Step-by-Step Process for Creating Your Résumé
Step 1 - Know yourself
Know who you are, what you want, what you have to offer. Identify what the employer is looking for and clearly describe your skills that relate to the required work. Remember to look at your résumé from the employers perspective.
Step 2 - Decide on your headings
- The standard sections - Objective, Highlights, Education, Awards, Experience, Interests - are broad categories that can be re-named, subdivided, or merged in order to meet your presentation requirements and personal history.
- Use special headings to target distinctive attributes, for example "Clinical Interests and Experience, Instrumentation Experience, Community Service, Travel."
- Consider a "Highlights or Summary" section to focus the reader's attention on significant abilities - it is a synopsis of your major skills and experiences.
Step 3 - Make the résumé relevant
Convey commitment, proficiency and zest in original, accurate language without exaggeration or distortion. Use creative and precise wording. Provide evidence of achievements so that the employer can picture you doing this work.
- Use action verbs to pinpoint your accomplishments. Say what you did, not what you were responsible for. Example: Indicate what you "accelerated, adapted, generated, interpreted, participated in, solved, strengthened."
- Use words that create a positive impact or phrases that describe your strengths, values and priorities. Make every word count, for example: "As division program coordinator, initiated a state-of-the-art data entry system which reduced turnaround time by 30%."
- Remember, your résumé may be processed by an Applicant Tracking System which uses software to sort through applications, searching for keywords in order to find a good fit. Good keywords focus on the skills and experience, education, certification and training that would be required for the position. Use the job ad to guide you, as well as common terms in this career or industry.
Step 4 - Make it look great -- it's your image-maker
Flawless: absolutely no grammar, punctuation or spelling mistakes.
- Superb organization; outstanding legibility; clear, logical layout.
- Research, write, rewrite, proofread, and set it aside for a couple of days. Repeat. Have it checked by a friend who pays close attention to detail. Book a résumé critique appointment with the Career Centre for some feedback. If you are submitting a paper copy, print on quality paper.
Step 5 - Build a Résumé file
Include letters of recommendation, transcripts, past performance appraisals, letters of thanks etc. This information can be used for revising your résumé.
- The employer's web site may give you tips on what the résumé should look like and what info they are expecting on it
- Focus on ALL of your experiences, not just paid jobs. Remember academic coursework, volunteer, extracurricular activities can all be relevant in the world of work.
- Format it to your advantage! Use appropriate bolding, sizing, bullets, and fonts to make the most impressive information stand out. Ask yourself, “What is the first piece of info you notice on this résumé?” Make sure it’s what you want to get noticed.