Writing a resume for the first time can feel like an overwhelming task.
Essentially, a resume is a one-page document that lists your contact information, your reason for wanting a job (your objective), your education, previous job experience, your interests and any awards you’ve won or groups to which you belong. This is your chance to highlight all the reasons someone should hire you for a job.
If this feels daunting, take a deep breath. If you have the right tips and tools, the task is easier than you might think.
Get set up. Any word processing program should have resume templates you may choose to use. There’s classic, modern, business and informal templates, just to name a few typical options. The same information will be required on each one, but certain designs might appeal to you more than others. If you’re unsure, choose the simplest one and start there.
Use an easy-to-read font. You don’t want to do anything fun or fancy, unless you’re applying for a particularly creative job that might benefit from a more “out there” application. Most of the time, a Times New Roman Font in a size 12 on plain white paper and black ink will do the trick nicely. You want employers to be able to read your resume after you’ve put so much time and effort into writing it. You also want it to look professional.
Next, start with your name. Will you be using your full name or nickname? Decide how you’d like to be referred and put your name front and centre. Any resume will also have contact information listed along with it. Make sure to include your name, address, phone number and email so a potential employer can contact you if they are interested in speaking further. Feel free to add your website address or LinkedIn profile if you have one. Most employers will research applicants online before proceeding to the next stage. You might as well put your contact information at the top of the page and save them some time.
Clean up your social media. This might be a good time to make sure your email address is professional and that there aren’t any posts or photos a potential employer might consider inappropriate. You are trying to convince an employer that you are capable of performing the job to which you are applying and that you’ll be a respectful and reliable employee. Make sure your online presence reflects the image you want to project.
Next, list your objective. What job are you seeking and why do you want it? Any employer will want to know whether you’re looking for a summer job or a part-time job during the year. Do you want to work at a camp because you love kids? Do you want to work at the local newspaper because you love to write? This is the place to say exactly what you’re looking for and why.
If you’re a student, you likely won’t have much job experience. This is why it’s a good idea to list your education next. Where do you go to school? When do you graduate? Your template will prompt you and tell you where to put this information and how to format it. This is also a good place to include any clubs, activities, awards or interests that apply. Feel free to use bullet points to call a reader’s attention to these areas. It is especially important if these interests relate to the job to which you’re applying.
You’ll want to focus on jobs next. Do you have babysitting experience? Have you worked at other places? List the job, the time period in which you worked there, and list some of your responsibilities. This will let your employer know what duties you performed to get a sense of your experience so far. List any qualifications that relate to each job, as well as any recognition you received. For instance, if you’re applying for a lifeguard position, list any additional qualifications, like CPR certification, that will enhance your application.
If you don’t have any previous job experience, don’t hesitate to use volunteer experience. This is a great way to show the skills and experiences you’ve gained from being involved with the community. If you have both volunteer and work experience, use both categories on your resume.
You don’t need to list your references here. You can simply include a line that reads, “References available upon request.” Since resumes need to be brief—one page is ideal—you don’t need to take up space by offering information that an employee might not need. If you’re going to use a reference—someone who can vouch for your work ethic, experience and abilities—make sure you let them know in advance so they aren’t surprised when an employer calls to talk about your application.
Use strong key words. Go online and search for jobs to which you’d like to apply. What do these job descriptions have in common? Do they all use certain key words, like “initiative,” “hands-on,” or “works well under pressure,” for instance? Make sure you use some of these key words throughout your resume so you can reflect an employer’s words back to them. Don’t use words that don’t apply to you, but if there are words that characterize your best qualities, feel free to use them.
Do you have any other special qualifications? List any languages you speak, hobbies you have or associations you’re part of. This will help you stand out amongst all the other applicants and could even serve as talking points should you make it to the interview stage.
Before sending out a resume, be sure to read it over carefully so there aren’t any typos or grammatical errors. You don’t want to disqualify yourself because you couldn’t be bothered to proofread your work. Ask someone else to read it over for you. You want to put your best foot forward, so take your time to do it right.
Crestwood Echo July 14th, 2017