Perhaps you’re a recent college grad, elated over finishing, yet pressured by the reality of what comes next—whether a looming job search or the process of applying to graduate school. Maybe you’re simply home from college for the summer and need employment fast in order to earn money for another school year. Whatever your unique scenario, you’ll likely be putting together a resume’ in the near future. The word resume’ even sounds daunting as it rolls off the tongue! But it’s far less complicated than it sounds. Let us introduce our Resume’ Writing 101 Crash Course to get you rolling!

Three Considerations. Before you start building your resume’ consider using an auto template. Many people get stuck staring a blank document, but a template is already formatted, saves you time and creates a professional look. All you have to do is type in your personal information. Some templates cost a bit but are generally well worth the money, and many are free online. A quick internet search will get you started!

Research shows that your future employer (or grad school) will spend less than one-minute glancing through your resume’ and may sort a stack of resumes’ after a 6-7 second glance at each one. Obviously first impressions matter, so it pays to consider appearances. Aim for one-page (play with font size to accomplish this) and keep your wording simple and concise. Trim clutter and know that a bit of white space is ok; it keeps things looking crisp and clean.

Taylor your resume’ to fit the role, company or grad school to which you’re applying. In other words, consider your audience. How are you a good fit? What makes you perfect and well-equipped for this role, position or company? If it’s a tech job, highlight your education and/or relevant work you’ve done with computers and various software. If the job is people-oriented, start out by spotlighting leadership roles you’ve held that show your qualifications in this area. Share what you have to offer with confidence!

Five Key Elements. It’s of vital importance to list your (1) contact information in an obvious, accessible place to make it super easy for your potential employer or school administrator to reach you. Include your name, phone number, email and address. Next, include a (2) summary statement of your objective in applying. This should be near the top and stated in 2-3 clear sentences which encapsulate what you have to offer and why you feel compelled to apply. An example could be: “Self-motivated university graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and internship experience in art therapy, passionate about pursing master’s degree in Counseling.”

After these first two pieces are in the place, the resume’ order does not matter much. Again, consider your audience and what makes you a great fit and put that at the forefront. You’ll want to list your (3) work experience including the business or company, location and dates of employment. Generally speaking, it’s best to list your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent place of employment. Under each place of employment, list your responsibilities there, focusing on strong action verbs such as led, advanced, oversaw, created or organized. For example: Tony’s Lawn Care; Dayton, Ohio; 04/2021-10/2021; managed payroll and scheduling of employees; directed team of eight manicure and garden specialists; maintained equipment.

You’ll want to include your (4) education as well. Once more, start with your most recent level of schooling completed. If you’re only halfway through a program, feel free to list your college name, location and anticipated graduation date. It is acceptable to include your GPA, any pertinent classes, licensures, certifications or trainings you’ve completed that might be helpful. For example, if you’re applying for a job as a summer recreational leader at a racially diverse community center you might include details such as CPR and first-aid certified and four years of Spanish.

A final element for your resume’ would be (5) special skills and achievements. This is a great place to list achievements that aren’t necessarily related to work or education. You might include extracurricular activities, leadership roles, community involvement, awards you’ve won or volunteer experiences you’ve gained. Something to keep in mind here is the difference between hard and soft skills. Hard skills are measurable skills based such as tech, writing or math abilities, languages spoken or other specific areas of knowledge or expertise. Soft skills have to do with character, attitude and relational abilities that are harder to measure but equally important, including being motivated, trustworthy, a team player, a problem solver or a good listener. List both hard and soft skills on your resume’ as it helps round out the picture of who you are as a student, employer and person.

Now that we’ve gotten your wheels turning, the only thing left to do is construct your resume’ and apply to the job or school you’ve been dreaming about. With this Crash Course under your belt you’re hopefully feeling confident to just take the plunge and go for it!