In college, I was a resume reviewer as my part time job. I have gathered so many tips and tricks to writing the perfect resume that I want to share with you. Hopefully, this will help you perfect the art of writing a resume. Here is Saanya’s guide to writing a resume:
Step 1: Create the Format
A resume is a one page summary about all of your experience and skills that you submit to a company when you apply for a job. It is a quick way for a company to decide if they want to consider your application further. There are millions of formats out there to create a resume. A quick google search will allow you to see some of these formats. It is easy to get overwhelmed, but you need to think about what key message you want to get across with your resume. If the position you are applying for is more art focused, maybe you want to demonstrate your artistic skills in your resume or leave space for a few samples. If the position is more business oriented, maybe you want to focus more on the experience section.
The key areas that should be on any resume are the following: name, address, contact information, education and experience. Some other areas to consider adding are: an additional section, samples from a portfolio, relevant website links, certifications and achievements. However, remember the one key rule about resumes: they should not be longer than one page. When asked, most recruiters say that they never read past the first page of a resume. Essentially, your resume must be captivating enough that some wants to speak with you after a 30 second glance at your resume. It sounds daunting, but the rest of this article will help you get there.
Step 2: Think about your Experience
Before you actually start to populate your resume document, it is important to think about what experience you want to highlight. Think about the experience section as the meat of the sandwich, or the cream of the Oreo cookie (for my fellow vegetarians out there). It is the part you want to spend the most time on and make sure accurately reflects your skills to your potential employer. A lot of people feel like they do not have enough experience, but the key here is to highlight the right skills with whatever experience you do have.
Start by thinking about the job skills relevant to your position. These can easily be found in a job description. Below is a list of common skills most employers look for:
– Data Analysis
– Problem Solving
– Customer Service
Next, start thinking about times in your life when you have demonstrated these skills. Maybe while you were a server one summer you provided excellent customer service or while you were a lifeguard you made sure to communicate effectively with pool visitors. Sit down and actually think of one experience per skill required. Make a list and have this handy when you go to write your resume.
Step 3: Use the Right Words
Now that you have a list of your experience, it’s time to write it in the proper format. Each bullet under your experience should be written in what is called ACR format. ACR stands for action, context and result. Take the bullet below as an example:
Identified consumer pain points (action) using personas and journey maps (context), presenting accepted solution to client that targeted improving overall customer experience (result)
The action portion of your bullet should start with a powerful verb. Do not ever use verbs like “did” or “had.” Pick a verb that tries to convey exactly what you did.
The context portion of your bullet answers the question “how” or “what.” This is where you add some detail about what tools or methods you used to complete the action your just described.
After the action and context, add a “,” and talk about the result. This is where you talk about the “so what?” Because you did this action, what happened? Did you get more customers or earn some revenue? This is the area where employers want to see the numbers and outcome. If you do not have any numbers, it is okay but try to get as specific as possible.
Step 4: The “Additional” Section
Let’s talk about the additional section. This is supposed to be where you add some color to your personality (within reason). Here you can put your hobbies, interests, certifications, awards or extra skills. In my additional section, I talk about a fundraiser I organized as well as some basic coding skills that I have in C++ and Python. Keep this section fun but professional at the same time. You still want to make sure it is as relevant as possible to the position you are applying for.
Step 5: Review and Other Considerations
Now that you have written your resume, it is time to go back and review. Take this step seriously. I have heard of so many employers not reading a resume if it has even one typo. Do a spell check but also re-read each bullet yourself. Have someone else read the resume as well. Here are some final considerations for your resume:
1. Make sure it is just one page. Not one word over.
2. Check for spelling and grammar.
3. Remove all words that end in “ly.” These are adverbs that do not add value to your content.
4. Each bullet should be at least two full lines (avoid white space) but no more than three lines.
5. Delete all “the” “a” and “an” from the resume. It sounds funny but it keeps the words direct.
After that, you are done and ready to submit! Unless the role requires a cover letter… that’s a whole other story that I will have a guide for as well. I have taught many of my friends these tips and helped them land their jobs. I hope this article helps you as well. I am happy to review any resumes you have. Feel free to contact me through the “contact us” section on the website.