STEP-BY-STEP BREAKDOWN TO RESUME BUILDING
Your resume is a summary of your experiences in work and in school. It must clearly, concisely and strategically present your qualifications to catch the recruiters attention. Its all about first impression and should also illustrate what you can do for an employer. An updated modern resume is the key to a successful job search.
1. CHOOSE A STYLE
Chronological is the most traditional format and lists experiences according to the order in which they took place.
Functional is a type of resume that lists your experiences according to skill. It is often used if you're changing careers or lack direct work experience.
Combination, as the name suggests, is a combination of the chronological and functional formats. You have to be careful with length as this type can become too long.
2. CREATE A HEADER
Your header includes your name, address, phone number and email address. You may also choose to include your LinkedIN info. Make sure to use a phone you'll actual answer with a professional voicemail message as well ensure your email address is professional.
3. CREATE A CAREER OBJECTIVE (OPTIONAL)
In one or two sentences, state the job you’re attempting to secure in the organization you’re aiming to become part of
If you aren’t sure what you want to do or if you’d be willing to accept a variety of jobs, consider leaving “objective” off
Your objective should always be tailored to the specific job openings you’re applying to. If you are applying to multiple jobs, you should have multiple versions of your resume, each with a job-specific objective. Often the objective is replaced with a Cover Letter.
To secure a full-time executive sales position in the advertising industry
4. LIST YOUR EXPERIENCES OR SKILLS
For Chronological/Combination Résumés List Your Experiences
Starting with your most recent or current job, list your previous work experiences.
This section shows where you have worked and when. It also states specific accomplishments for each position or job.
When choosing experiences to list, pick those that seem most relevant to the position you seek. As sources for your experiences, think of your full-time or part-time work, summer jobs, occasional jobs, internships, fieldwork and special projects.
Don’t worry whether your experiences are “good enough.” Employers admire people who have worked hard in a variety of positions.
Always start each achievement with an accomplishment verb. Examples of accomplishment verbs are accelerated, achieved, expanded, influenced, suggested, rescued, solved, maintained, generated, structured, effected, advised, controlled, trained and utilized.
Don’t worry if there are gaps in the timeline, but keep everything in chronological order, with most recent jobs at the top.
Southwestern Writing Center, Peer Writing Tutor, Yuma, AZ
- Tutored students in writing for all disciplines.
- Critiqued peers’ writing.
Camp Granite Falls, Area Director, Mountainville, TN
June 2003-September 2007
- Directed staff of four while supervising 20 campers.
- Taught crafts, sports and cooking.
For Functional/Combination Résumés List Your Skills
The “Skills” section of your résumé is a place where you can show your strengths and individuality. Start by stating each skill. Then back it up with a two- to three-line explanation of how you learned that skill or why you believe you have it. Make these entries short, clear and to the point.
List skills that are most relevant to the job you seek. Think about what the employer is looking for in relation to what you’ve done and who you are as a person.
Don’t forget to list computer programs you’ve had experience with, even if you are not a master-level user.
Self-Motivated: Proactively organized volunteers to assist with distribution at the community food bank.
Bookkeeping: Maintained accurate, detailed inventory reports at school library and subsequently won top librarian assistant award three months straight for Brown County.
5. LIST YOUR ACTIVITIES
List activities in which you have participated and include what your specific role was in each.
This is the place to note membership or leadership positions in clubs, organizations of any kind, athletic teams, community organizations and so on.
If you’ve had an interesting job unrelated to the field you’re pursuing – such as reading to blind children or teaching English as a second language (ESL) to foreign adults – add it here. Employers are always looking for people with diverse backgrounds to work for them.
Track Team: Team Captain, Senior Year. Fall 2006-Spring 2007.
Drama Club: “Crazy for You” and “West Side Story.” Fall 2007 and 2008.
6. LIST YOUR EDUCATION
List the schools you’ve attended, starting with the most recent one. Include details such as GPA, class rank or special awards.
Add any other educational experiences, such as training programs, community college or summer courses, seminars and so on.
Oldham County High School, Oldham, PA. 3.8 GPA. Anticipated graduation: June 2010.
Bellville Adult Education, Bellville, NY. Introduction to Web Design. September 2008.
7. LIST ANY AWARDS YOU’VE WON AND WHEN YOU WON THEM
When you’ve been recognized by someone else, you should let potential employers know about it. But you shouldn’t worry if you haven’t received any awards; just skip this section.
Richmond County National Essay Contest, Honorable Mention, May 2006.
Honor Roll, South Satchewan High School, Junior and Senior Years, 2008-2010.
8. LIST YOUR PERSONAL INTERESTS
This section is where you show that you’re a well-rounded person, someone people would want to know and work with.
This section is often used by the employer at the start of an interview to break the ice.
Some interests are better not to list (e.g., napping, watching reality TV, gossiping). This is really about highlighting hobbies that have helped you grow as a person.
This résumé step is considered optional, so if you’re having trouble coming up with interests, or feel your résumé is already getting too long, feel free to leave it off.
Ceramics, camping, reading, soccer, automotive repair, carpentry
SUBMITTING RESUMES ONLINE
Just as the Internet has changed the way you look for a job, it’s also changed the way you can submit a resume. More and more job applicants are posting their resumes online to resume banks and personal web pages and submitting them through email. And while the Internet can be a powerful tool for job seekers, it also comes with some new considerations.
Emailing a Resume
When emailing a résumé, you have two options: Insert the résumé into the body of the email, or send it as an attachment. Review the job listing carefully to see if there is a preferred method. Document formatting is also crucial. Plain text (.txt) files are always a safe bet, but Microsoft Word documents (.doc) and the Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (.pdf) are often accepted and allow you greater control over layout and design. Again, double-check to see if the organization you’re applying to has a preference.
No matter how you choose to email your resume, you’ll want to include a brief online cover letter in the body of the email. Keep it short, but include the same basic information you would in a traditional cover letter.
Posting a Resume
When submitting your resume to an online resume bank, formatting is once again your first concern. While some sites accept Microsoft Word documents, many will not recognize specialized text, bullets, tabs, boldface text or formatted text. Any resume with that kind of formatting runs the risk of showing up on an interviewer’s computer screen as gibberish; this is not the way you want to be perceived. Avoid formatting issues by creating a plain text version. If you want to emphasize something, instead of using a bold font, use capital letters. And when you’re finished, email it to yourself or a friend. This will give you an opportunity to make sure it looks okay on the receiving end.
Another consideration when submitting your resume online is using job-specific keywords. Employers often search resume banks using software that looks for special words or requirements specific to a job description. You can identify such keywords by visiting company websites, reviewing job postings, reading industry trade magazines or checking out keyword resource books and websites. Including more keywords in the objective, experience, skills and awards sections of your online resume will increase your chances of being flagged as a potential match. You should also use such keywords in the title and brief description of yourself which most job sites request.
Keywords tend to be nouns that are industry-specific qualifications, skills or terms. Some keyword examples include degrees or certifications, job titles, computer lingo, industry jargon, product names, company names and professional organizations. Here are some specific examples of popular keywords employers look for in résumés. Using such keywords and additional keywords specific to your industry where they apply will help your résumé stand out.
Performance and productivity improvement
Investor and board relations
Oral and written communications
Problem-solving and decision-making
And, lastly, if you’re posting your résumé to a personal web page or résumé bank, be sure to conceal your contact information from casual viewers. Posting personal contact information on the web could attract unwanted attention. Avoid this by activating the privacy settings offered on most résumé banks or by only providing an email address on your web page and suggesting employers contact you for additional information.
Video resumes are gaining popularity with many young job seekers. While few, if any, companies request them, they can be a great way to showcase your skills and experience while giving a real sense of your personality. Video resumes are not for everyone, however. If you’re applying for a job in a very traditional or conservative field, you might want to think twice about using a video resume. In any case, keep your video short and professional and focus on your accomplishments. This is still a resume, not a music video!
Some sites that offer video résumés:
Submitting Resumes by Mail or in Person
If you want to have printed copies on hand for an interview, or if an organization requires you to submit your résumé by mail, start with a well-formatted document and make sure it has been proofread. Use high-quality paper rather than regular copy paper; it will make a much better impression. Make sure your printer has fresh ink and then print a test run to check for any errors or inconsistencies. You should always bring extra copies with you to an interview. And – for interviews – make sure it’s the same version that you submitted previously. Also, if you’re mailing your résumé, use an envelope that matches your paper in size and quality and print the address on it.
Finding Personal References
While you don’t submit references with your cover letter and résumé, often job applicants are asked to provide them later if they are being seriously considered. It’s important for you to establish your reference list in advance and have a list ready when the request comes in.
Never use someone as a reference unless you have his or her permission.
Good reference choices are former bosses, co-workers, customers, professors and colleagues.
Do not use your parents, guardian or friends as references, as they will appear biased. Also leave off anyone you don’t get along with or jobs you’ve been fired from.
Keep your references up-to-date on where you stand in your job search. You don’t want them to be surprised when your interviewer calls.
Karen Smith Human Resources ABC Company Address City, State, ZIP Phone Email
George Brown Manager XYZ Company Address City, State, ZIP Phone Email