to get you thinking.
- What day-to-day tasks did you do?
- What were your responsibilities?
- What projects or results did you achieve?
- What experience or skills did you gain?
The reason we choose this method for Step 1 (getting the good stuff out on paper) is that it is very easy to get bogged down at this stage. This method provides you with a sense of achievement quickly and with the bulk of information you require to write a UK resume.
Step 2 - Put everything in order
Put everything in order (most recent first i.e. reverse chronological) with dates, including the month.
Using bullet points as much as possible will help you to present a clear and concise picture of your work experience. Sentences are not encouraged.
Step 3 - Refining and expanding the good stuff
Now you need to have clear in your mind the job you want to win. Even write down what you see yourself doing in your future job. Knowing what you want makes it much easier to write a resume that shows you are the right person for that job.
Now for crafting your resume…
- Put the most relevant information in bullet points at the top. Think just like a newspaper journalist. Newspaper articles are designed to grab your attention first, then expand on the subject further down. If your readers (recruitment consultants/employers) are not drawn in by the headline or the first bullet point there eyes will wander elsewhere. So take time to put your MOST relevant and biggest achievements (that relate to your target audience) first.
- Remove the irrelevant stuff; do not waste time on irrelevant experience for your future job. If you include it - ensure it at least demonstrate some skill, activity or responsibility that relates to your ideal job.
- Remove experience that you do not want to do again. If you can't remove it (because that is your only job and responsibilities) de-emphasise it as much as possible.
- At this step, just focus on the order of your bullet points. You do not need to refine them or put them in Resume language - that's the next step.
- It is quite common for many people to find that the bullet points do not relate to what you want to do at this stage. If this has happened - now is the best time to go back to Step 1. Do not waste your time going any further.
Step 4 - Put your bullet points into "resume language"
Focus on making it easy for the reader to see what’s important for the job they are trying to fill.
- Cut out language that does not get to the point. Be ruthless - if your point still makes sense without the extra word or phrase - delete it.
- Use Action words like: (These are our favourite examples for resume writing)
- achieved, activated, appointed, chaired, completed, conceived, delivered, defined, doubled, drove, engineered, empowered, enlisted, established, exceeded, expanded, expedited, facilitated, financed, forged, fostered, founded, handled, headed, implemented, initiated, installed, instituted, integrated, introduced, invested, launched, led, magnified, maintained, managed, marketed, merged, maximized, modified, monitored, motivated, obtained, organized, oversaw, performed, planned, produced, realized, renewed, restructured, restored, revived, secured, solved, steered, started, strengthened, targeted, trained, won.
Step 5 - Put your past into Resume form and create your future
Nearly there! Learning how to write a resume really isn’t that hard is it?
This is the step that brings everything together into a truly winning resume. In general a resume is divided into a number of Parts. Completing each of these parts can now be done one at a time. The most important parts are your Profile and Experience. Basically, in Steps 1 to 4 you have produced the Profile and your Experience. As you are finishing your resume with Step 5 have a look at our free example of resume writing.
Important: The amount of attention given to your Profile depends on the direction of your career. If you are continuing in the same general direction, your profile may not be required at all. (Your experience clearly shows what you can do)
- Particulars, also called Personal Details (you do not need a heading for this section)
- Profile, also called Objectives, Relevant Accomplishments
- Education, also called Qualifications, Summary of Qualifications, Education and Memberships (Only put this before Experience if you are seeking a professional role like Engineering, Social Work or Academia)
- Experience, also called Professional Experience, Relevant Professional Experience, Certificates
- Jan 03 - Date James Murray and Associates
Particulars: Full name followed by address, email, birth date (only if you wish), work visa (if required) or passport details (if required). Remember to put a travel email address if you are moving to another country. Get a G-mail, hotmail or yahoo account because this may be the only way people can contact you. Also make sure that WORKgateways has this email address when you apply to jobs or register with agencies!
Profile: the profile or “Relevant Accomplishments” is an opportunity for you to sell yourself. Preparing this part of your RESUME needs to be done with care. Essentially you are drawing on your Experience, but you should try to frame it in a slightly more creative way.
NOTE: if the jobs you are applying to are the next logical step for your career there is no need to slow the reader down in getting to your experience. Your relevant experience is what is going to win you the job so just leave the ‘Profile’ out.
On the other hand if you have a wide range of experience and you are applying to jobs that draw on a range of experience the Profile is the perfect way to focus the attention of the reader on your future abilities in the next job.
Writing your profile should obey the same basic rules as your Experience:
Think: Specific - Targeted - Relevant – Short
Avoid writing paragraphs like the plague, however you may find that one or two sentences can neatly wrap everything together. Try to think What, How Long or How Much. Eg. Over Five years as a Chartered Accountant with recent operational management experience in a successful growing medium size practice.
Education: Almost all positions require you to highlight your highest level of education. Memberships to professional bodies and certifications may also appear in this section but ensure they are highly relevant to the job to which you are applying.
If you are highly educated with many degrees and papers to your name, or perhaps you are in the Construction industry and have many Safety Certifications - leave the stuff that is irrelevant off and create an additional part to your resume after your Experience. Call it, for example, “Additional Education/ Papers”
Experience: You have already worked hard on this Part, but you are not quite done yet. Now is your chance to start to look at the whole resume and view it from your readers’ perspective.
ASK YOURSELF: Does this Resume clearly and quickly enable a bleary eyed, worn-out, speed-reading reader to CLEARLY SEE me as the person who is the answer to their workload, their recruitment problems?
References: Include the names and contact details of three references – at least two should be previous managers or supervisors.
For more information on how to write a resume see our FAQs and check out our free example of resume writing.