Do you want a simple resume?
Do you need a resume but don’t know where to start?
Whether you are applying to one of your first jobs, an internship, a club on campus, an honors society, or you just haven’t gotten around to writing a resume yet, you’ve come to the right place. Anyone will tell you that having a solid resume is important.
Some people say that it’s not all about what you look like on paper, that how you interview and interact in person can be more important than a piece of paper with your achievements on it. This generally depends on the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a software engineering position, a recruiter is likely to place more weight on your specific skill set and past experiences - AKA what you look like on paper - when making a hiring decision, than how you perform in an interview. If you are applying for a sales position, or another job that requires people skills, the opposite may be true.
However, in most cases, your resume decides whether or not you even get an interview, or make it to the next step of the hiring process. Although this may seem harsh and impersonal, think about it from the recruiter’s perspective. They most likely don’t have time to interview and/or do extensive research on each person that is interested in the job they are offering, and a resume is an easy and efficient way for an employer to get a snapshot of what someone may or may not be able to contribute to the company.
Furthermore, employers use resumes to weed out people who, in their opinion, do not deserve a more in-depth consideration. For example, an employer would conclude that someone who has spelling or grammar mistakes on their resume is either not well-versed in spelling and grammar, which could be perceived as a lack of education or intelligence, or did not put enough effort into writing their resume to ensure that there were no spelling or grammatical errors. This doesn’t mean that those people are necessarily unintelligent or unemployable, but many employers have certain basic expectations surrounding resumes and see a failure to deliver on those expectations as a sign that the person would not be a good fit for the job.
That’s why it is important to make sure you have the basics of resume writing down, so you don’t compromise an opportunity that you may have the right skill set for because of a crappy resume.
The good news is that although creating a resume may seem daunting, coming up with a simple resume is not too difficult and will make delving into more complicated territory, if/when need be, a lot more manageable. If you are young, inexperienced or have never written a resume before, a simple resume is a great place to start. At the higher level, resumes are often fairly industry-specific, meaning that the resume someone uses to apply to a position in finance would likely be different than that person’s resume if they were applying for a digital media job. BUT, for now, don’t worry about tailoring it to a specific job.
To start off, you want to organize your resume by sections. You should include a heading that identifies you, with your name, current address, email and phone number. You should also include an education section, which many people put first, after the heading. In this section you should put the schools you have attended, the degrees you received, any graduation distinctions, and the dates you attended the school.
Some people choose to list the institutions and put the dates on the same line as the name of the school on the other side of the page, and some put dates underneath or directly next to the same of the school. Whatever you choose, try to keep the format consistent - don’t put the dates you attended high school below the name of your high school, and the dates you attended college to the right of the name of your college. In general, you should stay consistent with positioning, size, and font across each entry.
Following the education section, most people include at least one experience section. Depending on what exact experiences you have had, you may choose to split experience into multiple sections, for example Work Experience, Leadership Experience, Volunteer Experience. If you are a student you may have an Extracurricular Experience section, where you would include extracurricular experiences, such as clubs, sports teams, volunteer experience, student groups, and other activities of that nature.
In these sections you should first list the name of the company, group or organization as the heading; your position/title as the subheading, and then you should include a brief description below of what exactly your experience entailed. This is often done with 2-3 bullet points that describe what tasks you completed, what was expected of you, and/or what you achieved. Make sure to always start these descriptive phrases with action words. For example, you should say, “Conducted lab experiments on a daily basis with a team of three” instead of “2 team members and I did lab experiments every day”.
You should also include the dates of this experience, and if it is an ongoing one, you denote this by putting the start date, a dash and then the word present (current, etc). If you don’t have a leadership experience section but you hold a leadership position in one of your listed experiences, make sure you make that clear, perhaps with a subheading or a bullet point below.
Although this should definitely get you started on creating your simple resume, you will most likely need a bit more guidance. Luckily, we can help. As you can see, the process of writing even the simplest resume is complex, and the statistics back us up. In a survey of university students at a top 15 school in the country, 79.7% of students replied that it took them up to four weeks to get a work-ready resume, and 66.2% of students surveyed ranked their resume as the first or second most important contributor to their success during the recruitment process.
Let us handle the hassle for you! Here at Backlight we use artificial intelligence to optimize the content on your resume and then have resume experts review it before we send it out. We promise we’ll get you a top quality resume that will truly illuminate your accomplishments.