How to Start:
Start by making a list of all the jobs you had and the dates. Don't leave anything out. Include jobs, awards, educational degrees, skills, personal projects: anything that would be impressive and/or interesting to anyone. Even after your resume is finished, maintain this list so you can use it in the future.
Tailor your list to the position you're applying for. Take each item that is directly relevant to the job and add on two or three sentences explaining the relevance of the past experience. Whenever possible, list your experience in terms of accomplishments and achievements rather than tasks and responsibilities.
Remember: keep this short and to the point, a single sentence. State your objective. Always personalize it to the position, if you are going to make it a generic statement don’t include it.
Now it's time to format your resume. It should have clean lines and be easy to read. Make it two pages max; you can always give more detail in the interview. The font should be 8-13, preferably 12. Black and white is best; do not add graphics or a head shot to your resume. If this is customary in the industry you work in then save it for your portfolio.
Include an address, phone number and email address. Do not include an email or profile such as email@example.com or your online address at myspace.com or facebook.com. Don't use your current employer's name, number or email, either. If necessary, get an extra email address with a professional name that you can use for job searches.
Proofread, proofread and proofread again. Have a friend or professional that you trust proofread. Take criticism well and make any necessary changes. When you are ready to submit your resume follow the directions that are listed in the ad or stated by the hiring manager. If the ad says "no calls please," then don't call! If the job description asks you to provide your salary history, then include that information in your resume.If you still do not feel comfortable writing your own resumes consider hiring a professional to help get you started. After all they have dedicated their lives to producing these documents and should know a thing or two about what works and what doesn't.
- Remember: the point of a resume is not to get the job; it's to get the interview. Focus on your best accomplishments, but leave some information to discuss in the interview.
- Make sure the name you wish to be called is on your resume and not just the name your family gave you. You don’t want to have to explain what you want to be called over and over.
- Don't attach letters of recommendation, your diploma, your birth certificate, your CPR and fitness certifications, etc. Indicate your current certifications and be prepared to give references upon request.
- Detail your duties within each position but don't go overboard. Accomplishments are more impressive than duties. "Cut expenses by 25% over six months while maintaining historic revenue levels," is more impressive than, "Was responsible for a $500,000 budget." The latter says, "I did this," the former says, "I did this and I can do it for you."
- Make sure and list your experience in software programs and languages.
- Do not list your personal hobbies unless it some how pertains to the job you are applying for.
- Print your resume on good quality paper but do not use fancy colors or textures. It is what is on the paper that matters not the paper.
- Write a cover letter that is specifically written for the job you're applying for. Do not write more than a page-long cover letter.
- Always backup your resume on a disc, flash USB drive, and print it out.
- Do not lie on your resume. This may be illegal in some instances, and is quite likely that you will get caught.
- Do not list your age, gender, martial status or religious preference. Unfortunately this may lead to you being discriminated in some way.
- Many word processors, including Microsoft Word, have "fill-in-the-blank" style resumes. Check for one with an appropriate style and then follow their guiding. It can give you help on how to start.
Remember your resume will get you the interview but it’s your skills and personality that really guarantee your success. Good Luck!