Writing a resume isn’t easy, especially when you’ve never written one before or if you haven’t kept track of all the projects completed or the skills you’ve obtained a long the way. The single most important action you can take is to keep a running list of every “resume relevant” project or skill you’ve acquired. Write down dates and time too. Then, when it’s time to get your resume in order, you won’t be stuck trying to track down everything you’ve done. You’ll be ready before you begin!
Start a work journal on your laptop or home computer. You’ll be surprised at how long your list becomes as you track all of your skills and achievements. In fact, work coaches suggest that by keeping a journal of all of your accomplishments, it will boost your self-confidence – a happy byproduct of putting your resume together!
Tell your story. It’s certainly a balancing act between peppering your resume with key words, which will be picked up by online resume analysis software and creating brief examples of your various successes. But it can be done. Start by listing all the key words associated with each of your jobs or internships. Distill each job down to include no more than 5 -7 key words. You may edit this up or down as you go, but this is a good number to start. Then, as you list each accomplishment, be sure to include at least one key word. In addition, you may want to add an example of an outcome. You may write down, “Developed a software program to increase efficiency and productivity.” By adding key words it may read, “Strong attention to detail and demonstrated ability to develop software program by executing the project on time and within budget. Increased productivity and efficiency by 50%.” You will note how much more descriptive the latter is than the former. It’s essential that you provide your potential employer with concrete examples, which give the very best illustration of your capabilities and effectiveness.
Don’t get too fancy. Although you have the ability to add color and pictures/images to your resume, doesn’t mean you should. Keep it simple. Use LinkedIn to get more creative. That’s what it’s there for.
Write a winning first paragraph. Describe your skills and accomplishments in 5-7 short sentences at the beginning of you resume. Below your name and contact information, the beginning of your resume should look something like this:
Resume Title: IT Specialist
Descriptive Paragraph Example: Comprehensive experience as help desk / desk side technician, interacting directly with end users and closing ticket requests rapidly. Maintain active membership in multiple professional IT organizations to thoroughly understand industry changes and remain current on trends. Proven skills working in, leading, and uniting distributed global teams to achieve common goals. Connect with and encourage diverse, cross-functional groups to work harmoniously and implement process changes for optimal performance and productivity.
Go backwards. After the descriptive paragraph, list your employment from the most recent and then go backwards. Be sure to list the corresponding dates. Take the time to research resume formats online to review how others list their calendar of work.
Edit. Edit. Edit. For someone who is just starting out, your resume should be no more than one page. Even if you are a seasoned professional, try to keep your resume to 2 pages. Have someone else read it for brevity, clarity and grammar. Edit again. If you don’t’ want to be deleted, make sure your basics are covered.