The most important job search document is, of course, your resume. Having the best resume possible will be the key determining factor as to whether or not you will get an interview. Whether you are brushing up an old resume or starting from a blank piece of paper, you need to spend the time to get it right. There are tools that can help you quickly build the framework for what will become a great resume, but your personal time and effort is what will set your resume apart from the everyone else.
Your resume is a living document that will change as your job search progresses. And while you want to get some version done as quickly as possible in order to get into the market, you should balance quality with speed. If you are new to resume writing (or just need some help), you should use a checklist process (what to include). Once you have what you think is a good working copy, compare it to other resumes and ask some of your friends and relatives to give an honest critique (painful but helpful). And, as if all that work writing one resume isn’t enough, many people have multiple resumes each geared to specific jobs.
This post is an overview of CareerAlley’s extensive “5 Steps to a Great Resume”. For each step listed below, there is an amazing detailed lesson with lots of additional resources as well as the link to that lesson.
Step 1 – Gathering Your Information – As with all successful endeavors, thoughtful planning will make for a great resume. Take the time to collect all of the content for your resume before you start writing. This includes:
- A Summary of Your Skills and Objective
- Work History
- Extracurricular Activities and Hobbies
==> Take a look at 5 Steps to a Great Resume – Gathering Your Information for additional information and resources.
Step 2 – Formats – Don’t worry about structure yet, we will get to that later. Lots of stuff to think about, so let’s get to what you will need.
- Contact Information
- Your Headline
- Work History / Experience
- Content Formats – The most popular formats are: Chronological, Functional, Hybrid, and a Targeted Resume.
- Font & Type
- Spacing & Margins
- Visual Resumes versus Print Resumes
==> Take a look at 5 Steps to a Great Resume – Formats for additional information and resources.
Step 3 – Organization – Putting the pieces of your resume together.
- Select Your Format – Now you need to pick a content format as your main format (we will cover multiple resume versions later in the article).
- Order Your Sections – Here we combine the resume information you collected in step 1 (Gathering Your Information) with the Sections bullet from step 2. Pick a format that fit your needs
- Your Headline – Your headline goes next, what do you do?
- Objective -Your career goal and what you want out of a job– this is optional
- Skills – What are you good at and why should someone hire you? You should list the skills that will help market your strengths.
- Work History / Experience – The next part is easy, list your experience in reverse chronological order.
- Put it Together – Put all of your sections together and you are set to go.
==> Take a look at 5 Steps to a Great Resume – Organization for additional information and resources.
Step 4 – Content – If you’ve followed the first 3 steps above, this step is where it all comes together. In today’s digital world of job search, content (the right content) is what will get your resume noticed and convince hiring managers to interview you. The right combination of keywords, skills (that are in demand) and experience (that demonstrates that you can do the job) properly written and placed will make for a killer resume. Easy to say, hard to do.
- Keywords – Do you really need keywords? Absolutely. Keywords help demonstrate your level of experience and accomplishments.
- Relevant Skills – You won’t get an interview if you don’t have relevant skills, even if you have relevant experience. You need to include your skills on your resume.
- Relevant Experience – Your job experience demonstrates that you have worked in roles that are similar to the positions where you are submitting your resume. Ensure you include specific experience.
- No Experience – Maybe you’ve just graduated from school or are changing industries. This is, of course, more difficult and the focus should be on entry-level jobs. Your resume will focus more on your college experience as well as your internship experience.
==> Take a look at 5 Steps to a Great Resume – Content for additional information and resources.
Step 5 – Versions –There are many reasons why you may need multiple resume versions. Balance how many resumes you need with where you will get the most value.
- Why have multiple resumes – The most common reasons to have multiple resumes are:
- Multiple Industries
- New Industry
- Different Roles
- Career Change
- Version Types – There are several types of versions you can have, depending on your needs and the purpose:
- What You Do
- Where You Work
==> Take a look at 5 Steps to a Great Resume – Versions for additional information and resources.
We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.
Good luck in your search,
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