How to Write a Knockout Resume


How to Write a Knockout Resume

Your resume is your chance to show potential employers what your skills and abilities are, allowing them to gauge what useful contributions you could make as their employee. Writing a resume can be difficult, even intimidating. However, it need not be. Here are some tips on how to highlight your strong points:


Tip #1: Start with brainstorming

  • Jot down the traits or experience you think your potential employer is looking for.
  • Now ask yourself: “What skills and abilities do I have?” and “What evidence can I offer of those characteristics?”
  • Be sure to list the job relevant experiences, activities, courses, accomplishments and skills that you have acquired. Include previous summer jobs, volunteer experiences, extracurricular activities, skills, awards and publications.
  • If you have too few items, think again. Don’t automatically discard the ideas you have. What initially seems irrelevant may, upon further examination, turn out to be useful.


Tip #2: Prioritize and synthesize

  • Now figure out how to match your skills and abilities to what your employer is looking for (e.g. job requirement: reliable – volunteered at St. Patrick’s Old Age home for four years).
  • Prioritize the items on your list based on their ability to showcase how well your background matches the employer’s requirements. If you are unsure of what your potential employer may be looking for, this is the time to conduct some industry research into employers in your chosen field.
  • On your list, place a “1” beside the items you definitely want to highlight in your resume and a “2” beside those you will highlight if space allows. Cross out the other items on your list.


Tip #3: Write your first draft with attention to detail

  • Put the most important information at the top. Do not include irrelevant details and be concise.
  • Make your resume easy to read. Use headings for each section, and subheadings within sections.
  • Do not use first person pronouns (e.g. I, me, my).
  • Do not use articles (e.g. a, an, the).
  • Choose a resume format that best suits your needs. Resumes typically include the following information:
    • o Your contact information (name; email address; street address; phone number)
    • o Your objective (e.g. a position in your field of interest exercising certain skills you want to further develop)
    • o Your education (e.g. school name; academic honors and awards you have received; job relevant courses that you took)
    • o Your experience (e.g. name and location of organization you worked for; your position title and the dates over which you held that position; your major responsibilities and your projects; goals you achieved in carrying out your duties)
    • o Your activities (e.g. club memberships and dates over which you held the membership; any leadership roles you held)
    • o References (choose wisely from teachers, coaches, former employers and community members; include only those people who have given you permission to use them as a reference).


Tip #4:  Revise and refine the resume into a polished product.

  • Read your resume out loud to check for flow, grammar and spelling errors.
  • Ensure that you use consistent formatting throughout.
  • Refine the resume, as necessary, to ensure that each section effectively showcases the skills, abilities and accomplishments that you are trying to emphasize.
  • Ask a parent to critique your resume and advise on what improvements could be made to it.
  • If you are applying to different industries or different types of jobs, consider creating a specifically tailored resume for each industry or each type of job that you would like to work in.


Tip #5: Prepare a cover letter, even if the position does not ask for one.

  • In the cover letter, introduce yourself, express interest in the organization you are applying to, and direct the reader’s attention to specific areas of your background that you want to highlight.

As you gain more experience, update your resume to reflect your new skills and accomplishments. This allows you to readily take advantage of any new, interesting opportunities that arise.

To view sample resume formats and read more tips on resume writing, visit: .