Updated: Mar 3
Stumped, stressed, lost, confused, overwhelmed by trying to write a winning resume?
As a designer, and have picked up 'some' design skills from my bachelor's degree, and the 9+ years I've had in the field. Most of my resume writing skills have been forged via professors, trial and error, research, mentors, and more research. Over the years I've started to notice common resume CV elements, no matter what position you're applying for or how much experience you have (or don't).
Here are those common resume CV elements that should demystify this small/giant task:
Select a resume style that reflects you and the industry you're in.
This one is pretty obvious. If you're in a traditional industry (think Oil & Gas, or Traditional Law firm) select a format that is more traditional. If you're in a modern or younger industry (think Design, or Tech) then select a format that is fresh and modern. Or any shade in between.
Your resume shouldn't look like it was from the 1980's. Format is all about the look, or aesthetic, or design, and this doesn't need to be cause for anxiety. You can use Word or Pages to create your resume. By choosing how you show the words on the page, the font style, color, and layout, you're formatting!
Make sure to select a style that is easy for you to create and maintain, by yourself. Last thing you need is to find the perfect job and you need to submit a slightly modified resume right now, but your design friend is out of town you don't even have the program she/he created it in.
Here's some great visual inspiration to get you thinking about a style or format:
The copy (text) should closely match whatever job you're applying for.
I change my copy (text) for every job I apply for. Why? Even in the same industry, even in the same niche market I'm applying for, each job description is slightly different. They have different needs, different titles, slightly different keywords, and if your resume doesn't reflect that, they're going to pass you over (this is even more critical if a computer is weeding through resumes instead of a human).
I always get stumped by what to put in my 'Experience'. By reading through their job description very carefully and picking out keywords and key phrases they're looking for, most of the copy is already done for me. Paraphrase their text in your copy, use their keywords in your Skills section, and in your Experience copy.
If you're finding your resume is a still a little short, google resumes with titles and positions in the industry you're going for, and get inspired by what others are saying. Paraphrase good copy that matches the job description.
Your copy (text) should be active, not passive.
This means, instead of writing this "Understand timeline of project installation and delivery needs" (what action did you take?) Use this > "Orchestrated projects to achieve client needs, and delivered product by installation deadline" (this shows you took action).
Here's some great action verbs to use on your resume:
Make Sure To:
Use 12 point font
Have a min. 1/2" and max. 1" margins all the way around your page, and they should all be equal
Remove objective statement, unless you're making a career change or are specifically asked for one. Read more from TheMuse.com
Use standard fonts like Times New Roman, Helvetica, Arial as much as possible, becasue those fancy fonts don't show up on everyone else's computers (and you don't want the computer to decide what awful font to replace it with).
Put your education at the bottom of your resume (unless you graduated less than two years ago).
List your skills in a section titled "Skills" as single items (e.g. MS Office; AutoCAD)
Never say 'proficient in' or 'basic knowledge of'. It makes you sound like you don't actually know these things at all.
Do your research!
And becasue I love research, Here's some more amazingly helpful articles > Links We Love: Quick & Dirty Resume Tips