Resume Writing 101

We’re getting in to the middle of the semester, and many of you may be starting to think about what comes after graduation! It’s peak season for applying to jobs and internships, and this can be very overwhelming. One of the first steps is creating the perfect resume! A resume is often the first thing a potential employer sees about you. It’s their first impression of you, so you want to make sure it wows them! We have compiled some tips to help you write a resume that stands out and shows all that you have to offer.

#1: Choose a format

There are 3 types of resume formats you can choose from.

  • Reverse-Chronological Format: This is the most traditional and common format. It starts with your contact information and a short summary of your career objective. Then, dive into your work history/experience (starting with the most recent position held). After this, you can highlight additional skills or honors and rewards you may have received. Finally, cover your education and any degrees or certifications that you have. This format emphasizes your work history and career progression, and is flexible for all types of job seekers.
Taken from Live Career
  • Functional Format: This format also starts with contact information. Then, list your strongest skills and qualifications. The work experience section should be concise, and does not necessarily have to include the time periods of employment. The purpose is to emphasize your skills and qualifications, not your experience. You should then include relevant skills you possess and examples of these. Finally, end with your education and awards/honors you may have. This is a good resume format if you do not have an extensive employment history and instead want to highlight your strengths and qualifications.
Taken from Resume Genius
  • Combination Format: This format combines the qualities of both chronological and functional formats. It focuses on both skills and work history/experience. This can be organized in a variety of ways, and include the same information as the above formats: contact information, skills and qualifications, work history (with dates and positions), education, and awards or honors. This format is great for applicants with a lot of experience in a certain field who want to highlight both skills and their job history.
Taken from Resume Genius

#2: Contact information

You’ve chosen your format, so now you can start filling it in! The first step is the contact information. Here is a general idea of what to put in this section:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Mailing address
  • You can add other things if you would like, such as a personal website, a LinkedIn profile, or a current job title.

#3: Introduction/resume objective

This is at the top of the resume and is a short introduction or objective/summary that showcases why you think you are qualified for this job. It needs to get the attention of the employer by emphasizing your strengths and experience.

This is a space for you to list what makes you qualified, with specific examples of jobs you have performed that show these skills. You don’t want to list generic qualities: make it unique to you and show your voice. The summary should be short: 2-3 sentences maximum. Here is an example of a concise, powerful, specific resume objective:

Marketing Manager with over eight years of experience. Proven success in running email marketing campaigns and implementing marketing strategies that have pulled in a 20% increase in qualified leads. Proficient in content, social media and inbound marketing strategies. Skilled, creative and innovative.

#4: Relevant work experience

This is the meat of your resume! You want to list any relevant jobs or experiences you have had that would aid you in the position you are applying for. Remember to list them in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position.

For each position you held, include a heading with the company’s name, location, job title, and dates of employment. Underneath each heading, list a couple of responsibilities you had with the position. These should be short bullet points that summarize your position.

#5: Education

This is a short section that simply shows any degrees you have received. This is what you can include in the education section:

  • Name of the school/university you attended
  • Location
  • Date of graduation
  • Degree(s)

#6: Skills

You want to quickly recap a wide range of skills that you possess. This can be formatted creatively, but needs to be short and sweet. Many resumes simply use bullet points to list each item. The point is to show that you have a diverse set of skills, both soft skills and technical skills.

Soft skills are personality-based qualities such as organization, teamwork, time management, or trustworthy. They are not quantifiable, but are skills that are necessary for working in any job. Technical skills are tangible and concrete, such as knowing different languages, being proficient in certain computer programs, or public speaking. A good resume will include both soft and technical skills to stand out to an employer.

#7: Awards or honors

Finally, your resume can end with a short list of relevant awards or certificates you may have received. This section is not necessary, but if it is relevant to the job then it would be good to add. This can be a wide variety of things:

  • Awards/honors: competitions you may have won, scholarships, student achievement awards in college, any published material, etc.
  • Certificates/licenses: this is more specific to the job you may be applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job in a health-related field, you could include that you are CPR Certified or a registered nurse.

#8: Finishing touches

The hard part is over! You have all the content you want for your resume. Now, you can work on formatting and styling it to be eye-catching and unique. You want your resume to be a single page, so you may need to play with font styles and sizes to make it appealing but also concise. Choose an easy-to-read font, and use the same font throughout the entire resume.

You may want to add some lines or borders to break up parts of the resume and keep it organized. A strategic way to add in lines are after the contact information and resume objective, and between each of the major sections.

There are many ways to make your resume unique and appealing to an employer. Be creative and add character! This can be a daunting task, so there are tons of online templates for resumes are websites to give you ideas. Here are a few free resume template websites:

Good luck with your resume writing and job hunting!

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