How to write a resume? The million dollar question. When developing a resume, or Curriculum Vitae (CV) in other countries, it only depends on a question; it would be enough to type it in Google and follow a few steps. However, it is such a complex issue that there are currently so many contradicting “professional” opinions that it is difficult to define a single process.
Behind the question “how to write a resume?” there are dozens of other basic doubts that every candidate faces when starting to write their resume, such as: Is it mandatory to include my photograph? Should I write a professional profile or a career goal? Should I add my outstanding grades? How do I know if my resume is ATS-proof?
That is why we have turned to science to find the most objective answers. Remember that the most reliable sources are those based on hard data and not opinions. So, we surveyed over 500 recruiting and HR specialists on what the best practices are for writing a professional resume today; from the design, to the content, to how to make it bot-proof.
Here are their answers…
Choose a resume layout and format that makes you stand out
How to write it? Starting a resume from scratch can always seem like a tedious job. Including all those years of professional career and talent on a single page can intimidate even García Lorca himself.
The first thing we asked the respondents was; what are the sections that should never be missing from a resume?
The basic and elementary sections of a resume are:
•Education / training
Yes, just like you read it! In the middle of 2021, recruiters recognize soft skills (communication, teamwork, etc.) as an essential aspect on your resume. In fact, 76% consider that they should have their own section or at least be divided into a separate list of hard skills (digital design, ‘web programming’, etc.).
Another important note that they have highlighted is adding a link to your LinkedIn profile in the contact information section –obviously, you should always keep it updated. And by saying very important, I mean that 96% of recruiters consider it a serious mistake not to do so.
Probably now you are thinking that it is too much information to enter a single page, therefore, as the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar said: “divide and conquer”. We will divide the document vertically into 2: a narrower column for sections made up of shorter texts (skills, contact details); and a wider one for the sections with more text (professional profile, professional experience and training).
In this way you will optimize every inch of your resume. Do not believe me; trust the 77% of our recruiters surveyed who prefer the 2-column format over the 1-column format.
How to divide a resume into 2 columns?
Ideally, use an online resume editor that has predesigned templates with this format, but if you are using a word processor such as Word or Google Docs, create a table with 2 columns, adjust the width so that one is narrower than the other, and choose the invisible outline option. But do you really need to save that space?
Let’s try to answer this, which is undoubtedly one of the most controversial questions…
How many leaves should a resume have?
A study by Zety, done in 2021, revealed that most recruiters prefer a 2-page resume. For executive-level applicants, using a 2-page resume increased their chances of getting an interview by up to 2.9, versus those submitting a 1-page resume. While for the younger candidates, history repeated itself; using 2 pages increased their interview chances by 1.4.
What you should never put on your resume
Another of our studies was destined to discover what that information that we should never include in a resume is, according to what our Human Resources professionals surveyed:
Interests and hobbies. 90% of recruitment specialists discard them, especially if you are a candidate with more than 5 years of experience. Although in turn, 77% do not recommend including them even though they are candidates with less experience.
References. 89% of our respondents said that references should no longer be included in the resume.
The legend of ‘references available on request’. 88% believe that this legend should not even be included, which was used some time ago to inform that there were references, if necessary.
But, without more boring technical specifications on the format to highlight, let’s move on to…
Best practices for resume design
At once I advance you that resume design is not an exclusive topic for designers or creative people; it also does not require technical design skills. In the middle of 2021, it is enough that you have paid for the internet.
There are dozens of resume templates available in one click, but not all of them work; you must know how to choose the one that best aligns with your needs and, why not, with what professional recruiters expect to see.
Nor recruiters are too demanding. 72% of our recruiting professionals continue to choose monochromic resumes -black text, white background- as their favorites.
You can also add a touch of color to your resume; as long as it does not affect the clarity or the harmony of the document. Choose colors like gray, beige, or dark blue, but avoid red, yellow, or other too bright colors.
If you want to show your personality, presenting a creative resume, do it without resorting to passing trends such as infographic resumes, which are not very popular among recruiters -only 7% of recruiters said they prefer them- compared to 71% who remain with the traditional format.