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How to Write a Resumé in 6 Steps

In today’s job market, a professional resumé is one of the most powerful tools you have to land your next job. In fact, you can make or break a new work opportunity within just 7.4 seconds of a hiring manager reading your resumé.1 Yes, a strong resumé is that powerful! I want you to have the best chance at scoring a job that fits your talents, passion and mission, so we’re going to explore how to make a good resumé. If you want to set yourself up for success in your job hunt, this is the first step!

  1. Choose a resumé template.
  2. Add your contact information.
  3. Mention who you know.
  4. Write a job summary or career objective.
  5. List your work experience.
  6. Include your education and special skills.

What Is a Resumé?

A resumé is a professional document that lists your career experience and education history. It’s important that you have a current resumé because this is what recruiters and hiring managers use to see if you’ll be a good fit for a job. They can quickly scan your resumé and see where you’ve worked, what you’ve done, and for how long. A strong resumé shows you off as a qualified candidate in a stack of job applications. When you do it right, a resumé is like your golden ticket to new opportunities.

How to Make a Resumé in 6 Steps

When you’re learning how to make a resumé for a job, it’ll take some time to gather all the information you need. If you’re updating an existing resumé or CV, it should go a little faster. Either way, here are six steps you can take to make a resumé.

1. Choose a resumé template.

Before you start writing your resumé, you’ll need to pick out a template (I have several on my website you can choose from) and lay out the timelines of your work and education history. If an experience connects to the job you’re applying for, include it.

2. Add your contact information.

Include your first and last name, phone number, home address and email address. And listen: Hiring managers won’t be impressed when they see stamped at the top of your resumé. So keep it professional and use an email address that has your first and last name. And if you’re not comfortable adding your home address in the contact section, you can opt to just include your city and state.

3. Mention who you know.

Guys, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: It’s often who you know, not what you know, that helps get your foot in the door of your next career opportunity. Include a small section on your resumé that lists any contacts you have at the company where you’re applying. This is an instant signal to the recruiter that someone can vouch for your character and experience—and if you can have your contact at the company hand deliver your resumé to the hiring manager, that’s an even better way to establish your credibility!

4. Write a job summary or career objective.

A simple way to catch a recruiter’s attention is to add a job summary or career objective beneath your contact information. This is a sentence or two describing your professional goals and the type of work you’re looking for—even better if you can explain why you’re interested in that company. For example, if you’re a graphic designer looking for a job in sports, you might write “Graphic designer with a focus on brand development and sports team logo concepts” as your headline. You wouldn’t want to leave it super vague by saying “Designer looking for work” because that doesn’t give a recruiter enough useful information.

5. List your work experience.

All right, guys. This is the meat and potatoes of your resumé. When you share relevant job experience, list your job title with a sentence or two describing your responsibilities. You can also add a note about any successes you had, like increasing the company’s social media followers by 25% in a quarter or saving the business $75,000 on paperclips every year. Whatever impressive accomplishments you can measure, include them in your work experience section!

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When listing your work experience on a resumé, include the following:

  • Company name
  • Dates you worked there
  • Your job title
  • A few bullet points briefly explaining your job duties
  • Any other ways you made an impact, like leading a culture team or winning performance awards
  • Action words that add authority to your resumé (match them to the preferred skills and abilities for the job)

Try to keep your resumé to one page if possible, and be sure to mention your best hard skills and softs skills so you really stand out.

(Here's a quick tip: If you’ve had jobs in the past that don’t point you in the direction you want to go, don’t include them on your resumé. So, if you’re applying for jobs in software engineering, you can leave the part-time movie theater concession stand job you had in high school off the list.)

6. Include your education and special skills.

When you’re listing knowledge and experiences that show why you’re qualified for a job, don’t forget to include your education history. It’s true that employers are starting to hire more for skills than degrees, but still, if you have formal education that applies to your career field, add it!

The best way to add education to your resumé is to work backward, so list your most recent degree or certification first. Here’s how I want you to set it up:

  • Write down the school or university and location.
  • Name the major you specialized in or the degree or certificate program you completed.
  • Include the date you graduated.
  • Add any extracurriculars you were a part of, like leadership clubs, honor societies or volunteering groups.

Including this information will show the recruiter you’re motivated to get involved in your community and you know how to use soft skills to get along with people.

How to Make Your Resumé Stand Out

I want you to have the best chance at impressing a hiring manager you can. So, after you list your work experience, go back through your resumé and spruce it up. Here are a few ways to do that.

  • Add resumé action words to give your job responsibilities a punch. These power words will help show your authority, confidence and results in a way that overused buzz words won’t!
  • Be smart with how you describe your job responsibilities so you can beat applicant tracking systems (ATS). This means the keywords you use on your resumé match the terms hiring managers look for in applications.
  • Always proofread what you’ve written and check the spelling on your resumé. Use spell-check, have a friend read it, and then triple-check it yourself to make sure your resumé makes sense.

These may sound like basic tips, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow them.

Ken Coleman Resume Templates

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About the author

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman is the author of the national bestselling book From Paycheck to Purpose and the #1 national bestseller The Proximity Principle. He hosts The Ken Coleman Show, a caller-driven show that helps listeners find the work they’re wired to do. Ken also co-hosts The Ramsey Show, the second-largest talk radio show in America, and makes regular appearances on Fox News and Fox Business. Through his speaking, broadcasting and syndicated columns, Ken gives people expert advice, providing strategic steps to get clear on their unique purpose and grow professionally. Learn More.

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