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10 Steps to Creating a Resume from Scratch

There are hundreds of articles on the internet advising people how to rework their resume and make it stand out. What is often not written about is how to simply write a resume from scratch. The process of creating a resume from a blank piece of paper is extremely helpful in rethinking an overall approach to a job search process. Much like writing an essay, it is sometimes easier to simply throw out what you have and start from a completely different direction (and hopefully perspective). Remember, that resumes are made for specific positions in mind so this process can be replicated for each new job application. With this in mind, use the following ten-step process to create a resume from scratch.

Resume scratch

1)  Start with a blank piece of paper and carefully analyze the job description of the role you are applying for. What are key skills, responsibilities, and requirements? Write them down at the top of the paper. The goal is to show these in your resume. Resumes are made for a specific job, not in a vacuum.

2)  Now it’s time to open a blank Microsoft Word document. No internet. No Facebook. You can catch up with your friends later. Eliminate all distractions.

3)  Contact Information. Start with contact information: Name, Email, Address, Phone Number centered at the top of the page.

4)  Next, list all of your work experiences in order. Name of Employer, Position Held, Dates (month, year). For each position, list all of the achievements you’ve had with the organization. Achievements use action words, are specific, and quantify impact. 

5)  List more achievements (in bulleted form) for experiences that are more relevant for the job you’re applying for and fewer bullets for ones that are less relevant. The most impressive achievement should go first. Make sure you have a variety of skills listed.

6)  Education Section. List the name of the academic institution and the year you graduated. If GPA was over 3.5, list it. If you have a lack of experiences in intended field, list Relevant Coursework from the University: x, y, z. If you have held leadership positions, received academic honors or scholarships or had other interesting experiences—list those in bulleted form.

7)  Other Sections. Based on the position, you may want to have a separate category to highlight a particular skill-set. For example, for web developer/designer position you may want a separate section for “Technical Skills.”

8)  Additional Information and Skills Section. This section covers all other interesting things about you in bulleted form. This includes proficiency with computer programs, language skills, volunteer experiences, professional certifications, and even personal interest.

9)  Review, review, review. Check spelling, grammar, dates, consistency, etc. Resumes need to be polished, well-formatted, and aesthetically-pleasing.

10) Cut to One page. Resumes should be one page maximum (except in rare instances of senior executives and research positions). How do you decide what to remove? Use the tradeoff method—one in, one out. What does this bullet or experience tell the recruiter about me? Is that better or worse than removing this other experience? Use the tradeoff method for every experience until you get down to a single page.

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Igor Khayet is the President and Founder of My Resume Shop.

 

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