10 Best Prompts for How to Write Your Resumé

Woman wonders what to write in her resume.

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As people start to apply for new jobs, some may find themselves dwelling over the stress of the very first step of the process: writing a resumé.

You may be asking how to write your resumé and may wonder what information they should put. How much of it should even be included? Some will probably ask themselves if the employer will care about their grade school diploma, or a workshop that was taken, or even a medal won for a quiz bee.

Overall, the most crucial thing to remember while writing a resumé is to keep everything short and sweet. However, if you’re having some trouble putting it together, here are ten prompts that should guide you on how to write your resumé!

1. Do I have all my contact details in check?

First and foremost, you need to be able to let the employer know who you are and where to reach you. Normally, that includes inserting your primary phone number, landline, and work email. Adding a photo of yourself is not usually practiced, as to allow employers to screen applicants impartially. It may be required, however, if stated otherwise by jobs that do require a specific look (ex. actors, models, etc.). You may also opt to paste your LinkedIn profile if you have one, and a link to your portfolio if required.

2. What am I most proud of to have accomplished in my past experiences?

While this sounds very sentimental and nostalgic, it would be helpful to look back at your past experiences and evaluate which ones matter to you the most. This will also allow you to check which experiences would be more valuable in your resume and how they should be prioritized when you list them down.

3. Are my work experiences in my resume relevant to my job application?

Related to the last question, it is essential to reassess the experiences you have undertaken in the past, and which ones would be most pertinent to the job you want to attain. Listing experiences that are a bit far off from what is being asked might not do well in your favor, as it also wastes space on your page. Unrelated experiences can be removed for this, so that all your experiences are concise and parallel to one another.

4. Should I include my past awards and recognitions?

Including accolades is always a big plus on your resume, but only if they can prove your competence in the field you are applying for. Students usually include academic awards in their resumes when applying for internships, but not so far as to inserting those from over a decade ago. For more mature applicants, it might help to reevaluate which recognitions are most recent and appropriate for the job you are trying to get. 

5. Am I using active language?

When learning how to write your resumé, it is important to assert your authority by using active voice in your text. Active voice is defined by sentences wherein the subject performs the action stated by the verb. This basic structure allows you to select specific power words to help make your work experience look more engaging and professional on your resumé. Some examples of active verbs that can be used on a resumé are words such as “achieved”, “completed”, and “accomplished”. On the contrary, a weaker active verb like “helped” could be easily exchanged for a stronger one like “facilitated” or “represented” (depending on the context, of course). 

With this sentence structure, it should let you to shorten your sentences into phrases that begin with the active verb itself. This should allow you to get straight to the point so that it would be easier for your employer to read. A sentence like 

“I led a group of girls in my entrepreneurship class to earn profit through our sales project” could be shortened to “Led group to earn sufficient profit in sales project”. 

Keep in mind as well that you are writing your own resumé, and not anyone else. Your employer won’t get confused if you don’t use the word “I” at the beginning of your sentences, since it is already a given that all the mentioned work experiences are yours.

6. Does my resume look neat?

You should always present your employer with a fresh and clean resume. Margins are ideally an inch on all sides, but if there is too much information, you may opt to lessen it. This goes as well for if you don’t have that much information to put, as you may choose to make your margins a little bigger, as long as they don’t go up to two inches. Clean fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, and others are most acceptable and appropriate for resumes, since you should present yourself in a professional manner. Finally, all your lines, spaces, and columns should be evenly divided so that the resume can be navigated with ease.

7. Will everything fit one page?

It is a well-known practice to make your resume only one page long so that employers can read it easily. Everything should fit well for easy navigation, space-saving, and if printed, so that less paper can be used. Besides this, employers are encountered with so many applicants that keeping your resume short and concise will allow them to screen everyone efficiently. 

8. Is everything proofread?

Overall, you will want to avoid making your first impression with your potential boss is a grammar or spelling error. After listing down all of your educational attainments, proving to your employer that you know your basic language skills will be absolutely crucial, especially in the professional setting. With that, make sure to double check all the text in your resume. Who knows what could have been overlooked.

9. Should I make another resume for a different job, or is this resumé good for all of them?

Let’s say you’re keeping all the relevant qualifications for a specific job in one resumé. As another job opportunity arises, you realize that it requires a different skill set that contrasts from the first resumé you made. In this case, making another resumé might be helpful for you, since the other employer is looking for a different kind of skill set. However, knowing that different employers look for different qualifications, this is a case-to-case basis that might not apply to everyone. Still, it is your choice if you want to make another one in the case another opportunity comes around. 

10. Will this help me achieve my future goals?

After you finish constructing your resume, reexamine it and think about your goals. Will the past experiences you listed help you get the job? Will your job help you in the future in all aspects of your life? Is this information sufficient enough to tell the employer what you are capable of doing?

As submitting a resumé is the first step into getting employed, asking yourself these questions should help you create a quality first impression for your application. Now having in mind what an employer wants to see, you will know how to write a resumé that stands out from the rest, while still being relevant, concise, and professional.

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