How to craft your resume

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Your resume is likely your first impression with an employer which means its quality and content determines whether you’ll be considered for an interview. In order to stand out from the pile of other resumes, you must write a targeted and polished resume. Follow the steps below to accomplish this.

Brainstorm all relevant information

Before you begin writing your resume, start compiling all of the necessary information. Make a note of anything that could be of interest to an employer such as your education, relevant coursework, work experiences, extracurricular activities, volunteer experience, skills, and awards. Record as many details as you can about these experiences so that you can be specific on you resume. Most importantly, get as many numbers as you can which are associated with these items.

Even if you don’t include everything, it will be helpful to have a centralized list to drawn from as you write your resume and update it for future opportunities. It is important that your resume is accurate. Double-check any dates, names, numbers, and facts that you plan to include.

Choose an appropriate format

While there are many templates to choose from (too many in our opinion), all resumes should follow some basic formatting and content guides (see “How to format and structure your resume”). In general, your resume should be clean, simple, and not have any crazy fonts and colors.

Review a few resume examples, to see what format aligns best to your background. How you arrange your resume sections and what you choose to emphasize depends on the position and your qualifications. For example, if leadership is critical to the position, consider adding a section in your resume specifically dedicated to your leadership experience.

Want expert help putting together your resume? Check out our resume review service and get a polished, professional resume for only $99.

Write the content

Choose what to include from your compiled activities based on the job description. Think about the requirements of the position and what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate as you write your resume.

Write succinctly so that the employer doesn’t lose interest. Use strong verbs and showcase your achievements and strengths. Be specific and quantify where possible. Do not exaggerate – it is important to be accurate and honest. See “How to format and structure your resume” for more tips on how to write your resume.

Edit, edit, edit

Any errors in your resume will reflect negatively and may result in a rejection. Review your resume thoroughly and check consistency, grammar, spelling, tenses, and facts. As you are reviewing your resume, make sure you print it off! You will be able to spot errors much more easily when it is printed off.

As you reread your resume, look for areas where you can be more concise or effective. Check the verbs you use to begin each bullet to make sure you don’t use the same ones over and over again. Also have other people review your resume. A fresh pair of eyes can catch mistakes and give you helpful feedback. Career counselors, alumni, and any contacts you have within the industry would be particularly valuable reviewers.

Customize your resume for each application

It is critical to tailor your resume to each position you apply for. What’s important to emphasize in the resume will depend on the industry, company, and position. As you apply for jobs, it will be helpful to have a master resume that you can adjust for each position.

Review the job description thoroughly to make sure your resume highlights the qualifications required for the position and includes the qualifications’ keywords. This is especially important if you are applying to a larger company. These companies will put resumes through keyword scanning software to quickly weed out candidates. This means that if your resume doesn’t contain critical keywords to the industry and position, the employer may never even see it.

We cannot overemphasize how important it is to build a quality resume. The amount of time you take to customize your resume will be very evident in the final product. This stellar resume will greatly increase how well the employer perceives your interest and qualifications.

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Kelsey Murphy

Kelsey is Wisdify’s expert content developer. Taking feedback from our students, Kelsey creates extremely relevant blog posts and leads the development of Wisdify’s other free resources.

Prior to Wisdify, Kelsey worked as a business technology strategy consultant for Forrester, a global research and advisory firm. While there, she acted as project manager for numerous research-based consulting projects.

Kelsey earned a BA in Economics and Mathematics from Wellesley College.

Madison Bess

Madison oversees the social media strategy at Wisdify and makes sure we stay closely connected with our students, receive their feedback, and provide our students with valuable information.

Prior to Wisdify, Madison successfully ran the social media accounts for multiple companies. She also found time to start her own personal training company (which she still runs).

Madison earned a BA in English from Brigham Young University.

Maryn Coughran

Maryn is a co-founder and leads the marketing and outreach efforts at Wisdify. She ensures we are connecting with our customers, hearing their feedback, and then implementing their suggestions.

Prior to Wisdify, Maryn co-founded (along with Nate) BostonExcel, a Microsoft Excel training company that worked with dozens of companies in virtually every industry. Maryn’s clients included numerous Fortune 1000 companies, prestigious universities, startups and everything in between. She also happened to write and illustrate a children’s book. Let’s just say she’s a woman of many talents.

Maryn earned a BA in Economics from Wellesley College.

Nate Coughran

Nate is a co-founder and the leads course and curriculum development. He also happens to be the beautiful, energetic voice behind many videos.

Prior to Wisdify, Nate worked in real estate finance at two publicly-traded real estate investment firms and as an auditor for Ernst & Young. In his spare time, he co-founded (along with Maryn) BostonExcel, a Microsoft Excel training company that worked with dozens of companies in virtually every industry.

Nate earned an MS in Finance & Accounting from Boston College and a BS in Business Management from Brigham Young University–Idaho. Nate is a CPA but he will not do your taxes.

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