So, I have been doing this monthly series on this blog about planning and preparing for after graduating from college. I figure that, at least for some people, your life is pretty planned out through college. You’re born, then you have maybe daycare, then preschool, regular (K-12) school, and then college. After that, it’s a bit unclear. Today’s topic of planning for the future is resume writing or writing a curriculum vitae (CV).
I wanted to write this post to help anyone who will be looking for a job that is either out of their field completely or does not totally line up with their degree. I also want this post to help people with little to no work experience.
So, how do you go about writing a resume in the first place?
Like most things, starting is the hardest part. You can find tons of resume templates online, and if you use Microsoft Word, it even has some built in templates.
Dissecting a Resume
Before you can write a resume, it is a good idea to look at a few different examples, even if they are just the examples given in a template.
Name and Contact
The first section of a resume should be your name and contact information, such as your address, phone, and email. This part is probably the easiest section to write. Also, there’s no way you can get the job if they can’t contact you!
Objective/Statement of Purpose
Some jobs will require an objective statement or a statement of purpose. This is where you will write what job it is you want. You might put that information in your cover letter, but it can be more convenient for the hiring staff to have it on your resume.
Assuming that your education is the most prominent part of your experience, you will want to put that next. List, in decreasing level of education, the schools you have attended.
Example: I would put my bachelors degree, then associates, then maybe high school.
After the degree, you will want to put the year you received that degree (or expected date if you are still in school), the field the degree it is in, and any sort of concentration.
If you are in college, odds are you have a little work experience, even if it is not that much. Maybe you worked over your summer breaks or you had a semester where you were an intern. Put that stuff here with the following info: where you worked, the dates, and a summary of what you did.
Pro Tip: This section is where buzz words, like manage, create, communicate, and the like, really come in handy.
Any Special Skills
This section can be omitted if you can’t think of anything, but if you have some random skill, put it here. Are you a whiz with learning foreign languages? Do you learn things quickly? Do you have knowledge of some obscure program? Be sure to include it, because it could set you apart from other applicants.
References (if required)
If you have to put references in your resume, this is where they go. Put their name, phone, and email, and possibly their relation to you.
Now for some tips!
Use a different objective for different jobs.
Each job you apply to will probably be different in some way. Instead of saying something general, such as “writer,” try and be more specific. For one job, you might want to put “content creator for a technology startup” and another might be “email marketing writer for a corporate company.” Those are, of course, examples. Change it up to fit your personal goals.
Brag a little.
If you graduate with honors, or you graduate with any variation of cum laude, include that in your education section. That’s one example of when to brag about yourself. If it helps you stand out, do it. If not, then think about if it is really necessary.
I already mentioned that you should get specific with your job objective, but it can apply to your whole resume. If you have prior work experience, specify what exactly it is that you did at each job.
Be smart about your references.
If you have to include references, first, ask them. Don’t put someone on a resume without their consent. Not only does it mean they won’t get an unexpected phone call, but it also means they can think about what to say. If they get caught off guard, they may not be able to give an accurate description of you as an employee.
Also, choose your references wisely. Try and avoid family members, partly because some require you to avoid family, and partly because your family will probably give a biased reference. Use current and former teachers, current and former employers, and possibly an adviser or mentor.
Keep it short and sweet.
A commonly recommended length is about a page. You don’t want it to be so short that it doesn’t give a good summary of who you are and what you do. But, it’s not the place for your life story. Just include the basics and the most important pieces of information. Anything else, you can discuss in an interview.
I hope you guys liked reading about what to put in a resume and tips for writing a good one!
Have you started the resume writing process yet? What challenges have you encountered? Any tips I left out? Comment below!
Thanks for reading!