Writing A Resume

A Step-by-Step Guide

When you’re staring at a blank piece of paper, it’s hard to visualize a finished resume, and even harder to actually write one. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write a resume that will impress any recruiter that takes a look at it.

Step 1. Reflect

What interests you? What do you enjoy doing? What career path do you want to follow? If you know the answers to these questions, good! Skip ahead to Step 2. If not, you should reflect and get an idea of what you’re passionate about. Once you have an idea, do some research on what jobs might be a good fit for you. A piece of advice - if you really want an idea of what a job is like, reach out to people who work in those industries. They’ll give you a true look into what working in different industries is actually like.

Step 2. Decide on a Design

Your resume formatting and design matter a lot, especially depending on what industry you want to go into. You should ideally choose a format that reflects your personality in some way, but it might be more important to decide on a format based on what industry you want to go into. Certain industries require certain design characteristics, and some industries - like finance - are so strict in their resume formatting that resumes that don’t look the part won’t even get looked at, regardless of how qualified you are. If you want to read more on how to choose a design that’s right for you, check out our article titled Resume Design.

Step 3. Think About Your Past Experiences

When you have an idea of what industry you want to go to and how you want to organize your resume, you need to start thinking about the content on your resume. If you’re lucky and have a lot of previous experiences, you’ll have to face the problem of actually cutting things out of your resume. Regardless, you want the experiences on your resume to be relevant to the industry to which you are applying. Even if you don’t have experiences that are directly relevant, describe your experiences in a way that portrays qualities that are relevant to the job.

For example, when you’re coming out of high school you might not have any real business experience, but you might still be interested in going into consulting. What can you write about that’s relevant? Well, let’s say you were the captain of your high school’s varsity lacrosse team. Those two things are totally unrelated, but being team captain allows you to display your leadership, problem solving, and communication skills. All three of those skills are extremely relevant to consulting, and you’d never think to get them from being on a sports team! Sometimes, you have to think creatively about your experiences and apply them to what you want to do.

Step 4. Apply Your Past Experiences to the Job You Want

As mentioned above, now that you’ve analyzed what you’ve done in the past, you need to apply those experiences to the job you want and to the industry you’re applying to. Not all of your past experiences are relevant to the job you’re currently applying to. As mentioned in our Resume Outline article, you don’t want to include things that don’t translate into being a good employee at the firm you’re currently applying to. For example, don’t talk about your amazing salesperson experience at a lemonade stand if you’re applying to a back-end web development job at a large company. Yeah, you could feasibly skew your lemonade stand experience to talk all about problem solving to force it to be relevant… but if you have more relevant experiences anyway just stick to those.

Step 5. Quantify Your Experiences

Now that you know what you want to talk about and how you want to talk about it, it’s time to make your accomplishments easy for any recruiter to understand. The best way to do that is to use quantitative metrics that provide numbers to explain just what you’ve done in previous jobs, clubs, or internships. For an example, take a look at our article called Resume Outline - it’ll go into more detail about why it’s important to translate your experiences into things that anyone can understand, as well as explain all other aspects that make a great resume.

Step 6. Use Backlight to Optimize Your Resume

Of course, this step is optional but highly recommended. The job market today has become so competitive that it’s become exceedingly difficult to stand out amongst your peers as a truly excellent candidate. Here at Backight, we use Jasper, our proprietary artificial intelligence, to optimize the content on your resume to try and do just that. We’re a young startup and our entire team has recently undergone the struggles of job recruitment, so we know what it’s like to spend hours upon hours poring over every last detail of your resume.

We’re trying to make that process a little bit easier, and a lot more affordable than our competitors. We know it takes a long while to get a work-ready resume that you’re satisfied with - in a survey we took of students at a top 15 university, 79.7% stated that it took them up to four weeks to finish a work-ready resume. Here at Backlight we try our best to turn those four weeks into seven days, and provide only the best customer service along the way. Feel free to check out the rest of our site here and take a look around!