So you want to write a resume that isn’t the same as all the others out there, but you don’t really know how to make it unique. Actually, you don’t even know where to start. On this page, you will read the basic essentials of resume writing plus some secret tips on how you can make your resume special.
Curious? Please, read on!
Key elements of a resume
We all know what a resume looks like, and honestly, they all look quite the same. So what can you do to be sure that the fundamentals of your CV are all set up and covered? A minor flaw in your resume could get your CV tossed in the bin next to the recruiter’s desk. Writing a resume is not as easy as some believe; it is actually quite hard to summarize your life in a maximum of two pages. That is why we decided to create a clear overview of the expectations of future employers.
The first step: the CV.
- Personal Information
- Work and related experience
- Awards and Achievements
- References (no more than 5)
Your name and surname, your address and contact details, should always come first. Contact details include both your telephone number and email address. Make sure your email address is rather professional. Donkeylover69@hotmail.com is unprofessional. Pick an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org. This gives a more professional impression and shows more respect to the person you are applying with.
Your full name (i.e. James Barre)
City, State and Zip (in this order!)
Your private email address (use a proper email address and most certainly not your work email)
An objective should be very short and strong. Show with one or two sentences what your goal is with this application. Remember to specifically mention the position you are applying for within this objective. Also write something the future employee is looking for, rather than writing your wishes and what you want in the job.
It’s important to mention your education correctly. It depends if you are a recent graduate or have been working for some years. The education section comes after the work experience section on your resume if you do have work experience. Often, for the recent graduates who have no relevant work experience, the education section would come first.
Name of degree and the year you obtained it
Name of University
Grade of your degree
So it should look like this:
M.I.T. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
You can check a resume sample to see how it is mentioned in different situations. We’ve got plenty in our resume example section. Or just read our full instructions on how to include education on your CV.
It’s important to spice up your work experience. Sometimes it’s possible to use better job titles than the regular ones. Below is a simple example of how you can spice up your work experience.
Someone can list her job as “Babysitter”. A more impressive title would be “Child Care Manager”. Keep in mind, though, for what kind of job you are applying. If it’s a formal business, go with the more fancy option. If it’s a small family company, then maybe a more personal and less formal approach is more suitable.
Make sure to list your work experience in reversed chronological order, so your most recent or even current job should be the first one listed.
This is often an underestimated part of a resume. It could say so much about you. Imagine someone has an in-house emergency service certificate. This could be very valuable to a company and make a person seem caring for other people’s health. So if you have achievements or awards worth mentioning and that give you a more positive image, put it on your resume!
Literally everyone lists their hobbies the same way. “Travel, playing tennis, cycling”. Let us break it down for you: the recruiter does not care if you like to play tennis. Every element on a resume should make you appear as useful as possible. So don’t list your hobbies in fashion.
Should you just scrap it and avoid the whole hobbies and activities section? No! It can actually be a powerful detail that helps your resume stand out from the rest. Imagine you are applying for an electrical engineering job. If you mention that you like to experiment with Arduino in your spare time, this gives the impression that electrical engineering is more than just a job for you.
References should be the last section of your resume. Make sure you don’t put too many. Generally, it is best if you mention your current and previous employer. Contact them before you include them and ask if they are willing to put in a good word and if it is okay if you put their names and contact details on your resume. This way, nobody will be surprised and you avoid a possible negative reference.
Librarian Assistant, XYZ University
They might have taught you in high school what a CV consists of. For the ones who don’t know or need a small reminder, the elements mentioned above are standard and can not be missed. However, if you covered elements, it’s up to you how to stand out! Don’t worry, we are here with some tips which might help you. It’s not as complicated as it seems and actually quite fun to make!
4 easy tips to apply
Earlier on this page, we explained the basic elements of a resume. However, these are the very basics, so it’s up to you to stand out from the rest. That is why we give you 5 easy tips to apply which make your resume a bit more unique than the rest of the applicants.
- Limit your resume to max. 2 pages
- Pick a suitable font and style
- Look up some resume examples
- Let someone proofread your resume
Someone who is looking for a new person to hire gets massive amounts of CVs from applicants. Time is money and money is time, so a 5-page resume isn’t a great idea. The hiring person simply doesn’t have the time to read this, plus it sends a message that you are unable to summarize your life’s work in a nutshell. Stick to a maximum of 2 pages, the general standard.
Many applicants are not good at setting up a resume. They will use a simple word format or even create a resume in the ‘Note’ app from windows. Think about it, all the resumes of those people who work this way look the same! Applying small changes such as a different font can give a resume a unique look. Even better would be to use small icons or minimalistic colors. A good tool which can help you would be a resume generator like resume.io.
You can learn a lot from examples. We divided our resume samples within specific sectors in the work field. This makes it easier for you to get a good sense of what is expected on a resume, created for a very specific job position. Please see our page with an overview of all resume samples.
You are finished! You’ve created your own resume. At least, you think you are. But often people got caught up in their own tunnel vision. You have looked so often at your own resume that you don’t see minor or common mistakes anymore. This is the point where a proofreader comes in handy! You can ask friends or family, but you can also choose to go for a more professional approach. There are online agencies which you can pay a relatively small fee to have your resume proofread for you.