Resumé 101

So. You may or may not know this about me.  I love writing, drafting and helping people with resumés and cover letters.  The truth is out.  Nothing pleases me more than a neatly organized, well worded resume selling one’s self to the throws of potential employment. 

Over the previous summer I did some free lace work as a resumé consultant and typed up a quick how-to guide for those who tremble or become nauseated at thought of having to update or create a resumé. And now for your viewing pleasure…..I gift to you….Resumé 101.

Outline of a resumé:

1. Header

2. Education OR Dependable Strengths and relevant proficiencies.

3. Experience (rather than Work history. This is best for a first resume. This will still be work history, however, employers aren’t always looking for relevant experience; They want to know what you’ve been doing when you have gaps in or not a lot of WH )

4. Education (When its is a first resume or you used the Dependable Strengths model for #2) – in this section you should include academic achievements, extracurricular activities with roles, and sport participation.

5. At the end of a resumé you can chose to, in smaller that used font size, write “References available upon request”. Everyone wants this. What this does is allow you have ample room to sell yourself.


Presentation is very important. I’ve experienced that if your resumé looks confusing or disorganized/cluttered the employer/hiring manager won’t want to even bother with attempting to read your resumé.

Watch out for simple errors and always have at least 2 sets of literate eyes proofread before emailing/sending/dropping off your resumé. I’ve seen an awesome resumé that the person was completely qualified for not even get a call for an interview because of a MAJOR typo. The person was applying to “The Birches Program” and in the cover letter mistyped and it read “The Bitches Program”. Don’t let this happen to you.

A resumé should only and always be one page. What you do when you make a two page resume is 1) Give the employer an opportunity to lose the first page that has ALL of your contact info on it. 2) Bores them. You dont want to give them too much to look at. Creates potential for loss of interest.

Cover Letters:

Then there’s always the question of the cover letter. Should I do it? Is it overkill? The answer is yes (always do one) and never (is it ever overkill). What the cover letter does is get your personality out a little, gives the employer a sample of the resumé which encourages them to want to read the resume, and of course, a chance to introduce yourself (goals, ambitions, etc)

The first sentence of the cover letter should always always detail the job you are applying for and the name of the establishment. (ex. When I found that McDonalds had a burger flipper vacancy I felt that I would be a great asset your kitchen staff. OR I’m very excited to be applying for the open IT technician position at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital as I have been looking for an opportunity to utilize my knowledge in this field….)

Following up:

4 days after submission of your application and resumé, call them. “Hi this is Jim-Bob, I applied for the open burger flipper position. I’m just calling to see if there were any questions about my resumé.” Then if you dont hear back after that call back in 3 days, then 2, then every day. I know this makes a lot of people uncomfortable but what you are doing is putting your resume at the top of the pile.

Before your interview….know the company you are applying for. Google it. Know their website inside and out.


Beeee yourself. Be polite. Come prepared with relevant questions. Dont ask your questions until the end when they say “Do you have any questions?”. Stay confident.

Follow up after the interview:

Thank you letter. Send a copy to HR and directly to the hiring manager/s. Recall a moment that stuck out for you/them. Thank them for the opportunity to meet out of their busy schedule yadda yadda. Hand write it.

Call after four days, then 3 then two then every day until you hear back.


So now you know my big dark secret. I love resumés.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s