Career Advice

How to Write a Winning Resume in Under 30 Minutes

How to Make a Winning Resume

Everybody wants to land the perfect job. However, only the ones who prepare actually succeed in landing that job. You may be surprised to know that only 2 percent of candidates ever get an interview call. Ninety eight percent  get rejected in the initial screening. To get the job of your dreams, you must create an  attention-grabbing resume. That is because recruiters spend only six seconds on a single resume. Here is how to do it in less than thirty minutes.

Here are seven simple steps to make a resume in under thirty minutes.

Choose the Format  [1 min]

Before you choose a format, a heads-up first. Always make your resume one-page long. Never ever exceed one page unless you can confidently compare yourself to a person who is an expert in your field. While writing a resume, the first step is to choose the right resume format. The right resume format will show your accomplishments in the best way possible. There are two good resume formats.

Reverse Chronological format is one of the most popular. This is the most common resume format. It highlights your experience and work history. You list all your jobs starting from the most recent to the oldest one. Under each job name, you write a few bullet points listing your key achievements. An advantage of using this format is that recruiters are accustomed to it and can quickly find what they’re looking for. This format works in most cases. Only if you lack experience, or have a huge career gap should you use a different one.

The second format is combination format. The combination format highlights the combination of your experience and skills. You categorize your experience using subheadings for specific skills. If you are highly talented or making a career change, this format is suitable as it highlights your advanced or transferable skills respectively.Here’s an example of combination format resume.

  1. Write Your Contact Info [1 min]

People think that writing contact information is easy, but many do it the wrong way. Here’s what you should include:

Your name

Phone number

Professional Email (Don’t use “spongebob123@gmail.com”)

Linkedin and Twitter Handles

Portfolio URL (if applicable)

Address (Optional)

  1. The First Impression – Resume Summary/Objective [6-8 mins]

Your resume is more than a document. It is your chance to sell yourself. And resume summary helps you sell yourself effectively. Your summary makes the first impression on a recruiter. A resume summary is a quick, concise, and creative introduction that highlights your career progress and expertise. It shows your ability to bring results. Here is an example of a resume summary:

Professional Automotive Designer with 6+ years of experience in designing both 2D and 3D models. A proven track record of building innovative designs and sound communication skills to produce at an elite level. Highly skilled at training design, service and fabrication personnel to achieve the best results on predetermined prototype.

Resume summary works, but not every time. When you don’t have a solid work experience, it’s better to use an objective statement. An objective statement is one to two sentences long and positions you as a person who can get the job done. While writing the objective, focus on your core achievements and skills while mentioning the specific position you’re targeting. Avoid using first person or “I” statements.

When to use an objective statement instead of a resume summary:

You’re an entry-level candidate

You are making a career change to a different industry

You want to target a specific job

Example of an objective statement:

Certified High School Science teacher with 7 years of experience and a specialization in individualized teaching strategies. Intend to use my sharp communication skills and ability to work under pressure to drive student results.

  1. Write the Experience Section [6-8 mins]

The experience section documents your past achievements and shows recruiters that you can bring results. To write the experience section, follow the reverse chronological order, listing your last job first. Write your job title. Write the company name in the next line. Write 4-6 bullet points mentioning your responsibilities and achievements Now here’s the catch. Don’t flood the experience section with responsibilities. Instead, write specific, concise, and quantified achievements. Quantified achievements work because they are tangible.

So instead of writing “provided tech solutions for various clients”, you should write “Built online product funnels for clients with over 50,000 customers.” Here’s a secret formula to write achievements: For Problem X, I used solution Y and brought results Z.
For example, “To increase sales, I built a social media strategy and achieved 37% growth”

What if you don’t have any experience? Don’t get scared if you have no solid work experience. Use your college project evaluations, internship experience, special awards, or distinctions as achievements and write them in a separate ‘Major Achievements’ section in your resume. Also, use any transferable skills that will help you with the job. For example, research, communication, and leadership are some skills that can help in a wide variety of fields.

Pro tip: If you want more credentials, do some pro bono work as a freelancer or for a local business to get credentials.

  1. Write Your Education [6-8 mins]

After your experience and achievements, your education is the most important section. After all, if you spent three to six years in college, chances are, you actually did something noteworthy. You don’t need to be the college valedictorian to highlight your skills. You can take any major project you did and depict it from an interesting angle.

For example, here’s a plain description of a university project:
– Worked on a Social Issues Project called “The Impact of Social Media on Youth”

And here’s the interesting one:
– Worked on a Social Issues Project called “The Impact of Social Media on Youth”

Collected data from peer reviewed journals on the increased use of social media for various geographical regions

Depicted how social media affects concentration at work and reduces relationship quality using data visualization tools

Presented to 35 students as well as faculty members and stood 3rd among all 35 students.

Note how the latter is more specific. Don’t just say you did “X”. Always show how you did it and what happened as a result.

  1. Write the Key Skills Section [3-4 mins]

If there’s one thing the recruiter needs to see in your resume, it is your skills. Given that they’re short on time, you need to grab their attention quickly. To do this, scan the job description and find the specific skills they’re looking for. Then note down the words used to mention those skills. The best way is to match the exact words from the job description in the skill section. For example, if the job requires “an in-depth experience in client negotiations”, it makes sense to list “Negotiation Skills” in your skills section.

Why should you match words? Because many recruiters find their desired resumes by searching for particular keywords. Using specific words will make sure that you stand out. Here is a complete list of resume action words you can use to stand out among the crowd.

  1. Add some Hobbies [1 mins]

Hobbies don’t take much space and still make you stand out. How? Recruiters get tired of reading the same lackluster stuff over and over. In the end, they want a dose of human connection. Hobbies give a personal touch to a space otherwise made barren from crude facts.

Moreover, hobbies can also highlight some transferable skills. For example, reading non-fiction books can show that you can grasp complex concepts and can also prove to be a great researcher. For the hobbies section, use the “Hobbies” heading, be concise and list hobbies in bullet points. Mentioning hobbies is good. But always keep your resume one-page long, even when it means leaving out the hobbies section.

Final Tip

Before you make a resume, research the organization you’re applying to. Do they work in the social impact field? What type of people do they recruit? To know your client before you convince them is marketing 101. Checking the company website and its social media pages will tell you whether to be more quirky or more serious in your resume. So there you have it. Make a winning resume and get the job you want.

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