Setting yourself apart by writing a resume is a smart idea in today’s workforce. No matter if you’re applying for a job in retail, fast food, a factory, or an office, if you have a resume you’re sending a message to your future employer that you want to do what it takes to advance your career.
Some shy away from writing resumes because they don’t have a lot of work experience, or they don’t have a formal education. However, by creating your own resume you will be able to focus on your strengths.
Using a resume template is the best idea, even though there may be parts of that template that you don’t use. Here is a very basic guide to writing the best resume for you.
The Very Basics: How To Open A Template in Google Documents
Since you are using Google Documents to create your resume, you will have access to it any time you log on to your Google account.
- Log in to your google account. If you don’t have a google account, sign up for one. They’re free. Here is an eight step guide to setting up your account.
- On the upper left hand side of your screen, Click “Documents”
- Select “Resumes and Cover Letters”
- Choose the template you like the most.
- Don’t forget to delete the information provided in the template. Sure, it’s a pretty great resume, but it’s not yours.
- Be prepared. Have dates of employment or school, phone numbers, and important information ready before you get started.
Now you’re ready to start to create your resume.
The Best Resume For You!
Depending on your work experience, education level, and/or time away from the workforce, your resume will highlight the positives about you, instead of focusing on any setbacks.
- You don’t need to include education on your resume unless it is something did well. If the employer asks this information of you, you need to be honest. But many people without formal education are able to do very well in the workplace.
- If you dropped out of high school, there’s no better time to get a GED. If you do have your GED, rather than listing this under Education, list it in Skills.
- ◦ A lot of people new to the workforce face that challenge of having little to no work experience, and not being hired because of that. If you have no work experience, title this section “Qualifications” instead.
- In your Qualifications section, focus on past volunteer work, or even work you’ve done for friends or family through the years. If you haven’t done any volunteer work, today is the day to start. Your community needs your help, and when you volunteer, you often meet people who can help you find work.
- If you’ve had one job only, label the section “Experience” so you can include that job, as well as volunteer experience.
- You may find yourself changing this section slightly depending on the job you are applying for. Think about the job, then think of your experiences, and relate them to the job. For example, if you are trying to get a job as a Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA), your training may have included helping to care for an elder in your family or neighborhood. That experience will directly relate. Or if you’re applying for a delivery driving job, and you drive siblings or children to school, that is experience you can include.
- Action words are very important in all of your descriptions. Be brief and to the point, using phrases like “responsible for” and “organized” and “participated in”
- Action words are also important in this section. They can really highlight all the things you know. Examples: “Comfortable with,” “Proficient in,” “Able to.”
- Computer skills are important in almost any job. If you don’t have computer skills, and don’t have a computer, you should spend time at your local public library learning to use programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point. These programs have tutorials within them that help you learn to use them. Once you have a firm grasp on how to use them, list them in your skills under a category called ‘software.’
- Physical Skills that would help to qualify you for manual labor positions work well in this category. Even if your education isn’t your strongest quality, being athletic is also something to be proud of.
- You should list three references who are not your relatives.
- While using business references (past managers, business owners you’ve helped, managers of volunteer projects you’ve worked on) is ideal, you can also use personal references, such as pastors, youth group leaders, mentors, or community members who know you well. Be sure that these people know they are listed as your references, and that you provide up-to-date phone numbers.
- Personalize your resume for every position by writing a brief cover letter telling the company why you know you’d be great for them. While it should sound professional, don’t get caught up in using big words that you think sound good.
- Plan to follow up with your resume, and let them know in the cover letter when you will be following up. For example, if you drop off your resume on a Monday, tell them, “I will be following up with you on Wednesday afternoon, and look forward to scheduling an interview.” Your follow-up phone call on Wednesday will show them that you keep appointments, and it’s much harder to dismiss someone over the phone than it is to just put their resume in a drawer and forget about them. Sometimes job descriptions say “no phone calls.” If this is the case, make sure you don’t call them.
Spelling, Grammar, Presentation
- Most computers use spell checkers, but sometimes you’ll make mistakes that aren’t related to spelling, like typing “and” when you meant to type “an.” Read your resume twice for this sort of mistake.
- Have a friend or mentor read your resume and give you suggestions
- The way your resume looks makes a difference. Most people suggest that your resume be only one page long, and that you leave white space instead of cramming a bunch of words onto the page, which makes it easier to read all about you.
- Fonts matter. Some fonts on computers are really pretty, or look interesting, but they aren’t professional. Use a standard font like Garamond or Ariel.
- Paper matters: You may not be able to afford a thick paper to print your resume, but don’t opt for frilly papers or stationary with graphics printed on them.
Never Ever Misrepresent or Lie
- You should know that you have value, and no matter what imperfections or challenges you are facing, you are capable of many things in life. By focusing on the strengths you have, you can create a great resume, but if you lie, or say that you know how to do things that you don’t, you could harm your reputation and your chances of having a successful career.
So using these tips and tools, create the best resume for yourself. Soon enough you’ll catch the eye of an employer and find yourself using our tips on how to have a successful interview.