How to Write a Resume
Although it is highly recommended to introduce yourself in person, or at least over the telephone, before applying for a job, a resume is the first solid piece of information that an employer will have for you, so make sure it’s perfect and sets you apart from the rest of the applicants. Although the resume/cv (curriculum vitae) needs to be well presented, flashy presentation is by no means a substitute for good content! The steps below show what needs to be present in a resume (in my preferred order).
1- Open with your contact details: Your prospective employer needs to know all of your contact details. Present them in a clear manner (address, telephone numbers, email addresses).
2- Start with a personal profile: 100-150 words on what sort of person you are, your overall skills, and why you’re perfect for the job at hand. Sell yourself! An example of a personal profile would be:
“I believe myself to be a commitment, hard-working and logical individual. I am capable of managing people, my own time and work load, however I very much enjoy working as part of a team. I pride myself in my interpersonal, writing, problem solving and sales skills, and embrace new challenges be them professional or personal. I am particularly interested in networking and people orientated employment with focus on informative writing, effective communications, sales, public relations and policy”
3- Detail your grade transcripts: Depending on what you deem more impressive will determine whether you present your grade transcripts or your work experience next. If you’re presenting your grade transcripts, detail the dates and locations of certifications (high school, college etc). Following your general grades, you may wish to list any other courses that you have taken.
4- Outline your work experience/previous employment: List your old employers detailing your position, roles and responsibilities and dates of employment. If you ended employment on bad terms, still list the employer but do not use them as a reference at the end (see references). Employers (be them paid or work experience), should be listed in time order from most recent backwards. If for a time you were out of work, still list this period and describe what you were doing in this time (a little white lie here may be useful, but be prepared to be quizzed about these gaps in your employment in the interview). The timeline needs to be complete!
5- Provide a little background through your hobbies and interests: Employers like to see that you lead an interesting and active lifestyle as it suggests commitment and engagement. Briefly detail any sports or activities that you partake in and any achievements that you have attained.
6- List a couple of references: You will need to provide your prospective employer with 2 references, preferably from previous employment or from your education. These will be two people who need to speak highly of you so choose them carefully. List their name, position and contact details. In some cases it may be appropriate to first contact to them to ask whether it is O.K. to list them as a referee.
Have someone check your resume for spelling and grammar before you submit it to your prospective employer.
If you are active in your community be sure to advertise this.
Use plenty of white space and a font that is fairly standard (Arial or Calibri for example).
Sell yourself but do not be over the top.
Many jurisdictions have centres that will help you with job applications and interview skills for free. Do not be too proud to accept help- even the most gifted of us can learn something from experienced career advisors.
Have a sensible email address for job applications i.e. not “firstname.lastname@example.org”