How to Write a Resume
Need help writing a resume? Don’t know where to begin? This guide can help you as you begin this important task. Explore these preliminary steps, then examine the sample resume with its links to various content areas.
A Resume is…
- a one or two page summary of your qualifications and career aspirations
- the first impression a prospective employer will have of you
- eye catching
- carefully written
- a picture of your preparation and accomplishments throughout your educational and professional career to date
A Resume’s Purpose is…
- focus attention on your strongest qualifications.
- develops those qualifications to fit the specific position or type of position you are seeking.
- to secure an interview.
- the primary tool of your job search and may take several drafts to prepare effectively.
- designed to assist you by offering suggestions and guidelines for you to use as you construct and write your resume.
The best resumes are tailored to a specific career or job market!
Building An Effective Resume Starts With Planning
Identify your skills and abilities as well as your special needs relating to the work environment, salary, geographic location, and people environment. This will help you to develop a career objective.
For additional help, look at the Career Planning Process.
Writing The Resume
As you organize your resume, always keep in mind the needs of the employer who will be reading it. Consider what she or he is looking for in a candidate and make it easy for the reader to pick out those skills.
Selecting appropriate categories, using underlining, boldfacing or capitalizing and presenting relevant experience and skill areas higher on the page, can do this. Competencies Sought by Employers illustrates common transferable skills and qualities.
Keep in mind the following suggestions as you begin to develop your resume:
Create a good first impression by highlighting skills and abilities appropriate to the position.
Use active language
Check out our on-line list of action words to spice up your resume.
Articulate marketable skills acquired through your positions
Example: Salesperson, Smith Shoe Store, Portland, Maine. Assisted clients with selection of shoes, developed and promoted special marketing events, trained new employees, monitored cash. Store increased in sales by 7 percent in 6 month period.
Choose a pattern of spacing, an order of information presentation or a format of highlighting and be consistent throughout.
Present information in reverse chronological order within categories
List education and work experiences starting with the most recent first.
Check for grammar
Misspellings and poorly constructed sentences communicate negative impressions about a candidate.
Ensure that your resume is neat and visually appealing
Choose high quality paper in white, off-white or other conservative colors. Have the final version professionally reproduced.
Make Your Resume Unique
Feel free to develop your own categories to highlight your special relevant experiences and skills. It is frequently useful to separate your related or professional experiences from your other work experience by creating separate categories for these content areas. In this way, you can call more attention to your relevant skills by putting them in categories closer to the top of the resume so they are read first.
Here Are Some Examples:
- Student Teaching Experience
- Related Experience
- Experience With Children
- Related Courses
- Community Volunteer Work
- Workshops & Conferences Attended
- Technical Skills
- Special Skills
- Computer Skills
- Professional Memberships
- Military Experience
- Language Proficiencies
- Additional Information
In place of Related Experience you might wish to indicate your field of experience in the category heading:
- Business Experience
- Engineering Experience
- Human Services Experience
- Sales Experience
Return to Resume Writing