A Step by Step Approach to Resume Writing

Summer jobs, full-time employment, internships, requests for recommendation letters, and graduate school applications are all activities that generally require the submission of a resume.  With the prevalence of resume requirements it makes sense that particularly in college, people begin developing their resume. To first time resume writers the task can be quite daunting. There are several steps that can make the process easier.

First, make a list of all employment, volunteer experience, internships, etc.  By simply writing down these experiences, it is possible to organize the past jobs and reflect on skills gained from each.  This will get the ball rolling for formatting the resume.

Next, it is a good idea to put the experiences in chronological order. This means arranging experiences starting with the most recent and working backwards from there.  Once this is completed, try to list a couple of skills that were gained or utilized with each job or opportunity.  By listing skills it will be easier to develop descriptions for the actual resume.

To prepare for the actual writing of the resume it might be helpful to create a template for the resume on your computer.  This can be as simple as opening up a new document and adding headers.  Once this is done begin to input the previously brainstormed information.

At this point, you have something that vaguely resembles a resume.  In addition to adding in contact information details, it is also necessary to add the descriptions for the experience section.  This step of the process is the most time consuming.  When developing the description bullet points keep in mind what the skills are the most important to highlight.  That skill should be the first bullet point.  It may be helpful to go through each skill list for each experience and rank the skills in order of importance. When writing the description portion, pay attention to your verb tense as well as word variety.  Keep the tense consistent and try to use a variety of words.

This several step process is a brief summary of ways to approach developing a resume.  It is important to remember that the first draft is probably not going to be the document you are submitting for applications.  Have several other people look it over and give you advice and then revise, revise, revise.

Consider making an appointment with the Career Center either to create or review a resume.  To make an appointment call the Career Center at 563-387-1025 or stop by on the second floor of the Dahl Centennial Union. We would love to help you!