I've covered the idea that your resume tells a story. I've looked at the kind of stories you'll tell (general, job, and career). I've looked at the parts of the resume and how they tell your tale to a recruiter or potential client.
So how do you fill all this in?
It's actually pretty simple. It's a matter of going through your history and telling your tale.
Decide on the goal of your resume – general, job, or career. If you're not sure, you may go with general for now and change it later.
Look at your job history, earliest job first. For each job write down the major achievements in that job that display your abilities – and give credibility to the overall story of the resume. Of these, pick the best 2-4 and list them with each job. I usually use bullet points to get something like this.
Widget Conductor 5/27/2008-4/29/2009
- Reorganized Widget conduction system to improve efficiency by 25%.
- Expanded widget training program to include all workers.
Now, every time you do this, write down the skills you used to make those achievements happen in a separate list. This skill list will keep growing over time.
Do the above for every job you've had. You may also want to include freelancing and other experiences that are relevant.
Your goal here is to make sure that your achievements in your career support your story, to discover and understand your experiences, and to keep a list of skills you've used and are good at.
Repeat the above step with your education, certification, and your hobbies, if they seem relevant. Hobbies do not necessarily need to have achievements listed; that depends on what you feel works for your goals.
And remember, every achievement should go in your skill listings.
That big list of skills you were working on? Now it's time to put it to use.
Go through that big list of skills and figure out which ones support your story the best (hopefully, if you were careful, all of them). Sort them into 4-6 categories and find the best way to list them in their own categories.
Feel free to tweak – perhaps adding a few skills that you have, but didn't think to include, remove some irrelevant fluff, etc.
Now You Have a Resume – Sort Of
Now you have a resume, at least a rough draft of one.
Next up is polishing it – figuring out how to make it tell the story that you're aiming for. That's back to the "art" of the resume creation. Like any good story it needs some tweaking and editing. Also, like any good story you will never be 100% happy with it and at some point you're just going to have to toss it out there.
Next up – going beyond the resume.
– Steven Savage