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Resumé

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To write a resume in four easy steps...

 

 Step 1: Brainstorm!

Remember back in high school English class when your teacher started by writing a topic on the chalkboard, circled it and started drawing lines from it and writing down other words and ideas related to it? That's the concept. Brainstorming is about getting all the information about a topic out of your head and on to paper, where you can then start thinking about how to organize all that information. It doesn't have to be bubbles and lists; brainstorm in a way that works best for you. Try to brainstorm anything and everything about you that is even remotely related to employment.

Some people really struggle when they have to think about themselves and an aid works great. On this webpage is a link to a chart that may help in brainstorming. Just fill in the information for each prompt as much as you can. Then, show it to someone you trust for other information or insight that they might have about your employment or employability.

 Step 2: Find a resume format you like.

There are many ways to organize a resume. You need to find one that works for you, highlighting your experience and showing you in the best possible light. Do your research and consider many different formats.

One format to consider is the Chronological. This type of resume lists, in chronological order, your employment history and educational history. Under each position you've held, you can highlight aspects of each position that will assist in impressing the hiring manager.

Another resume format to consider is the Functional. This resume puts a "Skills" or "Qualifications" section "front and center" on the resume, allowing for the educational and employment history to be added later, but minimized. This is great for those with skills relating to the job they are applying for, but for one reason or another have a poor employment history or little education. It is also a great format for those with gaps in their work history or little experience with the job for which they are applying.

A third resume format to consider is a combination of the two. It's possible to have a "Skills" section to highlight what you bring to the position and also to provide more detail about employment and educational experience. This is a great format for the experienced job seeker who has held many different positions.

Other resume formats exist, some better than others. However, sticking with one of these basic three will allow you to look professional, and you'll find many samples to utilize as guides in the construction of your own resume.

 Step 3: Writing your resume.

First of all, don't even think of handwriting a resume. You have got to have at least some computer skills. If you don't, contact an Academic Adviser at MCC and they'll help you get into some classes where you'll learn what you need to.

Templates are basic outlines or structures of resumes that are already built and ready for your information. Click on the heading and type in your own. It's that easy. You can find templates on the web or, even better, in Microsoft Word. Just open MS Word. Click on "File" and then "New." It should give you the option of opening a blank document or many other types. Look for the resumes, pick the one you want and begin adding your personal information.

If you are writing your own resume from scratch, it can get a little tricky with the spacings and indentations. Be patient; take your time and make sure to do it right. You might have to spend a lot of time troubleshooting with MS Word to make it look like you want it to. Also, keep in mind some basic principles: be consistent in your format, check and recheck for spelling, start each bullet point with a past-tense verb (except anything you are highlighting as a current responsibility), keep all fonts the same size with your name on top being the only exception, and use bolding and capitols to set apart your sections.

 Step 4: Edit.

When your resume is done, compare it with other resumes. Consider how it is the same or different. Ask yourself, "What you I do to make it look better?" Look for inconsistencies in the format: extra spaces, bullets under this subheading but not under that one, etc.

Read through it carefully. Often, when people have written something, they know what they meant to say, so their minds fill in blanks and gloss over weak areas. Avoid some of this by reading each word, slowly. It helps if you tell yourself to read it as if you've never seen it before. Read it again out loud. If you trip up, then you need to think about rewording that area.

You will never catch all of your own typos and mistakes. So have someone else, preferably a picky reader, read and edit your resume for you. Ask for feedback on how you can improve it.

By the time you've completed this last step, you will have a resume worthy of distribution.