With the zillions of résumé resources out there–websites, books, professional services—you’d think that no mere mortal could write his or her own résumé.
This is simply not true. Those websites and books are designed to instill terror in you so you’ll pay them to help you. But you don’t need them! That said, they can be valuable guides to formatting your résumé. Also, we love a good list of “action verbs“—it’s like a mini-thesaurus especially for résumé writing.
Let’s assume you’ve decided how your résumé will look. You’ve decided what you’ll call various sections and what order you’ll put them in.
In some form or another, all résumés will include:
In reverse chronological order, list the schools you attended, their location, degrees or diplomas received, and the year. This section can include certificates from industry-specific training programs. As a general rule, do not list your high school unless you did not attend college.
Work History or Professional Experience
Again, in reverse chronological order, list the titles you’ve held at what companies and the dates you worked there. Using the active voice and action verbs, state your responsibilities and accomplishments. Short bulleted lists are most effective from a visual standpoint.
This is where you list things that aren’t explicitly stated elsewhere: foreign languages you speak, computer applications you are a whiz at, and less tangible skills such as problem solving, leadership abilities, and creative thinking.
Your final Step: PROOFREAD
We say this all the time, but we really mean it when we talk about résumés. This is a document that can get you a job interview. Even a single mistake can cost you that opportunity. Read your résumé again and again. Ask more than one friend to read it. And let us read it!