How to Write a Killer Resume
First, think long and hard about the purpose of your resume, other than using it to find “a” job. Is the purpose to promote your immediate and intermediate past history to find a job in a related industry? If so, you would choose a chronological resume. Are you changing careers, reentering the workforce or have some gaps in your work history? You may choose a functional resume. If your skills are stronger than your chronological work history but you still feel your work history is a benefit, choose a combination, where you list your skills first followed by a chronology. The best choice may be to take a lot of time and efforts and write a targeted resume for the particular job you are applying for.
Find samples of all of these forms of resumes on the Internet. You can also find templates that come with word processing software for your computer. The advantage in using a template is that they will make the job of reading one easier for the hiring manager or the gatekeeper who is filtering the tens or hundreds of resumes received for a particular job opening. Sticking to a common format might help put you in the right stack to be reviewed.
List all of the jobs that you have had so you can write your final copy. Write out as many details for each job that you can remember. Write out the skills you used on each job. The easy way to do this is to use a table either by hand or on your computer. List jobs on one axis and skills on the other, and put an X in the right coordinating table spot. When finished you will have a matrix of jobs and skills. Write out what you accomplished on each job. If possible quantify those accomplishments, like “I increased sales by 75% over a four year period.”
Write out your goal or objective in searching for a new position. What kind of job do you want? Based on what you have already written down, write out a summary of your skills and track record. Remember that you will convert your skills and track recored into a marketing statement in your cover letter. Your resume will contain your “features” and your covering letter will convert those into a “benefit” for your prospective employer, so make sure you have written out your best features.
Write out the boilerplate that may go into each resume. Your name address, phone number, email address, and any other contact information. Write down any awards or documented achievements. Write out your education and any additional continuing education like certifications or coursework.
Now, you have all of the building blocks for your resume. Use these blocks to put together your first choice in format. Use action verbs in stating your accomplishments, so “I increased sales” becomes “Increased sales”. These can be listed in bullet format or in text depending on your resume format choice. Do not hesitate to write out a resume in each format to discover which you prefer.
Spell check each resume several times. Have several of your friends or colleagues read each version. Keep in mind that your resume are your product features, and you are the product. It is one half of a marketing statement. The other half is your cover letter, which will convert your features into a promise of a benefit for the hiring company.
Keep each version on your computer and tweak them as necessary for each job application.