You are having difficulty creating a resume that will attract attention and generate results. You may be a recent high school graduate competing for an entry-level position with older, more experienced workers. Alternatively, you may be returning to the workforce after a prolonged absence. Although your situation may present a challenge, it is not unique. You can create a resume that highlights your soft skills and also downplays your lack of technical skills and experience.
Create a header that contains your legal name, full address, telephone number, zip code and e-mail address. Hiring officers frequently receive resumes with incomplete personal information and are unable to contact the applicants. Include a border line under your contact information.
State your career objective, preferably in one or two sentences. Show the employer you are focused on your career goal. In his book "Alternative Resumes," Michael Howard provides the following example: "Mature, honest high school graduate seeking an entry-level position with an auto dealer. Physically fit, safety conscious and willing to work outdoors in all weather conditions."
Use a functional format. Your may be more familiar with the reverse chronological format, which lists all employment and education, beginning with the most recent and working backward. This traditional format will not work for you. Instead, create a less-structured functional resume that camouflages your lack of technical skills and limited work experience.
Identify three to five skill areas and include them directly below the career objective. If you do not have any job experience, highlight your soft skills. These are character traits or personal management skills that cannot be measured. Examples of possible headings for skill areas include communication, organization and punctuality. List the headings in order of importance, and follow each heading with a series of accomplishment statements.
Write accomplishment statements that include proof of your soft skills. Howard provides the following examples: "Leadership skills. Played organized hockey for five seasons and elected team captain three times"; "Reliable and punctual. Maintained perfect attendance at high school and work in the past year. Copies of report cards and performance evaluations available upon request."
Position the education and work experience sections toward the end of the resume. It is not necessary to list every job you have held in the past, especially if it is not relevant to the present position or industry you are targeting. When listing jobs, provide the name of the company and the dates worked. Omit the reasons for leaving the position. The employer may or may not choose to bring up the topic during an interview.
Tips & Warnings
- Be consistent in your use of fonts, boldface, underlining and tab stops. Add as much white space as possible to improve the resume's readability.
- Ask a friend or relative in the target industry to proofread your resume.
- "Alternative Resumes"; Michael Howard; 2009
- "101 Great Resumes: Third Edition"; Ron Fry; 2009
- "Gallery of Best Resumes"; David F. Noble; 2007
- Photo Credit Indeed/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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