April 13, 2015

how-to // build a resume

Trying to find a new job is terrifying. I haven't had to look for a new job in almost seven years, & as it turns out, I'm a little rusty. I had never even made a resume before! Fortunately for me (& for you if you find yourself in the same boat), my lady-friend Heather has ample experience with resumes. She took a whole course on the matter of preparing for real world job experience. Here are some tips she shared with me on how to build a classy & powerful resume. 

  • Clean & simple: It's important that your resume is easily readable. While it may be tempting to show off your awesome Microsoft Word font skills, try & resist that temptation. There is a fine line between your resume standing out & having it turn into a visual person's worst nightmare. Use clean, bold lines that carry direction. It's fine to use color in your resume, but try & keep it to one color in addition to black. Make sure you pick a color that will also look good if printed in black & white. Don't be afraid of negative space. A little bit of white space only brings more attention to the stronger elements. 
  • Short & sweet: In addition to creating an aesthetically clean resume, your text should be uncomplicated as well. Don't droll on about your experience. Prospective employers will see right through your fluffing. Keep it simple, keep it short.
  • One page for every 10 years of experience: This falls in line with keeping it simple. If you have  been working for 10 years or less, your resume should be no longer than a page. End of story. If you've only been working for 10 years & your resume takes up more than a page, pare it down. This includes all of the other information that needs to go into it (i.e. references, contact info, education, etc.). 
  • Highlight your skills in a real way: Instead of making a list of your skills (attention to detail, punctual, problem-solver), try & incorporate them into your achievements. For example, if you created a more efficient system for accomplishing tasks at your current job, include that as a way of showcasing your problem-solving. Anyone can just say they're good at something, it's better to show it.
  • No objective statements: There's no need to start your resume off with an objective statement. Your resume should reflect fact only: what your background is, where you worked, & what you've achieved. An objective statement is only required if you are taking your career in a vastly different direction. 
  • Include up-to-date information for your references: Make sure that the e-mail address still works for your old college professor. Check that your boss from two jobs ago has not switched phone numbers. You don't want prospective employers attempting to contact your references based on faulty information - that will only make you look bad. 
  • Test print: Test print your resume. Test print it every which way: full color, black & white, fast draft - any option your future employer may pick. Make sure it is readable & still strong when in print format. 
  • Always, always, always include a cover letter: This is what makes your resume more personal. Your cover letter is a simple document (not included in the 1 page = 10 years limitation) that shows prospective employers that you're truly interested in their company. Address the letter to the hiring manager by name - never address it with a chilling "To Whom it May Concern." Make it look like you've done research in the company you're applying for. Don't repeat in the letter what you've said in your resume. Instead, show why you're interested in the job in a way that compliments the company. Each job you apply for will require a unique cover letter. 

Your resume & cover letter serve as a first impression. Remember to show your best side & be direct. Hope this helps! Happy job-hunting!


Related // Why am I building a resume? Because we're moving

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