Resume Writing
Tuesday, June 02, 2020 Melissa Hatch, Technology Librarian at St. Paul’s Hollywood

Do you feel unsure about resumes? Are you confused about how to start? In this blog I’ll discuss why a resume is important, how to get started and how to store your resume digitally for the future. There are also some links to additional resources that are very helpful. I encourage you to explore them.

Resumes can be daunting for a lot of people that don’t consider themselves to have strong computer skills. You may be wondering if you even need a resume. You do. A resume is important as you apply for jobs. You never know when you’ll be asked for a resume. Many online job applications require one, and if you have a resume you’ll be prepared and look professional.

Searching for a job has changed dramatically over the last few years. I remember walking into businesses as a teenager, requesting an application and filling it out on the spot. Sometimes I even got a cursory interview as I handed it back to the manager! Today, however, if you walk into most businesses and ask for an application, they will give you a website address and you have to apply for the job online. Many sites require you to submit a resume as part of the application process. You can’t apply unless a resume is uploaded as part of the application process.

I’ve seen a lot of people give up on job applications rather than submit a resume because they don’t want to take the time to write one. But don’t get lazy! There are advantages to submitting your resume online. Many websites will use the information on your resume to populate the application. This means that you may not have to fill out addresses, names, and experience portions of an application. However, not every website does this. Some may still require you to fill in their application in its entirety. If you have a resume handy and ready to go, it’s very easy to upload if employers ask you to do so. 

Here are a few questions to consider before you begin writing your resume:

1. What information will you include? Do you need to look up old employers? Do you know the dates that you attended school?

2. What skills/employment/education do you want to highlight? Do you have any special training?

3. How will you create your resume? What computer program will you use?

4. How will you save and store your resume?

It may be helpful for you to jot down some idea of what you want your resume to look like. Pay special attention to the content. Here is a basic example:

Your resume does not have to look like this. This is just one example. Google “resume samples” to find many different formats.

It is a good idea to keep your resume to 1-2 pages. That may mean editing out some experience or other content - that’s okay! It does not need to be an exhaustive list of everything you’ve ever done. You may have to select just the past 3 jobs, or the past 7-10 years. Studies show that an employer will skim your resume for less than 30 seconds and long resumes can be off-putting.

You may be interested in changing careers. If that is the case, your work experience may not be as important as your skills and what you could bring to a new career. This means you should highlight your skills rather than your experience or education.

Once you’ve decided on what type of information to include, it’s time to start writing. Most people write their resumes using a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word. Word is a great option because it includes many resume templates. Or you can also create a resume from scratch.

As you work, don’t forget to save your resume to either the computer hard drive, a flash drive, or a cloud location. You want a digital copy so that you can return to it as jobs open up or life changes. I keep my resume on Google Drive (Google’s cloud). I can access it from my phone or other remote locations. It’s been very easy to return to update as I’ve moved around in my career.

If you don’t feel confident typing out your own resume, an easy alternative is to use a career site such as CareerBuilder.com or Indeed.com. Creating a resume with one of these sites is simply a process of filling in the blanks. The website takes care of the formatting and makes the resume look professional. You can print the resume out, download it to a computer or flash drive, and they will keep it safe on their website for you as long as you remember your login credentials.

If you use Indeed for your job search, they will have the information you entered in their system and, like I mentioned above, will prefill some job applications for you. Therefore, the applications process can be very quick and easy for jobs posted on their site.

However, a word of caution: Be wary of internet sites that advertise free resume builders. It is true that they will let you create the resume for free. But if you want to download, print, or save the resume, there is usually a fee.

It will be worth your time to write a nice, professional resume. Don’t forget to have a trusted friend (or 2) review it for the content, spelling and grammar. Hopefully it will be a document that you can be proud of and will get you noticed by prospective employers.

If you have any questions as you work on your resume or apply to jobs, please call us at the library. The Tech Team is very happy to help with any computer questions. They can be reached at 843-805-6885.

If you are looking for more information about what format or content to include in your resume, please check out these great resources:

Good luck in your job search!

If you would like more information, assistance in finding more resources, tips on how to get the job hunting process started, or more, please reach out to us at CCPL by email, chat, or text. You may also call us at 843-805-6930, leave a voice message, and a library staff member will return your call. Remember, you are not alone.