A couple of weeks ago, a group of Writing Center tutors I work with put together a resume writing presentation for one of the classes on campus. That got me thinking: shouldn’t everyone have this information?
As a student at UW-Stout, you have multiple opportunities to perfect your resume. Whether it’s the Career Services office, which will help you build an amazing document with their nine resume handouts, or if it’s coming in for some one-on-one work in the Writing Center, UW-Stout is equipped to build you the strongest resume possible.
But here, I’ll give you five easy steps to build a stronger resume yourself.
Step 1: Know the different types of resumes
I can just hear people saying “Whhaaaat?!” I know, it’s super exciting. Let me explain three types of resumes that will start you down the path of versatility.
- Employment resume: This is your standard resume. It focuses on your past employment and leaves some room for things like education and objective statements. These can be used for your standard job, something for which you have experience or education.
- Skills resume: This is where you try to downplay the fact that you are not experienced in the field per say, but you have a skill set that makes it possible for you to be an eligible candidate. This resume highlights relevant classwork and any skills that are worth highlighting. Examples could be computer programs or machinery knowledge. You will still want to add employment history to your resume, but it simply won’t be as significant a section as the skills portion.
- Design resume: Design resumes can be employment or skills-based resumes, but they look much fancier. These resumes incorporate color and give a personal touch to the document. While most art or design students will have customized their resumes, I don’t think business students should necessarily shy away from this type of resume. You are going after a job. It’s a competition. Anything that makes you stand out is good. And a well designed resume that is informative as well as attractive will get you noticed. I actually spent an entire career fair just asking employers what gets a resume noticed, and the one thing I heard over and over was something eye-catching. Content is important, but if you make it look good, you’re golden.
Step 2: Know your audience
Hello and welcome back to English 101, where we discuss understanding your audience. Trust me, that was an important lesson. When it comes to writing a resume, there are few worse things you can do than generalize your document. Every company is looking for something different. Your standard resume may not fit all of them, but the good thing is that you can remake this document as much as you want. Know what your employer is looking for by thoroughly reading the job description, do research on the company on their website and through other online sources and then mimic the language you see in those places within your resume. You can also highlight the pieces of your resume that you believe will associate you best with said company.
Step 3: Complete a master resume
“Master resume” sounds incredible and awesome. It’s a concept one of my co-workers introduced me to and requires the writer to be aware of the breadth of their skills. A master resume is a compilation of everything you have ever done. You must record all past experiences, education and achievements in resume format. This document can be as many pages as necessary; just fill it with any information you could possible see yourself using on any resume, ever. Once it is completed you can use all the information to easily tailor every resume you create to its audience, also known as your potential employer.
Step 4: Power verbs
This phrase has been matched with resumes since you first heard of them, so believe in their power. These “power verbs” are meant to make your summer of scooping ice cream more appealing to the employer, (but don’t say things like “controlled the ice cream counter on busy days”) because all employers get from it is, “Hey look, his guy can make ice cream.” Use the power verbs to propel your thoughts to the skills you gained in your part-time job such as “Inventoried weekly shipments of 100+ products.” I promise, no matter how painful the job was, you learned something. Figure out what it was and let power verbs express it for you.
Step 5: Proofread
Nothing is less impressive than someone asking for a job with a mistake-ridden document. That’s all I’m going to say on this.
So there you have it — five steps to make your resume shine. If I were to add a sixth step and make this a strangely numbered monster list, I’d tell you to be sure to visit Career Service’s website and pay a visit to the tutors at the Writing Center (second floorof the library). Both offices are more than willing to give you a second opinion.
Getting jobs is nothing new, so use your resources.
Good luck with resume writing!