A resume needs to state your qualifications so well that the people reading it will want to call you in for an interview. The resume should focus on your qualifications that are job related. It should tell about your achievements. Do not add fluff. Resumes just give facts. Be honest and factual in your resume, and never lie or exaggerate.
Resumes follow a certain form. If you have never written a resume, you should check a book out of the library on writing resumes. The section that follows will explain what information a resume should contain. The order of the information may vary. For example, if you are in school and have had few jobs, you should list education before work history. If you are a high school dropout but have held several jobs, you may wish to emphasize your work history by placing it before the education section. The books you check out will show examples that can help you decide which approach is right for you. Then get some paper and do a rough draft of your own resume. It doesn't have to be written in complete sentences; in fact, it is best written in concise phrases.
Information to Include In a Resume
Heading: At the top of your resume, list your name, full address, and telephone number. Do not include personal information such as age, height, weight, race, religion, marital status, or children. Such information may unfairly prejudice a prospective employer, and it is illegal for an employer to ask for it unless it directly relates to the job.
Work History: Beginning with your most recent job, list your work experiences. Include the name and address of past employers, dates of employment, and a brief description of your major duties and responsibilities.
Education: Start this list with the school you most recently attended and list all previous schools through high school. (You should not put junior high or elementary schools on a resume but you may want to make a note of that information somewhere else because you will need it for an application form.) Include the name and location of each school, your attendance dates, and major subjects studied, plus any degrees, diplomas, certificates, or honors you received. If you did any special projects in school or participated in scholastic activities that demonstrated your leadership ability, be sure to mention them.
Other Information: If you know another language, be sure to include it. Also list any hobbies, volunteer work, club membership, or travel experience that would relate to the kind of job you are seeking.
References: Do not list references on your resume. If you wish, you may include a statement such as "Personal references available on request." Keep your references handy on a separate sheet of paper in case the employer asks to see them.
When you have finished the rough draft of your resume it is important that you take the time to proofread it carefully. Then think of how to arrange it attractively on a page. If it is too long, condense the information until it fits on one page. Resumes need to be typed. Don't get discouraged if you have to type your resume several times before getting it exactly the way you want it. It is easier, however, to use a word processing program to do your resume. Or you could have your resume" typeset and printed for the most professional look. However, this process is more expensive.
Once you have finished writing your resume, you must also write a cover letter to accompany it. The cover letter is very important as it tells your prospective employer that you are looking for a particular job, why you are qualified for the job, and that you would like an interview. Your cover letter should be typed and written like a business letter. Your address, the date, the name of the person to whom you are sending the letter, the name of the company, and the company's address should all be placed just like they would be on a business letter.
The first paragraph of the cover letter should explain why you are writing to the company. If you are answering an ad, you can mention it at this point. If someone has told you to apply for a job at this company, give this person's name if it would be known at the company. If you are writing a "blind" letter, simply state that you are inquiring about possible openings for the type of job you want.
In the second paragraph of the letter, you should describe your qualifications for the job, citing specific skills or accomplishments useful for the new position. You can also mention that you have enclosed a resume, but do not repeat what is on the resume. In the next paragraph, you should mention your hopes for an interview, and you can tell when you are able to come in for an interview. Include a phone number where you can be reached during business hours.
In the final paragraph, you can offer to send references upon request. The letter should be closed in the same fashion as all business letters are that is, with "Sincerely" or "Sincerely yours," followed by your written signature and typed signature. If you have never written a cover letter, it is a good idea to look at some examples of cover letters so that you will see exactly how one should be done.