Writing a resume can seem like a daunting task, especially if you lack a wealth of experience. However, with the right approach, this process doesn't have to be intimidating.
First, remember that your resume does not have to be an epic work; typically one page is sufficient when applying for an entry-level or staff position. Also, when hiring for these roles, employers don't expect that you've been a partner at a CPA firm or overseen an international merger. Thus, to differentiate yourself from the competition, who most likely have experiences similar to yours, use straightforward, easy-to-understand language that clearly illustrates how you've succeeded in past opportunities and how you can contribute to future employers.
Following are five simple steps you can take to create a strong resume:
1. Begin with action verbs. You won't need to use the word “I” since the hiring manager will understand that everything listed is part of your experience. Rather, start your sentences with verbs that describe what you've done (e.g., “Prepared financial reports for supervisors.”) Not only is this style recommended and accepted, but it also highlights your qualifications and immediately grabs the attention of the reader.
2. Keep things concise. Use brief statements, avoiding unnecessary terms or phrases, such as “in this position.” For example, shorten, “Processed accounts payables and assisted supervisor in preparing and conducting staff trainings during my internship,” to, “Processed accounts payables. Assisted supervisor in preparing and conducting staff trainings.”
3. Be specific. Although you don't want to be too wordy, provide the details necessary to make a strong impression on the hiring manager. It's not enough to say you researched industry regulations, for example. In this case, the following statement would be more effective: “Determined potential impacts of recent legislation on company's reporting procedures. Worked with department manager to inform staff of new laws.”
4. Get to the point. Don't try and impress people by using fancy words. Instead, keep things simple and let your experience speak for itself. Also steer clear of over-the-top language such as “cleverly designed” or “magnificently improved.”
5. Use bullet points. While some sections may be written in paragraph form, lists make a resume easier to read and help call out the strongest information. Consider providing an overview of a position’s responsibilities in prose and then highlighting accomplishments in bullet points below.
© 2003 SmartPros.com. Reprinted with permission