Writing a Powerful Resume
A resume is a living document. It should constantly be changing as you gain more skills and experience. You should be updating this frequently. I also encourage sharing this with your friends as well as asking for their resumes as well. This way you can compare your resume and see what areas you can improve on.
A RESUME SHOULD BE ONE PAGE
You should never have you resume be more than one page ever. All of the information on your resume should fit onto a single side of a standard sheet of paper. Never have a double-sided resume. If your resume is too long, then you need to find a way to cut out information so that you only have what is relevant. A resume is just a document that should give the reader a quick rundown of your professional experience. This does not need to be a complete rundown of your entire professional working career. A resume should include the following sections:
- Header (this includes your name, phone, email, and any other important profiles or contact information. Avoid adding your address when possible)
- Professional Summary (just a quick sentence to summarize the purpose of the resume, should be tailored to the job requirements)
- Skills (simply list out skills you have without going into any amount of detail. Use words with more powerful meaning when possible)
- Work Experience (list out job experience starting with most recent and working down. Include dates, positions held and a short recap of the responsibilities you held. If you can include numerical or actionable data please do)
- Education (include certification, degrees, trade schools, training, etc.)
YOUR RESUME SHOULD BE TAILORED TO THE JOB YOU ARE APPLYING FOR
Having a single resume or a working resume is a good idea for generic formatting purposes or for storing information. When applying for a job, you need to make sure that the resume that you are submitting is tailored specifically to the job that you are applying for. You rarely ever want to submit the same resume to different jobs. Your only want to highlight job skillsets and experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for. This means you might need to cut some information out while adding more emphasis to other parts.
LIST WORK EXPERIENCE STARTING WITH MOST RECENT
You always want to include your most recent working experience above that of previous jobs. This shows the employment history in chronological order from top to bottom and is much easier to read. Your most recent working experience is most likely going to be the most relevant to he job anyway. If your most relevant experience isn’t your most recent, then you might need to tailor your resume to remove that. Explain the gap in person when asked during an interview.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH JOB EXPEREINCE, LIST VOLUNTEER WORK AS WELL
I often tell those who are looking for professional working experience but are unable to find it, that volunteer experience is just as important as paid work. Volunteer experience also highlights your desire and interest to perform the work with little incentive in return and makes you appear more passionate about your work.
ALWAYS INCLUDE A COVER LETTER
Remember when I said your resume needs to be only one page? Well a cover letter is the exception. This is the second page that goes to your resume. This is your opportunity to talk to the employer. This document should be highly tailored to the job description. While a resume offers little room to go into detail, the cover letter it the exact opposite. This is your personal introduction to the employer before you are able to ever say anything in person. This letter can mean the difference between getting and interview or being passed up on.
Some final tips:
- Avoid colorful or distracting resumes. Don’t put a headshot or picture on your resume.
- Fill up as much space as possible. White space is the enemy.
- Use a word document. Avoid using online resume generators.
- Use a professional font and keep it between 10-12 pt.
- ALWAYS proofread your resume before submitting it.