Experience's guide through the resume process--starting from
The day has finally arrived. The fun and games are over, and
it's time to get serious. It's time to write your resume, and
like most, you may cringe at the very thought of it. While
dread is a natural reaction, creating a successful resume is
not as hard as it seems. If you are starting from square one,
our guide takes you through the process, step by step. It also
includes many helpful hints for resumes in need of revision.
Don't forget to check with your school's career center
too. They can provide you with resume assistance as well.
1. Assemble the building blocks
Whether you start with a blank screen or a piece of paper,
the first step is to list your experience. Include summer and
part-time jobs, as well as internships. List your
responsibilities for each job and the skills you used. It is
also helpful to give specific examples of on-the-job
accomplishments. Next, make a list of other information that
you may use, such as education, general skills, awards,
affiliations, and hobbies.
2. Think creatively
Be creative (but truthful) about your credentials. If you
produce short films with your friends, volunteer with the Big
Brother Association, or compete in triathlons, the implied
attributes of creativity, responsibility, and perseverance
strengthen your position. Add these ideas to your list of
3. Write a draft
Don't be discouraged by your first draft. It might not be
worthy of a blue ribbon yet, but it will give you something
to work with. Don't worry about length at this point, just
write. Editing comes later in the process.
4. Select a structure
Once you have a draft, the best format may become obvious.
Pick the one that works with your background, skills and
5. Show it around
Give a copy to two or three people. Ask them to read your
resume, making note of any comments or suggestions. A parent,
career counselor, and a working professional, especially in
your area of interest, are good candidates for the task.
Take into account all of the corrections, comments,
suggestions, and ideas you have gathered. Then write a new
and improved version.
Translate your draft into effective resume language. Use
appropriate action verbs ("organized," "authored,"
"programmed") and keywords ("innovative," "communication
skills," "detail minded"). Write a summary of keywords that
are appropriate for your resume.
8. Keep it brief
Use concise language and descriptions, and keep it to one
page. If you need more space, experiment with margins and
layout--but be sure to follow guidelines if you are creating
an electronic resume.
Create different resumes for different jobs or job types.
Focus on your skills and experiences that are most relevant
to the industry. You can also add an industry-specific
"Objective." Try to include industry buzzwords where
appropriate, but don't overdo it.
Typos are the kiss of death. Run a spelling check and
proofread carefully. Then proofread some more, until it makes
you crazy. After that, give copies to your friends, family,
and neighbors, to proofread until it makes them crazy.
11. Keep it current
Update, upgrade, and upkeep your resume diligently. You
never know when the opportunity of your dreams will present
itself, so be prepared with a stellar resume in hand.