So, you have begun applying to jobs and realize that you need to learn how to write a professional resume.
After all, you're not receiving any callbacks or emails.
You might even be asking, "Are these companies actually viewing my resume?"
And the main reason for this lack of response as you look for a job just might be the quality of your resume.
Professional resume writing is a learned skill.
Just like your prospective job requires a certain set of skills, so does writing a great resume.
The average Joe is not going to be a professional resume writer.
In this article, you will learn how to write a professional resume that is sure to make you stand out amongst 99% of your peers.
Research relevant job descriptions
This is by far the most important step to take when learning how to write a professional resume.
First, you HAVE to know exactly what kind of position you want.
All you have to do is go on any of the major job boards (Indeed, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, etc.) and type in the position that you are interested in.
- If you want to become a sales associate in San Francisco, type in “sales associate” for the job title and “San Francisco” for the city.
- If you want to find a mechanical engineering job in Denver, type in “mechanical engineer” in the job title and “Denver” for the city.
Simple enough, right? This leads us straight into the next step in learning how to write a professional resume.
Analyze what they are looking for
This is a lot easier than you would think.
Once you type in the position that you are interested in, read a couple of the job descriptions to find out what sort of skills these jobs require.
You will quickly notice that a lot of the positions have the exact same requirements as one another.
These are the keywords that you want to use when you write your professional resume.
Unfortunately, general resumes just do not work anymore.
If you are applying to sales jobs, do not use the exact same resume to apply for engineering jobs.
(Find your next job by learning How To Apply For Jobs Online.)
This next section will explain why using the same keywords as these job postings is so important when learning how to write a professional resume.
Make your resume ATS-friendly
“Who cares if my resume doesn’t have the same wording as the job posting; it’s close enough, right?”
Have you ever heard of an Applicant Tracking System or ATS?
These are tools that hiring managers use in order to filter through hundreds of different resumes in seconds.
Before they even look at your resume, you can guarantee that it is going through an Applicant Tracking System.
An ATS ranks a resume from 0 to 100 based on the frequency of particular keywords in your resume.
The picture above shows the keyword "valuation" effectively spread throughout the resume.
If your resume says “sales professional” and the company is looking for a “sales expert,” guess who is only going to rank for half of the keywords?
That’s right, Mr. “Sales Professional.”
This is just a small example. Most companies use tens or even hundreds of keywords in order to filter the resumes they receive.
Here is how you can make sure to come out on top of the competition:
- Review various job descriptions.
- Determine the common keywords these companies are using.
- Liberally sprinkle these keywords throughout your resume.
- Make sure that it looks natural and organic; don't overdo it!
This is exactly how to write a professional resume that will get you hired.
If the majority of other applicants did not put in the time researching, your professional resume will stand out.
(For some extra help, check out How To Use Resume Keywords When Applying For Jobs.)
Remember the six-second resume rule
On average, a hiring manager spends six seconds reviewing a resume.
It goes something like this:
- If you ranked high on the ATS, you earn about two minutes of viewing time (10% of resumes).
- If you ranked low on the ATS, you only get around two seconds (90% of resumes).
Since you only have a few seconds to catch the hiring manager's attention, do not waste space on your resume with irrelevant work experience.
If you are applying for a mechanical engineering position, the hiring manager does not want to know you worked as a line cook 10 years ago.
This is the down-low on how to write a professional resume, but sadly it tends to get overlooked.
Only include the most relevant experience when you write your professional resume.
Despite common misconceptions, most people do not need to write a resume that is longer than one page.
It should look something like the example below:
If you are an upper-mid to a senior-level professional with 10+ years of working experience then you would be an exception.
But even then, if the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, can fit her resume on one page, why can’t you?
(To find out what is necessary and what is not, check out our checklist on What To Include In A Resume - 16 Best Things.)
Use a resume service
If everything that I just said blew your mind and seemed totally overwhelming, congratulations, you are normal.
After all, learning how to write a professional resume is not easy.
It can take some time to update and perfect your resume.
If you are ready to get started crafting your resume and need a nice format or template to use, there are a ton of free resume builder tools out there.
But perhaps you have absolutely no interest in researching keywords and optimizing your resume to rank high on ATS.
Well, you are in luck.
Here at Find My Profession, we do more than just tell you how to write a professional resume.
We offer a resume writing service!
This isn’t another resume builder tool where you still have to do all the work.
Our experienced writers will create a professional resume for you from scratch.
Our professional resume writers specialize in 85+ different career fields and we will match you with the right writer based on relevant experience.
Contact us today and stop wasting time researching, refining, and revising your resume.