Developing a crucial job search tool: your resume.
Resumes are a necessity in the job and internship seeking process. Regardless if you are a teenager in high school with no work experience or a recent college graduate with experience holding a few jobs, it’s important to always have a high-quality and current resume prepared and on hand for whenever a potential employer might ask for one. Your resume is a tool you can use to showcase your skills, abilities, and accomplishments. It is a one- to two-page (maximum) advertisement of who you are and should convince an employer you’d be an asset to his place of employment as an employee or intern.
Most employers will formally require that you submit a resume at some point in the application process. Even when it’s not formally required, most businesses will be pleased to accept a resume accompanied by your job application when you are applying for a job or internship. Your resume may be your best opportunity to sell yourself to an employer before an interview, so it’s a good idea to provide one, even when it’s not specifically asked for.
It’s normal to feel a bit intimidated by the resume development process. If you’ve been thoughtfully completing the assignments in this course, you’ve already done much of the legwork required to create a solid resume.
Here are some tips to help you develop your resume:
Use AFB CareerConnect
As a registered user of AFB CareerConnect, you have access to a resume builder tool that can make the resume composition process easier. The resume you build on the site can then be copied and pasted into a word processing document for more customization. A good way of thinking about this process is that you’re creating a master resume on “My CareerConnect” that includes every possible piece of relevant employment information, with a good amount of detail. You will then tailor that information to create a resume that is optimized for each job you apply for. Putting in the time to make your “My CareerConnect” resume complete and comprehensive will make the application process much more efficient.
What Does a Resume Include?
Resumes typically have similar categories to those in the Personal Data Sheet, such as personal information, educational history, and work history. Resumes may also include sections for awards, certifications, honors, special skills, and references. Unlike the listing in your Personal Data Sheet, in a typical resume the work history section will include an additional description of each of your jobs in order to provide a potential employer with a more specific idea of the kinds of work you have done. Important note: Never include your social security number on your resume.
Review the example resume on the CareerConnect site.
It’s important you consider how your resume is formatted. Make sure you use consistent formatting that is easy to read. You want your resume to visaully appeal to an employer who might have several resume’s come across his desk. The font, spacing, and overall appearance of your resume are important to consider. Your resume should include the use of typographic emphasis such as bold, underline, and italic so the employer can quickly locate specific information about you. For instance, the headings on your resume should be typed in all caps to delineate new categories of information. In addition, bullets are often used in resumes to list important facts.
The following are key headings and the types of relevant information you need to include on your resume:
- Personal Information or Resume Heading: This information is entered at the top of your resume and includes your full name, phone number, address, and e-mail address. Because this identifies yourself to the employer, this information is typically a font size larger than the other text in your resume and is often centered on the page. The goal is for your name to stand out to the employer. Keep in mind your e-mail address should be formal and standard such as your first initial and last name or your first name and last name. If necessary, create a new e-mail address through a free e-mail site and use it just for applying for jobs. It might seem like a small detail, but in a job search it’simportant to always present yourself in a professional manner. Employers will not hesitate to dismiss a resume with an inappropriate e-mail address.
- Objective: The objective is a statement which addresses what you are trying to accomplish or what you hope to get out of the job. Your objective may change depending on the type of job you are applying for so be sure to update this section of your resume when you apply for different jobs. Your objective should be clear and to the point such as “To gain part-time employment as a stocking clerk".
- Summary of Qualifications: Your qualifications are skills and attributes you possess that can come from your experiences in school, volunteering, extra-curricular activities, training, etc. An example of a qualification you might list is as follows: “Excellent written and verbal communication skills”. List 3-4 qualifications which are necessary for the job you are applying for.
- Education: List the most recent and subsequent places you have studied at, the dates you attended, and specify what you were awarded such as a diploma, Master’s Degree, etc.
- Work Experience Provide your current or most recent place of employment first and then other places should follow in order. Include the dates of your employment as well as key duties you performed. Always provide the same pieces of information for every job you list.
- Community Service/Volunteer Work: Community service and volunteer work are great things to add to your resume especially if you do not have any paid experience to list. Listing volunteer experience on a resume indicates to an employer you take initiative, are self-motivated, willing to try new things, and that you support your community.
- Honors and Distinctions: Under this heading accentuate your awards, certificates, and other credentials. Do not use abbreviations or terminology your hiring manager may not understand. This section can help you stand out and give you an edge on others applying for the same job.
- Activities: If used right, the information in this section of your resume can help set you apart. Your activities can be professionally relevant as they will demonstrate your potential for leadership and teamwork. Some activities are not appropriate or relevant to list on a resume’ such as reading or watching movies.
- Additional Skills: This is an area to stress skills you have not highlighted on another part of your resume.
- References: If your resume has not exceeded the recommended maximum length of two pages, include references on your resume. If you have exceeded the recommended length, notate under the reference heading that “references are available upon request” and have a separate reference page prepared to share. Keep your references as professional as possible. In other words, it would not be appropriate to list your neighbor or your sister. Instead, list past supervisors, teachers, coaches, clients you have babysat for, etc. Overall, you want to list people who can attest to your reliability, your work ethic, and character as a person. Be sure you contact your references for their permission to list them on your resume as well as to find out how they would prefer to be contacted by a potential employer.
For most job seekers in the early stages of their careers, a one-page resume will be the normal size required and preferred by employers. Employers often have dozens or even hundreds of resumes to go through for a single job—they don’t have the time to read through a long resume to make sure they’ve caught all of the important points. One of the most critical parts of resume development is to make sure that you have made it easy for them to see everything about you very quickly. You might find that your first draft of your resume is longer than a single page. In that case, first make sure that your writing is as clear and to-the-point as possible. Then, take a look at your font size, margins, and other formatting options and make adjustments so your full resume fits completely and legibly on one sheet. As your career progresses and your work history grows, longer resumes will be acceptable and expected.
Always Be Accurate
Never lie on your resume. Businesses regularly perform fact-checking on applicants before they hire anyone. If it appears that you have misrepresented your accomplishments or the facts of your past employment, your application will be dismissed and your reputation will suffer. If you’re hired and it’s later discovered that you lied or misrepresented yourself on your resume or application, most employers will immediately fire you.
Customize Your Resume for Each Job
Once you’ve developed a solid master resume, it’s a good idea to customize each resume you submit to suit each specific job or employer.
- Use keywords found in the job description on your resume.
- Adjust and edit your work history based on the position you’re applying for.
- Provide the most detail for the jobs that are most relevant and downplay positions that aren’t relevant. If you have gaps in your employment history, make sure you have thought about how to explain them.
- Order the headings so you highlight your best qualifications for the position. Let’s say for a specific job you have strong educational experience, but not as much relevant work experience. In this scenario, it would be a good idea to put your educational experience above your work experience. Analyze your resume and decide what category is most applicable to the specific job you’re applying for.
Additional Tips on Writing
- Remember that you need to keep things short and to the point.
- Use the appropriate tense.
- For past jobs, use the past tense: “Trained superiors on how to use the fryer; participated in a training; certified by the United Health Services; trained under an experienced chef; provided customer services; processed user applications”.
- For your present job, use the present tense: “Train coworkers on inventory practices; am responsible for copier maintenance and supply; work with experienced chef; supervise three interns”.
Get Feedback from Other
Print your resume on standard printing paper and ask a person who does not have a visual impairment to review your resume for content and formatting. This can be helpful to any person developing a resume, as they are difficult documents to perfect.
Keep It Current
Keep your resume up-to-date because you never know when a job opportunity will pop up. It’s important to make sure your contact information is accurate and appropriate.
Don’t Forget AFB CareerConnect
Remember, AFB CareerConnect can be a great asset in developing a good functional resume. After creating a resume on the resume builder tool, copy and paste it into a word processing program to do your editing and add final touches.