When you apply for a job, the first document they ask from you is your resume. A resume is a long professional document explaining in detail your professional as well as academic journey. A resume and cover letter are complete-blown marketing tools to advertise your professional skills and qualities. The goal is to make an impact on your potential employer and bag an interview. This can be done only when you have the know-how of writing effective resumes and quality cover letters. These are one-page marketing campaigns aiming to convince your employer about your competency for the particular job. The candidate must write it engagingly so much so that the reader cannot wait to meet you.
5 Best Resume Formats
Writing an effective resume is a skill. And one of the essential things that you must keep in mind while writing it is to follow a particular format. There are several types of resume formats customized for a particular job. These formats are readily available online. Here is a list of four basic resume formats for you to choose from.
A chronological resume is exactly what its name suggests. Your professional history is being listed according to dates going backwards. This is the most approached basic resume format as it gives the employer an overview of your experience. He can clearly track your progress or lapses if there are any. Hence, choose to write in this format only if there are no lapses in your work history and you have a solid employment background.
I know it’s good to highlight your work experience, but if you are someone with ten plus years of experience, you don’t need to mention all that you’ve done in those years. Mention only the highlights of your career and exceptional achievements. Take care of the relevance as nobody has the time to go through your resume in detail. Scanning is done briefly and now also through software.
The only time a candidate should avoid using this type of resume is when he has a gap in his professional history or if he has changed his job frequently in the last few months or a year.
Structuring a chronological resume?
Include your full name, email, or phone number. A candidate can also add links to his social media profiles like LinkedIn or any other personal website owned by him. Postal address may or may not be included. It was mandatory earlier, but currently, emails are most preferred by employers.
The introduction should contain a convincing and short resume summary. It is only a few sentences long and provides a quick tour of your resume. It highlights your relevant qualifications and skills.
Your work experience section is written in reverse chronology, even in a chronological resume, with the most recent position at the top. Under each position, you can highlight some of your achievements and responsibilities. This section is not about what you have done but more about how well you did it. This is the section where you can use the best use of action words and personal pronouns. Make the employer aware of your capability clearly and more dynamically.
List your educational information in increasing chronology. At the top must be your high school and percentage, and then should come your undergraduate and postgraduate. However, if you are a fresher or still a student, this section should be listed above the work experience section.
The skill section should be the culmination point of your hard and soft skills. This section is used to quantify the skills you have already mentioned in your work experience section. This section should be highly relevant. If you are not sure of what to include in your resume skill section, refer to the job description. Usually, you will find a list of the skill set required for a particular position mentioned in the description.
Reverse Chronological Resume
This is just the opposite of what we have discussed above. In fact, it is the most accepted and common resume format. It is just like the Chronological resume, except that your work experience and career achievements are listed from the current first. Rest, for both of these chronological listings in your resume, others things remain the same.
- Contact details – You can include your name, contact details like phone number, email address, as well as location. In some cases, you can also include useful links to your social media profiles, if required.
- Resume objective – a resume objective must include a brief summary of your work. Try to keep it short. Preferably not more than 3-4 sentences.
- Job title – Your professional title should mention the exact post for which you are applying. g. Data analyst, coder, data scientist etc.
- Work Experience – always mention your work experience in reverse-chronological order. This means mention your latest position on top and then the previous ones as you go down. This is a section where you should highlight your achievements over responsibilities.
- Skills Section – this section mentions the skills you possess. This may be relevant to the job or may not. To rank higher in ATS, mention the relevant skills or skills mentioned in the job requirement first. Don’t lie about your skills on your resume.
- Education – Your academic history. This includes your degrees as well as other courses that you have done over the years. This should also be mentioned in reverse chronological order.
- Other sections – Sections like volunteering, projects, portfolio, hobbies, etc., are optional. They are not game-changers, but they will help the interviewer know you as a person and will affect his judgement of whether he would like to interview you to know you more.
A functional resume, on the other hand, focuses on your skills and experience. It lays less emphasis on your work history. This basic resume format highlights your abilities to offer support to the company and be the right fit for the job. This format must be followed if you have lapses in your employment. The reasons for these lapses can be anything, from personal to professional.
A functional resume is the best resume format for freshers who have limited experience or people who are in the middle of a career change. It is also a good choice for people who are in the process of a career change or if you have worked in diverse fields with no focused career.
a functional resume must include the following mentioned information:
- job title
- Skills Summary
- Additional Skills
- Previous experience
- Educational qualifications
Example of Skills Summary:
- Over 10 years of experience in the service industry as a medical assistant, nurse and head nurse
- Extensive experience in taking care of difficult patients
- Experience managing a team of 3 nurses
- Ensuring that the team is available and the members are working to the best of their abilities
As the name itself suggests, a combination resume is a combination of both the basic resume formats, chronological as well as functional. A combination resume highlights both your skills and traits and also provides your work experience in chronological order. Hence, this basic resume allows you to list your professional as well as soft skills in an ordered list.
List the main recent and advanced degrees first and work in reverse order. Also, list the courses and skills which are more specific to the position you’re applying to above your other skills. You can always highlight your graduation awards and scholastic honours. This will set you apart from others.
include the following details in a combination resume:
- Contact details
- Additional Skills
- Work Experience details
- Educational qualifications
This basic resume format is customized to the job opening. You only list the relevant skills and educational qualifications. Study the job description so that you get to know the specific skills the employer is looking for. Tailor your skills and talents to match the company’s culture. Visit the company website and get to know more about their vision and ethos, and if your values and morals and skills are a match with that of the company’s, don’t shy away from listing them.
Tips for writing an Effective Resume
- Be specific, clear and concise
- Use action words as much as you can
- Be expressive, do not unnecessarily try to impress with words
- Be articulate rather than sugar-coated with your words
- Use fact-based information
- Use pointers to make it easy for people who can quickly.
- Maintain consistency throughout the content and format
- Write it in a way that is easy to read and follow
- Be consistent with the use of writing tools. Use italics and bold and proper fonts at appropriate places
- Headings should be listed in order of importance.
- The information must be listed in reverse chronological order.
- Avoid giving any information about gap years.
- Ensure that the formatting doesn’t get distorted if the file is converted to a pdf.
- Use I and other personal pronouns
- Use abbreviation and a proper narrative style
- Categories are never to be numbered
- Use slang or colloquialisms
- Attach your picture
- Mention personal info like age or sex
Top 5 Resume Mistakes
- Spelling and grammar errors
- Missing email and phone info
- Using passive language instead of action words
- Not well organized, concise or easy to skim
- Too long
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is an important document to convince the employer why you are the best candidate for the position. It highlights specific skills that aren’t already covered in your resume and also explains scenarios in which you have demonstrated those skills. While crafting your cover letter, it’s crucial that you keep it concise. The hiring manager does not have time to read a memoir. The cover letter format for fresher resumes must contain appropriate scenarios that demonstrate your abilities to perform the responsibilities listed in the job.
The best resume formats for freshers include functional or hybrid resume formats with cover letters. For a fresher, it is extremely necessary that he/ she must highlight the certain times that they took the lead on an important project or help increase the statistics and sales growth numbers. A cover letter is an opportunity to set yourself apart. It’s like the final nail that will ensure you an interview.
Tips for crafting your cover letter
While addressing your cover letter, don’t be redundant and use overused terms like ‘Dear Sir/ Madam’ or ‘to whom it may concern’. It is always a good way to personalize your cover letter. Address your letter directly to the manager. You may have to look up the company’s social media handles or call the HR department of the company to get the name correct. And even if you are not able to find the correct name and use the wrong one instead, it’s always better to stand apart addressing a real person than addressing a letter with the cliché “respected ma’am/sir”.
Your opening statement has to be fun and should be the one to set you apart from the rest. Don’t just go with “I am writing to apply for (position)”. It’s a little too trite. Your goal is to land an interview and gain the interest of the employer.
An example of a good opening statement:
“I am excited to be applying for the role of English Teacher at Mary Bishop school. I recently read an article in The Tribune about the success of your new comprehensive educational plan. I’d be honoured to become part of a school that has such clear vision and goals and help push it forward.”
- Start with confidence but don’t come across as arrogant
- Mention your connection to the company
- Go into the details of what you have already mentioned by further mentioning the incidents where you were able to display the skills you’ve mentioned in your resume. Explain how those skills will be relevant in solving the company’s problems. Discuss current issues in your area to show your expertise.
- Choose to use strong action words to describe your experience
“cultivated relationships with representatives of other companies.”
- Show a little personality by keeping it professional at all times. Also, explain why you’re personally interested in the job, whether it’s the company culture or the work itself.
- Quantify your accomplishments by adding a number. For E.g. Instead of “increased sales“, mention “increased sales by 10%”. You can also list the number of people you’ve managed or trained.
- Proper ending
- Directly tell the hiring manager to contact you.
- Finish with a common sign off and a real signature
- Use Postscript. It is eye-catchy, and most employers read it before the letter.
“PS: I noticed from your Twitter profile how ardently you practice and advocate kindness for street animals. I admire your consideration, steadfastness and bravery and all the more in present times.”
Other tips to follow while writing a cover letter
Length of your cover letter
Keep it short. And be simple and direct. At most, it must go to one page. Don’t let it go more than 300-500 words.
Make it easy to read.
Use proper font and border margins. Don’t add too many colours. And avoid underlining.
Demonstrate your awareness of the company’s goals and how you can help achieve them. Do some previous research on the company and its ethos before writing your cover letter.
You can use spell check software like Grammarly to find and correct your errors. Alternatively, you can also ask someone to read your cover letter. They will help you assess its clarity and also help you improve with some suggestions.
Study the submission requirements
Go through the company’s instructions for applying and make notes of subject lines and any other required attachments.
Here are a few sample cover letters for the probable candidate to help you get some idea about how to apply the above-mentioned tips in the correct way.
A cover letter format for fresher resume
Writing your cover letter can be tedious and is not actually an exciting job. But it is important that you come across as a sincere individual in front of your employer. Hence, it becomes necessary that you put some thought and spend some time and energy into presenting yourself as the most suitable candidate for the position. Don’t give the employer an excuse to weed you out by writing a sloppy cover letter. So you can follow the above tips and use one of the best resume templates to land yourself the job that you want and deserve.