Donyae is a freelance writer who loves all things geek and can be your internet best friend. You can follow her blog at freenightsandweekends.org and of course at facebook.com/freenightsandweekends.
So you’ve got to build a resume so you start up your word processor and open a template. Congratulations, your resume looks exactly like 90% of applicants and you have no idea what to put in it.
Tip # 1: Make a list
Let’s take a step back and before we open up that document, let’s look at what you have to put in it. Make a list of past work history to begin with. Write down all your jobs even if you think they have nothing to do with the job you’re applying for.
Next, do the same with your education and volunteer work. Throw in any special certificates you received or any additional education and skills that you might possesses. Taught yourself to code, make clothes, build cars? Put that down too.
Sort through this list and highlight the jobs/education/volunteer work that most showcase your skills.
Now we’ve got something to put on the page. But our page, yes, one single page is how long this should be, is looking pretty bland.
Tip #2: Don’t use the box template
It is a good idea to open one up so that you can copy the format and ensure that you’re including everything that a resume calls for but if you want to stand out, you’ve got to go beyond that. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to make a word document sparkle.
Change the fonts, pick to legible fonts, one for heading, the other for body text to give your resume a finish.
Add some color. Use it make your name stand out, throw in a nice clean border.
Place a picture of yourself if you have a nice clean professional headshot of yourself on there. You want the hiring managers to get a sense of you and that you are great for the job.
Tip #3: Remember a cover letter!
A lot of people forget the cover letter. Instead they just attach their resume to an application and send it in. A cover letter is really your chance to shine, to let the potential employer know why you’re interested in the job and give them an idea of why they should hire you. Take time writing an individual cover letter rather than a form one and your chances of landing an interview will sky rocket.