How to Write a Professional Resume
Have you ever wondered why you keep applying to jobs without receiving any calls or emails? Are these companies even viewing your resume? Probably not. You might be surprised to learn that the main reason for this is because of the quality of your resume.
Professional resume writing is a learned skill just like whatever job you're applying to requires a certain set of skills. 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…
Has anyone ever told you that before applying for a job you should tailor your resume specifically for each job? That is ridiculous and a huge waste of time. Now, I am not saying that if you are applying to sales jobs you should use the exact same resume to apply for engineering jobs. But, what I am saying is that there is a much more strategic way of doing things.
First, you HAVE to know exactly what kind of a position you want. Unfortunately, general resumes just do not work anymore. Recruiters and hiring managers are so picky and have access to so many different resumes that if your resume is not exactly what they are looking for, they are going to move onto someone else.
What are they looking for?
This is a lot easier than you would think. 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 become a Mechanical Engineer in Denver, type in “Mechanical Engineer” in the job title and “Denver” for the city. Simple enough, right?
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.
Find your next job by learning How To Apply For Jobs Online. This next section will explain why using the same verbiage as these job postings is so important when learning how to write a professional resume.
Making it through the ATS
“Who cares if my resume doesn’t have the same wording as the job posting, it’s close enough, right?”
Wrong! 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 ATS. An ATS ranks a resume from 0 to 100 based on the frequency of particular keywords in your resume.
Since Applicant Tracking Systems are just man-made computer programs, they are never going to be perfect. That means that 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” over here. This is just a tiny example. Most companies use tens or hundreds of keywords in order to filter these resumes.
Make sure you come out on top of the competition by reviewing various job descriptions to determine the common keywords that these companies are using. This is exactly how to write a professional resume that will get you hired. You can guarantee that the majority of other applicants did not put in the time researching before they wrote their wannabe professional resume.
For some extra help, check out How To Use Resume Keywords When Applying For Jobs
The Six-Second Rule
Did you know that on average a hiring manager spends 6 seconds reviewing a resume? In other words, if you ranked high on the ATS then you got about 2 minutes of viewing time (10% of resumes) and if you rank low on the ATS you only got around 2 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. I do not care if you worked at McDonald’s 10 years ago as a line cook. Neither does the hiring manager, trust me. If you are applying for a mechanical engineering position then don’t put your McDonald’s experience on your resume. This is how to write a professional resume 101, but sadly it needs to be said. Only include the most relevant experience or projects when you write your professional resume.
Despite common misconceptions, most people do not need to write a resume that is longer than one page. If you are an upper-mid to senior level professional with 10+ years of working experience then you would be an exception. But even then, 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. I would have the same reaction if you explained to me what it is that you do for a living. Learning how to write a professional resume is not easy and can take some time.
If you are ready to get started crafting your resume and you are looking for a nice format or template to use; there are a ton of free resume builder tools out there.
If you have absolutely no interest in researching keywords and optimizing your resume to rank high on this applicant tracking systems then you are in luck. There are a ton of great resume writing services who would love to write a professional resume for you.
P.S. We love you
Did you know that there is a company out there that will do more than just tell you how to write a professional resume? They will actually write a professional resume for you from scratch! This isn’t another resume builder tool where you still have to do all the work. Our Professionals do all the work for you. Stop wasting time on your Resume and start applying to jobs. Check out Find My Profession to learn more about our Resume Makeover services.