Building a resume is a formulaic process. The process of getting the “perfect” resume every time involves adjusting your resume to accommodate the position you are applying for. To begin that process, we form a generalized resume to use as a template, so the editing process is less intensive when actually applying.
Step-by-Step Instructions for a High Quality Resume:
- Brainstorm: Resumes typically have 4-7 categories. In traditional order, they are: name and contact information, summary/objective, experience, education, skills, and activities/awards. We break down brainstorming each section of the resume below.
- Contact Information: Include name, email, city of residence.
- Summary: A brief synopsis of your experience, and how you plan on using your skills and experience to improve the company you want to apply to.
- Experience: When brainstorming your job experience, begin with your most current position, and move backwards, listing your position title, the time you spent in that position, and all the job duties you were responsible for in each role. Use past tense for previous jobs, and use current tense for current jobs.
- Education: List any certifications or degrees you have. Be sure to mention the institution name, completion year, and elaborate with major or specialization.
- Skills: The “skills” section of a resume is reserved for hard skills. Hard skills are specific capabilities that can be demonstrated in a quantifiable way, like having advanced proficiency in a certain software, or being bilingual.
- Activitiesand Awards: This is the place to list all volunteer experience, awards received, extracurriculars, etc. In this section, we include a brief explanation of the experience and the year completed/received.
- Organize: Once you have a good amount of information written down, we begin to organize it. Resumes start with the most recent position listed, and move backwards in time. After the general outline is in the proper format, we can organize our bullet points by job duty and skill set.
- Dive Deeper and Personalize: Dive deeper into each bullet point to contemplate how the skills gained from learning how to do each task, and/or how you improved the process of the task. In order to have a resume that stands out, applicants must demonstrate an ability to gain skills from their experiences. Resumes should be unique to each person’s experience, and this is the opportunity to showcase that.
- Add Some Quantifiers: If possible, quantify the work you completed. Tell the reader how much money you saved the company, how many contacts you maintained, how big your team was, etc. This helps to give employers a clear guideline for measuring your capabilities and potential workload.
- Editing: A majority of resume editing is done to find the most clear way to exhibit all that was accomplished while in a certain position. One way we accomplish this is by utilizing a technique called “parallel phrasing,” in which each bullet point has the same grammatical structure, but the content is different. For resumes, our grammatical structure looks like this:
[Strong verb(s) to describe skills used] + [activities completed under that skill set.]
For example, “Expedited the scheduling and payment collecting processes, resulting in $10,000 of increased monthly revenue”
- Summarize Everything: Once everything is personalized, quantified, and edited to your liking, we can summarize our experience and goals at the top of the resume. Providing a summary of your past experience, and how you aspire to use that for your next position allows for potential employers to know your intentions before the interview.
Resumes should be adjusted for each job description, so that the experience listed on the resume matches what the employers are looking for. It is also recommended to alter the summary for each job description.
If you have questions about improving your resume, or are interested in sending your resume for consideration, please fill out a form here on our website.