How to write the perfect resume for your job search

You have just graduated from college – or are about to – which means it’s time to prepare yourself for the real world and create a resume. If you have never created a resume before, it can seem like a daunting process.

Finding a job is easier said than done, but with the right resume you will greatly help your chances. (Credit: SnagAJob)

Finding a job is easier said than done, but with the right resume you will greatly help your chances. (Credit: SnagAJob)

Thankfully there are plenty of available resources available to help guide you. Choosing just one, however, is the more difficult part. Here we will take a look at some best practices to follow when putting your resume together.

First, reasons why you need a resume

It’s not uncommon for college students to change their majors, or even go back to college after several years because they want a change in career. If this happens to be the case, this is a situation where you would want to make changes to your resume. In The Everything Resume Book: Create a Winning Resume That Stands out from the Crowd by Nancy Schuman, a few other reasons are listed as to why one might need to update their resume:

  • You’ve been promoted!
  • Your contact information has changed, or you have a new cell number, married name, address or e-mail provider.
  • Your education has changed; you’ve just gotten a new degree, taken new classes, or been trained in a new skill.

What to include in your resume

How to Write a Resume When You’re Just Out of College,” posted on Forbes.com on May 10, 2012, by Susan Adams, shares 10 tips on the conventional format for a resume.

1.  List a career objective if you’re clear on what you want to do or you’re applying to a specific job.

2.  List your school, degree year, and any honors, including your grade point average if it’s high.

3.  Consider listing additional coursework outside your major.

4.  Take a fresh look at what you may think are menial jobs.

5.  Scrutinize your extra-curricular activities and think about how they might relate to a real-world job.

6.  Think about whether your coursework could be considered work experience.

7.  Use active verbs.

8.  Be specific in your descriptions and quantify with numbers wherever possible.

9.  Try a “brain dump” of your work, schooling and other experiences.

10.  Consider an alternative format.

In reference to #4, a junior at The University of South Florida told Bobbie Muir, a career counselor, she had only worked part-time at a K-Mart for three years; Muir had this reaction: “The student had worked on the store’s returns desk, which Muir thought gave her a long list of marketable skills… ‘Listen to unhappy customers for many hours… high volume, a problem solver within limits, she mastered company policy, and she had to know when to turn over her work to a supervisor,’ says Muir. All of those skills went into a strong entry on the student’s resume.” By having a fresh set of eyes view your past experience, it helps to see how much more meaningful the work you put in is.

Find the right resume template

No two resumes are exactly the same, but you still want to find one that works best for you and your strengths. AIE.org offers an area in Sample Resumes where you can find a list of different types of resumes depending on where you are in your schooling or career.

For more information on resume help, visit Questia.

What other advice or tips can you offer on how to create the perfect resume? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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