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HOW TO WRITE A RESUME

The following resume writing tips are provided for students with minimal experience in the workplace. Someone with twenty five years of work experience will have a drastically different looking resume than a college student using this guide. Take this into consideration as you format your resume using these tips, as they are designed for those just entering the professional world.

As you begin your resume writing journey, it is important to understand the difference between a human friendly resume and an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) friendly resume. Click on this link to learn more about what ATS means and why it’s important in an evolving technological world. Click here to see examples of an ATS friendly resume.

The steps below focus on how to write an ATS friendly resume. If you’re sending a copy to an employer directly, via email or in person, your resume should align visually with the friendly resume example above. If you need help transitioning your ATS resume to a friendly copy, please research examples online or check out one of our own here.

  1. Begin by opening our provided ATS resume template. This template is designed to work well with any ATS software. Although this template may appear plain or visually unpleasing, resist the urge to alter the style, look or format of the template. ATS software is a technology system that will automatically search for keywords in your resume to move you onto the next step of the hiring process. You want your resume to be simple in order for the ATS software to read everything you have written. Unlike a human being who can use their eyes to scan different parts of the page, ATS software has a systematic way of reading. Therefore, the template must remain simple and organized accordingly.
  2. It’s important to add your contact information at the top of the resume. You want to include the following information: Your first and last name (middle initial is optional), cell phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile URL. Do not include a headshot or home address unless it’s requested from the employer.
  3. A summary is the first section of a resume. In approximately three to five sentences, explain what you’re great at, most interested in, and how you can provide value to the prospective employer for the job you seek. It should be a clear and concise summary regarding why you would be a great candidate for the position and what good you can do for the company.
  4. List relevant skills that pertain to the position for which you’re applying. Identify which ones are listed in the job posting and incorporate them into your resume. If you’re applying for a tutoring position, listing mechanical skills would be irrelevant to the employer seeking a candidate. Make sure you include both hard skills (specific abilities you obtain like operating a cash register) and soft skills (personal attributes you have obtained through life experience, like time management). Click here to see a list of both hard and soft skills.
  5. You’ll then list both current and previous positions you have held. These positions include paid work, volunteer work, internships and athletic commitments as well. Begin by listing your current or most recent held position at the top of all listed positions and move backwards in time. The resume template details how to format this section.Target Cashier
    12/2019 – Current

    • Below this heading, list 3 to 5 bullet points summarizing your primary responsibilities inherent to the position.
    • Begin each bullet point with an action verb. For example, “Collected cash and credit payments using the register.” See list of action verbs here.
    • If you currently hold this position, make sure to write the action verbs in present tense. If this is a position you fulfilled in the past, write your action verbs using past tense.
    • Make sure these duties highlight how well you did them by focusing on your accomplishments in the workplace. For example, instead of saying, “greeted customers,” state “greeted customers as they entered the store to ensure they felt welcomed.”
    • Try to quantify problems you were asked to work on, the solution you applied and the resulted outcome of your work. For example, increased social media followers from 75 to 150 during 3 months.
  6. Make sure to include your education on the bottom of your resume. This should be the second to last section of the document.
    • Your highest degree should be listed first. Move backwards in time from this degree and list any others you have obtained.
    • If you have graduated from a university, do not include your high school information in this section. If you haven’t finished college, you can indicate that you’re a current student by clarifying the dates that you began college to “Current.”
    • If any completed coursework is relevant to the position, add this information
  7. The last section to include is titled Extracurricular Activities, Honors and Awards. Here you can include your hobbies, interests, honors, awards, languages you speak, and volunteer work not mentioned in the Experience section. Remember that this section should continue to highlight how you would be a good fit for this particular position.

 

ATS Resume Checklist

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