How long does it take to write a resume
Updated: Apr 7
I recently came across an article that said “Write your resume in under 10 minutes”.
Catchy headline. And I assume a lot of people would have fallen for the services offered by that company. But why shouldn’t they?
It may seem a little old school but I prefer to spend some time when it comes to writing a resume. And while a resume is not meant to land you a job, it will get you an interview. It summarizes your work experience, education, skills and achievements. All the important things that a recruiter will consider before rejecting or shortlisting your job application.
On average, a job posting attracts 250 resumes according to Glassdoor. Remember this statistic when you drafting your resume or it will be over looked. The resume should look as good as it can possibly be
After all, it is the only document on which the recruiter will decide whether they are going to call you for the interview or not. So your one shot better hit it out of the park!
What does the hiring manager want to see in a resume anyway?
They all are looking for 3 critical pieces of information.
What did you do? How did you do it? What was the result?
That’s it! If you can answer these 3 questions, you are off to a good start. They are not scanning your resume to see if you’re a soccer fan or not. Summarizing these 3 questions is the resume skill that employers are searching in a job application.
Clear, easy to understand language is the key. And that is where most job seeker get beaten. They fill the resume with a lot of jargon, unnecessary details which takes away the attention of the recruiter from the important stuff. And your resume will then be thrown into the pile of resumes.
You have only 7 seconds to impress the recruiter. If the recruiter is not able to say that you are fit for the job with just a 7 second glance, your chances are drastically reduced.
How do you write a resume?
If this is the first time you’re hunting a job and writing a resume, you should spend some time researching some resume examples. You can use a resume builder which has resume templates which can give you an idea about the format and the structure.
These resume creators take all your basic information and organize it for you. This eliminates a lot of work for you. If you’re not very good at marketing yourself, some good but paid options will also help you with the content.
Nevertheless, the best option according to me is to write it on your own. With a clean slate.
1. Pick a format
Once you have gone through the resume examples the resume builders have, you can choose one of your own. You want to cover your work experience as well as your non non work experience.
If you’re still confused, structure it like this
- Professional summary [What and who you are]
- Professional experience AND achievements [Skills which can be quantified or results of your actions, company name, location, dates]
- Education [University degrees]
- Certifications and professional training [Awards, patents if any]
- Volunteer work [NGOs etc]
For freshers, you should keep education above professional experience.
Please avoid photos, DOB and any other detail which is not critical for the hiring manager.
Your resume will often be parsed through an ATS. ATS is a job application tracker that employers use to track job applications. These application trackers reduce your resume to a standard format and are used by online job websites as well. So adding colors, pictures or any fancy design will make the output illegible. It should be clean, neat and easy to read. Using bullet points instead of paragraphs makes it easier to read.
2. Organize the information
By far the most common and obvious method is to list the information chronologically. That is to list the information from the most recent to least recent. For people who have been working, this means that your work experience goes above your education.
There is also a new format that is gaining popularity. Functional or skill based resumes. These are not the first choice and are generally favored when you have a career change.
3. Start to write it out
Once you have all this information, you have done nearly half the work. Now you might wonder why you’ve done only half the work even after doing all this. That is because you now have to write all this information in a persuasive and confident tone. Remember, you have to sell yourself. Not just jot everything down.
And if you’re writing everything from scratch, it’ll take you a couple of hours.
One common shortcut that people adopt if you’re using an online job website is copying and pasting the job description into their resume. Even if you copy only a small part of the job description, it is strikingly obvious. And most job descriptions are badly worded. So while this shortcut might make the work easy, it will let you down on the final output.
Write the first draft and read it the next day. Put yourself in the employers shoes. Would you hire someone with a resume like yours? It is very common to write several drafts before finalizing your resume.
Just make sure that you don’t oversell yourself so much that the resume is longer than 2 pages. Ideally it should be 1 page if it your first or second job but it can stretch up to 2 pages if you have a lot of experience.
Then have someone else read your resume and ask them for their opinion. Can they easily paint a picture of background? If yes, you’ve done a good job. And if you’re using an online job website, you have the flexibility to tailor your resume according to the job description.
If however, you still feel that you cannot write it on your own, you can hire a professional resume writer.
The answer to ‘how long does it take to write a resume?’ is ‘how badly do you want that new job’.