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How to Make a Resume:
A Step by Step Guide

How to Make a Resume

I'm not sure why it's so hard to find instructions on how to make a resume that make sense. There are literally thousands of sites that deal with how to write a resume, but very few provide a step by step guide to creating a winning resume.

DerrJones will outline the basic steps for you, with links to find more in depth information on each step we talk about.

How to Make a Resume...Here We Go

Step 1: Outline

Create an outline of your resume as a first step in the process. Your outline should include the following sections:

Summary Section
Professional Experience:
Companies, Dates of Employment, Job Titles, Accomplishments
Academic Background
Professional Associations

Step 2: Summary Statement

Summary Statement Ideas: What are you really good at? If you met me at a networking event, and I asked you to tell me about yourself, what would you say? I ask this question in a professional sense - I don't want to know personal details! Think about keywords that describe you. Think about results.

Step 3: Work Experience

  • List the companies you've worked for, the positions you've held, your dates of employment for each company, and each position.

  • What does each company do? How big is the company or the division you worked for? Make some notes for each company you listed. You'll use these notes to write a brief description of each company you list on your resume.

  • For each position, write a short paragraph (3-5 sentences) about your responsibilities in that particular job. Try to include some scope - number of people managed, size of the budget you were responsible for, sales quota, etc.

  • Next, and again for each position, jot down some of your most significant accomplishments in the role. Don't try to limit your thinking here. What projects did you manage well? What big account did you close? What ideas did you initiate to increase revenue or reduce expenses?

Step 4: Academic Background

Document your academic record. Schools attended. Degrees conferred.

List any significant professional training programs you've completed. This is not a list of every seminar you've ever attended! Think big.

Step 5: Professional Associations

Document your professional affiliations, awards and honors.

Step 6: Putting it Together

Now that you have followed our how to make a resume tips, putting a winning resume together should be easy.

Take your outline, and start to polish it. Your goal is to end up with a two page document. Take a look at your Work Experience. Do you have 3 companies or 8 companies listed? If you have a lot of experience, you'll want to condense your oldest experience into a section titled "Early Career". This section will just list your employers, dates and titles, without providing any information about responsibilities or accomplishments.

Include more detail on your most recent positions, and less detail with your more dated experience.

From a practical how to make a resume perspective, less detail really means talking about fewer accomplishments, and potentially, consolidating promotions under one heading like this:

Director, Global Sales (2006-2008)
Director, North American Sales (2005-2006)
Regional Director, Midwestern Sales (2002-2005)

Assumed positions of increasing responsibility in the sales organization, with accountability for over $1.3 billion in worldwide sales.

Step 7: Choosing a Resume Format

The overwhelming preference of recruiters and hiring managers is a chronological resume format.

With this format, we can immediately see if you've worked for any of our target companies, in our target industries, and whether you've been in a comparable position to the opening at hand. In the quick review we'll give your resume (15-20 seconds!), we know whether we are going to take a closer look.

Step 8: Resume Layout

Make sure that your resume layout contains white space. Use a font size that's readable and vary your typeface - add in bold and italics; use bullet points to list your accomplishments. These strategies will create a document that's pleasing to the eye. If your resume is crowded and hard to read, chances are it will end up in the "no" pile.

Follow our tips on how to make a resume
and you'll find yourself going out on more interviews.

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