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Resume Writing Tips

Ex-offenders benefit from resumes that show how they have been rehabilitated. It should also list skills and qualifications.

A resume is a document that you use to show your abilities and experiences. It is a communication tool job seekers use to get interviews.

Many job seekers struggle to create a good resume.

All resumes should:

  • Be truthful. State your skills and abilities accurately.
  • Target your audience. Highlight skills and activities relevant to a specific career.
  • Be brief. Limit your resume to one or two pages. Use fewer words so it is easy and quick to read.
  • Be professional. Print your resume on high-grade paper using a quality printer.
  • Be accurate. Proofread your resume (and have a friend do the same) for any errors.
  • Include all related experiences. Include positive information that's unique and related to the job. Example: If the job description indicates speaking Spanish is preferred and you speak Spanish, include that information.

Resumes are not a list of everything you did. They list what you can do on the job. Use your career research to find out how you match your target jobs. List your skills and experience that employers want.

When describing work experience, start with an action verb such as “built,” “contributed,” “sold,” or “managed.” Do not say “responsible for …”

Features to include on your resume:

  • Contact information tells the employer how to reach you. It is very important for setting up interviews. Most people list their address, phone number, and e-mail.
  • A career objective or summary statement shows why you are a good fit for your target job. You can briefly highlight your skills and traits that make you successful.
  • Previous employment lists length of time employed, accomplishments on the job, positive performance reviews, promotions, and other attributes.
  • Your education can list enrollment and completion of any job training or work-skill programs. Also list courses passed and graduation from postsecondary programs.
  • Community or social activities show your responsibility, longevity, or work skills gained through volunteering.
  • Military achievements.

Choose the right resume format to show your qualifications:

A functional resume groups your skills and experience by skill areas. These skill areas are called “functions.” It is often used by people who have little or no work history.

A chronological resume lists your work history starting with the most recent. It is used by people who are staying in the same career pathway and do not have large gaps in employment.

A combination resume joins the other two formats. It groups your skills by function and it lists a short work history. It is often used by people who are changing careers.

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