Everyone wants to know how to create a strong resume that will get you noticed by human resources people and hiring managers. After all, you only get one chance at a first impression, so it’s extremely important to perfect your resume and set yourself up for success from the get-go.
If you’ve never created a resume before it can seem overwhelming at first, even if you already have some work experience. To help you cut through the noise I’ve put together this walkthrough using my own resume as an example. Follow the steps below and you’ll be off to a fantastic start!
Step #1: Format
Pick out a layout that you like in Microsoft Word. You may be tempted to select one with lots of graphics or other eye-catching features, but unless you’re applying for a position in a field like graphic design, it’s always best to keep things simple and direct.
Like most online resume guides mention, if you are looking to do art or graphic design it may be necessary to get fancy or add colors and pictures of yourself. Otherwise, for most industries, keep it simple.
Once you’ve selected a layout there should be predetermined areas for you to enter your information. For my resume, my layout reads like this from top to bottom:
- Name and Address
- Relevant Experience
- Include sub-categories such as Work and Projects/Workshops, Relevant Skills, and Volunteering/Other.
- If you believe that relevant skills should be higher, that is acceptable, but I believe that your previous work and post-school projects are more important and indicative of your future performance.
When organizing the text on the page, it should look something like this:
Name and Address
Relevant Experience – Work and Projects/Workshops
Step #2: Enter Your Information
Now that we have the proper layout, let’s begin by filling in the details.
Name and Address are obvious. Put your address, phone number, and email here.
This part of your resume might be one of the most important since it is the first thing that human resources or the hiring manager will read. Align this closely with what you said in your goals and dreams about why you will be a great fit for the company. For example, here is what I wrote for my summary:
“Strong work ethic, independent worker with strong problem-solving skills. Seeking opportunity in quantitative risk analytics to apply my programming and mathematics capabilities while continually increasing value and expertise in the field and for the company.”
This is a strong opening and sets the stage for the rest of your resume.
I list my school, when I am going to graduate and what my cumulative GPA is currently. Don’t get too fancy with this section; adding in relevant coursework is acceptable.
Here is where you will be able to impress whoever is reading your resume. For this section, it is important to remember the rule of 3’s: always list three things after your title.
Company Name – City, State Start Date – End Date
Bookkeeper – Gained strong financial management and analysis skills
- Managed daily hotel revenue reports, performed bank reconciliations and yearly budgeting, and analyzed cash flows for 10 hotels across the Midwest.
- Developed applications to project cash positions in the near future.
- Learned financial management and reporting and gained a strong understanding of the hotel management industry
After the title, if the hiring manager doesn’t want to read what you did in the job, they can get an overview of what you did; for example, Bookkeeper – Gained strong financial management and analysis skills. This is simple enough. By reading this, the hiring manager will be able to determine at a high level what you have to offer from this experience.
For each job that is relevant to the position that you are applying for, use the template above to convey what you bring to the table. Use this template for any projects and workshops you have participated in as well.
Include skills that you’re comfortable talking about during the interview but make sure to keep them relevant to the position for which you’re applying! If the job involves working with the elderly don’t mention that you are a computer whiz; do say that you have great communication skills. Moreover, when you go for your interview, be sure to talk about playing cards with your grandparents as a kid and what a great relationship you had with them.
Include anything else that you believe to be important. Volunteering shows that you care about other people and are willing to sacrifice your time for the greater good. Other things that you could put here are if you won awards in school, played lead roles in performances, being the captain of a sports team, or a chair of an organization. These all show your involvement in the community and show you are well rounded. If need be, you can also combine this section with the projects and workshops section.
Step #3: Get Hired!
After following these steps, I believe that you will be able to have a resume that shines!
Hope this helps you on your job hunt!
Do you have any other resume tips I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments!