People write resumes for various reasons. The most common one is to apply for new jobs. However, resumes are often used to apply for promotions within an organization, or to provide the employer with important information when a position is reclassified. Whatever your reason for writing a resume, its basic purpose is the same: to communicate your experience, skills, and education related to a specific position to an employer. In short, resumes are a marketing tool. Think of your resume as a promotional flyer designed to get you an interview.
Your resume is not an autobiography, or a place to report every experience you have had. It is a place to report the qualifications you have which relate to a specific position. Writing a targeted, effective resume is time consuming, however, it's not as difficult as many people think. The most important thing to remember is that there is no one right way to do it. Your resume will be as individual as you are.
After reading this booklet and attending the resume workshop at Student Employment Services, if you feel you need additional help with your resume, put together a working copy and make an appointment to have one of our employment coordinators critique it.
The first step in resume writing is to identify all of your skills, attributes, and experiences. This is not always easy to do as people tend to be modest and to overlook their own skills. In this case, however, it is important to "blow your own horn" and not to underestimate yourself.
One approach to getting started is to write down everything you have done. You might make headings such as volunteer work, paid work, education, awards, memberships, extra-curricular activities, and special skills, and then list all your experiences under the appropriate heading. This is a good way to ensure that you don't forget anything.
Another reason to start by listing your experience is that it will help you to identify your skills. Once your experience list is complete, look at each item on your list, and ask yourself "What could I have learned by doing this?" "What skills did I develop?" Then, simply list the skills as they occur to you. Some of these skills will have been developed through work experience or extra-curricular activities, and others through your education.