How to Write A Resume
If you are looking for a job you can always start the process by writing your own resume. If you are courageous enough to take this step by yourself, there are some online resources that can help you to do this. To write your own resume you need to know what kind of job and at what level you are looking to be hired for. You also need to describe your schooling, work experiences, and training experiences very well. One way to start learning how to do this is to look at the provided resume examples. There are also tips and guidelines to help you write your own resume below. The entire process of writing and then revising and finalizing a resume can take several hours, so prepared to dedicate this time to it. It is also important to know the different formats required for different levels of positions. There is a specific format for an entry level resume, as well as for executive resumes. Those with extensive academic backgrounds should learn how to write a CV, or Curriculum Vitae.
Use this great guide to writing resumes and cover letters and you will have many job offers in as little as one month’s time!
Resume Writing Tips
- While it is always a good idea to use spellcheck, you should also reread the resume yourself to be sure that everything is grammatically correct and conveyed logically and correctly.
- Be sure that all information is as organized as possible. Do not use long descriptions, but be concise and accurate. You should also include any bit of work experience that you can if you can make the description relevant to the job you are applying for.Do not make the resume about you – make it about what skills you have that will benefit the person you hope to hire you. Be as specific as possible about how these skills will help the company you are applying with.
- Be sure that you have a professional-looking email address that is up and working for you to put on the resume. You should also be sure that the phone number you provide as contact information has a professional-sounding voicemail message. Otherwise, employers will not view you as a serious candidate.
- If federal jobs are something that you hope to apply for, be sure that you understand the process of doing that and know how to properly prepare a federal resume. Federal resumes have much more specific information than other resumes.
Your Resume Should Provide Answers To These Questions
- Contact Information – Your first and last name and the best way to reach you (phone numbers, email, and home address)
- Job Objective – What is your goal in applying for this job?
- Education – What is your educational background and what have you learned at other jobs?
- Employment History – What is your work experience?
- Skills and Abilities – What can you do that is helpful to this job?
- Activities and Honors – What relevant activities are you involved in and what awards have you won?
- References – Who can the potential employer call to verify this information and give more information about you?
At the top of your resume should be a header that includes all of your contact information. Use the primary means of communication for this information, though you should always include at least your name, address, primary phone number, and an email address. If printing out your resume, use a larger type size for your name. It is also important to include both a local and a permanent address – especially if you are a college student or recent graduate.
Job Objective – A statement about your job objective is an optional part of your resume. However, it can tell a potential employer a lot about you and your skillset and goals. It gives employers a way to contextualize your resume as they consider it. They can tell what kind of work you are looking for, and from this, if you will be a good fit for the position they have to offer. For every different type of position or field that you are submitting a resume to you should have a unique job objective on your resume. An objective that is not specific is of no use, so if you do not want to or cannot write an objective for each individual application you should just leave it off of your resume altogether. It is also a possibility to create some resumes that do not have objective statements and some that do. This will make your application process easier. A good way to approach writing an objective statement is to write it in four different parts, the level of the position, the skills you want to use in that position, the actual position, and the overall field in which you hope to work. For both the skills and the actual position title be sure to use the job listing to tailor your objective statement appropriately.
This section of your resume should have as much information as you can provide about your educational history. You should include not only the names and locations of the institutions and schools you attended, but also the degrees earned and the subjects in which they were earned in. Be sure that when you are listing these that you put the official names of the schools and degrees. For instance, you need to state on your resume if you earned your degree from a state college or private university. Though casual terms may be familiar to you, they will not be to your employer. This is especially true if your employer contacts the school to verify any information about your education. You should also consider putting on your GPA. If you graduated with a cumulative GPA of above 3.0 it can be a help to your job search for you to put that on your resume. You can also consider putting on your GPA just for the classes in your major, however, if you calculate that yourself you must be careful as it can easily fall into the domain of falsifying resume information. The education section of your resume should also contain information about academic awards. Any awards that are included should be properly described when necessary. For example, national awards do not need to be described, but awards that are specific to your school or even major should be described on your resume. This will demonstrate your academic strengths and specific knowledge strengths to a potential employer.
The setup and format of the employment history section of your resume is going to differ depending on what type of work you have done its relation to the type of work you are seeking. Some industries and employers will even have specific resume formats that they expect you to follow for your employment history description. Be sure that you fully and impressively describe your experience, but be careful not to falsify information. One of the best ways to effectively phrase descriptions is to use active language and to use short phrases rather than full sentences. By doing this, you will increase the amount of space you have available to speak about your skills, abilities, and past experiences. Each description should seek to answer questions that the employer will have as he goes through each resume. Questions like “Why should this be the person I interview?” and “What is different about this applicant?” are ones that you should also have in mind as you write your resume. Be sure that you also include volunteer work or other work in your experience, but be sure that you are clear it was not full-fledged employment. It may be in your best interest to create two separate sections if this is the case – one for volunteer work and one for actual employment history.
Skills and Abilities
This section is sort of the extra credit section. If you have additional skills such as computer skills or language skills that you feel you could not accurately describe in the work experience. Computer skills such as the Microsoft Office programs or other programs such as Adobe, LexisNexis, etc. that you are proficient in become more important to include on a resume with each passing year. If relevant, musical and artistic skills should also be included.
Activities and Honors
Any relevant organizations that you have been involved in should be listed here. If an organization is not relevant, but you held a leadership position or demonstrated relevant skills in the organization than you should still include. Organizations for which you won awards should be included as well, as should any awards or honors that you have won independently. Be sure that you list only those organizations that you have been actually involved in, as potential employers might seek out information about your involvement.
For a paper resume, indicating that “references are available upon request” is sufficient. Be sure that before you write this and submit to a potential employer that you have three people who have agreed to serve as references for you. Former teachers, professors, employers, and supervisors are people who it is appropriate to use as references. Personal acquaintances are inappropriate to use as a job reference. Once the employer requests contact information for your references you can send the information on a separate sheet. Do not include the contact information on the resume itself.
Do you still think you have what it takes to write your own resume? If you do, that’s great. But if you are starting to have doubts it is worth your while to pay a professional. Check out this comparison chart of professional resume writing services to find the one that is best for you. Make sure your education, work, and skills are properly highlighted on your resume.