How to Jump Start Your Resume

By: Whitney

Resumes can be hard to start. In the Career & Internship Services handbook there are suggestions on how to format your resume, but the hard part is knowing where to start. Trying to sort through your experiences and figure out what to put on your resume can be a difficult process.

The first suggestion I have is to open a separate Word document and just start writing. Make a list of all of the jobs or internships you have held in the past. Then move on to offices or titles you have held for on-campus and community clubs and organizations, even if you were just a participating member this is something you can put on a resume. Then move on to all of your volunteer experiences. Make sure you include all of the little things. If you mentored in a classroom or after school program or going to help out at local events or a nursing home, these are all great examples of using volunteerism to boost your resume.

The next step is to go through and list all of the duties you had under these headings. Don’t worry about the wording at this point, just get it all written down. If you can get a majority of your duties down in the document, it will make it a lot easier to write your resume when you get to that step.

Now look at the job description of the position you are applying for. This will help you choose from your experiences which ones will help you land the job. For instance, if you are applying for a position working in an office filing papers, your job shadow of the school secretary would be more beneficial to put on your resume than volunteering at an animal shelter walking dogs. Walking dogs still may be beneficial because it shows responsibility and good work ethic, but it is not related to the position you are applying for. Just because it is not directly related do not delete it from your list. Since you often tweak resumes to correlate with the position you are applying for, I suggest you keep this document on your desktop so you can update it whenever you gain a new job, internship, or volunteer experience. This will make it a lot easier to tailor your resume for any future job descriptions because you will not have to try to rethink all of your experiences all over again.

Now you are almost there. All you have left is to plug and chug! The next step after you pick the experiences that pertain to the job you are applying for. It is time to choose your action verbs to start off each of the descriptions of your duties. It is important to try to use different action verbs throughout your resume to describe your duties to show you’re well-rounded and to keep the reader interested.

The final step is to polish it. Great resources offered by Career & Internship Services for this include meeting with the Peer Educators and/or Career Counselors. They can help you develop the descriptions of your different experiences, formatting of your document, and much more. Some easily missed mistakes can include tenses of the verbs and periods. It is habit to put a period at the end of a line or a thought, but most of the time you do not write in complete sentences on resumes so periods are not needed.

By following these steps and carefully examining your resume before handing it over to employers you can have a rock solid resume that will help you to land an interview. You will also have a great foundation for resumes you need to write in the future or even just to tailor the one you have to make it fit the job you are applying for.

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