The resume writing process can be a daunting task but understanding what a resume is and what it needs to include can help ease some of the anxiety. Continue below for tips to create an effective resume.
What is a resume?
A resume is a document that sums up a job seeker’s qualification for the jobs they are interested in. Remember when you are writing your resume it should not be a biography but a summary of your skills and experiences. Your resume is a marketing tool, so make sure you are really selling yourself. When creating your resume, you should create it for the job you want, not the job you currently have.
What does a resume include?
A resume should include the following areas: contact information, a summary, professional experience, and your education. Additional areas you might consider including are: volunteer work, internship experience, achievements, relevant coursework, special projects, and participation in professional organizations.
When creating the different sections of your resume, you’ll want to include relevant skills to the industry of your choice. Refer to the skills and responsibilities section of job advertisements to guide you in creating the summary, skills, and professional experience sections of your resume.
Industry Keywords: Consider adding industry keywords to your resume, because keywords are critical to helping you get noticed by employers. For example, if you are applying for a customer service role, you may want to include phrases such as: customer service, customer tracking system, order entry experience, or computer skills.
Action Words: Include verbs in your resume to bring it to life. If you increase efficiency in your current role, you might use words such as: accelerated, enhanced, or boosted.
Include numbers: Quantifiable data is a great way to communicate to prospective employers the impact you’re capable of. Be sure to add numbers, percentages, and dollar signs to your resume where you can to showcase your achievements and contributions you’ve made in your current and past roles.
Industry keywords, quantifiable data, and action words help paint a clear picture of your accomplishments as well as the talents you will bring to their organization. It is important to avoid general language and create a tailored resume that shows hiring managers what makes you unique and sets you apart from other candidates.
Checklist for a Rock-solid resume:
- Do include your contact information
- Provide a summary instead of an objective
- Highlight your skills and add in relevant coursework/special projects
- Use clear and concise language; do not be vague; check for typos/misspelled words
- Add in your individual contributions and achievements, while using quantifiable data
- Create a tailored resume, add in keywords
- Don’t use unusual fonts, colors, or elaborate designs
This information and more was covered in the recent resume webinar, "Tips to Creating a Rock-Solid Resume." If you need resume assistance, check out the Career Services resume tool, VMock. If you are still finding yourself overwhelmed by the resume process, then UMGC’s Career Advising Specialists are here to help.
Isa’ Martinez is a Career Advising Specialist in the Office of Career Services and Alumni Relations at the University of Maryland Global Campus. She has over six years of experience in Higher Education in a student support capacity. She has a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Bowie State University, where she practiced counseling for a year and discovered her passion for career counseling. Isa’ is committed to putting students first, educating students on career services and believes in the power of an education.