The Two Most Important Factors of Creating a Great Resume

As a certified professional resume writer, I see a lot of resumes, and most of them need improvement.  The two most important factors of creating a great resume are the format and the content. Initially, you want a resume to appear clean, reader friendly, and functional, however it’s important to remember that formatting is important but content is king. Even if a resume looks nice initially, it is the content that will draw the reader in and persuade them to interview you.

Format:

Resume format is subjective, and depends on the industry regarding what information should be highlighted, but generally, a good way to format a resume is the following:

  • Headlining statement
  • Skills
  • Certifications/specialized training
  • Professional experience
  • Professional affiliations
  • Education

Recruiters look at each resume for an average of six seconds each. That means you have six seconds to show that you are qualified and what you can bring to the table. When you put your skills matrix up at the top, this shows the reader exactly what you have to offer and highlights that you are qualified for the position right off the bat.

The quicker you grab someone’s attention and persuade them that you’re the right candidate for the position, the more likely you’ll be to get past the initial influx of applicants.

If you’re a recent graduate or in an industry where your degree is a big factor of your experience, (i.e. medicine) your education should go up under the “skills” section, however in most cases, if you have a good amount of work experience, you education should stay at the bottom of a resume. This is contrary to what most people believe about resume format, however if you have a lot of work experience, your degree is a plus, but your accomplishments within each of your jobs is more important and act as strong supporting evidence that you’re a great employee.

Content:

Job descriptions are important, however the content that will make your resume stand out include metrics and numerical facts about each job.

Some examples of information to include are:

  • How many employees do you manage?
  • Have you increased sales, or decreased employee overtime by a certain percentage?
  • If you’re in sales, how much have you sold in the past year?

Anyone can say that they’re great at their job, but only people who are truly great will have the evidence to back this up. Hiring managers want to see evidence to support your claims, and facts to show what you’ve achieved throughout your career.

How to create valuable content:

You might feel like you don’t have a lot of valuable content when you go to write your resume, but that’s okay because you can create valuable content!

If you don’t have a lot of information about your job and you’re job duties, the best thing to do is search for job postings matching your job title. You can then see the kind of information companies are looking for, and utilize their wording in your resume. Think about everything that you do and search for those duties in job postings to see what verbiage is being used. Utilizing industry jargon will help your resume appear more seasoned.

If you don’t have numbers and metrics, create them! Do some research on what you’ve accomplished and turn that into metrics. For instance, if you started out with five accounts, but have grown your client base to 15 accounts, you’ve tripled your client base over the course of your job. Similarly, if you created a social media account from scratch to 400 followers, you’ve effectively increased social media following by 400%. Be creative here and highlight your accomplishments. You’ve probably done a lot more than you realize, so be proud of that and showcase it!

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Your resume needs to look good, but if there are no facts or information in the body of it, you won’t be taken seriously. The two most important factors of creating a great resume are format and content, so gather data, highlight your achievements, and make the content of your resume persuasive! Show the reader why they want to hire you!

 

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