First, I will start off by showing you how to create a professional resume and what isn't a resume. A resume isn't a log of your job history, summary of skills, or isn't going to automatically get you a job. Think of your resume this way. It is an advertisement and you are the product. What you are trying to do is to get a hiring manager to buy into what you are selling which means giving you an interview. To get an interview, you will need to see the resume as your marketing tool without it you are powerless. Before we got into the steps I just wanted you all to know that you don't have to be certified to write one. With that being said, here are some tips and guidelines to help you write a professional resume.
Step 1- Choose from 3 formats
- Reverse-Chronological– is a traditional format and is what you are most likely to come across. This format is flexible and can be used for applicants with any level of experience. Example to use this format: You want to apply to a job in a similar field.
- Functional– is focusing on your abilities and skills. This format is suitable for those with an expert level of experience. Example to use this format: You have gaps in your employment history.
- Combination– is bits and pieces from both chronological and functional formats. Like the functional format it focuses on specific qualifications but the body of the document contains professional experience like chronological format. This format is used for those with a great deal of experience. Example to use this format: You want to highlight a developed skill set within a specific career.
After you have picked the format to use for your resume, next you can decide on what information you should add. It is very important to remember that the information you use will depend on the format you choose. Here I will show what information you should start off with your resume.
Here, under your full name you should include your mailing address, telephone number, email address, link to online portfolio, and LinkedIn profile if you have one.
- Choose a Resume Introduction
This section is important this is what employers check first. The goal is to gain the attention of an employer by highlighting your skills and experience that will help their company. After you decide what skills to add try to target skills specific to the job you are applying for. Do not just copy and paste skills for the job description, but try to use words that are in common with the industry.
- Professional Experience
This section is the heart of your resume, here you will need to prove the skills you have listed in the qualifications summary or career objective. When it comes to labeling this section, some use “Relevant Experience,” or “Work Experience”. You will need to remember to list your work experiences in reverse chronological order and only list experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. When writing the company names that you worked for in the past remember to create a heading including the company's name, city & state, your title, and the dates of employment. If you are still currently working at a company, make sure you write “month, year-Present”.
When listing your education, you may want to consider switching the order of the professional and experience and education sections. For example, high school or college students that lack professional experience benefit from emphasizing their education by placing it before the professional experience section. The main points to include in this section is the name of the college you attended, location, date of graduation, degree, and GPA.
- Additional Sections
Under additional sections you can list certifications, publications, awards, honors, activities, other skills, etc.
If you follow instructions in this guide, your resume will be neat, concise, and professional. It should provide you with an interview.
Second, I will show you how to write a professional cover letter. What is a cover letter? A cover letter is a one-page document that you send with your resume when you apply for a job. What is the reason for a cover letter? The main reason is to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and argue why you would be a good fit for the job and further explains other aspects of your resume. With that being said, here are some tips and guidelines to help you write a professional cover letter.
First start off with by writing the employer's and your contact information. Your contact information should be on the top of the page with your name in bigger font under your name should be your address, cell phone number, and email address. Make sure to include the employer's contact information under your name as well, on the left-hand side of the page.
Find out who you are writing too. Take a moment and put yourself in the hiring manger's shoes for a second. Would you like to be addressed as “Dear Sir or Madame?” or “To whom it may concern?” You can easily avoid this problem but taking the time to research online. Look at the company's website, LinkedIn, or you can even give the company a call to ask for the hiring manger's name. After you find out who you are writing to then in the first paragraph begin by telling the employer the position you are applying for and how you learned about the opportunity.
- Sell Yourself
The second paragraph should respond to the job description written by the hiring manager. You will need to describe how your previous job experiences, skills, and abilities will allow you to meet the company's needs. If you would like to go the extra mile, do some research about the company, and find out what they are doing and why.
In the final paragraph is where you will need to inform them that you will love to get interviewed and tell them that you will be in contact with them in a week if you do not hear back. Finally make sure you thank them for spending the time to read your letter.
That is how you would write a professional resume and cover letter.