Writing a Resume

“Why Do I Need a Resume?”

You’ve found the perfect job listing — it’s at the right level, it brings together your passions and career goals — but how do you show the hiring manager you’re their ideal candidate? With a dynamite resume, that’s how! A well-made resume will showcase your skills, highlight your unique talents, and will put a spotlight on why you’re the right person for the job. Be sure to also check out this article on interview tips, otherwise read on to learn how to craft a showstopping resume that will help you put your best foot forward.

Resume Basics: 

Your resume should typically be a one-page document that summarizes your education, work experience, skills, and achievements. Use a layout or template that doesn’t have a lot of distractions or unnecessary graphics, and ensure your content is easy to read. Here are some sections to consider including:  

  1. Header with your name and contact information
  2. This is basic, just provide details about how to contact you. Make sure your email address isn’t confusing or offensive. You might consider creating an email account you only use for job applications. Similarly, make sure your social media accounts are in line with how you want to project yourself to prospective employers.

  3. Summary statement or objective
  4. The objective section is your chance to make a strong first impression and showcase your enthusiasm and qualifications. Employers often skim resumes, so you want to use this space effectively to grab attention and stand out from other candidates right away. This section should be tailored to each position you are applying for, so use the job posting as a guide and highlight the specific skills and experiences that make you a great fit for the role. By customizing your objective statement, you demonstrate your understanding of the position and your genuine interest in the company, making a compelling case for why you are the ideal candidate. Remember to keep it concise, professional, and focused on how you can contribute to the organization's success.

  5. Education and relevant coursework
  6. If you’re still in high school, include the name of your school, location, and your expected graduation date. You should mention any notable coursework or specialized programs relevant to the job you're applying for. Remember to keep this section focused on your high school education and any additional training or certifications that are directly related to the position you're applying for.

  7. Work experience (if any)
  8. If you have work experience, including part-time or seasonal work, list your titles and dates of employment. Include a brief description about your role and responsibilities for each entry.
    - If you have limited or no work experience, it's important to focus on highlighting other relevant experiences, even if they were not traditional paid positions. Consider including volunteer work, internships, part-time jobs, or extracurricular activities that demonstrate transferable skills. Additionally, showcase your willingness to take initiative and learn by mentioning any self-directed projects or independent efforts you've made for clubs or organizations. Highlighting your dedication, passion, and willingness to contribute will make a positive impression on potential employers.

  9. Skills and certifications 
  10. This should be a basic list of relevant competencies, like any languages you may speak, familiarity with types of software (Office, for example), or maybe you have a heavy equipment driver’s license, or can operate a forklift. Additionally, if you’ve acquired relevant credentials you didn’t list in your education section above, list them here. Refer to the job posting and if the employer is looking for specific skills you have, be sure to list them here.  

  11. Achievements and awards 
  12. If you’ve received any awards or acknowledgments that highlight skills or qualities you’d like the employer to know about, list them here. These could be leaderships skills, recognitions of participation, anything that helps show the employer that you’re the best candidate for the role and will be a good employee and representative of the company.

  13. References (optional) 
  14. A good reference can go a long way and you should select people who have a good understanding of your strengths and who will say positive things about you. First, be sure to ask your potential reference if they’d be willing to vouch for your before you include them on your resume. Include accurate contact information for each reference, along with a brief note indicating your relationship and why they are suitable references. Lastly, be sure to extend your thanks to your references for their willingness to support you.  

By following these tips, you can create a compelling resume that showcases your qualifications and increases your chances of securing your desired position. Lastly, be sure to keep your resume up to date to seize opportunities promptly, and remember to tailor each resume to the specific job you're applying for. Good luck and we’ll see you in the workforce!  

Cover Letter Basics

A cover letter is like your personal introduction to a potential employer. It's a one-page document that accompanies your resume and allows you to showcase your personality and highlight why you're the perfect fit for the job. While your resume provides the facts and figures of your work history and skills, a cover letter adds that extra touch of depth and individuality. It's your chance to go beyond the bullet points and share specific examples of how your experiences align with the job requirements. By including a well-crafted cover letter, you can grab the employer's attention, demonstrate your enthusiasm, and make a memorable impression. So, don't miss this opportunity to tell your unique story and show them why you're the standout candidate they've been waiting for.  

Tips for crafting a cover letter:  

  1. Address the hiring manager by name (if possible) 
  2. Start with an attention-grabbing opening sentence 
  3. Explain why you are interested in the position and what you can offer 
  4. Highlight your relevant skills and experience 
  5. Use specific examples to demonstrate your qualifications 
  6. Close with a call-to-action and express your interest in an interview. 

Things to Avoid: 

When writing your resume and cover letter, there are some common mistakes to avoid. Here are a few: 

  1. Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! Avoid grammatical errors and typos 
  2. Don't include irrelevant information 
  3. Avoid clichés and generic phrases 
  4. Don't exaggerate your qualifications or achievements 

So, there you have it! These pointers will help you create an impressive cover letter that truly stands out. Remember, a well-crafted cover letter is your chance to make a lasting impression and show employers what makes you unique. It's your opportunity to showcase your personality, skills, and enthusiasm for the job. So don't underestimate the power of a compelling cover letter—invest the time and effort into crafting one that grabs their attention and boosts your chances of getting that interview. You've got this!