Writing a resume can be intimidating. First of all, you have to sit down and write about yourself, which can be awkward. You don’t want to come across as having an inflated ego, yet you don’t want to be too self-deprecating either. It’s hard to find the balance.
Then, there’s the pressure. This one sheet of paper is your key to a new career. It’s potentially life-changing.
But you know what’s not intimidating? GIFs.
GIFs are fun. And they make everything better.
In truth, we could have put together these resume writing tips without GIFs, but where’s the enjoyment in that? We also could have done it without words, but some GIFs need context and your resume could easily spiral out of control without it.
So a combination of the two works best: 10 resume writing steps explained with GIFs — and words.
1. Find the target
Before you sit down to write your resume, you need the right mindset. This involves finding your target. Grab a notebook and answer this question:
What job do I want?
Get specific: “Marketing manager at a leading digital agency.” This works better for targeting than “a job that suits my skill set and personality.”
When you’ve found your target job, answer some more questions:
What skills does my target value?
What kinds of words does my target use in describing the role? You can drop these words into your resume.
2. Get inspired
Time to get those creative juices flowing; to get all hyped up and ready to write. Take to the internet for inspiration. Look for resume examples from people that do the same job you want to do, preferably ones that have been successful in getting the candidate hired.
Look for examples outside of your target industry too — resumes with great designs and inspirational writing. Save everything you find to a swipe file.
3. Seek out the perfect template
Inspired? Good. Time to write…
Wait, that blank page isn’t doing it for you, is it? And the blinking cursor certainly isn’t doing you any favors.
Here’s an idea, find a template that’s similar to one in your inspiration swipe file and use that to get the ball rolling. If there are no templates that match what you’re looking for, use a resume builder instead. This will help you build your resume from scratch without the blank page sapping all your creative energy.
4. Contact information first
Start with the easy stuff first: name, address, email address and phone number. Do you have a website? Put the URL in the contact section, along with your LinkedIn profile. Only add other social profiles if you’re sure there’s nothing on there that employers might find distasteful.
Should you put a photo of your happy face in this section too? Most career experts would say no. It’s illegal to consider age, race or gender when it comes to hiring a person for a job, so most recruiters prefer resumes without the photo to avoid any possibility of a discrimination claim.
To add to that, a study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel found that men deemed to be good looking were more likely to land an interview if they included a photo, but women deemed to be good looking were less likely.
On the flip side, a recruiter is only a click away from seeing what you look like via social media so adding a good headshot can be used as your calling card. Plus, many countries in Asia demand a photo.
Our advice is to test both. One resume with a photo, one without. See which has the best results.
5. Work it
Time to show employers how brilliant you were in your other jobs. List your job titles, starting with the most recent. If you’re lucky enough to have a stacked work history with experience for three lifetimes, focus on the roles most relevant to your target job.
Under each job title, add 3-5 bullet points that show off your achievements, accomplishments, and expertise. If you can back these up with stats, do it. Let the numbers do the talking.
6. The skills to pay the bills
This is the “hey employer, look what I can do!” part of your resume. No need to go into too much detail — a list of your best attributes is all that’s needed.
There are hard skills and soft skills that you can list. Hard skills include things like that other language you speak, the cool concatenation thing you can do in Excel, your ace copywriting abilities, or your computer programming wizardry.
Soft skills are more “people” or “social” based things like communication, leadership, teamwork, and time management. As brilliant as being able to catch food in your mouth from a few yards away is, you can probably leave that out… unless the job you’re going for involves catching things in your mouth, in which case — we want in!
7. Education station
If your work history and achievements are stacked, you might be able to leave education out. However, if you’ve spent more time learning things in class than you have in the workplace, sell it.
List the educational institutions starting with the most recent and break out those bullet points again to list any degrees and diplomas.
Add any other relevant training you’ve received or certificates you hold here too. For example, if your previous workplace sent you for training in Google Analytics and you passed — well done, you. Add it.
Only add high school education if that’s where your days in the classroom ended.
8. You, when you’re not working
The things you like to do when you’re not working or writing resumes with the aim of getting work, you can add them to your resume. Think of three or four hobbies or interests: reading, sports, volunteering — any leisurely activities you enjoy that give recruiters a positive impression of you as a person.
Bonus points for adding personal interests that relate to your target job.
Recruiters hate typos. Hate them. Your resume shouldn’t be in the same zip code as a recruiter without it having been proofread first. Read it out loud to yourself, pass a copy on to a friend to read, have a family member look over it, and reach out to an expert for feedback too. Do all of these things. Read, review, improve.
10. Release your resume into the wild
Resume ready? You ready? Let’s go. We’re rooting for you.