One of the biggest problems for people who are looking for jobs is that they don’t know how to write a proper resume. There is a lot of information floating out there, and picking the right tips and following them isn’t as easy as it may first appear. I think one of the unique difficulties comes when a student wants to write a resume, but realizes he or she doesn’t have very much work experience in the field they’re applying to. The student could either be fresh out of college, or just looking for a side job to help pay tuition fees. Whatever the case is, your resume is often your first foot in the door, and strong resume writing will have a direct correlation with success in the job market.
I did a little searching on Google to try to find a website that would add to my own knowledge. I also have some training from a professional writing course, so I know what kind of basic information a site should have to look credible. Here’s a great link to a skills-based resume: http://blogs.wsj.com/laidoff/2009/03/23/getting-ahead-with-a-skills-based-resume/
You may not be familiar with a skills-based resume, so let me explain. It’s a great option for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of work history to put on their resume, so instead they focus on the specific skills that they have learned. The link that I posted to focuses more on people who have been laid-off, or out of the field for a while, but it still applies to students. Many students may have taken time off to focus on school, or never had a job at all. This resume allows you to showcase the skills that you learned during the time, and helps highlight your strong points:
“It gets somebody reading about your strengths. If the first thing you see is three different employers in three yeas you might automatically put that resume in the ‘no’ pile… From my personal experience of looking at hundreds of resumes, it’s just easier to read and easier to get the feel for the skills of the candidate. In a traditional resume, I have to go a long way and connect a lot of dots.”
I’ve had personal success with this kind of resume, and it’s really been a help to be able to list classes I’ve taken, and what I’ve learned in each class. As the author says, it gives a better picture of who you are as an individual. Holding a job for a long period of time may indicate that you learned certain skills, but it still makes the employer assume. A resume like this shows where you learned your best attributes, and gives you more credibility.
However, I think one of the most successful things an applicant can do is overlooked on this site. Research! Look into your employer, and cater your resume for your specific job. For this reason, you should never send the same resume to multiple employers! You need to tailor your resume to show off what skills you have that are most pertinent to your prospective employer, and show knowledge of the company’s goals. For example, if I’m applying to a company that has a strong social media presence, it would be silly for me not to include my experience in my Writing for the Web course. However, if it’s an employer that focuses more on face to face interactions, it would be more important to cite my experience volunteering as a greeter at the South Bend Museum of Art. While keeping a resume to 1 page may be a bit of a relic, you still don’t have room to include everything.
If you follow the template and my advice of researching your employer, your chance to be hired with undoubtedly be high.
Feel free to look at the sample resumes posted on the site, as well as post any questions you may have.