The first resume I ever wrote was for a class in high school. I had an English teacher who refused to release us into the world without a basic understanding of writing a resume. “You can’t get a job if you can’t write a resume,” she would always say.
When I wrote that first resume, I didn’t have ‘work experience.’ I had volunteer events and service hours under my belt, so that’s what I used. I loaded it up with my time spent at retirement homes and the volunteering I did there. Teaching older people how to send an email is way more challenging than you might think. I mentioned that I was in student government and all of the “hard work” that was.
My teacher put it this way, “Writing a resume is just a way to repackage all of the boring stuff you do in a way that sounds good to a possible employer.” So when you read my resume, I sound like the most exciting and qualified person ever when, in reality, I know how to read and write.
The hardest thing I learned about writing a resume is the language. They have this specific sound and feel to them, but after reading a few examples and having my mom (she is good with this kind of stuff) go over it, I finally got into the groove of it.
The importance of a resume
Why do I even need a resume?
It might seem like a dumb question, but almost every job you will ever apply for will ask you to submit one. No one wants to hire someone who has no idea what they are doing.
Resumes will not get you the job, but they will get you inside the door. You need to have a strong resume if you want employers to notice you. Something that gets you into an interview so you can sell yourself to the company. Think of it as a way to market yourself to potential employers.
The language of resumes
A resume is just a way of saying, “I did this, or I was in charge of this, and I accomplished this.” But it should sound more proactive. Saying you were responsible for a big project isn’t as engaging as if you said you coordinated that project. The difference in verbiage shows responsibility in a much more proactive way.
Tailoring your resume
Every job is different; treat it as such. Your resume should differ from job to job, maybe not drastically, but employers are all different, and they are looking for different things. So give them what they want. The resume you have now might not fit the description of what they are looking for. Change it up a little.
So let’s break down the major parts of a resume.
Parts of a resume
This part is where you’ll put your educational background. Highest level of diploma you have or are currently working on. Let’s say you are still in school. All you would need to do show is (School name, degree working towards, and expected graduation) So the sample resume would read like this:
School Name, City, State
Bachelor’s of Art in English Literature (Expected Graduation Fall of 2021)
- Minor in History
- Dean’s List (2019)
- Honors Program
- Sigma Tau Delta – English Honor’s Society
This part should be on your resume right after college, but once you start building up experience, this section can be replaced with more leadership or work experience. But if you have this in your resume, make sure to include courses that you think are relevant to the job. They might not have to be your hardest classes.
Depending on how much work experience you may have, try to tailor your resume to the job. If you are applying for an office job, it might be better to talk about the internship you had in an office setting than the summer job you had flipping burgers. If you are applying for an office job for the first time, then take your food or retail experience and flip it. Highlight any of the administrative duties you may have had. Explain to them the team-oriented aspect of working in retail. Store changeover that had you getting your store ready for the new line of clothes. Retail is only doable because of your coworkers. Imagine going to work, but it’s only you, and you have to run the store alone. Give examples of the customer service aspect of your jobs. You are face to face with people all day in food and retail so sell yourself by using what experience you do have by showing how it is relevant to office work.
I have Volunteer work on my sample resume, but it can be what you have done that doesn’t fall into any of the other categories. Clubs, student government, fraternity, or sorority. Things that you think might be relevant and land you a job.