Click here to join our community of experts to get information on job search, salaries and more.

How to Write a Great Resume in 2021

How to Write a Great Resume in 2021

Being able to create an effective resume – one that will get you the job – is among the most crucial skills you will need in 2021 in order to carve your career path ahead. Most job seekers view their resume as a piece of paper that summarizes their education, professional experience and technical abilities. Perhaps that is why most resumes end up as major turn-offs for recruiters and hiring managers alike. 

Scientific studies claim recruiters need less than 6 seconds to decide if a resume is worth a deeper look. So, as a potential job-seeker, it is crucial that you make every second count. Consider your resume as an advertisement designed to market your skills in such a way that the hiring manager is almost convinced that you will be a great hire. At its core, your aim should be to convince the hiring manager to believe in what you're offering which will eventually result in an interview.

Detailed below are a few great tips you could use to write a memorable resume that grabs the attention of recruiters and hiring managers alike:

Focus on Storytelling: The Key to a Standout Resume

One of the best strategies to write an awesome resume is to build an engaging story around it. If you could create an outline of your resume like a captivating and memorable tale then you are sure to impress the hiring manager in more ways than one. Most importantly, it will distinguish you from the dozens of applicants who believe that a resume is simply an opportunity to showcase their abilities and experiences.

If you write a compelling story about your professional journey in your own personal, authentic way, you will be able to create an even more vivid image of yourself on your resume. It will also attract hiring managers and recruiters to contact you for more information. Your personal stories can also help in proving your additional achievements in your resume by establishing the foundation to the overall tone of your "brand", and the general tone for your resume. If there isn't a story to connect all your accomplishments your resume will be a list of accomplishments each one following the next. If your resume is not told with a story, it could appear as a boring and uninteresting statement of information about you. The art of storytelling can take this impression from your resume, making it an engaging piece overall.

Keep your target audience in mind

If you're selling an item, you need to know clearly to whom you are selling the product. If you are trying to market a product to every Tom, Dick and Harry, you will end up having no buyers. So, when you are on the lookout for the perfect job, you should not attempt to reach out to every company. Many applicants are scared of "closing too many doors" or "pigeonholing" themselves. However, the more you narrow down your scope and determine the kind of employers you wish to attract, the higher are your chances of landing the kind of jobs you truly desire. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What concerns does the hiring manager have about hiring a candidate? 

  • What should they be looking for? 

  • What red flags should they be looking for?

If you are quite unsure, it is always possible to seek support or advice from a contact who works for the companies you would like to join.

Include keywords for a strategic resume

Power words are magical words that catch the attention of the hiring manager when they scan the resumes as well as cover letters.

If you are sending an online resume or an individual referral, you will only have a couple of seconds before hiring managers reject your resume to make room for a new one. However, if you make use of power words, you grab the attention of anyone who gets a glimpse of your resume. They immediately convince the employer that you've got the expertise and abilities to get the task completed.

Power words will also make your resume stand out from the other resumes in the pile. It's true that most resumes are full of long, lengthy sentences that are filled with fluff. If you are able to sprinkle some power words on your resume in the right place, you can stand out from all the other applicants.

These words could also be beneficial when a company examines resumes using the Applicant Tracking System (or ATS). Any software or applicant tracking tool that analyzes resumes will look for words it believes will make applicants suitable for a position. In most cases, the tool will eliminate those who might not be suitable for the job based on the language they use on their resumes.

Pay attention to the formatting

You would not wish to have your resume be a slipshod work done in haste. Here are all the components to be considered to make your resume no less than a masterpiece.

Your Name and Contact Information

Start your resume by introducing yourself. It's not necessary to add unnecessary information, such as titling your resume "resume", since the employer already knows what they're looking at.

Following your name, you should include your contact details in case they would like to reach out to you. Include your contact number, email address and the city you are residing in. Also include your social media accounts such as LinkedIn or Twitter since more and more companies look up your professional networking profiles before scheduling an interview. 

Your Professional Summary

It is recommended that you include your top achievements or stories of success at the very top of your resume. Make sure you match your resume summary to the job you are looking for. Discuss how your abilities and personality match with the responsibilities listed in the job description. Be sure to mention the company name and job title where it is relevant. If you're just graduating or haven't had much experience, review the knowledge and skills that you acquired during your volunteer work or internships and then highlight the ways in which you can add value to the business.

Your Relevant Work Experience

A majority of recruiters and hiring managers would be focused on your prior work experience so make sure you highlight this in your personal statement. A standard resume should include what is most important to an employer and this means your professional history must contain your most recent work experience along with the details of your most significant assignments.

Write down your experiences by reverse order of chronological sequence, starting with the most recent one being the first. Concisely note down what distinguished you from other individuals in the same position.

Break up your paragraphs using bullet points. Simpler sentences are easier to read, particularly for people who only have the time to look over your resume at the beginning of the interview. Incongruous sentences that are long and convoluted will not make you appear more knowledgeable or professional. They'll just make the readability slower and make it harder for them to understand you.

Make sure that you are consistent throughout the entire section. Each job description and position should be written in the same way. If you have the title, employer, date and description in the same order, be sure to follow this format throughout your CV.

Use figures and facts when feasible. Did you assist the business to increase sales by 46% within three months? Did you resolve more than 1000 database problems and boost efficiency of the team by 20 percent? Did you contribute to the additional $50,000 through an email marketing campaign? It's easy to say that you have been successful in your previous position, however, if you could measure the accomplishment, you stand more chances of impressing your boss.

If you've been working for some time and you want to keep your resume short and professional, you should only include relevant experiences. Remove any extraneous jobs particularly if they're more than 10-years-old. Only exceptions are if it's associated with a well-known brand (for example, working for Google is a good indicator of your abilities and character).

If you're concerned about an overly long CV, but would like to include more information it's possible to make a one-page site and connect it. However, creating a professional website takes time and skill. If you're not feeling confident, the best choice is to include a link to your most current LinkedIn profile.

Your Education

Employers are looking to understand the way your education can help you excel, particularly in the case of a position that involves numbers, money, or security. A standard CV should include your educational background in reverse-chronological order (where you mention your most recent studies first). This includes classes (online or offline), certificates as well as degrees that relate to your dream job and field. If your training is in a different area be sure to highlight the ways it is connected to your current work.

Numerous career advisors as well as experts suggest carefully reading the job advertisement and tailoring your resume to match the language and terms the employer uses in addition to the specific requirements for the job.

HiCounselor makes career dreams come true for job seekers as well as recruiters. While job seekers benefit from HiCounselor’s career accelerator program along with the coaching services from industry leaders employed at FAANG companies, recruiters join hands with HiCounselor to empower their hiring strategy and zero in on the best candidates. Learn more about HiCounselor here and reach out to us on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.