What is a resume?
Every career development journey starts from somewhere. Before going into the working world, you first learn and practice relevant skills both inside and outside the four walls of the classroom. A resume is a summary, a representation of where you are in your career journey, a compilation of your past experiences and current skill sets.
Every application starts with a resume. Even before undergoing an interview, your resume is how future employers get to know you – what you know and what you can do. It is important then to ask – ‘How can I stand out, based on just my resume?’, ‘How long should my resume be? - Is longer necessarily better?', ‘Which of all my experiences and credentials are best to include in writing my resume?’, and other relevant questions.
In making a resume, it is important to consider two main components – content and layout. The content is the heart of the resume. It details important information like your current skill set, work experience, and academic achievements. The layout, meanwhile, is the visual aspect that captures the eye. Without an organized, easy-to-read aesthetic, even outstanding content in a resume may fail to pique employers’ interest.
So, what are good practices in writing your resume? How can you ensure both the content and layout are effective and informative? Below are some tips to keep in mind when composing your resume as well as practices that are best avoided.
Make sure to research the position you’re applying for beforehand, including practices and any required experience. Include only relevant work experience and highlight skills applicable to the job.
Be clear and straightforward. Write your resume in a way that shows how your current capabilities can best fit what the company needs. Concrete numbers and figures supplement your work experience record.
Highlight your achievements. More than listing your work experience, emphasize the impact you made during past internships and similar opportunities. Write your skills in a well-rounded manner by including your capabilities outside of work.
Establish a flow in the way your resume is written. Include the most recent and relevant work experience first, including your highest level of educational achievement.
Use clean, professional fonts that are easy on the eye. Use the active voice in writing and incorporate a logical, easy-to-follow layout
Define sections clearly with headings, spacing, and bullet points. Make use of a hierarchy of fonts or font sizes to differentiate header and body.
Don’t make your resume too long and too detailed. Prioritize which work experience to include, based on what is fit for the job. Retain your resume’s readability by keeping it concise.
Be honest and realistic in listing your experience and skills. Do not round up your achievements or overpromise.
Avoid using complicated jargon and resume clichés like vague adjectives. Be concrete in describing yourself by listing what you’ve actually achieved or the impact you’ve made during past work experiences.
Don’t overcrowd your resume. Make good use of space and follow margins. Avoid unnecessary graphics. Choose colors well, sticking to only a few colors and avoiding loud, harsh hues.
Every career journey starts with experience. Every application starts with a resume. Keeping these tips in mind may help you effectively communicate and express your experiences, your capabilities and ultimately, yourself through your resume. Now, get writing, future engineer!