The formatting of your resume has to change to fit the job opportunity. And if you’re a woman who’s been in a particular career field for a long time, then you have a lot to include in it. But, the question is, how to write a resume succinct enough to be read with a lot of interest rather than tossed to the side by HR? Here’s your in-depth guide to writing a good resume to help you land that next job.
Let’s start with what to avoid and then move onto the 7 tips for writing a CV that wows.
What NOT to include in your resume
Firstly, here’s what to avoid. When it comes to the experience section of the resume, you might be tempted to include even the irrelevant things.
But I’ll stop you right there. Doing so could cost your opportunity to work with your dream organization.
That’s why it’s great to know what to include in your resume. Thus, it’s important to know not only what to include but also what to omit, unless the potential employer tells you otherwise.
So, here’s what to avoid in your resume:
- Spelling and grammatical errors
- Resume in PDF format, with some exceptions
- Personal information, such as social security numbers
- Graphics and images
- Fancy font formats
- Headers and footers – some HR agencies won’t even look at your CV!
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s focus on what to include.
Writing a good resume means you follow these 7 tips
As women for hire, if you’re passionate about getting a stellar job and establishing your career, then the list below will guide you through how to write a resume that gets positive attention. Here’s what to show clearly in your resume:
1. Contact details
Don’t mistake contact details for being the same as unnecessary or sensitive private information like date of birth, gender, social security number, and reference names. However, some organizations will require private information from you; but never include it if it’s not a requirement.
Contact details, in this case, refers to your name, phone number, and email address. Never type these contact details as the headers and footers though as some hiring departments won’t look twice at it.
Thankfully, there are many resume examples to look out for to know how to write a resume effectively.
2. Opening statement
An objective statement at the top of your resume will give the recruiting panel a glimpse of who you are because it is a summary of glorious you. As for what to include in this opening statement:
- The position you want
- What you have to bring to the organization
- Where you went to school and/or credentials
- Where you worked; make it relevant
Furthermore, write the resume in the first person and lean toward brevity over long-winded. That’s because HR is busy and they’re going to gloss over it, likely, rather than reading every single word.
3. Writing a good resume: Include skills and strengths
OK, this doesn’t mean to include all your strengths as women for hire. Exclude the ones that aren’t relevant to the job you are applying for. A good benchmark is to include 10-15 skills. They should all be relevant to the job opportunity too.
4. Technical knowledge
Continuing with this guide to writing a good resume, be sure to include technical know-how. Why?
It simply lets the potential employer know the software and technology that you have used in the past and have experience in. That quality makes you more desirable to the hiring organization!
5. Personal attributes
If you don’t have a lot of job experience, please don’t give up! Instead, take a step back and look at where you have gained skills outside of the traditional work environment.
For example, if you’re a mom, then you have many marketable skills to include on the resume – and I want you to include them! Motherhood is hard work and you have every right to talk about the skills and experience, such as multi-tasking, that you’ve gained through it.
This personal attributes section of the resume is also the best place to express how proactive you are, and how right you are for the job opening. Specifically, take at least five skills that you had listed under the Skills and Strengths section; move them to this part of the resume.
See, you’re already filling out this section! Yes, I tricked you a bit here but it might have been difficult for you to come up with attributes otherwise if you have a hard time talking about yourself like some women.
A few more suggestions for writing a good resume:
6. Education and employment history
You should include the highest level of education and may be your achievements like the awards you have won. Including your results, may not be necessary, depending on your job sector.
Let’s say you’re in sales, for example. Then you’ll probably want to include a monetary figure you helped raise on a project as part of a team.
When you add your employment history, list the places you worked at from the most recent and then make your way back in time. Include your job titles and the dates when you worked there.
7. References – Yay or nay?
While some people include two or more references at the end of their resume, I recommend against it. In fact, I don’t include any names or contact info for references when writing a good resume.
While I will have gotten references by this point from past employers – always get their approval to do so! – I won’t list them on my resume. Why not?
That’s because I don’t want to give their personal information to an organization that may never contact me after I apply for the job opening. Then the names and phone numbers of those people who have kindly agreed to be my references are vulnerable to marketing calls and other unsolicited communication. You just never know who will end up looking at that resume you submitted!
So, instead, when it comes to how to write a resume, I suggest that you still include the References subheading but only write this one sentence underneath it:
References available upon request.
Then, if you get a call back for an interview or request for more info, at that point you can decide whether to give the hiring company the contact info of your two references.
It probably goes without saying but never use references you haven’t worked with before. Being dishonest will only come back to haunt you if you get the job!
By the way, a good reference from a previous employer, teacher, or colleague can go far at helping show a potential employer that you are the right fit.
Conclusions on writing a good resume
In summary, how to write a resume that wows involves the obvious, such as avoiding spelling mistakes, as well as the intricacies, such as being careful not to give too much personal information.
Reviewing your CV is crucial too. Ask friends, family, teachers, counselors, and other people you trust to proofread the resume before you send it out.
Also, check it against online resume examples to make sure it looks just as professional as theirs and that you’re not missing anything crucial. Then go out and slay the job hunt, ladies!
11 thoughts on “The ultimate guide to writing a good resume”
Great tips Christy. Thanks for sharing :)
Thanks Marje :D
You’re awesome, Christy! What a wonderful job you do of empowering women. This article is no different. Writing resumes can be a challenging task, to find just the right words without being too wordy. I love the reminder that the resume should change for the job opportunity. Very wise choice. Many companies will notice if you’re just desperately floating one around, not even trying to catch their attention.
Perfect pointers. You will help a whole lot of women with this one. ☺
Fabulous post with excellent tips! :)
Thanks for the post!
As a recruiter, one of the most essential parts of a CV/resume are the dates of employment & education. Gaps, discrepancies and no dates at all usually result in an immediate rejection. Equally, not including grades/qualifications raises a lot of red flags.
Thanks for pointing out the importance of those details, Kathryn! Great to have your advice as a recruiter :)
Thank you for another great article, Christy! Especially your advice not to include names and contacts into the reference listing. Michael
I’m glad you found that personal advice helpful, my friend :D
😀 Thank you Christy, i did and furthermore will do. Excuse the always late revisits, i will try to do it more in real time. Michael
I’m the same, always doing my best ~ Never apologize as I know you’re busy too, Michael :)