No one ever said that writing a job resume would be easy. In an era where finding employment is becoming more difficult, getting this first step right is more essential than ever. However, you will rarely come across information about how you should design your resume unless you actually search for it.
You will often come across details about how to structure your resume. However, there are some crucial details that you should be including in each part.
The About Section
It is always recommended that you put a small about section at the top of your resume. This section should be a short description of how you act as a professional and what you have achieved in your working life so far. You can also earn bonus points by tailoring a specific statement about what you aim to achieve next. Since this last part is completely subjective, you can always tweak it to line up with the individual job role or company that you are applying to work for.
An about section is more than a list of things you have done, however. You should aim to structure this section in a way that tells a small story about you. If you do anything here, you should use this as a chance to demonstrate your writing or communication abilities.
The Education Section
The education section of your resume is one that is difficult to embellish or slip in additional information that may help you secure a job. This section is exactly how it is normally described. It is a list of your education and where you received it. You can even add your qualifications in a bullet-pointed list underneath each name if that helps your formatting.
However, there are some extra statements that you can add to your educational profile. If you feel it necessary, you can explain why you chose each next step. For example, you can explain how you came to the conclusion of pursuing an apprenticeship position instead of higher education. The About section is only so long, after all.
The Experience Section
Listing your previous job experience is perhaps the most important part of your resume. This is the section that most potential employers will focus on the most, so it is important that you get it right. You may think that listing a bunch of places where you have worked in the past doesn’t reveal much, but you would be wrong.
Your experience section is also the place where you list any skills that you have picked up during your career that might be relevant to your next job. Consider each job role in the next stage of your experience section as part of one long process. This isn’t a time to be modest either. While you will need to avoid putting irrelevant information in this section, you can put as much detail as you need. For example, understanding how to compress a PDF is not something that everyone knows how to do. So, don’t be afraid to put information like that on your resume where it is necessary.
The experience section is also an exercise n learning what you can omit. A large employer doesn’t need to know if you had a paper round at the age of twelve, for example.
The Extra-Curricular Section
An extracurricular activity in your resume could be just as important as the information in your experience section. There are certain things that you can do during your time outside of work that can demonstrate particular skills that are necessary for the workplace. For example, learning to play an instrument demonstrates a level of discipline, and running a marathon can prove that you are a determined individual. It doesn’t matter if you won. Just finishing such a task says a lot about you as a person.
Again, it is also important to know what to omit from this section. Just because a certain activity provided you with a medal or certificate does not mean that it has any relevance to your employers. If you can justify its presence in the extracurricular section, then it deserves to go in. Doing this also proves that you know how to edit.
The Reference Section
The reference section on your resume is another list of details that do not require much embellishment. All you can do in this section is try to provide the most relevant references that you can, even if they are not the most recent. The more contact details you put in, the more likely it is that a potential employer can get in contact with the people you want them to speak to.
Again, you do not need to include the details of every previous employer. Most hirers expect a minimum of three so pick wisely. If you have not worked in this many places, you can always look to your education section or extracurricular activities for inspiration. Anyone who isn’t directly related to you can be used as a professional reference.
While it is important to break up your resume into sections, there are some extra things that you may find useful when creating your next resume. These include:
- Formatting: a standard employer is going to have to flip through hundreds of different resumes when choosing the next candidate for a job. therefore, you need to ensure that your resume stands out without looking childish. Try to put everything in a table with your name clearly written in bold at the top. So long as your information is clear, it will make it easier for the reader to remember and consider you as a serious candidate.
- Size: a standard resume should only take up a single page of A4. If yours is any longer there are definitely some things that you need to omit. With so many candidates applying, the company does not have the time to read through more than a single page for each person. These size restrictions can also offer you the chance to demonstrate your editing and formatting skills.
- Style: there is no need to make your resume look bright and brash. Just because you can use word art, it doesn’t mean that you should. Size twelve text in a readable font like Arial or Times New Roman is the perfect style for a professional resume. You can use bold and underlining for the g=headings but try to avoid using too many italics as they can look sloppy.
With this information, it should be clear that you can create a professional-looking resume using Microsoft word alone. Online resume templates are good but there is no need for them so long as you know what you are doing.
As is perfectly normal, you may have some gaps on your resume. Some job seekers may be concerned about these gaps but there is no need to worry. Gaps in employment are perfectly fine so long as you explain them correctly. Some common reasons for employment gaps include:
- Further education
- Medical leave
- Time used to seek employment
- Gaining appropriate licenses
- Unexpected redundancy
Slipping any of these reasons for gaps in your resume is perfectly accepted by employers. Just make sure you put them in the right place.
No one ever said finding new employment would be simple. However, you will find it much easier with the right kind of information on your resume.