The first step towards landing that dream job or making a career change is having a professional resume. A resume is a brief summary of your career and education and contains your personal information making it easier for recruiters to contact you.
Keep in mind that the average time that a recruiter spends on each resume is 5 seconds, so it’s important that yours is well crafted and attention grabbing.
In the following guide, we provide 5 Easy Steps to writing your own resume
Step 1- Choose a template that is well organized and easy to read.
Some points to adhere to when laying out the resume are:
1. Keep the resume 1 page for most positions. If you are applying to an upper management position you can extend it up to 3 pages.
2. Clearly outline the different sections.
3. Respect the margins on your page to create a clean and organized design.
4. Use easy-to-read font.
You can download a resume template from the internet or from Microsoft Word. There are endless possibilities available, however you want to choose one that is simple, organized and easy to read. At the end of this guide, you will find a link to free resume templates.
Step 2- Creating the content for the resume.
In this section, you will play detective of your own life. Gather all the information described below in order to make the process of writing your resume smoother. The fundamental sections to include are:
Contact Information: List your Name, Last Name on the first line followed by your address, city, State, Zipcode. Below list your cell phone number followed by your email.
Professional Resume Summary: This section is also know as “Objective”. This 2-3 sentence paragraph should describe the position that you are applying for and why you are a good fit.
Work Experience: I always recommend my students to list their work experience in chronological order starting with the most recent work title and a brief description of the responsibilities of each role. Always include the date of hire and the last day for each position.
Education: In this section, also list in chronological order the degrees or diplomas that you have completed. Don’t list an education if you have not graduated.
Include the name of your degree or certificate and on the next line the name of the school or university. Also include the start date and graduation date. If the degree or diploma is in progress, include the estimated graduation date.
Skills: This is a great section to show the recruiters what makes you unique. Include skills such as: additional languages that you speak, software that you are comfortable with using, and any soft skills that you have mastered. For example, great team player, strong leadership skills or strong critical thinking skills.
Step 3 – Tips to keep in mind.
- Customize your objective to include the exact name of the position that you are applying for.
- Tailor your skills to the job and be ready to answers questions relating to your skills during the interview.
- Avoid using repetitive words.
- Keep the format for each section consistent paying attention to: formatting options, font size and font style. For example, if your section titles are bold keep them all the same.
- The Work Experience section should contain 2-3 bullet points to describe your responsibilities for each role. It’s always preferable, to write actionable and measurable achievements.
- For example, if you are applying for a Medical Assistant job, its better to say: Responsible for conducting 20 daily follow up calls and resulting in XXX number of new patients in a month.
- Rather than, “Conduct follow up calls to patients”
Step 4- Describing your Education
The section depends on where you are at in your career. If you are a veteran in the field, it's recommended that you keep the education section brief by listing your completed academic degrees from most recent to the oldest.
For students or recent graduates, the education section plays a more significant role. You can include relevant courses taken, externships, special projects, research/course projects, and academic achievements.
Step 5 – Proofread & Perfect
A crucial part of having a professional resume is avoiding spelling and grammatical errors. Always use the spell check function and ask your teachers, a counselor, or someone in your network with more experience to proofread your resume.
Here we provide you with a Proofreading checklist to help you perfect your resume
- Consistent Tense: Use past tense to describe previous roles, and present tense to describe current roles.
- Action verbs: Describe work experiences with verbs that convey action. E.g.: Coordinated, Developed, Achieved, Launched, Managed, Generated, Assisted, Demonstrated.
- Technical Vocabulary: Assume your resume will be read by technical recruiters as well as a non-technical professional.
- Avoid using personal pronouns such as I, me, we, us.
- Eliminate unnecessary words (E.g.: adverbs, such as greatly, fairly, creatively)
- Is the font simple and clear: An online resume builder will automatically use a common, easy-to-read font.
- When saving your resume to your computer, make sure to include at least your full name in the file name of the version you will submit (E.g.: Smith_Resume_ABC_Corporation)
- Have I had someone else proofread my resume? Ask a trusted friend, classmate or college to give your resume one last view before submitting to the recruiter.
Free Resume Templates