How to Write an Effective Resumé

January 29, 2018
Career Development

Writing a resumé is a skill that virtually no person is naturally good at.

Your resumé is a marketing document that gives your next boss a snapshot of your achievements, skills, and potential. Most employers will glance at it for between six and 15 seconds.

Can you effectively summarize all of the experiences, abilities, and work habits that make you unique and well-qualified for a job in 15 seconds? Probably not.

Your resumé doesn’t have to either. It just needs to make a strong impression for why you are the best candidate for a job. In times of tight competition, there are critical steps and best practices that you must follow to do that well.


You should always edit your resumé to be as specific to a job listing as possible. You would be surprised by how many people take the scattershot approach of applying to dozens of jobs using Quick Apply options.

If you want to be more competitive, look at the introduction, summary of responsibilities, and requirements in each job listing. Jot down any task or required skill in that post that you have experience in, whether direct or indirect.

Next, we recommend copying and pasting the listing into a word cloud generator. This will show you keywords in that listing. Write the most common keywords down because this will make a world of difference for ATS.


Over 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies use ATS. Before a human looks at your material, software will screen and rank your resumé based on how close a match its content and language are to a job’s listing. (Unless you're working with a recruiter who has direct access to a company's HR department, your resumé is likely filtered through this system.)

This doesn’t mean you should stuff your resumé with a listing’s keywords, but it is a call to sprinkle those keywords into spaces where they fit.

Let’s say a potential responsibility listed in a job ad is to:

• Identify relevant influencers that are part of the network for brand client campaigns.

On your resumé, you could write:

• Selected relevant influencers for brand client campaigns that led to a 10% increase in consumer engagement

You’ve presented your achievement while smoothly incorporating the key phrases relevant influencers and brand client campaigns in your bullet. Remember to prioritize sharing your achievements rather than only your responsibilities.


You may think that you:

• Managed client requests

But you were really a:

• Primary contact for clients, answering over 40 daily requests within a 30-minute timeframe for the FMCG accounts team

It’s much more illuminating for us to read about what you've achieved in your roles instead of a summary of responsibilities that don’t help us understand how you work and the results. This doesn’t mean that each bullet needs to be an achievement, but you should aim for a majority to be.

If you can quantify your accomplishments, all the better. People who read your resumé would love to know that your press release was read by 14 journalists at major publications. Numbers are quick indicators that further frame your candidacy and make your case stronger.


When it comes to the construction of your resumé, write in scannable and legible fonts like Times New Roman or Arial. You should remove blocks of text from your Experience section. It’s easier to have an impact with three-to-five bullet points per role than chunks of text. Each bullet should be no more than two lines. Include white space to prevent a cluttered look.

Unless you have over five years' experience, keep your resumé to one page. Use two only if you absolutely need it.

Nailing the perfect resumé design is an additional step for creatives. Free templates are available on Hloom and Canva. As with any creation, we recommend that you make something that represents you, provided it meets the criteria of scan-ability, legibility, and professionalism.


Your resumé is a brief overview of your professional profile. It functions as a preview that entices hiring managers to learn more about you. It doesn't have to show every job you've had - only those relevant to the role you're applying for. Even then, it won’t capture all of the details you want it to. That's what your portfolio and cover letter are for.

Take notes, be specific, be patient with the process, and be proud of your accomplishments!

Warm regards