For starters, a resume is an overview of your educational, professional and personal experience that gives employers and recruiters insight into who you are and how qualified you are to fill a position.
Where Do I Begin?
The task of writing a resume can seem overwhelming, but once you break it down into small steps, it will all come together seamlessly. Here is how to get started:
1. Begin by Brainstorming:
Think about everything you have done to bring you to where you are and the different elements of your life that make you the best candidate for the position you are applying to.
2. Outline Your Experience:
Write down your professional, academic and volunteer experience in bullet points. Be sure to list where and when you took part in each.
3. List Your Skills:
Skills are what you possess that make you well-suited to perform the job requirements. Skills can be technological, organizational, and communicative, to name a few.
Things to know when crafting a Resume/CV
When creating your resume, regardless of how you do it, it is best practice to send it off as a PDF if the job portal allows for that kind of file to be uploaded or submitted
Depending on the level you are at in terms of job experience, you may lay out the information in different orders. For example, freshers who are applying to internships will want to place their education above their professional experience (as that section will be light), but graduated students applying for full-time jobs may place their professional experience and skills above their education, as it’s a longer and more informative piece of the puzzle.
What Sections to include in a resume
Although it varies by person and job, the general sections for a resume include the following:
Basic Personal Information:
In a font that stands out from the rest of your resume, be sure to include your full name, address, email address and phone number. If you’d like to include your LinkedIn handle, that’s acceptable, too.
This is an introduction to who you are. It should be short and sweet and to the point. It can either be bulleted or written in full sentences.
For example, try something like this: “An agile freshman with strong leadership skills pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science. My goal is to learn new technologies and use my problem-solving skills to enhance workflow through measurable outputs.”
Make a list of your education. If you are early in your college career, you can put your high school on there if it’s the highest degree you have. Include your current education if you are pursuing you’re a Diploma, Degree or postgraduates studies. You can put the dates in terms of years and mention your expected graduation if it is known. Resumes go in reverse chronological order (the most recent on top).
As a student, it’s likely that you don’t have much work experience. Therefore, your coursework serves to show your command of certain topics, which is why it’s useful to include on a resume.
You can do so in either a single column or two column format and list the classes that are relevant to the job you’re applying for under a header called “Relevant Coursework.
Even as an entry-level applicant, it’s possible you have professional work experience, which is, of course, extremely important to put on your resume (as that’s what ends up being the basis of all resumes).
For your experience, be sure to include the name of the employer, the position title you held, the amount of time you worked there (month and year or just include year, especially if you were there less than a year total), and a bulleted list of your job duties and accomplishments.
Community Involvement/Volunteer Work:
Employers are always looking for well-rounded employees and volunteer work shows that you care about your community and use your time wisely. If you’ve volunteered or been a leader in any type of role, be sure to put that on your resume and include where and in what capacity you helped.
This is an extremely important
section on a resume as it speaks directly to employers about what you know.
Therefore, they can relate your skills to how you will perform the job
requirements. There are many ways to write a skills section, but some ideas are
to either bullet the list in columns or to divide them by skillset.
Awards and Honors:
If you’ve received any awards or honors, it’s a good idea to include them as it shows that you have been recognized for your expertise. For example, you can include that you’ve been on the Dean’s List and the year, which demonstrates your strong academic achievement.
Degrees are not the only relevant educational experience. If you’ve earned certifications or taken training courses, add them to your resume. They all provide knowledge that can be useful for the job. As an example, you may have earned your real estate license or taken summer training courses. Add that in there!
Everyone’s content will vary, so here are some samples to take a look at before you get started writing your own.
How to Write Content
Now that you know what to include on your resume, how should you write the bullet points?
The best advice is to start with a strong action verb, such as: managed, directed, created, strategized, developed, etc. Then you accompany the verb with the core content of what you did. Importantly, don’t forget to include the result and beneficial outcome of your work. To illustrate, if you were a content marketing manager in a company, and you helped to increase the brand’s newsletter open rates, you may write something in this format: Strategized a content calendar for corporate newsletters that increased the open rate by 5% in one quarter.”
This is how you make bullet points tell stories!
When you write your bullet points, write them in order of importance, so the most striking examples of what you did on a job comes first. Be sure to keep your verb tenses consistent throughout. As in, if it is for a position you currently hold, write in present tense. Everything in the past should be written with past tense verbs.
A resume is like an introduction to who you are, without yet being able to meet the employer, so it really does become a first impression. The goal is to make it past the screening round and into the first interview, whether that be a phone interview or in person.
Dos and Don’ts
As you go through the resume writing process, keep these dos and don’ts tips in mind:
- Keep your resume not too short or too long
- Use bullet points
- Keep your resume updated
- Use at least 10-point font for bullets and at least 12-point font for your personal information
- Send your resume as a PDF
- Be honest
- Have someone review your resume before sending
- Include keywords from the job description in your resume
- Use different formats for dates or information
- Reveal personal information like gender, sex, religion, age, photos
- Lie or exaggerate
- Be repetitive
- Use an unprofessional email address
- Create margins that go less than .5” because it won’t print well
When you sit to write your resume, be sure to tailor it to the position you’re applying for. The best way to do this is to include keywords from the job description within your resume to showcase how you are a good fit.
Although writing a resume seems like a lot of information to put together, try to consider it to be a fun activity as it’s an introduction to who you are and what you have accomplished. If you think about it as a one-page marketing piece about the brand of you, you can make it a fun experience that will prepare you to land your dream job!
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