How to create a resume
Starting with... what do you want your resume do?

create a resume

How to create a resume begins with more questions, like.......why do you need a resume? And, what is your purpose as the writer - what impact or result are you trying to achieve?.

You will certainly need a resume if you are presently on the lookout for work, or you're wanting to change your job or career direction.

Now the good news is.....anyone can write a resume, and just about everyone has the ability to write an outstanding resume.

How?.....simply follow the same basic steps and techniques that professional resume writers use.

So.....what are the techniques used by professional resume writers?

Before we get into what professional writers do, let's clarify some of the terminology relating to resume writing.

How to create a resume - is it a resume or CV?

Is a resume and a CV (or Curriculum Vitae) the same thing? The answer is.....basically there is no difference.

The term "resume" roughly translates from the French to mean "summary".

So that's essentially what you are providing when you create a resume - a summary of your career history and achievements or career highlights, skills, knowledge, education, ongoing professional development, and so on.

The term "CV", which is short for Curriculum Vitae roughly translates from the Latin to mean 'life story'.

Now, most employers or recruiters aren't interested in reading your life story when you are applying for a job. What they actually want is a summary - a snapshot.

Employers and recruiters use the terms 'resume' and 'CV' interchangeably.'s virtually guaranteed that what they want is a resume - a summary from you about your career, not your life story.

Throughout this website I'll be using the term "Resume". If you want, or need to call your document a CV, well that's fine too!

Resume guidelines

In terms of the purpose of your resume, one of the first things you are aiming to do is to make a connection with the reader.

One way to do this is to give them what they ask for.

So.....if the job ad says please send in your resume, then that's exactly what you will be calling your document. Similarly, if they ask for a CV, then call you document a CV

Don't get hung up on terminology.

Resume objectives - from an employer perspective

Employers and recruiters use your resume as a screening tool.

When an employer or recruiter advertises a job they will usually receive lots of applications - often hundreds of them, sometimes thousands.

Their immediate task is to look at all the resumes and cover letters and develop a short list of the candidates they consider the most suitable, based on the selection criteria for the position.

The candidates on the short list will be invited to participate in an interview, where their suitability for the role in question can be explored in detail.

resume writing guidelines

Can you imagine what is must be like to read a hundred, perhaps a thousand resumes in order to identify the best candidates to interview? No easy task to pick the likely winners.

That's where you come in - if you know how to create a resume which immediately sets you apart from other applicants, you will at least get the opportunity to be interviewed.

How to create a resume - your resume objectives

Back to the topic - being clear about your resume's purpose.

Simply put....the sole purpose of your resume is to get you an interview - that's it - period!

Resume guidelines

Here's a new way of thinking about your resume - it's a sales brochure!

One of your key resume objectives is to sell the brand called "you".

Your aim is to differentiate yourself from all the other "brands" out there who are competing for the same job or career opportunity.

Most people fall into the trap of thinking that their resume is a tell all document containing all the facts and figures related your career history. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Your resume must be written in such a way that the reader is compelled to notice a positive, and interested way!

You've got somewhere around 20-35 seconds to get noticed!

That's right, 20-35 seconds where the decision is made to either consider your application or reject it

Therefore the whole document - the resume style you've chosen, the format, layout, visual appeal, and most of all the content you include - all have to combine to sell you to the employer, or recruiter.....and do so VERY QUICKLY.

Don't mistake what the real resume objectives are - it's about getting to the next stage of the selection process, which is usually an interview.

Many people think the purpose of a resume is to land you a job. Well.....that is your ultimate objective. But it's almost certain that a resume by itself won't achieve that for you.

So....just to reinforce the point one more time - one of the key resume objectives is to get you an interview, or at least into a discussion about a real job or career change opportunity.

How to create a get an interview!

In deciding how to create a resume that will get you to interview stage you need to plan your document with this question in mind:

What do I want the employer, or recruiter to know about me and my career that:

  • is relevant to their requirements
  • will make a positive impression about my suitability for the position

With this clarity of purpose you can then make informed decisions about things like:

  • Which of the three resume styles best suits my purpose - reverse chronological, a functional resume, or a combined style resume?
  • What resume format will best sell my brand

Resume guidelines

Despite the suggestions that you find on this and other websites, there is no one single best resume format or style.

There are three basic resume styles and many variations related to these styles.

What you will need to do is research the various methods that exist to create a resume and decide on the one that best suits your purpose.

Here's a "how to write a resume" site that has some good ideas that you might want to look at - so that you can compare and decide which resume format works best for you.

How to create a resume - Summary

You may be coming to the conclusion that there may be a bit more to this resume writing caper than perhaps you first realised.

If you have been consistently sending out your resume and not getting any response, there are potentially one of two reasons why:

  1. You are genuinely not qualified or experienced enough, in the opinion of the employer or recruiter, for the job, OR.....
  2. Your resume sucks! - And.....this is usually the most common reason why people don't get any response from their job applications.

If you think you fall into the second category, you might want to take the time to find out more about the individual steps involved in how to create a resume that works.

In other words learn what it take so that you get a response to at least 90% of your job applications.

Now, check out the other links on this page. They provide key information, hints and tips for every heading in your resume, including advice on what headings to use.

New! Comments

Has this helped you in your job search? What else would you like to see here about job search? Leave me a comment in the box below.
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Related Links

Creating a resume - the basics, getting started, choosing which headings to use
Resume writing how to get started - guidelines for essential planning and preparation that will make the task of writing your resume a whole lot easier.
Resume guidelines - information you need to include
Resume layouts - choosing the best style to use
Resume helper - Free! - Ask questions, make suggestions.
Resume objectives - How to write your career objective
Career profile - How to write a career profile summary
Career highlights - How to write about achievements and accomplishments
Personal employment - How to record your career or employment history
Chronological resume - When you should use this resume style
Functional resume - When and how to use this resume style
Resume styles - This page describes the hybrid or combinations style resume
Career change resume - Build a resume using a style which supports your change of career direction