There was a day in time that, when you were looking for a job, you could see the “Help Wanted” sign in the window, walk in and fill out the job application, and be done. That was the entire process. Times have evolved, and those days have gone away. Most businesses now require you to have a resume. Creating a resume takes knowledge and skill. What is a resume? It is basically a documentation of you and your history: previous work experience, skills, education, training, references, etc. Though there is no single template or format for creating a resume, there are some basic standards most resumes follow. This article will highlight some tips that should help you in your resume creation, hopefully making your job hunt much easier, and successful.
Options for Resume Templates
Sometimes writing a resume can be difficult, especially for a first-time writer. There are many different aides you can find online to assist you. A few of the easiest options are:
- Microsoft Word – With a built-in template, all you have to do is auto-fill your own information. Very basic and easy to use.
- resume-now.com – With a very professional design, this service will match you to the resume that fits the best. The Resume Builder features makes writing quick and easy.
- www.resumecompanion.com – This service has over 50,000 professionally designed phrases to choose from, simplifying the writing process. You can create a resume within minutes.
- www.resumetemplates.com – This services not only has a huge selection of templates to choose from, but is packed with examples for you to learn from.
A common mistake that is made frequently is that we sometimes forget to make sure our resumes are error free before we submit them. It is critical that we don’t miss this step.
Every resume should be accompanied with a cover letter, which is a personal letter from you to the potential employer explaining why you want the job, and why they should consider you the best person for the job. Avoid making this letter generic, as this is the first thing the potential employer will see about you.
Something that should be at the very top of your resume is your contact information. The more visible you make it, the easier it will be for the potential employer to contact you. Make sure you give them all of your contact options: home phone, cell phone, email, address, and fax number, if you have one. Take every opportunity to showcase yourself to a potential employer. Make sure that the voice-mail messages on all of your phones are professional and polite. Set up a professional email address, instead of using your personal email. And don’t forget to check both your phone, and your email addresses regularly so that you can be prompt at returning any messages you might receive.
Education and Training
This section should begin with all of your completed education, from your High School Diploma, or GED, up to the current date. If you are in the middle of school or some other specialized training, list what you are doing, and when you are projected to finish. If you are attending a University, declare what your major or field of study is. For each University degree or other specialized training you have completed, consider listing the following relevant information:
- School Name
- Years that you attended that institution
- Degree earned (with major and minor, if applicable)
- Any scholarships or honors you received while at the institution
If you have any other technical or vocational training, you could choose to list them in this section also, or create a whole separate section for them. Also be sure to include any professional development, certificate programs, or other formal training you have completed that is relevant to the job for which you are applying.
Previous Job Experience
Some people choose to highlight only their job history that is most relevant to the job they are currently applying for, and some people choose to list their job history chronologically. Whichever method shows you in the most positive light is the method you should choose. When you list a job, consider sharing this information:
- Length of time with the company
- Job Title
- Job Duties
- Specific skills that made you successful at your job
- Problem-solving skills with examples
In this section, make sure you also list any internships (paid, or unpaid), any volunteer work you’ve done, or anything else that would make you stick out as a qualified person for the job you’re applying for. If there are any gaps in your job history, be prepared to explain them if you get invited to a job interview.
Potential employers don’t want to consider hiring anyone without first hearing about the person from people who know them. References can have a very powerful effect on a potential employer…both positive, and negative. Be sure to choose your references very carefully. Who will speak best to all of your positive characteristics? Are you trustworthy? What is your work ethic? Choose people who can present this important information professionally. You don’t have to use the same people for every resume. In every different situation, pick the people who will present you in the best light. Before you submit your resume, make sure you speak–in person–with the people listed as personal references. Fill them in on what job you are applying for and other relevant information so that they will know what to expect. Make sure that they are completely supportive. Because references are so important, you only want the most supportive people portraying you. Also make sure that all of your references’ contact information is correct.
Other Optional Things to List
At the bottom of your resume, consider including any other information you can think of to help present you in your very best light. Have you received any special awards or recognition for anything? Are you a member of a professional organization? Do you speak any other languages? These things will enhance all of the other things you have already provided. Learn more resume tips here.
Keep Your Resume Current
Always make sure that your resume is completely up-to-date. This is important whether you are currently job hunting or not. Add any new degrees, certifications, etc. as you get them, so that you don’t risk forgetting about them. Keeping your resume current will greatly benefit you in current or future job hunting.