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No matter what type of job you’re looking for or what level you are in your field, you MUST have a resume. Your resume is the key to connecting with a hiring manager. It’s how they get to know you before the interview.

On average, recruiters spend about 6 seconds reviewing each resume to get the first impression and determine whether or not the candidate would be a good fit. So, let’s begin with step #1 to crafting the perfect resume.

1. Start at the Top!

The first thing you want the hiring manager to see is your name and how they can contact you which is why it goes straight to the top. Your first and last name is always on the first line, using large and bold font to stand out. On the second line, include a reliable phone number and email address. It’s optional to include your address. You can also include a web address if you have an online portfolio.

2. Make Some Lists

The sections of a resume typically include employment history, skills and achievements, and education/certifications. Your work history should be the first section with the other sections following in any order. In this step, we’ll ask you make long lists to outline everything about you. It’s easier to eliminate non-relevant information to make it relevant to a job rather than add more content.

Employment History

Take a moment to write down every job you have ever had. Include any unpaid experience, such as volunteer work, internships, or co-ops. Starting with your current position and going backwards, make sure to include title, company worked for, and dates of employment. Once you have your list, remove positions that are not relevant to the position you are applying to. For example, you’ll eliminate your high school summer job at McDonald’s if you’re applying for a receptionist position.

Education/Certifications

This is where you’ll go through your educational history. List out diplomas/GED, undergraduate or graduate degrees, certifications, and any honors you received. Now that you have a full list of your education experience, remove your high school/GED credentials if you have a college degree and eliminate any credentials that are not relevant to the position you want. For instance, a certification in interior design would work for a designer, but not for an IT professional.

Skills & Achievements List

What are you good at? Did you receive an award for something? This is where you list out all of that. Include any awards and personal achievements you received and any skills you have. Just like the previous sections, you’ll only include information relevant to the position. You wouldn’t include “hot dog eating contest winner” in your resume for an engineering position.

3. Plug in Details

Now that you have your lists, organize and add more details to give the hiring manager a better perspective of who you are. Add bullet points under each position in your employment history section detailing what you did at those positions. It’s important that you focus on your accomplishments rather than a description of your job. You can get tips for doing this here: Turn Your Duties into Accomplishments.

4. Keep It One-Page & Simple!

After you’ve eliminated the irrelevant content from the sections of your resume, you should have a one-page resume. Front & back is acceptable. If not, you may need to go and cut some content to give yourself some white space on your resume. Don’t narrow the margins to fit everything. You want your resume to look friendly to read and not overwhelming to the hiring manager.

Once you have finished all of the above steps, go to any of these blogs to perfect your resume and to make it stand out to a hiring manager:

8 Common Resume Mistakes

6 Tips to Proofread Your Resume

Formatting Your Resume

Adding Numbers to Your Resume

5 Steps to Tailor your Resume to the Job

How to Use Keywords in Your Resume

Biggest Lies & What to Do When You Lie on Your Resume


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