Creating a Winning Resume – Two Simple Steps to Get Started

By Annette DiZinno, Workforce Connection Center, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin

Putting together a resume is typically a task people don’t relish doing. Asking yourself, “What do I say?” or “How do I say it?” without wanting to brag are common feelings when faced with creating your resume.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reexamine our work and how we present ourselves in an ever-evolving workplace. As unemployment continues to rise, job seekers are having to prepare to find work among a lot of uncertainty. Having an updated resume is the first step to feeling confident about making your next career move.

Resumes are all about words and with limited space, one or two pages, every word counts. It’s difficult to look at a blank piece of paper and know where to begin, however following these two tips and with the help of a highlighter you will be in a great position to create or update your resume.

Transferable Skills

By doing a simple search for transferable skills you will likely find all sorts of lists. Choose a few of those lists that you will use for this step. Examine each list, word for word, and highlight all the things that describe you and the skills you have performed in any of your previous work. Most of us operate on auto-pilot and never inventory all the skills we have mastered.

Ask yourself questions like, “Did I turn in reports to my manager on time?” If you answer yes, your transferable skill is “meets deadlines.” Other questions could include, “Do I listen to my co-workers when they offer suggestions?” If so, you are open minded. “Have I taken any classes, certifications, trainings or required company tutorials?” That translates to having a desire to learn and improve.

And let’s not forget good old customer service and computer skills, which most of us use every day. Even if you don’t work with the general public, your co-workers are your customers. Think differently and expand the words that paint a broader picture of the work you do.

Action Verbs

Use the list you looked at above to open your eyes to all the skills and accomplishments you bring to the table. Action verbs say, “I have accomplished this.” They are power words and many times they match the words used in job descriptions. Standard words include: maintained, conducted, organized, presented and communicated. Get creative and choose a few words that are just as impactful but used less frequently. Use a thesaurus to find words like generated, prioritized, interpreted, diagnosed and facilitated.

Resume writing is an exercise, and you have the opportunity to choose how fit your your resume will be. If you spend time on it and keep making slight tweaks as you go, the better shape it will be in and “fit” the job you are applying for. You are unique with strengths, talents and skills. Reset your narrative. Make your resume a true reflection of who are and a way to tell an employer why they need you on their team.

Reposted with permission from Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin.