Four steps to help youth write a resume

Michigan State University Extension suggests four steps to help youth begin to write a resume.

Prospective employers and organizations use resumes to glean a first impression of an applicant’s qualifications. Your resume needs to be a precise description and reflection of what you have done, as many times its contents are quickly scanned to sort out who may be interviewed for a position, or even a scholarship.

Help youth create winning resumes with these four steps:

  1. Define the purpose of the resume.
    Are you applying for a job? Do you want to be a volunteer? Are you interviewing for a scholarship or educational opportunity?
  2. Choose a format.
    Depending on the literature, you will find descriptions of three or four resume formats. Chronological resumes emphasize work experience in reverse chronological order and are typically used by individuals that have established experience and have chosen a career path. Functional resumes focus on skills. The combination format is a cross between the chronological and the functional resume where you change the order of sections to best market your attributes. The targeted resume format is used to highlight your skills related to a specific job, not a broad career cluster.
  3. Draft your content.
    List your contact information, education, certifications, trainings and employment experiences. Do your best to keep your resume to one page in length. And keep the design simple – no pictures, no fancy fonts, no borders, etc. There is a time and place for these extras, but not on a starter resume.
  4. Edit, proof and critique.
    Typos are not professional and may be interpreted as an indication of lack of attention to detail, completing tasks last-minute and the like. Your resume needs to be thoroughly proofed by yourself and others for spelling and grammatical errors. It is helpful to read your resume out loud to see if it makes sense and flows.

Whether preparing for a full-time job, a summer job, internship or volunteer role, young people should consider writing a resume. A resume is a written snapshot of your skills and accomplishments; it is also a living document that should be tweaked and changed as your life and work experiences grow.

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