Do You Know How To Write a Resume?

Hello, again, Reader!

Today, we’re going to discuss the importance of writing in marketing yourself to potential employers. The first thing you’re going to want to do is have a good resume available for them. What is a resume exactly? Well, Reader, a resume is a list of your background and experience relevant to the job you are looking to apply to. It is usually the first thing your employers see and is used to measure you against both competitors and the parameters of the job you are applying for. Together, we’re going to establish a simple how-to for resume writing.

How Do I Organize My Resume?

There are many sources for instructions and templates explaining you how to write your resume, but generally speaking, they all chalk up to the same thing – your resume is broken down into several categories presenting your interests and history. These categories include, but are not limited to, your current contact information, a professional/executive summary describing your goals, academic background, career history, skills, and activities.

Sometimes, students will include categories such as honors and awards or volunteer history. Students might also include their GPA or relevant coursework on their resume, if necessary.

The above sample resume shows each of the categories listed to help the future employer get to know the applicant. It includes the applicant’s objective (summary), education with relevant coursework (note this applicant is a student), work experience with usage of power words when describing duties in previous position, skills relevant to the position, and involvement with activities in other areas of interest.

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This sample resume also includes tips for each category in bolded print. Let’s discuss more below.

What Goes in A Resume?

Reader, it’s important to remember your audience when writing your resume – and everything else you write or say for that matter. When writing your resume, you have to think of the job you are applying for.

Current Contact Information

It is important to include your current contact information – full name, phone number, and home and email address. This helps employers to know how to reach you – especially if they decide they would like to interview you for an open position.

Professional/Executive Summary

For your professional/executive summary (or, in this case, objective) it is important to include your goal. Most people choose three adjectives or verbs they feel best describe them to help amplify their goal. In the above sample, the applicant uses the words ‘develop,’ ‘implement,’ and ‘coordinate.’ In my resume, which is included in my ABOUT page, I use the adjectives ‘determined,’ ‘inquisitive,’ and ‘positive’ to help describe myself and my goal.

Education

For your education category, you’ll want to include your most recent academic experience. If you have graduated a university/college, then you should include the name and date of graduation from your academic institution along with the type/title of your degree. The same is asked of high school students. If you are a student in university/college, you will want to include your place of education, grade level, intended date of graduation, and related coursework; sometimes, employers will ask for your GPA to make sure you are in good academic standing. The same standards are usually asked of high school students. If you are no longer continuing university/college, or education in general, but have not received a degree, you will want to put ‘some college’ and your most relevant coursework.

Work Experience and Skills

You’ll also want to include any previous work experience or skills you think are relevant and fit the position.

For example, the sample resume we previously looked at included several bullet points describing duties at their previous work site. This is important because employers want to know if you have the necessary experience. Sometimes, employers may call your previous work site for reference. When writing for this section, it is a good idea to include the use of power-words like ‘lead,’ ‘maintain,’ and ‘perform,’ These words are usually verbs and help paint a picture of your previous work experience at a specific site. Please, note that the same power words do not appear multiple times. This helps to drive each point home as well as keep the interest of the person reviewing your application. The Muse provides a spectacular list of 185 powerful action verbs that will make your resume stand out. 

Additionally, your skills will highlight other relevance not mentioned in your job duties. This might include your knowledge of programs, social media, management and communication skills, etc. This section could also house any certificates you might have such as any additional licenses (required or not required for your line of work).

How Do I Edit My Resume?

Reader, it is important to know that not everything that can go into a resume should go into a resume. As I said before, remember your audience! Using our sample resume as an example, our applicant would probably not want to apply to a position in politics because he or she does not have any relevant academic or work experience. However, they should feel free to apply to a medical position based on their resume.

Please, remember that your resume should grow as you do. Be mindful of any dated work experience you might have. You should include your most relevant experience towards the top of your experience section and place the rest of your experience in reverse-chronological order. Unless your experience is relevant to the position you are applying to, then you should consider removing it from your resume.

Lastly, please, think of the length and look of your resume. Employers go through tons of applications per day. In Josh Sanburn’s article from Time Magazine, he states that employers do not look at your resume for more than six seconds. He goes on to give several tips for editing a resume with the intention of making employers take their time reviewing it. Typically, your resume should not exceed one page. There are some exceptions; usually, this is based on years of work experience and/or change in careers. Additionally, each career and institution has a different ideal of professionalism. If you are going into a career of business, you’ll probably want to use certain colors or templates for your resume that are clean, mindful of whitespace, and on brand with the company. If you are pursuing a career in art, you might have a little more freedom with colors and style. Some good places to start looking for templates are, of course, Microsoft Word and Canva.

Share Your Thoughts!

Now that we’ve talked a bit about what should and shouldn’t go into your resume, do you feel there was anything I’ve missed or should highlight more? Of course, every resume will be a little different because each person and their experiences are different. What is your experience in writing or evaluating resumes? Do you have any tips for me?

Thanks, again, for visiting my page, and feel free to follow this blog and Instagram @thereadywriter.blog and leave your thoughts below!

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