Ready to hit the job applications? You’re probably hard at work on your resume, stuffing it full of awesome anecdotes, past work experiences, and other tidbits for hiring managers to look at. Just in case you’re unsure what a good starting resume should look like, we’ve got some awesome tips for you – as well as a resume template to use at the end of this article.
Let’s get into it!
The importance of writing a good resume (and why you need a resume template)
Resumes exist to summarise your education and work life. They’ll accompany you for the rest of your working life, so this isn’t something you can work on for a day and leave to collect dust for the next five years. No – a resume grows alongside you, and it plays a huge part in getting your job application noticed (especially if it’s optimised with industry keywords).
But what makes a resume genuinely good and effective? Even without work experience (especially for first-time job-seekers), there are four main pillars to focus on when crafting your resume.
Needless to say, a resume isn’t your autobiography. Keep things professional and leave out personal, emotional language. That way you’ll cut down your word count and keep things as short as possible.
Of course, you might be thinking that keeping a resume short will sooner or later become harder as you gain more work experience. That’s a valid point – but at this stage, you’re still looking for your first (or second) job. Keep things organised and limit your resume to a maximum of two pages.
PRO TIP: Remember that the hiring manager will be looking through hundreds of resumes and applications. Put yourself into their shoes and imagine what it would be like to have to read 3-page resumes from a pool of 200 job applicants. #RIP
You wouldn’t waste your time on an article that puts you to sleep. Hiring managers wouldn’t waste time on a resume that utterly bores them, too! This is why copywriting is important – you want your words to capture attention.
Don’t write your resume like an instruction manual, or something out of a history textbook. We suffered enough in school with our readings – now spare our poor hiring managers. Keep things fresh, inject your actual voice into the writing, and make it interesting.
PRO TIP: A part of copywriting is knowing how to make your writing flow. Even if it’s a job description, mix things up and vary your sentence length. Don’t drag things out or fluff things up – you don’t have a word count to meet.
Don’t go off the rails with your writing, though. Keep every part of your resume relevant, from your resume career objective to your personal summary and your individual work experiences. Hiring managers often come prepared before they review applications, so they have a pretty good idea what they want to see in your resume.
PRO TIP: Remove work experiences that aren’t directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. Sure, you can serve five cups of coffee at once and you clean countertops with terrifying speed, but that isn’t going to get you that job in finance.
You might think that design isn’t crucial when it comes to your professional summary. That may be true, but think about it this way: would you hire someone whose resume is a garbled mess of words, or would your eyes linger on the copy that’s more well-designed? If it’s pleasing to your eyes, it’ll be pleasing to your would-be employer’s eyes!
PRO TIP: Organise your information with sensible design. Don’t go too over the top and make it a multi-coloured nightmare, but use accents and nice colour schemes to make things look good. Check out these well-designed resume templates here.
The structure of a beginner’s resume
So now that you’re all caught up on what makes a good resume work, here’s how a typical resume template would look like.
1. The personal statement / objective summary
This is where you tell every hiring manager that glances at your resume about who you are and what you’re good at. For example, a professional digital marketer would write something like this:
“I’m a trained digital marketing strategist with a keen interest in running large-scale, global campaigns and working with diverse teams across the world. My expertise lies in social media optimisation and copywriting for different media and products, and I continue to seek professional opportunities to hone my craft.”
2. Work experience
Next, jump straight into your professional work experience and history. Remember what your hiring managers have to do every single day: look through hundreds of resumes and pick out the best candidates. And to be the best candidate is to have a resume that contains the most relevant information possible. Keep things focused, and remove old employment history that doesn’t fall in line with your coveted role.
3. Education and certifications
The next most relevant thing after your work experience? Your qualifications, of course! This includes certificates and training sessions taken up over the course of your professional career or otherwise. Also, you can do away with your PSLE and ‘O’ Level scores – they’re not really relevant by the time you come of age and start looking for your first full-time gig.
4. Fun facts and hobbies
A resume is a professional document, but prospective employers want to know who you are, too. While this isn’t the place to gush about your latest hyperfixation or obsession with video games, you can make a quick list and let your interviewers get to know your personal side before they actually meet you. Keep this section the shortest!
Now that you’re ready to create your own resume, check out our resume template here for a little nudge in the right direction!
GOT YOUR RESUME TEMPLATE ALL SET UP? Check out the rest of our articles related to your road to employment:
- How to follow up and network with employers after a career fair has ended
- Networking as an introvert in Singapore: A quick guide
- Which job portal in Singapore should millennials use? Here’s our top 6