How to Write A Resume…
So why would you need to know how to write a resume…
Your resume is how 95% of all employers will first “meet” you. And their decision to interview you — or not — is often made after a quick glance at this all-important document. So, your resume had better be good. Because nothing less than your career is at stake here! And of course money: 40 years at $50,000 is $2,000,000. Do the math and you’ll realize that your most valuable asset is not your home, it’s your career!
– Kevin Donlin and David E. Perry
So that’s why.
Now, I have mixed feelings about resumes and its relative utility. Yet there is one undeniable truth regarding resumes and it is this – Your resume must reflect the very best that you can do. Its presentation must be flawless. You can cut corners anywhere you like, but do not – let me emphasize – do not cut corners in the production of your resume.
Unlike a cover letter that you addressed to a singular person; your resume can and will go through many hands. Each person whose hands touch your resume mustÂ all be equally impressed. One bad impression can, and often times do, kill the process. Do not short change your resume, and in the process, short change yourself.
So, what makes a good resume? How do you write an effective resume that works? There are tons of resources out there that can both answer that question and help you develop a good looking resume. As a bare minimum, your resume should include:
- Summary of qualifications
- Summary of accomplishments
- Jobs held
- Educational background
Whether you use a functional resume or a chronological resume is up to you. You can also use a combination of the two.
Why You Need Two Resumes (in my humble opinion)…
In general, I think you should always have two core resumes to use (for a deeper discussion of this, read this page by clicking here). Not every job is the same, in fact, even the same jobs can have different needs. Your resume needs to reflect. It needs to be flexible and adaptable to the job you want to apply for.
The first resume should be a one page, concise resume that hits on all your strong points, yet does not get bogged down in the details. If your life were a movie, this first resume would be a 5 minute trailer. It is whets the appetite. This is the resume you lead off with. You hand these out to people who ask for it; drop off at job fairs; and mail to job openings.
The second resume is a more in-depth documentation of your work history. It can be 2 or 3 pages long. Your job descriptions are a more detailed, as are your accomplishments. This is the resume you leave behind after a job interview. This is the resume that reinforces the answer you gave during the interview. It must be an outstanding looking resume.
Actually both resumes need to be fantastic. Before you start cursing me, developing two resume is not hard. Develop the second resume first. Once you are satisfied with that resume, begin to fine tune and begin paring it down to the bare essentials. Distill it to one page. Now you have 2 resumes.
When it is time to distribute your resume, use the one page version, but customized to the job you want. Customizing the one page resume is not hard, particularly if you have everything on your computer.
As a Side Note
If you have read any of my articles on job search strategies, then you know that I have little regard for “mass” mailing or posting of resumes to jobs found on the help wanteds and online postings. It’s not that you can’t get a job that way but that the odds are so low. You go through all the trouble crafting a brilliant resume, only to have it sit as one of several hundreds, with ever diminishing hopes of being looked at.
That said, there is this one alternative. It is a resume distribution service run by ResumeRabbit. For a one time fee of $59.95, they will instantly submit your resume to 86 different job sites. If you are going to spend any time posting your resume online, then this is a viable alternative. Do it once and get it to everyone in one huge, shogun blast versus hours doing it one at a time. Check them out here.
If you need help, ask…
As I stated earlier, there are some tremendous resources out there, some of which I list here. A solid resume is an absolute non-negotiable. If you have any qualms about being able to put together a quality resume together, get help. If you are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information out there, stop, breathe, and get help. As I stated elsewhere, this is no time for the “rugged individualist” attitude.
You have too much at stake!
Okay, I am not going to pretend that this is some sort of “one-stop” site for all your resume resources. But I have tried to list some that I think are interesting and unique (reviewed one). Hopefully these will help. Some will cost you, some will not. I reviewed the Guerrilla Resume program out of curiosity. Guerrilla resumes are clearly a different approach and it seems to work for some.
A lot of paid programs, and Guerrilla Resume is no exception, make some serious claims about “guaranteeing” interviews and/or jobs. I don’t know about that. I do know that if you resume is not a top tiered production, you will not make it past the first cut. All these programs are about getting you into those top tier.
“Because (to coin a cliche) you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
But this is where most people fail: Instead of sending out the most appealing resume possible, they send out the most appalling.
Most resumes, to coin another cliche, suck.”
-Kevin Donlan and David E. Perry
Resume Software and Template Sources:
Guerilla Resumes, by Kevin Donlin and David E. Perry
Imagine … getting the job you really want, doing work you love … bringing home the salary you deserve … taking your family out to dinner to celebrate at your favorite restaurant … telling your friends and neighbors, “I got a new job!”
You can read my review of the template program here. In short, it is probably the only resume template out there that incorporates testimonials and logos’ right on the one page resume. A singularly, unique look. Would be perfect for the lead off resume The cost is $29.97 with an option to upgrade for another 10 bucks. The extra 10 bucks gets you 4 more bonus.
Interesting guarantee – if you cannot get a job within 90 days by using and following their recommendations, Kevin will refund your money plus $50.
Federal Citizen information Center
Courtesy of your hard working tax dollars, the FCIC has put together a very nice EBook covering all things resume and cover letter. This EBook is free and strictly DIY.
You need to really study this little booklet hard; do a deep dive; and then use the information and guidelines to build your resume and cover letter from scratch. The good news is that because you put it together from your building blocks, you own it, you know it, and that’ a huge confidence builder. Plus, your only cost is nothing. Uncle Sam’s got your back!
Optimal Resume at Florida Institute of Technology
Interesting website. Creating an account is not necessary to access the 109 free resume samples plus 5 more website resume samples. Great for DIY traditional resumes. Between this site and Olivia Crosby EBook, this is all you really may need.
This is a resume writing service. Back in 2002, I outsourced my resume to a resume service and they did a fantastic job. The resume they put together for me is still the base, core resume that I use. I can’t remember which company it was – if I did, I’d recommend it in a heartbeat. Since I can’t – e-resume.net seems to come highly rated (at least the LA Times did) and their price ranges from$119 to $245 which is actually pretty reasonable. I’ve seen other services charge as much as $700.
So, if you just have no desire to assemble one on your own, then provide the pertinent information to e-resume.net and leave it to them.
My first recommendation is to try Optimal Resume first and look at all the great samples they have there. But if writing is an issue and you think you need all the edge you can get – nothing wrong with that thinking – than take a look at e-resume.net
What Color is Your Parachute, by Richard N. Bolles
Although not strictly a “how to” resume book, this is a book you must read and apply if you are looking for a meaningful job. From the flower exercise to the mission statement, this book takes you far beyond thÂ traditional job search advice. Yes, you also get good advice on how to put together a resume. If you read nothing else, do nothing else – please get this book. Go to the library, to the bookstore, or hit this link, but do yourself a tremendous and service and get this book. You’ll thank me.
Or head over to his website for some of the most current news and tools to help you in your journey.
Career Services, University of Pennsylvania
This is tremendous site operated by the Career Services, Penn. Although this information is meant for UPenn undergraduate students and alumni, I see no reason why you could not benefit from it. Besides the breakdown of how to put a resume together, it includes a decent number of samples for you to examine. It also has a nice, online “powerpoint” presentation on putting a resume together
The samples are geared mostly for college students, but it does have a couple of sample resumes for alumni that are interesting. Principles are all the same, so good info. So absolutely check it out.
Amazing Resume Creator, by JimmyP.Sweeney
“In Just 10 Minutes Flat, You Can Quickly And Easily Crank Out An Amazing Resume That Is Guaranteed To Have Your Telephone Ring Off The Hook With Hot Job Interviews And Top Job Offers… Without Writing One Word!”
Point, Click, PRESTO… Out Pops An Amazing Resume 100% Customized For You! – Jimmy Sweeney
Jimmy has a lot of good products on the market. This $39.95 is another item that seems really popular. Click here to check out his site directly.
Resume Dictionary: The Resume Writing Resource.
Resume Dictionary: TheResume Writing Resource. The Free Resume Dictionary helps job seekers with resume writing through the power of language and provides valuable information about resumes, job hunting, and careers.
Phil Baker, creator of the OneClick Cover Letter Creator, has put together a wonderful website that talks you through writing your resume in great detail and specificity. The wealth of information, advice, and guideline here is tremendous. I highly recommend you visit Phil and avail yourself of his experience and wisdom. Best of all, it’s basically free – can’t beat that!
In the end, it’s you they hire; not a piece of paper. That said, the piece of paper can be instrumental in getting you in front of the person that can hire you – a grossly obvious understatement, I know.
Don’t let your resume be one of those countless, generic resumes floating out there.
Learn how to write a resume.
Learn how to write a great looking resume.
Maximize your opportunities.