Resume Writing: Putting it all Together

Having written a few posts addressing common issues for first time or teenage resume writers, I thought it might be good to wrap up the short series with a few tips to help tie everything together.

Before you start writing: First, a huge heads up before I provide any more specific tips. A first time or teenage resume writer might be tempted to embellish or invent details for the resume, but this is a very bad idea. Employers have ways of finding out if you have lied in any way on your resume, so make sure every detail you include is the absolute truth. 

That said, here are some other handy tips:

  • Your contact information should always be placed at the top of the resume, and should include your name, address, phone number, and email address. A professional email address is best, so if yours is anything like partygirl99@hotmail.com, you should create another, more appropriate address for your job search.
  • In your education section, it is a good idea to include your graduation date, i.e. Class of 2018.
  • When writing about your experience, whether work or volunteer, be sure to start each bullet point with a strong, active verb. Examples include maintained, organized, developed, etc.
  • The expected headings on a resume are education and experience (work and / or volunteer), but many others are possible. You might consider: skills, leadership experience, research experience, writing experience, computer experience, objectives, leadership, related coursework, etc. Choose the headings that best represent what you have to offer.

A few more things to keep in mind:

  • Always proofread your resume; you would not want to be removed from the running due to a careless typo or other mistake. Also, have someone else you trust read the document. They might be able to find mistakes you missed in your own proofreading.
  • Have multiple copies of your resume available: on paper, on a flash drive, and in your email. You never know when you might need one.
  • Update your resume often. Add new experiences, activities and clubs while you are still involved in them; this will help you to remember the relevant details more easily.
  • Be conscious of what you have posted on your social media accounts, like Facebook and Twitter. Employers can check these, so make sure you have updated your privacy settings, and have removed anything that could reflect poorly on you from your accounts. Or better yet, don’t post questionable or controversial content in the first place.

Whether you are writing a resume for a summer job, an internship, or co-op placement, these tips can help you craft the best document to help you land the position.

Resume Tips for the Uninitiated: Part 3

Welcome to part three of my series of short posts featuring helpful tips for those not accustomed to writing resumes. For this instalment, I thought I would address an issue I frequently encountered when reviewing the resumes of college students.

Several times, I noticed that students had included a “Hobbies” section on the resume. There are differing opinions on the use of such a section, so I thought I would share my view on it.

Personally, I do not feel that hobbies should be included on a resume. I understand that when an applicant does not have a lot of work experience to highlight, they might want to include some hobbies to fill out the resume. They likely think it shows that they are a well-rounded individual. There’s nothing wrong with this way of thinking necessarily; it’s more a case of using the resume to best showcase what you have to offer an employer.

For this reason, I recommend using the space to share information about volunteering, special projects worked on, or clubs you belong to. Each of these things can help position you as a fit for the job, in a more straightforward way than including hobbies probably could.

The exception I sometimes made to this, was to include hobbies only if they directly relate to the job being applied for. For example, video production as a hobby might be relevant to an event planning role, particularly if live streaming is part of the events or conferences the successful applicant would be planning.

In the end, you as the applicant need to ensure that each and every piece of information listed on the resume supports the employment objective and job being sought. You are encouraged to use your best judgment to determine whether including hobbies achieves this goal.

What do you think readers? Would you include hobbies on a resume? Why or why not?

 

Resume Tips for the Uninitiated: Part 2

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about how to start writing the all important first resume. In this second part of that series, I tackle the issue of whether or not to use a template for the document.

When unfamiliar with writing a resume, it can be tempting to simply select a template, and then plug the required information into the format and leave it at that. However, doing this can be problematic, for a couple of key reasons.

One, it is often obvious to the experienced reader that the resume writer used a template. They tend to have a “canned,” and impersonal look and do nothing to differentiate the resume from the sea of resumes that have likely been submitted. Since a well crafted resume can help the applicant to stand out, using a template seems counterproductive.

Two, writing a resume without the use of a template demonstrates computer skills that might be very valuable to an employer. So many jobs today require workers to be computer savvy, and submitting a formulaic resume could give the wrong impression about the applicant’s knowledge in that area.

So what should an inexperienced resume writer do? I suggest looking online for various resume examples (a quick Google search will turn up more than you probably need), and then taking the elements you find most appealing from those and applying them to your own unique document.

Taking the extra time to craft an original looking resume might seem inconvenient, but will likely pay off for the job seeker in the long run.