14 Effective Tips To Improve Your Resume Writing Skills
Updated 2 March 2023
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Resumes are crucial in the hiring process to provide employers with essential information about candidates, their abilities and their suitability for the available position. Employers use them to screen candidates and move forward to the interviewing stage. By understanding the importance of a great resume in the hiring process, you can write one that is easy to read and highlights your qualifications, accomplishments, skills and work experience. In this article, we review tips to improve your resume writing skills so that recruiters can notice the resume and issue a call for a job interview.
Related: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing
14 Tips To Improve Your Resume Writing Skills
There are various resume styles that you can customise to display your unique and relevant abilities. You can even use multiple resume versions to suit the job requirements. Here are some tips that might help you improve your resume writing skills:
1. Study top resume examples from your industry
You can get inspired to craft a better resume after studying various resume examples from your industry and understanding the best practices for resume writing. High-quality resumes generally are simple, straightforward and easy to read, with clear fonts and concise, quantifiable information. It can often be a good idea to compare the final version of your resume with the examples of the best resumes and make necessary changes to improve it further.
Related: Professional Resume Samples To Help You Land A Job
2. Create a basic resume template
Since you are likely to make frequent job applications during your professional career, it might be a good idea to create a basic resume template that you can reuse. The template can include the main sections you consider relevant for your position in your industry. Every time you send a job application, you can adjust these sections as required to highlight specific qualifications and abilities for the specific job you are applying for. It can save your time and make it more convenient to dispatch job applications.
3. Decide on a resume format
There are several format types you can use for creating your resume, such as the chronological, functional, combination, infographic, profile and targeted resume formats. You can choose a format that is suitable for the company you want to work with and which can best highlight your educational background, skills and work experience. Spend some time customising it so that it can reflect your unique abilities and make your application stand out. Create word document, PDF and online versions to make it easier to send to employers.
4. Select an easy-to-read basic font
Selecting the right font can improve the readability of your resume and make it look more professional. The common practice is to use basic fonts like Arial or Times New Roman and keep a font size of 10 or 12 points. It is advisable to use only one font or not more than two, and use the headline, bold and italic features to make the content stand out where necessary.
Related: Best Font For Resume: How To Choose Type And Size
5. Choose proper margins
You can improve the appearance of your resume by choosing the proper margins. Generally, strong resumes often have one or two-inch margins at all sides and single spaces between the lines. It is also essential to reduce unnecessary white space since that can give the resume a sparse look and may lead the employer to think that you lack experience for the available position. Consider increasing the font size to 12 points and adding more optional sections to reduce the amount of white space. That can enable the recruiters to focus more on your resume content.
6. Use the keywords in the job advertisements
Before writing your resume, read the job advertisement carefully and note the keywords and key phrases in the job description, especially in the responsibilities and requirements sections. These words and phrases indicate what the employer is looking for in ideal candidates. For example, if you are applying for a graphic designer position, the advertisement might have keywords and phrases like creative, marketing design, brand identity, design concepts and visual strategy.
You can also research the keywords that are prevalent in your industry. Keep in mind that keywords are liable to change, so you may require to update them frequently. Using them intelligently in your resume can improve the chances of your resume getting noticed by the applicant tracking systems that many employers now use and by recruiters.
Related: What Is An Applicant Tracking System? Definition And Tips
7. Write concisely using active voice and power words
Keeping your content concise can reduce the resume length and make it more readable. Most employers prefer resumes that they can scan through to get an idea of the qualifications, abilities and experiences of candidates. By writing short, concise sentences in the active voice and using power words, you can make it easier for them to review your resume and understand your accomplishments. For example, you might use power words like accomplished, achieved, completed or earned and write sentences like, Led a design team and increased brand visibility by 25% in the target market.
8. Include only relevant professional information
When including professional information in your resume, provide only the details that are specifically relevant to the available job position. Aside from keeping the resume concise, it can show the recruiters that you have the exact qualifications they require in candidates. Keep in mind that recruiters spend only a few seconds on each resume. So, even if you have extensive experience and qualifications, it is better to prioritise and draw attention to the key information.
Related: How To Get Your Resume Shortlisted: A Step-By-Step Guide
9. Add a personal profile
A personal profile at the top of the resume can provide the recruiter with quick and pertinent information about your career objectives. Try to keep it to three or four sentences. To improve your chances of getting selected for an interview, it is advisable to customise it to align with the job requirements and include the relevant keywords.
Related: How To Write A Profile Summary (With Examples)
10. Highlight key achievements
Even if you have extensive educational qualifications, work experiences and skills, it might not be necessary to list all of them in the resume. Depending on the job requirements, select a few of the most relevant achievements, write them in bullet points for better readability and, if possible, provide quantifiable details. For example, you might write, Improved brand identity design and increased conversions by 25%. By providing numbers that demonstrate the measurable value that you brought to your role, you can enable employers to understand your capabilities and make a better impression.
Related: Resume Objective Writing Guide (With Examples)
11. Provide contact details
It is customary to provide contact details such as your email address, phone number and website address in your resume so that employers can get in touch with you easily. Since most employers may contact you via email or phone for the initial screening, it might not be necessary to provide your complete mailing address until later in the recruiting process. Depending on the job requirements, you can include or not include social media links. For example, if you are applying for a marketing position, it might be a good practise to include the links to demonstrate your ability to build connections.
12. Check if sections and subheadings are essential
After writing your resume, you can review its various sections and subheadings and determine if all are relevant to the job requirements. Some of them may be superfluous, such as including both a resume summary and a resume objective. Select only one of the two and reduce the length of your resume. If you are a fresher with no work experience, you can replace the work experience section with job-relevant sections about coursework, academic achievements, internships and extracurricular activities. List the information in bullet points for better readability.
13. Proofread and edit your resume
Mistakes and errors in the resume can detract from its content and make the employer doubt your abilities. That is why it is essential to make sure that it is as perfect as possible before sending it. Once you are satisfied with the overall formal and content of the resume, proofread it a few times to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
You can also run the resume through grammar check software to catch any mistakes you might have missed. Additionally, consider asking a family member or friend to review it and give you their objective opinion. Their honest feedback may enable you to make necessary corrections or improvements to the resume.
14. Customise the resume for different jobs
Since the purpose of the resume is to convince employers that you have the unique abilities and qualifications they seek in candidates for the available position, it is advisable to tailor it to suit the job requirements. You can also create multiple versions of your resume to suit the different roles you are interested in pursuing. For example, if you work as a writer and a graphic designer, you might want separate resumes to highlight the different capabilities for these jobs.
Related: Writing a Resume With No Experience
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