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Resume Writing Tutorial

Q: What is your resume?
A: It is your first opportunity to sell yourself.

Q: What does your resume do for you?
A: It gets your foot in the door.

Your resume is what makes the difference between getting an interview and not getting one. In this tutorial we are going to explain how to write a very effective resume that will get you results. At the end we include our sample resume for you to model yours after. While mileage will vary, this resume format has been used successfully by thousands of our members, many of whom would swear by effectiveness.

We always recommend the following sections on a resume: Header, Summary of Qualifications, Employment Experience, Education and Special Achievements. Next, we will attack each one of these sections one at a time. Before you get started, make sure that you are using a normal font like Arial or Times. Do not try to get fancy as it usually winds up looking really dumb and can be distracting.

This is the easiest part of the whole resume. Center this section at the top of the page and include the following information.

Line 1 - Name - Use bold and a slightly larger font for this as it will help draw attention to this line - you want them to remember your name, right?
Line 2 - Street address
Line 3 - City, State and zip
Line 4 - Phone Number (don't forget this or you won't be getting any calls)
Line 5 - Email address

Thats all there is to that!

This section is key. It is one of the first things that an employer will read and is your best opportunity to list your attributes and skills. The secret is to use a lot of modifiers (adjectives) that paint a picture of your personality and skills. Lets look at how we did this on our sample resume:

An energetic, self-motivated Microsoft Certified Professional skilled in Windows 95/98, Windows NT and Macintosh environments with some Linux/Unix and Netware experience. Possesses knowledge in LAN and WAN technologies, protocols and configurations, and expertise in PostScript printer hardware and software. Experienced in Internet technologies, web-page design and marketing. A very quick learner skilled in communication, problem solving and conflict resolution. Microsoft certified in Networking Essentials and TCP/IP.

From reading this, you are able to determine the candidate's technical skills and you also know that they are energetic, self-motivated, a quick learner, a problem solver, communicator and able to resolve conflicts. We chose these modifiers because we believe that these are qualities that are important to employers in the IT field. If this person were applying for a customer service position, we would probably use an entirely different set of adjectives. Make sure that you try to avoid cliches such as, "I am a hard worker" or "I am a nice person". Be creative and honest with your descriptions of yourself. Finally, DO NOT LIE and DO NOT SELL YOURSELF SHORT.

You may see many resume tutorials that state that the first section should be called "Objective" and describe the type of job and company that you wish to work for. We feel this is a waste since this information really belongs in your cover letter. A Summary of Achievements is better use of this space and will do more to sell you than an Objective section.

Here you will explain your past work experience. If you have worked for 100 different companies, DO NOT LIST THEM ALL - It will make you look like a job-hopper and your resume will be way too long. A resume should be 1 to 2 pages long so only include the last couple of jobs. When working on this section, try to find parallels between duties/responsibilities of previous jobs and those of the type of job that you are applying for. Include facts and figures wherever possible that will qualify the importance of your responsibilities. For example, if you saved the company $10,000 dollars due to a policy change that you helped develop, then mention those figures. If you managed 50 people then mention that. Let's take a look at an out-take from a resume:

Technical Lead

  • Served as a technical and training resource for a team of 50 people.
  • Solved customer printing issues in Windows 9x/NT, Novell, and Macintosh environments including networking and application support. Received a 100% rating from customer feedback.
  • Assisted Co-workers with technical questions and upset customers often by taking ownership of the call.
  • Implemented and taught training classes, provided 1-on-1 training, and call feedback in order to improve the team's ability to resolve customers' technical questions on the front line.
  • Co-designed and administered internal Product Support web site.
  • Acted as a liason to Escalated Software and Hardware. Worked with these groups to research product bugs and new issues in order to discover and document solutions before the customer became aware of them.
  • Served on the interviewing and hiring team.
  • Worked closely with management providing feedback and suggestions regarding call handling processes and training. This dropped the average call length by 5 minutes and increased the front line solution rate from 40% to 60%.
Notice the first bullet point. Here the technical skills of the person are highlighted. A lot of people want to include a section at the top of their resume that lists all of the operating systems, environments, and applications that they are familiar with. This is better done in the bullet points of your Work Experience section. If the above were a more technical job, more of the bullet points would emphasize the specific technologies used.

It is probably not necessary to list the high-school that you attended if you have college work to include. List any colleges, trade schools, etc that you have attended as well as any relevant classes that were not a part of a degree program. For example:

B.S., Sociology. University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 1996
Networking Essentials. Portland Community College, Portland, OR. 1998
Behavioral Interviewing. TechPrinters, Portland, OR. 1999

In this section list any certifications, awards, etc., that you have received. If you don't have anything that applies, then do not include this section on your resume, it is optional. An example of what this section might look like:

CompTIA A+ certification awarded on June 19, 1998
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) awarded on July 7, 1999
Awarded Microsoft "Most Valuable Professional" (MVP), 2003-2007

DO NOT include your picture. DO NOT include "references available upon request", they already know that. DO NOT include your hobbies or any other personal information. We once saw a resume that had the person's crazy looking picture on it and he had a section that discussed his hobbies which included gun collecting. Not a good idea! The resume should only include information that is relevant to work related activities. If an employer wants to know what your hobbies are they will ask, although legally they aren't supposed to and you don't have to answer that question.

Well, that is all there is to it. What you ought to do now is view our sample resume and use the exact same layout when you make yours. Then print it out on a high quality WHITE bond paper and you are on your way to employment.
Good Luck!!!