Writing Your Resume
I always thought a resume or CV was basically our life story on paper. What I mean is that we have the tendency to put all our experiences on our resume whether they are relevant or not. I thought that once I wrote up my resume it was good to go for any job application. Boy was I wrong.
I now understand the notion of having to tailor your resume for the job you are applying for. It is said your resume should not be more than one page long with some exceptions of course. I always thought, how am I supposed to shrink my three-page resume down to one page? Well, once you modify it to make it fit your job application it really isn’t that difficult.
In my case, I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Poultry Science. During my student years, I did internships and odd jobs which I added to my resume. I actually worked in this field for almost thirty years. Due to special circumstances, I decided to make a 180° change in my life and seek out my other passion which is computer science. Now, during my almost 30 years experience managing and running a business, I did a lot of IT work but it was not my sole function, more of a practical hobby.
In search of my new career, I was taking several on-line courses from different academies trying to put myself up to date in the field. When I felt comfortable with what I had learned, I decided it was time to revamp my resume. At first, I just added all my new-found knowledge to the educational section of the document and sent it out to several job posts. I never got a response, not one. I opened up a LinkedIn account and filled it up with all my experience and nothing.
I now realize what all the coaches are saying about tailoring your resume. I mean, why would a recruiter at a tech company want to know of my almost 30 years of working with chickens? I found out that the only relevant experience from all those years of work was that I have management skills, know how to delegate work and am able to work with others. Besides this, everything else is irrelevant.
So, it was back to the drawing board on the resume front. I had to do some digging and watched some videos and looked at other people’s resumes to understand what I was supposed to do.
Resumes do not need to be some intricate design document with fancy fonts and layouts. On the contrary, they should be simple, easy to read and not verbose. What this means, is that your information should be concise, to the point and scannable. I am going to give you the basic structure of a resume:
The header can be centered or left justified. This is where you put your name in a large Bold font to make it stand out. Underneath, in a smaller font you will write your street address, phone No. and email address.
This is where you write a brief description about yourself, emphasizing your strengths and your abilities, your work experience and finishing with how you are an outgoing person and team player. This should be no more than about three sentences long. The header Summary should be left justified and bolded as to differentiate it from the text.
This section is to show off your skills. Here you can list the different programming languages you know, technical abilities you have, etc. This should preferably be in a bulleted format and not in a paragraph. This is to help the recruiters so they can scan the information as quickly as possible.
This is where you will display you work experience if there is any. It is left justified, starts with your position in the company, the date you were hired and the date you left the company. Underneath you write the company name as it appears in their adds or logo, with their location, city and state. Under that, using a bulleted list, write what your job entailed, what you did in a brief description. You do this for each job that has a relation with the job you are applying for. Do not include irrelevant jobs like cashier at Walgreens or bag person at your local grocery store.
This is where you will write what college, university you graduated from. If you didn’t graduate from any of these then boot camps, on-line courses and certifications and awards you have received. You write
the name of the institute on the left and the graduation date or date finished course or received award, etc. on the right. Underneath your degree or the name of the course or award received.
All together it makes for a complete resume which is easy to read and can be scanned over rather quickly. It is important to highlight, that the people in charge of reading applicant’s resumes, will normally take about six seconds to scan a resume and decide whether or not it is worth their while to go through it in more detail or set it on the reject pile.
The whole process should only take up one page.
Like I mentioned before, this is a basic, barebones resume. Of course you can spruce it up a bit and look for resume templates on line but remember, the important part is the information and the readability, everything else is just icing on the cake.