How to make an online resume or any other type of resume for that matter, has grown to be the main concern for most job seekers. Come to think of it, how to make a resume is not that simple a question one may expect. Surely you are familiar with questions like ‘What should I highlight?’ or ‘What should I leave out?’, ‘How long should my resume be?’. I know you are already starting to feel that dread. The questions are the same, but the job descriptions are always different. It makes sense. The market is vast, and so are job titles and responsibilities. Risking to dramatize and sound a bit like Bear Grylls, you have to continually adapt and overcome.
Sure, interviews are not modern battlegrounds, but nevertheless, you still have to have a strategy. You should always be prepared. The interview is frequently considered to be the first step in landing a job. It’s not. Crafting your resume is. Your resume is the first official contact you make with that alien planet, i.e., your recruiter. Resumes help recruiters see beyond that fancy suit you recently bought. And although resumes can be misleading, a seasoned recruiter will know what to look for. So the first tip is, don’t lie. Prove that you have an excellent memory differently.
You’ll find everything about how to create a resume
- ATS: Applicant Tracking System. What is it?
- How online resumes usually look. The good, the bad, and the ugly
- How to effectively make a resume
- Why use SEO to optimize your resume?
- Hard and soft skills explained
- Why use an online tool such as Flipsnack
- The fundamentals of resume making
- Different types of resume
- Cover letter
In this article, I will walk you through what a resume should look like, what you should include in it while also offering some constructive tips based on profession. A graphic designer’s resume will look completely different from a dentist’s. It makes sense. Colors usually don’t recommend dentists.
We will also look at some resume templates, common mistakes, and best practices to correctly format your professional resume.
For now, think of your resume as your professional life in a nutshell. So it makes sense for any recruiter to be decisive when filtering through job applicants. An experienced recruiter’s first glance usually doesn’t pass the ten seconds benchmark. Yes, they are faster than most of the cars we can afford, but that’s because most CVs are usually plain bad.
We’ll talk more about this later. You need to remember that recruiters know what and where to look for and that they are not alone. There’s more. The modern age of applicant headhunting and recruiting proudly presents the ATS. As any hunter needs a weapon, recruiters need a tool to help them go through that myriad of applications. But what is an ATS?
ATS: Applicant Tracking System
An ATS, short for Applicant Tracking System, is a tool designed to help recruiters filter through applications. Basically, we know that every job has specific requirements. These requirements usually revolve around certain keywords or key phrases. That’s why formatting your online resume is vital. There is a real chance your resume will be lost in translation in the absence of such keywords. And although you are more than qualified to occupy the position, newsflash, robots didn’t see you.
An ATS mustn’t be thought of as some kind of Skynet control tower. It’s merely a tool designed to filter. Similar to a machine looking for an oasis in the desert. With proper formatting, your CV can be that oasis. Every resume must be specifically tailored to the job you apply for. Sure, some guidelines are more or less rigid, but custom tailoring is essential. If you speak English, someone from Turkey will possibly understand you, but clearly not everyone, and clearly not as well. The same goes for ATS and CV’s.
Keeping the same format is alright, but it’s not enough. By formatting your resume and designing it to speak for a particular job, you drastically increase your chances of being seen and eventually heard at a real interview. Speaking of ATS, let’s take a look at why resumes usually get filtered out.
What an online resume usually is
Generally speaking, a resume, or curriculum vitae, or CV, or whatever terminology you like, is a document detailing your work experience, education, skills and achievements. It’s a mirror for your professional career, and at the same time, it’s your first contact with your recruiter. Before the interview, the interviewer gets to know you through this paper segment that you send him. CV’s are required for almost every job application, so you should be thorough when creating your resume.
In most cases than not, the process of making a resume usually suffers from the same flaws. To boil things down a little, let’s try and group these flaws into three segments:
So let’s say you’ve narrowed down your most important and relevant work experience and education. Now you are looking for jobs and figuring how to apply your resume as effectively as possible. But something happens. Somewhere there seems to be a glitch in the matrix. Your CV doesn’t get the attention you think it deserves.
Undoubtedly, sometimes people aim for a job but don’t have the necessary skills or background for it. We’re not talking about that, as this article isn’t a coaching session or class. You have the right experience and credentials, but you don’t get that phone call. You don’t land that interview. What’s happening? Most likely, one of the three scenarios mentioned above. Don’t worry. I’ll detail all of them as we move on.
For now, just think of it like this. Your resume is like dining at a fancy restaurant. It’s not enough for the dish to taste great. It also has to look great. Gordon Ramsey would agree with me, and so should you. It’s not a matter of superficiality. When in the hands of recruiters, a CV must look in a certain manner. No recruiter has the time to go through a whole resume. They use their own filters and look for key points. Now, given that we’re talking about key points, the questions may be: How should a resume look?
How do you make an online resume?
This question resumes the whole point of the article. As you probably figured by now, an online resume should follow some basic principles. These principles will determine its overall quality and hiring effectiveness. You won’t use the same format and the same fonts you used for an online magazine.
Elements of a successful online resume:
This is by no means a complete list, nor are they placed in a particular order. They are all equally important and in need of consideration. In this regard, it doesn’t matter which one you pick to start with, as long as you check them all.
Your online resume is an extension of your professional career. As such, the principles and values that you employ as a professional should translate into your resume as well. The online medium is all about highlighting, and resumes make no exception to this rule.
Keeping note of keywords can just be the most valuable piece of advice we could give you. Given the rise of ATS machines, the filtering process is more stringent than ever. So getting yourself accustomed to some SEO is hugely beneficial.
Why use SEO to optimize your resume?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Shortly put, SEO is a process that aims to improve a website and its presence on the web in order to meet search engine algorithms’ requirements to show up high in search engine result pages (SERP), thus bringing in more visitors/potential buyers.
The principle is similar to ATS software. If the software doesn’t recognize some keywords specific to the job you’re applying for, then it will filter your application out.
Making your resume for a specific job means using a particular job-related language. Add as many relevant keywords as possible but avoid stuffing. If, for instance, you are a UX designer, then maybe you’ll want to include relevant keywords such as prototype design, storyboarding, mockups, or wireframing.
Or maybe you work in the legal department. Some of your keywords could be adjudication, corporate law, contract law, briefs, affidavits, etc.
You don’t want to compensate for anything by using keywords. Remember, keywords are there to help direct the recruiter’s eyes and the algorithm behind the ATS’ brain. That’s all.
Taking SEO into consideration when making your resume, you’ll need to focus on:
Before we move on and see how to translate these principles effectively, there is one other important aspect we need to take into consideration.
Hard versus soft skills
When referring to skills, there is a common distinction between hard and soft skills.
Hard skills refer to translatable, quantifiable, on-point skills. They allow you to tackle specific (if not all) job requirements and are acquired through training or experience. There is not much room for interpretation when talking about them. You either know Photoshop, or you don’t. Soft skills, on the other hand, are more like traits. They are not unique to a certain job but are more universal, and in this regard, not as specific. Skills like empathy, or team collaboration, fall under the umbrella of soft skills.
Take a look at the list below for a more direct comparison between the two:
As you can see, soft skills, although they can be trained to a certain degree, are more innate than hard skills. A person can be naturally flexible, while no one is born with programming skills. Maybe Bill Gates, but it’s debatable whether he is human or not.
Although soft skills are important when making your resume think of them as complementary for your hard skills. Hard skills are your biggest strength and selling force. They require time and resources, which eventually translates into cost for your employer. It costs money to train a person to learn how to code in C++. Depending on the level of proficiency required, such training could take anywhere between months, years, or even your entire lifespan. Kidding, but you get the message.
Why use an online resume maker such as Flipsnack
There are four strong arguments to use Flipsnack’s online resume builder:
The fundamentals of making an online resume
It finally came to this. It’s time to break down the fundamentals of making a resume. These sections will be the permanent tenets of your online resume.
An important point before we move on to them, the most common practice when sorting your work experience and education is to do it in reverse chronological order, starting with the latest and finishing with the first. This may not work for a baking recipe, but it does for your resume. It’s a small but essential detail.
Skills can be perishable, so the latest ones are the most relevant for the position you’re applying for. They are (or should be) consolidated, but they are also fresh, which plays a huge role. So when creating your resume, be sure to go with the reverse chronological order.
This is the first section of your resume. Here any recruiter will absolutely need to see some contact information. This information usually refers to a phone number, email address, and your residence. The city and country are relevant, as many jobs require a physical presence. So for them, this type of information can be critical in their decision-making process.
Short Bio section/ About
This section allows you a bit of flexibility, as there is no imposed standard of how it should look. Try to keep it a few sentences long and be as original as possible without losing sight of the professional aspect. Write about how a perfect day or job looks for you. What are your aspirations, and what are your defining traits or characteristics?
Try to orient this section so that it speaks more directly for the job you’re applying for. Add those characteristics that could reflect in the employers’ job requirements. It’s this attention to detail that could make you get first place in the recruitment process. Figuring out how to make a resume, I found this step to be vital. But don’t worry. I know it can be a genuine pain to talk about yourself. That’s why reading on, you’ll find some starting point examples. Fictional Bio’s that could inspire you.
Now that the recruiter knows a bit about yourself and knows where and how to contact you, it’s time to present him with some facts. By facts, I mean work background. Why? Because your work background and education are like hard skills. They are quantifiable and measurable. If you worked as a real estate agent for five years, then there is enough room to believe that you are experienced in that domain.
If your job history is flooded with past experiences, try to limit yourself to the most significant ones. No recruiter will want to see a crowded resume. Formatting is important, and when making your online resume, you shouldn’t pass the three-page benchmark. With some exceptions, three pages are plenty of room to expand upon.
Some don’t include this section, but we’ve found that it’s best practice to do so. Your education history comes as a supplement to your work background. It’s great if you previously activated in the same area you are now applying for. Still, it’s even better if you are also formally trained in that domain.
Even if what you’ve studied is different, you should still consider adding it. If you are a graduate of philology, then maybe you have a way with words that could make you the next Hemingway. Or just a great talker, that can also suffice. Or perhaps you’re a maths graduate. Then numbers are right down your alley, and numerical reasoning is a piece of cake for you. You see where I’m getting at. The educational background is a component that can further help the recruiters get an insight into who you are and how you could be the right pick for the job.
Any type of certificate or online attendance to courses should be mentioned as they are an annex both to your work background and education history.
Your online resume could definitely benefit from the presence of such information. If there is none, then be sure to exclude the section altogether. Don’t leave a blank space or fill it with irrelevant data. The point is not to brag, but to impress, and we impress with relevant facts.
Next on the list are skills. We already tackled this segment when we mentioned the distinction between hard and soft skills. Adding on that, try to figure out the most relevant hard skills for the job you’re applying for, and then add some soft skills that compliment them.
If you’re applying for a graphic design position, then Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw are imperative to mention. If you’re more on the creative side, add Creativity alongside them, and you have a more complete recipe. Your skills will eventually be put to the test. Still, until then, the recruiter will get a chance to see how you evaluate yourself. By adding a skills section, you build a more complete and relevant picture.
Contests, publications, mentions, or any of the sort, if any, will go right after the Skills section. As you probably noticed by now, we are going down the relevancy spiral. Sure, publications are important, but mainly for you, not your employer. Experience and formal education and training can substitute a publication. The other way around, not so much.
As the title suggests, this section is optional. It’s more like an accompanying note than a necessity, but anyway, it can make for a nice touch.
Hobbies can help recruiters see how you would integrate with the team if the job is project-based. Or it could help them know how you translate some of your skills or abilities into side projects. Whatever the reason, if you are to include hobbies, be sure to leave this section last, as an addition to an already complete resume.
Note: You can juggle between the placement of sections, remembering to highlight the fundamental ones first. These are:
- Work history
- Educational background
They are the quantifiable ones, so they should always go first.
Different types of online resumes
Now that we’ve outlined some general principles and a basic structure, let’s take a look and see how this can be applied depending on the profession.
A real estate agent’s resume will look different than a graphic designer’s resume. It makes complete sense. The jobs are focused around different requirements. That being said, we picked some general professions and will walk you through the appropriate resume templates for each and every one of them. Without further ado, our first pick is the most common one.
This may just be the more straightforward one out of the bunch. Professional can mean a whole lot of things, but in this case, we’ll refer to that type of resume, which speaks of clarity and consistency. Don’t get me wrong, all resumes should be like this! But with this
professional manager resume template, you get a more stripped-down version of design, focusing on simplicity.
This template is just one example of how a professional resume could look like. Regardless of the template you choose, just remember to:
- Add your contact information and personal details
- List your education background
- List your work experience and certifications
- Add in the relevant skills that the job description
- Add all other information that you deem relevant, but remember to stay concise
This type of online resume template is perfect for most industries. Business, architecture, legal attorneys, for any job that requires a suit, this resume template can be an ideal fit.
Real Estate resume
You realtors have an active job. Always on the lookout for prospects and customers. As such, the first thing to consider when making your online resume is to employ as many active verbs as possible. The terminology you use is vital as you infuse your resume with a dynamic inherent to your job description.
Tip 1: Add active verbs like: negotiate, sell, promote, prospect, evaluate, seal, close, etc.
Apart from this, when possible, try to quantify your experience as much as possible. Show numbers, percentages, everything that has a numerical value, and can highlight your successes in the industry.
Tip 2: This simple realtor resume template is crisp, clean, and professional. Under the Additional skills section, make sure to list some of your most important hard or soft skills. You know better than us that your profession requires you to employ a wide range of skills. Mention them, let recruiters know.
About section, starting point example:
“Experienced realtor, with strong negotiation skills, my area of expertise is residential buildings. With over five active years in the real estate industry, my competence stretches from prospecting and evaluating potential clients and properties to closing deals that benefit both the buyer and seller. My clients always see me as dependable and trustworthy because I never lose sight of their best interests. The measure of my success depends in no small part on their satisfaction, and as such, communicating effectively has become my second nature.
I like to look at my approach not merely as selling but as identifying and offering long term solutions. My past experience is telling of this. I take pride in selling, until now, properties worth 5 million dollars. As I continuously try to better myself, new challenges appear. The real estate world is volatile, and as a consequence, adaptability is critical. I firmly believe that these characteristics are recognizable in my approach and professional attitude, and I look forward to continually proving them.”
For the professors out there, we’ve selected this teacher resume template. It’s simple in design, maintaining that classical structure we’re all familiar with.
When constructing it, make sure to include:
- Teaching/ Work Experience
- Publications (if any)
- Awards (if any)
Publications can be a decisive factor, so if you are a published author or your work is featured in relevant publications, then make sure to add this to your resume. The same goes for awards.
In terms of writing, employ the same tip as with a realtor resume. Add strong action words. Words like teach, interact, inspire, innovate, anything that can be relevant and sparkle interest.
It goes without saying that proofreading is vital. As a teacher’s resume, this document needs to be stripped of every possible grammatical inconsistency. Be specific, proofread, and write an ambitious objective! I cannot emphasize enough just how important this aspect is. You are a beacon of light for your students, and this must be shown.
If you need more inspiration, check out all the teacher resume template examples we have within our dedicated category.
- Use active words
- Add an ambitious objective
About section, starting point example:
“As an ambitious professional, my main goal is to inspire students to better themselves. I believe teaching is a collaborative effort. Thus constantly engaging your pupils becomes the main challenge. Having interacted with students of different backgrounds, I like to innovate as much as possible in my teaching technique. Through this interaction, I get to learn as much from them as they do from me. Effective communication can be achieved only through careful listening and openness. I believe in the tradition of a teacher as a mentor as someone who sends you on a path and helps you take the first steps. I believe this to be my main attribute and qualifying argument.“
For the medical staff, we propose this registered nurse resume template. We tried to keep our focus on cleanliness, hence the all-white background, as with a doctor or nurse resume, you’ll have to do the heavy lifting. These resumes are usually the longest, as physicians require a ton of certifications to profess. With great power comes great responsibility, right?
For your summary, try to include a list of your accomplishments, those milestones you achieved, and make you the perfect candidate.
Focus on the experience and accomplishments sections. As with previous examples, use action words. Nurture, care, listen, treat, and so on. Here soft skills are vital as you interact with people daily. Interpersonal skills are a must, and you should include them. One example of a soft skill needed would thus be empathy.
Also, add your license, your volunteer work, awards, and publications.
As we all like lists, here is another one for you. Things to include when making your online doctor resume:
- Active words
- Hard and soft skills
- License, awards, publications
- Volunteer work
About section, starting point example:
“With extensive years of experience under my belt as a professional physician, I pride myself on maximizing patient wellness. I continuously seek to deliver healthcare excellence while remaining adept in diagnosing and strategizing the best possible treatment plans for any given patient. As a naturally empathetic person, my patients’ mental state of mind is just as important as their physical state. My volunteer work speaks clearly of this, as I still activate as an ambulance emergency assistant on a regular basis.”
Graphic designer resume
When including your contact information, make sure to add a link to your online portfolio. You should display your university, location, degree type, major, awards, expositions (if any), honors, awards, certificates. Don’t worry, we’ll make a list for you guys also.
Again, it’s imperative to use as many action words as possible. Words like create, imagine, deploy, and everything else related, are relevant and directly characterize your day to day activities as a graphic designer. Be sure to add them.
As a graphic designer, you should try, when figuring out how to make your online resume, to add some creativity to your CV’s design.
Take a look at this fashion designer resume template:
I chose to show you a fashion designer resume to let you know that our template’s names and functionality aren’t set in stone. You can select any template you desire and edit it according to your desired job or profession.
I’ll show you a more direct representation of this in a moment when I’ll edit a completely random resume template and adapt it to a graphic designer’s resume. Until we get to that, here’s a list of the items that you should necessarily include in making your resume as a designer:
- University, location, contact information
- Work experience and projects
- Your degree
- Awards, honors, publications
Regarding hard and soft skills, take a look at the picture below to get a clearer image of what you should insist on. Again, it’s essential to differentiate between the two of them, and hopefully, this list will be of some benefit:
About section, starting point example:
“As a seasoned artist, I try to express myself as much as possible through the means of my artistic lenses. I am proficient in both freehand drawing and digital illustration. Passionate about everything that falls under the umbrella of art, my main expertise revolves around creating a strong and compelling brand image that can evoke any type of emotion. I am Adobe certified, so their cloud is my second home. Imaginative and highly ambitious, I am always on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities.”
The Cover Letter
The cover letter is the expansion pack of your resume. Although not all employers ask for it, it’s best practice to have one ready. Why? Because in the cover letter, you get to further expand on your motivations while also presenting some sound arguments for why you are the best fit for the job. Your resume must be considered a general approach, while the cover letter is a more applied argumentation. Here you must present a clear, punctual justification for why you are the tallest tree in the forest. Or the best, or…you get the idea.
For the employers that ask for a cover letter, they usually present you with a couple of questions, a mini-interview if you will, as a preliminary step. Treat these questions seriously. They can play a role down the line. Maybe you can mention or expand upon them in your interview. That would make for a great first impression. Not only did you meet their criteria, but you also have shown an inquisitive nature. Good job! If there are no questions or requirements for your cover letter, then imagine some yourself. Telling them why you’re the right person is mandatory, so articulate some answers and be prepared, be ready.
In conclusion, the main point I want you to get from this article is that resumes are more than just plain documents you send over to strangers. Recruiters look for certain details. In this regard, online resumes must be thought of as an online mirror towards your professional career and aspirations.
We all have dreams, and most of the time, our goals are interlinked with a job. That’s the beauty of the modern world. We need resources to build that life we dream about. A correctly formatted and created online resume adds to your chances of being recruited. This alone is a sufficient reason to treat your resume with the utmost consideration. Once you check the boxes I’ve outlined for you above, you’re halfway there.
When deciding how to make a resume for you, I went full berserk and edited our template fully. Taking a look at the above example, you can see just how easy it is to completely transform a template to fit multiple jobs. It literally takes just a couple of minutes and it’s done. I added shapes, played with layers, completely changed the colors, and even played a bit with the Contrast and Exposure.
Now you only have to download your work as a ready for print PDF, and you’re done.
Or, if you want a more straightforward edit, you can go with something in the neighborhood of this:
But given that it’s a graphic designer resume, I strongly recommend you go with the first example.
The main point is that it’s easy, professional, and fast to make a resume that immediately catches your eye.
So, now that you know how to make a resume, the only question remaining is ‘When will recruiters get a glance at your astonishing resume?’. Don’t keep them waiting. Go ahead and set your mark. You are ready, and so is your online resume.