Resume Resources for Writing an Effective Job Application

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 21, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When beginning your job search, it's essential to have an up-to-date and well-formatted resume document. A resume provides hiring managers with a summary of your qualifications and experience relevant to the job. Learning about available resources for writing your resume can help you create a better job application that potential employers notice. In this article, we discuss the definition of resume resources and the importance of a well-written job application, identify two crucial resources for writing your resume, and highlight several application tips.

What are resume resources?

When creating your job application, many resume resources are available to help you with the process. Having a well-written and thoughtful resume can be the difference between having your application never seen and receiving interest from a hiring manager. Resume resources, such as templates, tips on best practices, and job search information, can help you better your resume writing skills.

Related: How to Write a Compelling Resume Using Resume Templates

Why is having a well-written resume important?

When searching for a job, having a well-written resume is a vital component of the documentation included with your application. A resume is often the first impression a recruiter or hiring manager has of your skills and experience. Creating an exciting or engaging image is critical to receiving an interview request from a potential employer. Your written resume can create interest, encourage the reader to review the document, and reach out to learn more about you is the goal.

Your resume summarizes your work experience, skills, and qualifications for the position's hiring manager. Having a customized resume also helps your application proceed through the automated screening software many organizations use for job applications. This computerized software screens resumes for keywords or phrases and filters out unrelated applications.

Types of resume resources

There are several types of resources that you can use for support when writing and revising your resume. Below are two such resources that include using a resume builder and proper resume formatting:

Resume builders

If you're unsure how to write a resume, several resume builders are available free of charge. Resume builders are interactive, online resume templates that help you build a cohesive resume by inputting your information into the system. The program then formats the information for you into a comprehensive document. When using a resume builder, it's crucial you have all the relevant information on hand, including your education, previous work history, and details about the position for which you're applying.

For those looking for a resume builder, the Government of Canada Job Bank offers a resume builder that is free and easy to use. Pick the template that works best for you, fill in the blanks with the requested and relevant information, and then customize your resume to your liking. Using a resume builder can be incredibly helpful, as it takes much of the confusion out of how to craft and write a strong resume.

Related: 280 Resume Action Words for an Impactful Impression

Resume formatting

If you prefer to write your resume yourself without the help of a resume builder, it's essential to understand how to format the document correctly. First, there are three common ways of formatting a resume, including chronologically, functionally, or a combination of both:

Chronological format

Using a chronological format means you list your work experience on your resume from the most current position to the oldest. This design is a traditional format and is best for job candidates with a consistent employment record. For example, if you've spent several years in your profession progressing into more senior positions, a chronological resume shows potential employers your career advancement and skills development. When writing this format of resume, you typically list information in the following order:

  • Contact details

  • Career summary or goals statement

  • Work experience, starting with your most recent position

  • Relevant skills for the job

  • Education, certifications, or professional credentials

  • Additional information pertinent to the job, such as volunteer work or special interests

Related: How to Build a Resume and Different Types of Resumes

Functional format

A functional resume focuses on the relevant skills and competencies for the position rather than your work experience. This is an ideal format for someone who has gaps in their work history or has inconsistent work experience. For example, if you've been out of the workforce for a considerable time, you can use a functional resume to highlight transferrable skills relevant to the job. If you have volunteer or non-paid work that shows relevant skills, you can add this information under work experience. When writing a functional resume, you typically list information in the following order:

  • Contact details

  • Objective statement or headline

  • Relevant skills for the job

  • Work experience

  • Education, certifications, or professional credentials

  • Additional information relevant to the job, such as volunteer work or special interests

Related: Highlighting Your Skills Using Resume Bullet Points

Combination format

A combination resume contains elements from a chronological and functional format. Ideal for job seekers with minimal gaps in work history, a combination resume allows you to focus on the work experience and skills most relevant to the position. The style of this resume is more flexible, and you can choose to list your work history or skills first, depending on which focus is more substantial for you in the relevant position. When writing a combination format resume, you typically list information in the following order:

  • Contact details

  • Headline statement or career summary

  • Work experience

  • Relevant skills for the job

  • Education, certifications, or professional credentials

  • Additional information relevant to the job, such as volunteer work or special interests

Resume writing tips

Along with helpful resources on writing a resume, many tips are available to improve your job application process. Here are four tips to consider when writing or revising your resume:

Proofread your resume

Proofreading your resume is an essential aspect of writing a resume. Ensure that your resume is accurate and free from errors, including grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting. Even minor mistakes can undermine your professionalism and credibility and cause hiring managers to pass on your application. In addition, ensure that your resume is accurate, such as the dates and employers of your work history are correct and reflect your period of employment.

One of the most effective ways to proofread your resume is by reading it aloud. Reading aloud provides you with the opportunity to catch minor errors you might otherwise miss. It also ensures that the sentences flow into one another and make sense to the reader.

Write a captivating headline

Writing a captivating resume headline or summary statement is an effective way to create a positive first impression with the hiring manager. An exciting headline grabs the recruiter's attention, encouraging them to read further. A resume headline is a single sentence of approximately 15 words summarizing your skills, experience, and qualifications relevant to the job. This sentence summarizes who you are and what you can offer the company. Instead of focusing on a career objective as your resume statement, consider writing a headline to show why you're the best candidate for the position.

Below are several examples of interesting resume headlines for a variety of positions:

  • Legal Assistant with 10 Years of Intellectual Property Litigation Experience

  • Engaging Cocktail Bartender with Eight Years Experience in High-End Nightclubs

  • Bilingual Elementary School Teacher Specializing in Language Arts and Science

  • Energetic Accounting Graduate with Manufacturing and Production Experience

  • Petroleum-Industry Project Manager with Well Completion and Fracking Experience

Customize each job application

Another important aspect of submitting job applications is customizing each resume and cover letter. Many companies use automated software for accepting and screening resumes for available positions. When submitting your resume, the software filters the document for targeted keywords and phrases that the hiring manager requires. If an application doesn't match any keywords, the program rejects the resume or files it away for future positions.

When you customize your resume for each position, you ensure that the hiring manager is more likely to see your application. The most effective way to customize your resume is to gather information from the job posting or description. For example, consider the list of skills and competencies the company has highlighted. Then, you can use these words or phrases in your resume to ensure you make it through the automated screening process.

Related: 14 Resume Writing Tips to Help You Land a Job

Provide specific and quantifiable information

When writing your resume, it's advisable to provide specific and quantifiable information when possible. You can add this level of detail into your professional summary or headline, the skills section, and your work experience. In addition, offering specific examples helps the reader understand your level of expertise in a particular area. For example, if you're writing about your experience with budgetary responsibilities, offer a measurement of your skills.

In this example, you may state how you saved your previous employer over $5,000 of expenses by diligently managing the office supplies budget. When providing examples or details, ensure you present accurate and honest information, as the hiring manager may check with your references to verify the data.

Related: Effective Objectives for Your Sales Resume (With Examples)

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