If you’re a 20-something who hasn’t typed “How to write a resume” into the Google search box at least once in your life, congratulations, you get the adulting ribbons today. But for the rest of us, how to write a resume is an art form that we’re still trying to learn… desperately. I’ve gotten a few questions about resumes recently so I figured I would refresh this post from back in my OSY days for you guys.
There are tons of resume writing resources on across the world wide web, like this one, but even just trying to figure out where to start when you’re deciding how to write a resume can be a daunting task. My goal is to make it simple. I’ve included four steps to really help you figure out how to write a resume… that will make you look like an expert.
Pick the Perfect Format
Resumes used to come in one basic package but with the introduction of graphic design to the world, resumes can become works of art if you put enough time into them. While there is still an ongoing debate about whether you should have a creative resume (even if you’re a non-creative person) putting some thought behind the design of your resume can ensure it grabs attention, has a nice flow, and most importantly, gets the job done.
There are certainly pros and cons for choosing any type of resume format so you should do your research before deciding. I’m going to give you a hint about how to write a resume: they should always be tailored to the specific job opening or types of jobs you are applying for. For example, a creative resume that highlights my experience as a blogger, social media manager, and graphic designer probably would not do me much good when I’m trying to apply for a government job. Bottom line: think out the design of your resume before you start. I think I good way to approach the creative/not debate is to have one of each.
Pay Attention to the Job Description
There are a few different reasons you need to study and pay close attention to the job description. The first, is making sure you actually qualify for the position. While you may be the type of person to apply for every opportunity they see, I prefer to only apply for opportunities I know I am qualified for, making the chances my resume will get looked at higher. When trying to figure out how to write a resume, check out the way key tasks and essential job functions are worded throughout the description and make sure to use similar words and phrases to describe your experience and the skills you bring to the table. Additionally, you should focus your word choices on the type of job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a graphic design position, you want to include words such as create, design, innovative, etc. Also, I think it’s worth mentioning that you should always research the company that is posting the job availability. Not only can, say, their website give you insight into the type of wording to use in your resume, research will also come in handy if you’re selected for an interview.
Focus on What You Bring to the Table
When you’re trying to figure out how to write a resume, it goes without saying that you should be focusing on yourself. But focusing on yourself is not necessarily the best way to go about talking about yourself. Remember, someone is going to look at your resume and either throw it in the trash or call you for an interview. This is your opportunity to sell yourself, so make sure you do a good job (no pressure). Yes, you should obviously include your skills, work experience, and education in your resume, but you should also highlight the assets you bring to the table. Let the person reading your resume know why they should hire you before they even have a chance to answer the question.
Always remember this when figuring out how to write your resume. Numbers sell so always always always quantify your work. This means put a number behind it. For example, my resume used to say “Assisted with the Class of 2015 Graduation” and now it says “Assisted with the graduation of approximately 1,000 people.” See what a difference that makes? Already the person reading my resume will be able to determine that I helped with a rather large event and not just some kids graduation at the local preschool.
I’m no resume expert, I’m currently working on sprucing mine up as we speak but I hope this helps you gain a little more clarity into how to write a resume that will hopefully snag you an interview. What are your go-to resume writing tips?