How to Write Your Resume in 2018

by My Perfect Resume

If you're thinking about looking for a new job in 2018 but dread the prospect of having to revise (or completely rewrite) your resume, well, you're not alone. Resume writing is no one's idea of a good time; that said, most people blow the work that's involved with revising or writing one way out of proportion.

Once you break down the five sections that make up a resume, and gain an understanding of how to write and format the information that goes into each section, you'll probably find yourself breathing a lot easier. Really, the work involved isn't that hard! Read on for guidance on how to dust off your resume for a 2018 job search, and know this right off the bat--you can get help with resume formatting, or get started off on a solid foot by using resume templates, at any point in your gear-up phase! Here we go.

  1. The Header

If you're thinking the header goes at the top of your resume, you're right. The header contains basic contact information--your name, phone number, and email address. If you're applying for a job via an online application form, note your city and state in the header (but skip including your full street number address; if you're applying via snail mail, include your full address). You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile or an online portfolio (or both). 

To make your header really pop, consider having your name appear in a slightly larger font, or perhaps in a different color (but don't go too crazy in the color department). Here's the final order for your header:

  • Name
  • City and State
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • LinkedIn URL (optional)
  • Online Portfolio URL (optional)
  1. The Summary Statement

Think of the summary statement as your seconds-long elevator pitch to a recruiter or hiring manager--what are you going to tell them about yourself, your career, and your skills that's going to grab their attention, right away? Your summary must be clear and concise; around 3-5 sentences, tops. Make sure you highlight talents and skills that align with the job ad you're responding to. Also touch on what's motivating you to apply to this particular job--for example, a career change, or perhaps a desire to grow your career by taking on new responsibilities.

  1. The Skills and Technologies Section

This section of your resume should note not only the hard skills you're a master of (for example, a software program, or a skill that can be only acquired through formal training/education, like budget management), but also, some of the key soft skills you've acquired. Soft skills are personal attribute skills--for example, communication, time management, or problem-solving skills--that typically are honed via experience in the work world.

 Make sure the skills you profile align with the skills that are noted in the job ad. And pay attention to resume keywords--if the job ad calls for "superior verbal communication skills" (and you have that skill in your tool belt), write it out in your Skills section as "superior verbal communication skills." Do not write it out as "superior oral communication skills." When you mimic the language used in a job to an exact degree, your chances of getting your resume past an ATS greatly improve.

  1. The Work Experience (or Work History) Section

Many jobseekers make the mistake of packing this section of their resume solely with tasks and responsibilities from current and past positions. This is not the right approach. Aim to focus more on quantifiable achievements from your current and past positions. Prove your worth with numbers! For example, "Increased regional sales by 22% over six-month time span," or "Wrote and edited the supporting text for 17 multimedia-enhanced online business courses per-school semester, delivering all content in advance of assigned due dates."

A general rule of thumb regarding work experience and length of time in the work world? Chronicle 10 to 15 years of work experience. If there are positions from your distant past that don't relate to the job you're applying for, consider leaving them out (especially if they go back past the 15-year mark).

The work experience section should be in reverse chronological format--start with your current or most recent position, and work backward from there. Aim for around 5 to 8 bullet points of descriptive text--a mix of achievements and responsibilities--for each current and past position you profile. Also--you don't need periods at the end of each achievement or responsibility. Finally, remember to use the present tense when writing about a current position, and the past tense when writing about a past position!

  1. The Education Section

You'll lead off this section with your most recent degree, and go backward from there. Name the degree earned, the college/university where you earned the degree, and the city and state where the college/university is located. It's okay to leave off dates of attendance if the dates go back far, or if they'll cause a gap in your resume. 

If your degree is in progress, write "in progress," or you can write something like "anticipated graduation date 20xx." You're free to include magna cum laude, or cum laude, if you'd like. And you only need to list your high school diploma if it's your sole formal education--if you have a college/university degree listed, it will be assumed that you graduated from high school.

Best of luck with your job search in 2018!

My Perfect Resume has a resume builder that includes dozen of resume summary samples you can tailor to your experience. Also find cover letter examples that will help you craft a winning one in no time at all!