Key Steps to Writing Professional Resume

Writing professional resume

Writing professional resume looks like it should be an easy thing to do. However, anyone who has tried it knows that it is not as straightforward as it seems. This is because a CV works at two levels. One one hand it is a straightforward historic record of your skills, qualifications and employment history. On the other hand, it is careful crafted business proposal on why you should be invited for the interview. Writing professional resume is integral to get a great job.

Before any employer will hire you on, they want to know everything about you in detail.

1. The Facts

At its most simple level , your CV is a historical record of who you are, what you have done and your contact details. The first step therefore to write professional resume or even revising an old one, is to ensure that the facts are complete, accurate and appropriate.

Every CV should include the following factual information

  • Name and Contact details
  • Details of your career history
  • Educational record
  • Any professional qualifications and /or professional memberships
  • Relevant skills and knowledge
  • Relevant training and development

This all seems very straightforward, but getting these wrong immediately disqualifies you even if you have landed the job and may exclude you from ever applying again to that organisation.

A. Name and Contact Details

Your name should be the name that you carry on your educational certificates. You may be called something in your private life, e.g. Dicky  or Shorty, but you need to put your formal name i.e. Robert or Richard on your CV.

While writing professional resume, it is acceptable to give only your mobile number on the CV as your preferred point of contact. However, it is important to keep that mobile topped up with money and fully charged up so that if you get a call  you are able to take it.

If you have a voicemail, please ensure that you have a professional and clear voice as that is the first thing an employer may hear. Please keep professional ringtones. Ensure that anyone else who could pick up the phone is ready and equipped to take message on your behalf.

B. Email address

Try using your personal email address for your job searching activities rather than a current email address (if you have one). Many companies now have an internet and email policy that prohibits personal use of this kind. Make sure your email address is suitably professional. Your surname with initials or your surname with your name is very suitable. You can use numbers , however should avoid “0” or “i” unless they are part of a clearly recognisable word. For eg. using an email like freddy000@gmail.com is very confusing as one is not sure whether it is 0 number or O alphabet.

C. Career History

Employers will want to know the details of your work experience, educational background, professional memberships etc

Previous Employers

List all your previous employers with some additional information about their size, turnover, key products or services. You can use this information to draw attention to any similarities between your previous organisation and the one you are applying to e.g. similar turnover, products/services.

Dates of Employment

It is essential to get your date of employment correct while writing professional resume. You can enter the dates as month to month or even year to year if you want to cover a gap of a few months. However, these must be 100% accurate. Employers will check with previous employers the dates you have worked and your bank account will reflect the salaries received, so you cant escape the truth.  Don’t be caught out by some silly error and repent later.

Key duties and responsibilities

For each role, include some brief bullet points about the key duties you performed. Employers would like to know the scope and size of your role so try to quantify this  as much as possible. Do mention the budget you managed, who were your customers and how big was the account you managed.

Certifications and vocational qualifications

List any certifications you have achieved which are industry related or recognised by professional association like NVQs, Vskills Certifications, CFA certification etc

If you are already working in a specific field, you should also list any memberships of compulsory and voluntary organisations. Such organisations often require members to work to certain standards and ethics and take professional exams.

Also include any in house courses taken, external courses taken as part of training and development etc

University or College Education

Write down details of any degree or college courses for which you have studied. Note the grade achieved, the dates of study and the naem of the institution. Where you have more than degree, list them all, with the most recent or the most relevant first.

Secondary School Education

Write down all of the qualifications you attained at school and your dates of study and exam achievements. Normally your CV should include information on your secondary school achievements only if you have less than five years’ job experience and/or do not have a higher academic qualification such as a degree.

However, you could include your secondary school education if you had excellent grades.

If you are a fresher or a first time job seeker, you should also make a note of other school achievements like any awards or prizes won, any position of responsibility head (being head girl or head boy), part of committee managing events etc

Knowledge

Write down specific areas of knowledge that you have which include legal, marketing, maintenance of web servers, knowledge of AWS etc

Publications/Research/Conference

This information is usually relevant to academic staff recruitment and one way to demonstrate that you are an authority in a particular field is by mentioning if you have had something published in a well known journal, or attended conferences regularly on the subject both as a speaker and as a participant.

Hobbies/Interests

It is not strictly necessary to include your hobbies and interests in the CV, but it sometimes have advantages. If you are going into a job of selling mobile phones, it could be helpful if your hobby is to study latest mobile phones in the market. Also, an interesting hobby can lead to a great conversation with the employer and break the ice.  So the important thing here is that if you choose to mention a hobby or an interest , make sure it is genuine and that yo can talk about it in the interview.

Voluntary work

Employers are often interested in socially responsible activities. They indicate energy and team spirit and positive view of community, skills often required in a community.

If you are not working anywhere at the moment, and havea gap since your last job, enrolling yourself to do some voluntary work at least for a few hours a wek will be enormously beneficial for your CV. It will help you answer your interviewer as to what you were doing since your last job.

Additional information

Any other information that you think is useful may be added here like languages known, holding a driving licence etc

Referees

Identify two individauls who will be happy to act as a referee for you. Ideally they should be your current and past managers. If that is a problem, you should find someone of equivalent seniority in the same organization or in a different organization who has dealt with you.

Optional information

Date of birth is an optional information that you may add. In many countries it is unlawful to discriminate anyone based on their age. Employers must consider your suitability based on your skills. If you feel your date of birth is going to work against you, you may not include it.

Similarly some countries require you to have a work permit / working status so it is important for you to mention in your CV that you are legally eligible to find a job and get employed without any visa requirements.

Definitely Not add

Marital/Family status

There is no requirement to mention whether you are married or single as this gives no relevant information to the employer. This was a norm a few years ago and married people were seen as more stable but this is not true today and there is no need for you to write that in your CV at all.

Religion, sexuality, political affiliations

These are completely irrelevant information and should only be mentioned if they are relevant to the job in question as for eg a job opportunity in a certain community group.

Health

Do not mention, periods of ill health , specially if it has no impact in the future on your work performance. If the illness does impact your work in any ways like regular leaves required , mention in the cover letter or the interview.

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