Can you put everything about yourself — your life story — on a single sheet of paper? You probably will have to do that at some point in your life. A resumé is a piece of paper that tells a prospective employer who you are, what you've done, and why they should hire you. If you want to get a job, you'll probably need a resumé.
But an employer doesn't need to know absolutely all there is to know about you. They need to know that you have the skills, knowledge, and personality traits needed for a particular job. Can you pick out which of your many skills are most important for different positions? Can you present them in such a way that the prospective employer can quickly and easily evaluate your qualifications?
- Collection of resumés from family and friends.
- Resumé books with samples (optional but highly desirable).
- Classroom or Library Reference Materials.
- Access to Internet Resources such as About.com Job Searching: Resumés / Letters (optional).
- Page Layout Software (with Resumé Templates if possible).
- Plain or color paper.
- Printer able to handle chosen paper stock.
- Your Name.
- Phone Number.
- Fax Number.
- Email Address.
- Web Page and/or Social Media Address (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
- Job Objective or Career Goal.
- Employment History.
- Professional Societies and Organizations.
- Personal Data (if pertinent to job).
- Hobbies and leisure Activities.
- Military Service.
- Personal History.
- Biography (of business owner, key members of organization, officers, etc.).
Miscellaneous Tips: Some may not apply to all resumé formats or styles.
- Generally start with work history unless you have none, then start with educational background.
- Start with present or most recent experience (job or education) and work back.
- Don't write in the third person but don't overuse "I".
- Include dates.
- Keep personal data to the minimum.
- Do not include your age.
- If hobbies or leisure activities enhance your image, consider using them. If they can be directly tied into your job objective, do use them.
- Do not include personal references directly in the resumé.
- Do not tell why you left previous jobs (that discussion, if pertinent, is best covered in the job interview).
- Do not discuss salary in the resumé.
- Be honest.
- Brief is best. Try to keep your resumé to one page (front only) and not too crowded.
- Leave adequate margins (space around the edges).
- Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
- Make the resumé pleasing to look at but don't let it become so elaborate that its appearance overshadows the content.
- First, decide what kind of job you seek. It could be a real job that interests you or simply the job of reaching the next grade level in school.
- Write down everything you can think of about yourself. List every job you've ever done (real jobs, household chores, extra jobs at school such as hall monitor, line leader, or crossing guard). List your education — schools, grades, special classes (such as a basket weaving class or a karate class). List your extracurricular school activites (football, band, chess club, debate team). List your activities outside of school (camping, skateboarding, raising chickens). List any awards you've won, honors you have received, or special recognition.
- Research resumé writing. Use the materials provided in the classroom or from other sources to gather more details about the different types of resumés. Choose one or more formats that you feel will work for you.
- Look at sample resumés you or your class have collected. Identify those that have a style or format you might like to imitate or borrow. See how much detail each type of résumé includes.
- Using the Checklist (above), list the major components of the resumé. Mark out any components you wish to omit from your resumé. Arrange your personal information in chronological, functional, or other appropriate form.
- Write an objective for the resumé (based on #1 above). Even if you do not plan to use a Job Objective in the resumé it will help you decide what information is needed and what can be safely omitted based on what you hope to achieve.
- Sketch out some rough ideas of how you want the resumé to look. Try out different formats to fit your text. Edit your text to fit your layout. Experiment.
- Using the page layout software available to you, transfer your rough sketches to the computer. Your software may have templates or wizards that will provide you with even more ideas.
- Print your final design.
"A good resumé predicts how you might perform in that desired future job." — Yana Parker, author of Resumé Pro: The Professional's Guide
Describing yourself is not as easy as you might think. Writing your resumé helps you to see yourself and your personal experience in new ways. Certain parts of your education or skills take on a different level of importance when you attempt to use that education or skills to support your stated job objective. A properly researched and written resumé not only helps to show prospective employers (or teachers) how you might perform at a new job but it also helps you see your own strengths more clearly.