Writing a resume can feel like an intimidating task. A lot is riding on this document. Employers decide if they want to interview and hire you based on your resume. So your job search centers on this one document. That’s a lot. But there is no need to let all that overwhelm you. This tutorial will walk you through how to write a simple resume that you can use to start applying for jobs as soon as today.
This tutorial is for you if:
You have employment experience. Summer jobs, volunteer experience and internships all count as employment experience.
You are applying for entry level jobs, a student or intern. A simple resume will serve you well.
What you’ll need:
Access to Google Docs. Google Docs is a free web based word processing program offered by Google. The resume template and other resources used in this tutorial need Google Docs to work. If you have a Gmail account, you already have access to Google Docs.
The resume planning sheets and simple resume template. You can print out the planning worksheets, fill them in and you’ll be all set to complete your resume template.
About an hour of quiet time and a cup of coffee, or whatever your beverage of choice to focus and hammer out your simple resume.
Grab your planning sheets and let’s dive in.
The first section of a resume is where you’ll share with employers how they can contact you. In this section you’ll provide:
Your full legal name
Let’s drill down to each section. We’ll point out things to look for or that you’ll want to think about to make the best impression possible.
Your full legal name: While a resume is not a legal document, you still want to use your full legal name, not your nickname or shortened name. You can share a preferred name if you want, but make sure to use the name as it is listed on your government identification.
Let’s say we’re helping Brittany Washington write a resume. Everyone called her Brit and that’s her preferred name. She could type her name on the resume as Brittany “Britt” Washington.
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This is where you get to toot your own horn. In a few sentences, share with the employer why you’re the ideal person for the job. Tie together how your education, experience, interests and other attributes have prepared you to add value to the business and thrive in the job.
Usually the summary of qualifications is written in bullet format so that it's easy for the hiring manager to skim and digest. Using bullet points also helps managers read your resume more closely to find more detail about the things you highlighted in the summary.
To write your summary of qualifications, choose four of the strongest accomplishments, skills and abilities from your resume that would stand out to hiring managers and set you apart from other candidates.
Here’s an example of someone seeking a janitorial position may include in their summary of qualifications
Office cleaning professional with over 5 years experience cleaning medical, dental and business offices.
Decreased time spent cleaning by 10% while maintaining 100% quality reviews by establishing consistent cleaning patterns and routines.
Reduced client complaints by 8% by proactively inspecting work and developing positive relationships with clients.
You can use this template as a guide to write your own summary of qualifications. ⬇️
________________ professional with _____ years experience ____________.
(Action word) __________________ by___________ with ________.
(Action word) __________________ by___________ with ________.
➡️ Here’s an example of the template in action.
Customer service professional with 6 years experience in a call center environment.
Improved call handle time by 10% by using effective call management strategies.
Assisted with creation of job aids and other resources to support new customer service representatives in their skill development.
Chosen as employee of the month three times in 2022.
When writing your summary of qualifications, make sure that what you choose to highlight appears and is expanded on in your resume. For this reason, we suggest writing the summary of qualifications last. This way you can review your resume and then choose what you feel are the strongest elements and highlight those in the summary of qualifications.
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The goal for the education section of your resume is simple. That goal is to highlight the education and training you’ve achieved that have equipped you with the necessary knowledge to perform the job.
In this section you would list the following:
High school diploma or GED and school attained
Associates Degrees and school earned
College and postgraduate degrees and institution awarded
Training certificates and certifications
List your degrees in reverse-chronological order. Start with your most recent diploma or degree. Then list any certifications that you have received.
Only list your High School Diploma if you’re still in college or you did not attend or complete college.
Here’s a few examples of how to list education on your resume.⬇️
If you have completed college, reflect that on your resume like this.
2019 B.A in History
University of North Florida, Jacksonville Florida
If you are currently in college, share that on your resume like this.
Florida State College Jacksonville, Florida
B.A Business Administration
Anticipated Graduation May 2024
If your highest education is high school, include that on your resume like this.
First Coast High School
Now that we’ve talked about degrees, let’s look at some examples of how to list certifications on your resume. If you have certifications you can list them like this:
If you have completed a certification program, you can show that on your resume like this.
IT Support Certificate- 2017
Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville Florida
As you can see, adding education to your resume is pretty simple. One thing to keep in mind is to only include the education that is relevant to the job that you’re applying for at the time. That could mean making minor edits or having multiple versions of your resume to target different types of jobs.
In the skills section you want to highlight for employers the skills that you have. So perhaps you know some coding languages like HTML. Or maybe you have several years of face-to-face or phone customer service skills; those are all things that you would want to put in the skill section.
You're basically telling employers what you're good at, what skills you've attained through other jobs or things that you have learned in school or workshops or certification classes.
If you're not sure what to write in this section after brainstorming all of these types of things, you'll want to look at the job posting itself. A lot of times employers will list the skills that they are looking for in a new employee. If you have any of the skills that they've identified, then of course include those in the skills section.
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Professional experience is your work experience. Now you will take some time and walk the employer through your work history. If you've had a lot of jobs you don't have to try and list every single job that you've ever had.
It's a good idea to include the past 10 years of work experience. If you've had relevant job titles you may want to just list the names of the company, position that you had and the date of employment, just at the end of the professional experience section .
So now let's get into what you want to include.
➡️Company Name & Dates of Employment
Of course you'll want to make sure to include the company name and dates of employment for current and previous employers. You'll want to list the day you started working the job (start date) and your last date working for the company (end date).
If you know the specific day that you started work there and the specific day that you left, that’s fantastic. If you can't remember, just try your best to get close in a month year format. Just a quick formatting tip, if you do this for one job, use month and year for all jobs so that you have consistent formatting on your resume.
Next you will want to provide the job title to describe the work that you did. So this would be the title of the job that you performed at this particular company.
Now if your job calls positions titles that are not common you may consider using an alternate job title. For example, maybe your previous employer called Customer Service Representatives, Customer Advocates, you may want to just list the job title as it is given at your company and in parenthesis list what the job would be called outside of that business.
Customer Advocate (Customer Service Representative)
This will be helpful to any manager or human resources staff who is reading the resume. Also, it will give the reader a clear picture of what jobs that you've had and experience you would bring to the company.
➡️ Job Duties/Accomplishments
After you include your job title, up next is job duties. You will want to start listing some of the things you did at the job and the things that you accomplished during your employment.
Accomplishments are always better than tasks, but if that's all you have then of course list the tasks. These would be the things that you did everyday.
Consider using some of the action words provided in the Simple Resume Workbook to make your accomplishments and tasks really pop to hiring managers.
For example if you were a cashier, you may have accepted payments from shoppers. You could describe this on your resume by simply restating the task ask it may appear on a job description:
Responsible for collecting payments from shoppers
Or you could use action words to add more depth and detail to the work that you did.
Handled cash, credit and check payments from shoppers.
When describing your job duties and accomplishments, keep in mind what would be most helpful to a manager reading your resume to get a full picture of your experience.
The final step in writing your simple resume is to proofread and polish. You want to make sure that the resume is free from spelling and grammar errors to make a great first impression.
In addition to spelling and grammar, review for proper formatting. The resume should be neatly typed, easy to read and no more than two pages.
After you have completed all of these steps, congratulate yourself. You would have finished writing your simple resume. You're now ready to apply for jobs.
Put your new resume to work. Log into your Jacksonville Works account and upload your new resume to your profile. You can start being found by employers and apply for jobs quickly once your resume has been uploaded. You may want to consider preparing a cover letter to go along with your resume. You can find a how-to-guide and a template here.
As we wrap up the tutorial, if you haven’t got a copy of the simple resume template and planning workbook, you can get that here. These resources will help you not only write the resume but make formatting your simple resume super easy.
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