How To Build A Killer Resume

I have a degree in Professional Writing and Editing from WCU. One of the most important things I learned while there is Resume building. Here are some bits of advice to help you out!

(note - this article was originally posted on my personal blog. It has since closed and I'm moving the articles over to this site)

1. A Resume is whatever you want it to be. YOU are the one you’re publicizing. You have to show your employer what you can do and who you are. Don’t think you have to make it look like a series of bulleted lists.

2. That being said, make it reader-friendly, and keep it on one page. Nobody wants to read three pages of skills and former job descriptions. Use phrases instead of complete sentences, write in active voice, and don’t use the word “I.” It’s a report on your experience, not a journal entry (of course if you're going for a different vibe, go back to point number 1).

You can also make it one page by messing with margins and the space before and after paragraphs, using shift+enter instead of just enter, and adjusting word/letter kerning. Once you know how to do all that, you can also add to said resume that you are proficient at Microsoft Word.

3. Don’t use a template. For the love of all things Chocolate and delicious and financially stable, don’t use a template. Figure out how to use Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Word properly, and then do it on your own. Or google some attractive templates and get ideas, and then do it yourself.

4. For your references, only put their names. Make a note that their contact info is available on request. On a separate sheet, called “References,” put their name, how you know them, the dates you worked with them, any other important info, and all the contact info they are okay with you handing out to strangers. This ensures your references info doesn't end up floating around the internet/get thrown away at the office and picked up by someone who wants to take advantage of the information. Please note you should always ask before using someone as a reference. 

5. Don’t make just one Resume. Make five. Or six. Or however many you need. Then, save them as PDF files and never email the Word document, only the PDF.

For example:

  • I have a Professional Resume with all my basic work experience (every job I’ve had since High School) and a basic list of skills.
  • I have a Dance Teacher resume with specific education on ballet, classes I took in college that pertain to my teaching, different styles of ballet I’ve studied, and a list of famous dances I know.
  • I have a Ballet Dancer resume with a lot of the same info but one focused on me as a dancer, not as a dance teacher.
  • I have a Professional Writing and Editing resume with all the pertinent info about me as a writer: Articles I’ve written and published, companies I’ve worked with as a guest blogger, novels I’ve completed, websites I’ve designed.

I have two of my resumes on my website. The others I only print off when I need them.

6. Make a text-only resume. These are great for when people want you to “Upload your resume” or copy/paste your resume. If you try to copy/paste or upload from a Word document it can cause formatting issues! So save yourself the time and get it ready ahead of time. Use line breaks, all caps, dashes, plus signs, etc for your formatting. Save it as a .txt file and call it LASTNAME_TEXT_RESUME. Here's a little clip of mine, and here's a link to the full thing if you want more details.

Good luck!

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Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.