If you are moving into the professional world, you need to have a resume that proves you are professional. I used to waitress, a cashier, and work at fast food when I was in high school and college. But I did not want to do that forever. I need to transition into a professional job and needed a resume that would help me do that.
So here are resume writing tips that will help you transition into the professional work environment.
Exaggerate your skills.
Exaggeration may be the wrong word. But you want to write down your skills in a professional way that also highlights what you are actually doing. For example.
Let’s say that you work at KFC as a cashier.
Some of your duties may include:
Mopping the floor, taking money from customers, making sure the customers get their orders in a timely manner, or making sure the customer orders are correct.
Here is the WRONG way to annotate that on your resume:
- I mopped the floor.
- I counted money.
- I took orders and gave people their food.
I made sure the food orders were right.
Yeah these things are what you technically did, but it does not sounds all that fascinating. It does not really highlight all of the skills. This would be the RIGHT way to write your skills on your resume.
- I maintained the cleanliness of the restaurant to ensure that the restaurant was in compliance with health codes.
- I exchanged money with consumers to ensure that the correct amount of money was received and the correct refund was exchanged for food products.
- I gave quality customer service in a timely manner, by providing individuals with their food orders and ensuring that all orders were correct.
Now do you understand what exaggerating your skills mean? They both say the same thing but the last one just says it a little bit better. For those who are looking to move up to an administrative role or supervisor position, it is always best to articulate yourself in the best way possible. That is a skill in itself.
Use Words in Your Resume that are In the Job Posting and Stay Away From Jargon
No one wants to go through your resume to try to figure out if you have the right skills for the job they are posting about. Most people who review your resume are HR representatives and not people who do the job you are applying for. So they are not going to recognize jargon.
For example, I work extensively in the mental health field. If I see a job posting that is looking for a life coach position to assist adults in learning how to leave on their own.
I want to highlight the skills that I have in this task without using jargon. For example:
Jargon: Assist adults with ADL’s or activities of daily living.
The proper way to annotate this on your resume:
- Assisted in coaching individuals with learning to how to independently maintain their household. Such skills include parenting, budgeting, independent living, and cleaning skills.
Note that the job posting stated they were looking for a life coach that can teach adults about living skills. And note that I used the word coach and teach in my resume. And then I wrote down the skills that I have taught before, which is consistent with skills needed for adults to live on their own. The basic point here is to spell out on your resume that skills that you have that meets the job position. Do not have them guessing about your skills and if you qualify for the job or not.
Compensate for No Work Experience
If you are looking to write a resume and have no work experience then you can compensate with the things that you do have. You can include volunteer experiences, internships, jobs held in college or high school. Use those experiences to make up for your lack of professional work experiences. In case you do not have any of those experiences, then I recommend you get some. Volunteering is really easy to find.
The second option is highlight school experiences, clubs, or classes that you have taken that may have prepared you for the position. To give you an example, I used to be an office assistant my senior year of high school.
If the job posting states that they are looking for a paralegal. Some good experiences to highlight are:
- That you are in college getting your degree in criminal justice.
- You have taken classes in constitutional law and court proceedings.
- You have volunteered or did an internship at a courthouse.
- You plan on applying to law school in the future.
All these things are really masking the fact that you do not have any paid experience as a paralegal. But, what it is doing is showing that you have an interest in law, knowledge in law, AND it tells the agency that they may be able to use you for the future if you are looking to get into a career as a lawyer.
Do not Make Your Resume into an Essay
The old rule was that your resume should be no more than a page. My resume is longer than a page. It is about a page and a half. But I do have a lot of work experiences, certifications, and more than one degree. So I can justify my resume being longer than a page. So my rules of thumb is no longer than 2 pages.
Do not write too much on your resume. Keep it simple. Your resume should not be your life story. You should list your education, work experiences, and any relevant volunteer experience or certifications that you have. And that is it. Only list jobs that pertain to what I am doing. Meaning that I no longer list that I was a waitress in high school or worked at KFC. I also do not mentioned that I worked at 7-11 and as a security guard in college. I do not put what high school I went to or what year I graduated high school. That has nothing to do with what I am doing now since I am into the human service field. So unless it is relevant. Leave it off.
Quick Do’s and Don’ts For a Resume
- Do put your complete address, email, phone on the top of the email.
- Do not use large or cursive writing for your resume.
- Do not use colored paper for your resume or anything other than black ink.
- Do not handwrite your resume or any application that you send in for a job.