Do you want to create a resume that will stand out, grab the reader's attention, and get you that interview you are searching for? Look no further, I’m going to show you how to create a resume that will get you an interview fast!
If you’re just finding out about this career series, you can check out the other posts in the series here:
A couple years ago I was on the hunt for a new job. It was time to move on from my previous employer.
I wasn’t looking forward to it. The job search can be intimidating, scary, and even downright awful.
It’s terrible sending out resumes and waiting for the call back. It makes you wonder whether they didn’t like your resume, your application, or just didn’t like you.
I didn’t really want to do it, but I had to. So, I sat down at my laptop, pulled up Google Docs and began writing my new and updated resume.
I began researching the best ways to create a resume that employers will like and tried to implement as much of that into my resume as possible.
After hours of tweaking and polishing I had my resume.
I found a couple positions online that looked like a good fit and applied for both. The very next day I received 2 calls. One from each employer wanting to schedule a preliminary phone interview!
The resume had done the job. It portrayed to the employers that I had the experience, education, and skills to fit their position. Spoiler alert: I accepted a position from one of the companies!
That’s exactly what a resume is for. It’s not the end all of job hunting. The resume is just a promotional piece to get in you in the door for a resume.
In this guide I’m going to take you step-by-step through the process of building a great resume that will get your foot in the door to the next step in the job search, the interview.
CAREER TOOLS LIST
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First, off before I begin to break down what you need in your resume, I’m going to show you the one I used in my job search.
It’s nothing fancy. In fact, it’s pretty plain, but it does what it is intended to do. It shows the employer very quickly that I have the experience, education, and skills required for the job.
Ok now that you’ve got a high level view of what we are doing, let’s get started writing your resume.
RESUME CONTACT INFO
To start off, I highly suggest just opening a Google Doc or Word Doc instead of a fancy resume tool to start. Let’s focus on the facts and information and worry about the looks later.
Next, let’s start with your contact information as a header. Add your name and the role you specialize in below that.
You could put your job title like IT Security Analyst or something more general like IT Security Professional. It really depends on your industry and whether titles matter.
Choose whichever you feel would fit better in your industry and would appeal to you target audience.
Create a space and then on the next two lines add your address, phone number, and email address. If you’re building a personal brand and have a website, add that as well on a third line.
Next, is the summary section. You need to quickly and efficiently portray to your target audience what you do and why you are worth their time to continuing reading your resume.
You know how you read a post on Facebook or the internet and quickly scan the header to determine whether you'll take the time to click on it or read the whole article? It’s the same with you resume.
You need to get their attention fast!
Start with a SUMMARY header.
Here is my recommendation. Briefly tell them what you do and how experienced you are. Impress them!
As you can see from mine. I quickly tell them what I do and for how long. I try to portray quickly that I work at a high level with the Chief Information Officer to demonstrate that I’m working closely with upper management and have experience in both the technical and management side.
Yours may be totally different. You have to think about what your “Unique Selling Proposition” is. In other words, what makes you stand out above the crowd of everyone
Next up, we need to list your current and previous jobs. Create a header for EXPERIENCE.
Begin by listing at least the last three companies you have worked for. Don’t leave out anything. Include internships and part time jobs so they can see a steady work history.
Next, list the title of your positions at each of the companies. I ignore internal company titles like Accountant II… That’s just an internal system of names.
What do you really do? Are you an accountant? Then just list your title as Accountant instead of Accountant II.
Finally, create bullet points of accomplishments for each position you have. This is easier said than done.
Make sure to have at least 3 bullet points on each position and more on your current position if possible.
Here’s the deal with these accomplishments. You don’t want to just talk about your responsibilities. You want to go way beyond that.
You need to sell yourself by showing them how you provided a huge help to the company.
Here’s an example:
Instead of tasks like this:
Provided general maintenance and manual backups for all IT systems
Show them how you made a huge positive impact on the company:
Lead the Disaster Recovery Program by creating a completely redundant data center which allows us in the event of a complete data center shutdown to have our core financial system running within one hour and all other servers and third party VPN’s available within 1 day
See the difference? You want to show how the action you took benefited the company.
Here’s a formula to help you write great experience bullets:
ACTION the PROJECT resulting in BENEFIT TO THE COMPANY
Here it is as fill in the blank:
_______ the _______ resulting in ________
Here are some action words you can use:
Sometimes you just don’t have a lot of projects under your belt yet and that is ok. You can also list tasks but always try to display them in a way that demonstrates how you helped the company rather simply what you did.
Next up, create a new section for education. This is pretty straight forward. You just are listing the facts about your education. Think of everything you have done education wise that would appeal to your target audience.
List all of your college degrees. Did you get an associates degree, bachelors degree, masters degree, PHD, etc? List all of them.
Do you have any certifications or licenses? List those as well.
Did you do any special training that would appeal to your target audience? List em.
If you don’t have any post high school education, list your high school as well. If you are still in college working on your degree, go ahead and list the degree and make a note that you are currently working toward your degree with the current year you are in.
Go back to each of those education lines and add the school or organization you got it from along with the date.
Next, create a new section for skills.
You’re gonna have to dig deep here. What software do you know? What special skills do you have related to your industry? What would be valuable in your industry and to your target audience?
If you work in the business world, you’re most likely gonna know how to use Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.
Do you work in the medical industry? You may know how to use certain equipment that your target audience would like to see.
Take some time and determine every skill that you have that would be relevant to your target audience and list it.
RESUME DESIGN TOOLS
So at this point you have your content, now you need to make it looks it’s best. I have a couple options for you.
First is Standard Resume. If you work in the business world where the traditional resume is valued checkout Standard Resume.
They provide a clean and simple website to enter the information you already created and they will layout a beautiful resume you can download as a PDF. No need for you to worry about spacing, headers, and all of that design stuff. They take care of it for you.
Second up is Canva. Canva is an easy to use graphics editor that has lots of resume templates you can modify to create a beautiful and creative resume.
If you work in a creative industry then Canva is the better choice to create a resume.
Decide what works best for you and begin copying the content you created in the earlier sections to create your final resume.
After you are finished created your resume focus on making it perfect. Polish, polish, polish.
Read it at least 5 times. Look for grammar, spelling mistakes, design mistakes, etc.
Have someone else read it for you to make sure it reads well and is understandable.
Make sure it is error free and well polished!
Once you are done, you should have a beautiful PDF resume you can send to any employer you are interested.
Boom! You’re done. Enjoy it and the success it will help you achieve very soon!
Ok, let’s wrap this up. Here’s a recap of the steps you need to take to create a great resume that is going to get you your next level position:
Start with a document just to get the details down
Add your contact info like name, address, phone number, email, and personal brand website
Create your summary section that sells yourself
Add all of your current and past experience that is relevant
Add all of your education like college, certifications and licenses, special classes, and even high school if needed
Add any skills you have that are relevant to your target audience
Choose a design tool to make it look great
Polish, polish, polish, make sure it looks perfect
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