Writing Your Résumé (CV)

Highlighting Your Skills and Experience

How to write a resume (CV)

Build a compelling resume that gets you noticed.

© iStockphoto/tacojim

Whether you're applying for a new role in your current organization or looking to change career, you need a great résumé (or CV) if you're going to get the interviews you want.

Your résumé is your chance to highlight your accomplishments, and communicate how you can use your expertise to help someone else. So you must make sure that it's clear, concise, and up-to-date.

And with some organizations receiving hundreds of thousands or millions of résumés every year, it's important that yours stands out and actually gets read.

So, what's the best way to create your résumé? A quick online search yields literally millions of results telling you how to write a good one. Which approach should you use?

In this article, we'll look at how you can create an effective and compelling résumé. We'll cover layout and content, as well as how you can use the Internet to further sell your skills and experience.

Note:

In this article, we've included the tips and strategies that we feel are most effective for writing a résumé. However, there are no set rules, and there are plenty of different opinions on the right way to format, write, and style your résumé. So use your own best judgment, depending on the role you're applying for, and the culture and best-practices in your region.

Building Your Résumé

Some recruiters claim to read résumés in as few as 10 seconds, due to the volume of applications they receive. (Many companies receive several hundred résumés for just one position.) Therefore, your résumé must be easy to understand, clear, and to the point. Recruiters need to find key information quickly, or they might just toss the résumé into the rejection pile. Keep this in mind when you're putting it together!

It's also important to remember that your résumé's purpose isn't necessarily to land you a job; rather, it's there to get you an interview.

Layout and Key Content

Here are some simple rules that you can follow when you write your résumé:

  • Put your name and contact information at the top of the page, much like a header. Your name should be centered and in bold, 14- to 16-point font. You should also include your phone number, email address, and mailing address in the header.
  • Under your header and contact information, include a brief summary of your skills, accomplishments, and qualifications as these relate to the role you're applying for. This means that you need to do some research into the position to determine what's most important to the employer, and then customize this brief summary with these elements in mind.
  • Then list your work history, using a reverse chronological order. That is, put your present position first and then work backward. (Try to include all of your recent work history, and explain any gaps in employment – otherwise it may look as if you're hiding something.)

    For each role, write out the full company name and include your start and end dates, including the month and year. Then include a brief outline of your key responsibilities and your accomplishments in the role, again, in relation to the position that you're applying for.

  • Include qualifications, details of training courses you've attended, and membership of professional bodies only if these relate to the role. For example, it may not be worth listing your high-school diploma if you're applying for a position as an executive.
  • Limit your résumé to a maximum of two Letter/A4-sized pages. Any more than this may mean that the recruiter will ignore it altogether, or miss the most important information.

Overall, you'll want to structure everything you write on your résumé with...

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