What is a Resume?
A resume is defined as, “A carefully written concise summary of relevant information about your education, experience, skills, qualifications and knowledge as it relates to the position for which you are applying.” At its core, a resume is a unique list of impressive, personal accomplishments, as well as valuable experiences that an individual has gained over time.
People often submit their resumes to a potential employer as part of the job application process. Doing so helps the applicant show the potential employer exactly why they are the right person for that job. Resumes are also used as a deciding factor in a wide variety of other application-based opportunities like college admissions, scholarship awards, and more!
Why is it important?
No matter what age you are, it’s important to have a professional resume that helps you stand out. If you don’t currently have a resume, I highly recommend creating one. Even if there’s nothing you’re currently interested in applying for, it’s always good to have a professional resume ready for when that time does come.
Furthermore, if you’ve never created a resume before, the idea of making one from scratch may seem a little overwhelming. To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of key tips on how to start building a professional resume.
Things to Keep in Mind When Building a Resume
According to a 2018 study completed by the job search company Ladders Inc., the average recruiter spends a mere 7.4 seconds skimming an applicant’s resume. This means that employers are often not taking the time to fully read through an applicant’s resume, but are instead scanning it for key details.
As a result, it is important for individuals to know how to format and word their resume in a way that will catch a recruiter’s attention. And even though some of the following tips might seem fairly obvious, they are oftentimes the most important to remember, thus the easiest to overlook.
Tips on How to Build a Professional Resume
1. Be Professional
– Never use slang or curse words
– Check, and then double check your resume to make sure there aren’t any typos
– Be proud of your accomplishments, but never word them in a way that could come across as narcissistic or boastful
2. Include Your Contact Information
– The amount of personal information you include on your resume is up to you, but always make sure to leave at least one way for a recruiter to contact you
– I personally like to include my full name, email address, and phone number on my resume.
– If applicable, you can also choose to include other information such as a link to your LinkedIn account or personal website
3. Highlight Your Most Relevant Experiences
– Create a base resume with accomplishments that demonstrate commonly desired qualities.
– Experiences include showing one’s creativity, leadership, communication skills, and dedication
– For each individual application, pay attention to the desired applicant qualities for each specific opportunity. Examine your base resume and add any relevant qualifications or experiences you have that fit the desired qualities for that specific opportunity.
4. Make the Important Information Stand Out
– Bold or italicize important information, such as of job titles or positions you’ve held or even names of clubs you have been a part of
– Make sure you don’t overuse bold or italics too much on your resume though, or it will lose its effectiveness
5. Make Your Resume Easily Readable
– Include headings; leave an appropriate amount of white space, and use an easy to read font size and style on your resume
– Don’t use unnecessarily long descriptions to explain your accomplishments, only say what’s necessary to get the main point across
– Include dates displaying how long you held a position or participated in an activity
– Ex: Blogging Intern at GirlSpring, June 2020-August 2020)
– Don’t be afraid to look up resume examples online if you’re not sure how to format yours. Doing research is always better than guessing, thus it drastically helps improve the quality of your resume.
6. Try to Fit Your Resume onto a Single Page
– Job and college recruiters often have hundreds; if not thousands, of applications to go through. As a result, many recruiters will only skim through the details on the first page of an individual’s resume in an effort to save time.
– This is why it is vital to choose the most important and relevant information for each individual application and attempt to fit that information onto one page.
– I know from personal experience that it can be hard to limit a resume to just one page. This makes it a lot harder to pick and choose what’s most important when talking about your own hard-earned accomplishments.
– If you’re struggling to get your resume under one page, I suggest having a friend, teacher, or family member read over it and help you trim it down. This way you will get an objective opinion on what items seem most important vs what items you can afford to leave out.
– Your resume may grow to be longer than one page depending on the amount of experience you get and the number of new skills you acquire. As a result, it’s not necessary for your resume to always be one page or less. However, you should always make sure that every piece of information you put on your resume is relevant.
7. Include Unique Accomplishments & Be Original
– Is there something you’ve done that most people haven’t? Include that on your resume! Just make sure that it is somewhat relevant to whatever you are applying for.
– If you can’t think of anything you’ve done that’s extremely unique, try to find a unique way to word the accomplishments you do have.
8. Update Your Base Resume as Time Goes On
– Looking for a job after college, adding accomplishments you want to share with a future potential employer will be a lot different than they were when you were in high school.
– As time goes on, continue to add useful skills you’ve acquired along the way, such as any internship or job experiences, leadership positions in clubs, or specialized coursework. You may also need to remove some items from your resume that are no longer important or relevant to your current situation.
Online Resources to Make Creating and Formatting Your Resume Easier
Now that you know the basics, you probably want to get started creating a resume of your own. If you’re still a little unsure of just how to do that, here are a few resources to help you:
And don’t forget to click the link and check out more resume tips from Girl Spring contributors!