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Plan Your Resume

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the challenges of crafting a resume.
  • List the four must-have topics to include in a resume.
  • Explain the importance of reviewing resume samples.
  • Explain the importance of reviewing skills and experience in a job description.
Note

Note

This module was produced in collaboration with Indeed, which owns, supports, and maintains the Indeed products, services, and features described here. Use of Indeed products, services, and features is governed by privacy policies and service agreements maintained by Indeed.

Stand Out

Your resume is often your first and best chance to get noticed. The goal is to make it easy for recruiters and managers to see that you have the qualifications they’re looking for. This is easier said than done.

First off, they may be reading through hundreds of applications. So they might only give your resume a quick scan at first. This means that what you put in your resume and how you format it matters. 

Many companies also use an applicant tracking system to manage and filter online job applications. The details, down to the specific words you use, matter. No pressure.

Case Study: Linda Rosenberg, Applying to Cloud Kicks

Profile of Linda Rosenberg.

Meet Linda Rosenberg, a tech savvy graduate ready to make an impact. Apart from earning a CS degree, she spent several years managing the recruiting application for her university to pay for her tuition. The app happened to be built on Salesforce. She quickly became a Ranger on Trailhead with several Superbadges under her belt (yay!). The go-getter she is, she also took the initiative to become Admin certified. She’s definitely been busy.

Yet she knows she’s up against tough competition in the job market. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution in full swing, tech skills are in high demand.

Recently, she saw a Salesforce Admin job opening for a company called Cloud Kicks. While she spotted other interesting roles in her job search, this boutique shoe company is calling her name. Looking over her sneaker collection, Linda starts to think about how she can make her resume stand out.

Linda Rosenberg standing in contemplation, thought bubble with a computer (or a mini Linda) + sneaker = heart

Check Out the Samples

There are a lot of sample resumes out there today. A quick search on sites like Indeed yields a ton of results. And that is the best first step on your journey to crafting a standout resume. Just answer the simple question: What does a successful resume look like?

Early in her job search, Linda realized the value of being this resourceful. Sure, you can jump right in and outline experience, education, and so on. But you can get a head start by seeing what’s out there, avoiding that blank page.

It’s even better to research industry-specific resumes. When Linda first started her search, she leafed through many resumes that focus on art design, retail, and other nonrelated roles. She almost got lost in all the jargon and indecipherable acronyms. But after some research, she built a small library of tech-specific resume samples and noticed how they outline skills and experiences similar to hers. Be like Linda—laced up and ready to go.

Know the Resume Basics

In all the samples Linda reviewed, a theme emerged. There are four resume must-haves:

  • Contact Information
  • Education
  • Skills and Mastery
  • Work/Volunteer Experience

Whether you are applying for your first job or switching careers, focusing on these topics helps you call out the exact things recruiters and managers are looking for. 

Linda holding up several resume examples with a lightbulb over her head representing inspiration.

Each employer weighs these topics differently. It’s a matter of reviewing the job description to determine how much information to provide. We review these topics in-depth later in this module. 

Cut to the Chase

Making your resume stand out relies on using the right words and structure (apart from having appropriate experience and skills, of course). Luckily, there’s a resource for that as well—the job posting itself. Often, employers list core skills in the job description. 

Employers view these skills as the keys to success on the job. So, it’s very important that the person they hire possesses these skills and is able to demonstrate them. This is why those skills are on the job description in the first place!

It’s equally as important to let them know you have the skills they’re looking for in a clear and concise way. There’s no need to waste words on experience or knowledge that have no relation to the job at hand. We dive into how you can do that in this module, too.

This isn’t just about proving to a company you’re the right person for the job. It’s also about finding the best role that matches the skills and experience you’ve worked so hard to get. Try making a list of the skills and experience you find in a job description, and refer back to that when you write your resume.

Can We Start Writing Already?

Linda in front of a computer with a thought bubble that has a series of check marks.

As Linda reviews the job description for Cloud Kicks, she gets excited. She’s finding a lot of matches with her experience:

  • Years managing a Salesforce org—check!
  • Application Design—check!
  • Admin Certification—check!
  • Passion for sneakers and sneaker culture (she looks back at the shoe case that spans her apartment wall)—check!

She feels she’s ready to start writing her resume.

Ready, Set...

Resume writing is tough. But Linda now knows how to start crafting her stellar resume. 

But what if this is your first job and you have little-to-no experience? How do you know for sure you’re picking the right structure, or spending enough time on the right topics? Answers to these questions and more await!

Resources