The purpose of a résumé is to help you get an interview. A résumé is the first introduction an employer has to you. As you prepare your résumé, help the employer see that you can do the job and that you will contribute to the success of their company. Here are some tips to help create an effective résumé:
- Start with your experience. Focus first on compiling a list of all your skills, accomplishments, work history, education, and other relevant information.
- Consider using existing résumé examples. You can find many current options online or through community resources. You can even search “résumés for” followed by whatever field you’re targeting.
- Ask for help. If you don’t have strong computer skills and struggle creating your résumé, consider asking someone who does to help you. Most people are willing to help, and this will reduce a lot of stress.
- Emphasize relevant experience. Organize your résumé so your relevant experience and skills are toward the top where they’re most likely to be seen by the employer. Many online examples can show you how to do this.
- Where possible, use data to demonstrate your contributions. This means mentioning quantified improvements you have made. You might include information such as a percentage increase in sales or reduction in customer response time, a dollar amount in savings, or an increase in productivity that occurred because of your efforts.
- Share examples of success in your past experience. Focus on problems you’ve solved and contributions you’ve made rather than your responsibilities. Use a bold, active voice when describing your accomplishments. Avoid phrases like “responsible for” or “supported.” Instead, use phrases like “accomplished” or “resolved.”
- Use complete information, such as accurate dates and specific details regarding previous companies where you have worked. Ensure the information is truthful and accurately represents your skills and abilities. If you have challenges in your work history, such as gaps or frequent job changes, you can do a quick internet search for ideas on how to address your situation.
- Ask someone to proofread it. Ask people you trust and who are familiar with the industry or type of work you do to review your résumé, proofread it, and give you advice on how to strengthen it. Asking for feedback can help you build your network and make others aware that you are looking for work.
- Once you have a base résumé, you should customize it for the specific job or company you are sending it to. Adjust the language to match the words and phrases used in the job description. Often computer software is used as the first review of résumés. The software is looking for keyword matches to the job description to determine which résumés to include in the next step of the hiring process.