Writing a resume can seem like a daunting task in your job search process. However, it doesn’t have to be. Depending on how much you can remember, you can even do it in about an hour or two. We’ll take it from the top – literally, and give you an example, template, and everything else you need. Grab a notepad or something to take notes with and let’s get started.
1. First Thing For Writing A Resume: List Your Main Experience
By far the most important part of any resume is listing your past and present work experiences. Even if you only have a little bit to put on there, just think of anything you have done to earn money in the past. Don’t worry if you’ve never had a job (assuming you’re a teen/college student).
Adults with no professional experience will definitely raise a couple eyebrows, but, if you’re only a student, focus on anything that shows your ability to work. This can include major class projects or sports.
Be very specific, too. If you have leadership experience, say how many people you were in charge of at that summer camp you worked at. If you have fundraising experience, specify that you helped to raise $10,000 for x, y, or z organization.
Writing a resume can get very difficult without any experience at all, so, you might need to make something out of nothing. Tons of organizations are always looking for volunteers. I guarantee that you can get the experience needed for a lot of jobs by doing this.
Where to Get Experience
Let’s say you want to write a resume for a sales job but you haven’t done any sales work. The good news is that development offices everywhere are looking for warm bodies to make calls for donations. You’ll be able to do something good, become immune to rejection, and add something solid to your resume.
There are ways to volunteer for all kinds of job experience, from medicine to accounting to a lot of other professions.
2. List Your Skills when writing a resume
Your skills are a pretty important part of your resume. Not as big as your experience, but still up there. Avoid generic ones like “good communicator” or “highly focused.” It’s hard to say if this is a skill more than a habit, but, I did put “I don’t check my phone at all until lunch” on mine and I got hired for the job I had applied too.
It’s tough to say whether that actually moved the needle or not, but, it probably didn’t hurt. Unless someone read that and assumed I was full of it and that no one could possibly go without checking their phone!
3. List Your Contact Information
I’ll admit, the time that I put my phone number on my resume and uploaded it to Indeed.com was probably a mistake. My phone, as they say, blew up with repeated robo calls for months (maybe even years). The number could have gotten leaked a different way, but I think it was my own fault.
That said, you should have your contact information at the top of your resume. If you plan to put it on a public website, keep it at an email address, your name, and a link to your LinkedIn profile (as long as it looks good, leave that off otherwise!). If you are submitting it directly to a company, they will probably ask for your phone number at some point in the process. Regardless, include a phone number when writing a resume to submit it directly to an employer.
4. Structuring Your Resume
As I just mentioned, you will want your contact info to be at or very close to the top of your resume. After basic contact info, a lot of people will say that including relevant experience is the next best thing. Following that, place your skills and then your education if you are new to the workforce or have only been in it for a while.
Personally, the order on my resume has always been Contact info, skills, experience, then education and awards together at the very bottom. It’s always worked out for me, but the argument that relevant experience should go immediately after contact info is still a good one. You should also tailor your resume for specific jobs. Mine right now is aimed at sales jobs, but I have one for accounting positions and IT jobs as well. Those list different experiences (like an accounting internship or the IT internship I had).
There’s not much room on a 1-page piece of paper for anything that’s irrelevant to the job.
You will only have about 5-6 seconds to get a recruiter/HR person’s attention if they’re running through a resume pile. That’s also if you make it past any automated algorithms. Those might be cutting down the pile to save time for the hiring company.
Here’s a draft of an older one that helped to get hired into my first tech sales job out of college (address and contact info removed):
Avoid This Mistake When Writing A Resume
My resume has one major issue. Instead of focusing mainly accomplishments, I have too many responsibilities listed in there for the current job. Plus, as a side, that current position was not inside sales. Not sure why I had that on there, I was just a sales development rep.
You should focus on writing your accomplishments on a resume from current or previous jobs. I did some of that down below. Saying that I attended tradeshows and conducted demos probably helped land the eCommerce job.
Final Thoughts On Writing A Resume
Writing a resume can be your first step toward getting into an awesome career. Even if you just need a part time job, having a solid resume will be really beneficial.
Click here to download a template of the one I use. Don’t hesitate to move things around, either.
Make sure to print it out on high-quality paper, too. You want that thing to stand out when someone’s combing through a pile. Good luck!