Write a Resume Like a Pro Using These 10 Steps

While I dedicate my HR advice to working moms, moms trying to get into the workforce, or moms trying to make a career change, it also applies to just about anyone. If you know someone that would benefit from these suggestions, please pass on the free tips. People who seek out HR consulting pay good money honey, but here I offer these pearls of wisdom for free!  Just for you, sistas!

I have a decade of experience working as an HR Associate and then HR Manager at an energy company.  My main focus was in recruiting candidates in all areas of the company from Accounting, Legal, Finance, Public Relations, Asset Management, Compliance, to Development, Operations, and Construction.  In the process of hiring hundreds of qualified candidates, I had to go through thousands of resumes and conduct just as many interviews.  Those years of experience gave me valuable knowledge of what employers are seeking in candidates.  Resumes are your first impression and just with any first impression, it best be a good one, girlfriend.

Below is a list of tips and advice for writing the best possible resume to get you noticed and get you hired.

  1. Formatting – There is not a certain rule on how a resume should be formatted, but make sure you make it look professional.  Don’t use weird or colorful fonts.  Stick to black and professional font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, or something similar.  There are several templates you can pull up with a simple Google search.  Templates are helpful and are a good guideline, but don’t use the same wording as the template.  Remember there are probably many others using similar templates with the same wording. You want to stand out from the rest!
  2. Contact Information – When giving your contact information at the top of your resume, be sure not to make any mistakes. Double and triple check the phone number and email address.  One little mistake there could end up costing you an interview. Also, please have a professional email address.  If your personal email is something like crazyhairycarrie@hotmail.com or whiskeydrinkeygirl@yahoo.com, then its time to consider having a second email address for the purpose of employer contact.
  3. Objective – Write an honest objective about what you are seeking.  Steer clear from the typical jargon “Seeking a challenging position that will utilize my skills and abilities…blah blah blah”. BORING!  Set yourself apart and write something along the same lines, but using more creative wording.  For example “My objective is to find a fulfilling position in Human Resources that will compliment my background in benefits and recruitment, as well as my strong education in Business Management.
  4. Education – Definitely list your graduating college or university, your major and minor, and GPA, IF and ONLY IF (read this carefully) your GPA is 3.0 or higher.  Abso-freakin-lutely, under no circumstances should you list a GPA that is lower than that.  That’s a great way for an employer to quickly pass on your below average resume.  Remember you have a lot of competition many of which will have high GPAs, so listing a sub par GPA is a definite deal breaker and a big NO NO.
  5. Highlights – Include a small section that highlights your greatest strengths, such as any technology and software skills, and any soft skills like good communication skills, team oriented, strong organizational skills, any certifications, etc.
  6. Employment History – Make sure you fully understand the position you are applying for and insert key words from the position’s job description into your work history.  Let’s say the position calls for strong customer service, or sales experience, or strong MS Office skills, be sure to make those areas in your history very visible, IF you have that experience.  However, do NOT lie on your resume because if you have no experience in something, but list it anyway, it will backfire.  Be honest, but don’t be afraid to embellish the truth.  Make your background and experience shine so that you do! When writing your employment history, list your current position first then work your way back. Be sure to highlight your most important responsibilities.  This is your chance to stand out, so don’t make a quick, uninteresting list of what you do.  For example, there’s a world of difference between:
    • Pick up and sort mail      VS.     Responsible for the pickup and distribution of priority packages and correspondence
    • File paperwork                VS.     Manage the sorting, filing, and organization of classified company documents
    • Answer phones                VS.     Manage the office phone system and triage calls to office personnel
  7. Achievements – List any awards or achievements that highlight some notable accomplishments.  Definitely include any   examples of leadership, even if it was while you were in college.  List any clubs or organizations you belong to and any charity work that you’ve been involved in.  This is a great way to show your work ethic not just at work, but for your personal time, as well.
  8. Make it 1 page – Employers do not want to have to go through multiple pages for each resume, as they are most likely     having to go through quite a few of them.  So keep it nice and concise.  You may have to play with space and formatting a little to make sure everything fits on a page.
  9. Edit or Regret it! – Make sure to check, double check, and triple check your grammar!  You do not want to submit a resume  that contains spelling and punctuation errors, so make sure the grammar is on point.  If any employer sees that you   make  careless mistakes on something so important, then they might see that as an issue with your credibility and attention   to  detail at work. I suggest giving your resume to someone else to review so that you can get a fresh set of eyes on it.  They   may be able to catch mistakes that you are overlooking.
  10. Cover Letter – Take the time to write a great cover letter.  Be professional and genuine.  Summarize your background and   experience and use this as an opportunity to explain what makes you the best candidate and why you would be an asset to the company.  Remember, you have to set yourself apart from the rest.  I also strongly suggest that you do some research on the company you are applying for.  In your letter state the reasons why you are interested in their company and your desire to be involved with the company.  This shows that you took the time to learn about the place you want to work at and not just trying to find any job, anywhere that will hire you.  Make them feel as though their company is special.  Make sure you thoroughly edit your cover letter, as well.

Once you have a nicely written and formatted cover letter and resume you are ready to go.  If you want to land the job of your dreams, make sure you spend time on creating the best tool that will get you there – your resume!  Now that you have the resources to create your best resume yet….get READY, get SET, get HIRED!

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