One of the first steps to employment is creating a professional resume. There are services available to assist you in this endeavor, but before you spend upwards of $300, consider writing your own resume. In this era of computer proliferation, it's not as difficult a task as it once was. A resume is your marketing tool - your sales brochure - and who is better qualified than you to write a brochure about you? There are two basic types of resume, and their designs are a bit different so I will address how to write each type separately.
This type of resume is a timeline of your experience listed in order of most recent to oldest.
- You can, optionally, begin your resume with an objective. An objective states your area of interest, and may include your goals. An example of an objective is: To obtain a position in food service management for a growing company with room for advancement.
- If you have an education that is relevant or requisite to employment, include it following the objective under the heading Education. Include high school and college if applicable. Do not include schools prior to high school. List the school name, city and state, and type of degree or certificate. Mention any honors you've received if you feel it will help to sell the employer on you.
- Now, list your jobs in order of most recent to the oldest. List the dates you were employed (e.g. March 2001-January 2005), the name of the company, your title, and the city and state. Put this under a heading like: Work Experience.
- Under each job make a bulleted list of the tasks you performed, projects you worked on, and any other achievements, goals, quotas, or awards/recognition you received. Use action words to describe what you did (e.g. supervised, operated, organized, sold, designed, etc.). When possible, phrase these descriptions in the form of measurable results. For example: "Increased revenue by 7% by implementing new sales incentive program." Or: "Improved customer satisfaction rating by providing associates with additional customer service training."
- Following your job history, detail any relevant licenses or certifications that you have such as CPA, CNA, electrician's license, computer network certification, etc. under the heading, Licenses/Certificates.
- Conclude the resume with the phrase: "References Available Upon Request".
Functional (Skills-based) Resume
This type or resume focuses on skills and downplays work experiences. It is particularly good for students, homemakers returning to the workforce, ex-offenders, and those with limited experience, but can be used by anyone.
- As above, start with the (optional) objective.
- Follow with relevant educational experience.
- At this point, rather than listing your previous employers, make a bulleted list of your skills and abilities. Do it exactly as you would in step 4 above (i.e. measurable, action-oriented), but don't include the employers, just the skills or tasks performed. This could be listed under a heading such as: Employment Skills.
- Next, list all the places you have worked, but do not include dates. Just list the employer, city and state, and job title. You can list these under a heading like: Employment Experience.
- Finish as with the Chronological Resume.
Remember that what I have detailed here is just a guideline. Use your own flair, change the heading names, add your personal style. In other words: Make it yours.