Mormon Channel Blog

Self Reliance: Getting the Job You Want - How to Write a Better Resume

March 7, 2015

Did you know that your resume should tell a story?

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just a list of places you’ve worked and things you know how to do. A good resume tells a story about the experiences you’ve had that will make you a good fit for a particular position.

So even though most people have a resume filed away somewhere, the majority of us could use some advice about how to write a resume that makes an employer want to pick up the phone and schedule an interview right away.

As a manager of the LDS employment resource center in Orlando, Florida, Gloria Purcell has helped thousands of job seekers with resumes. She says that one of the biggest resume challenges she sees regularly is that people “don’t realize that their resumes need to be customized. They can’t just have one resume that lists their job history and use it to apply for every job.”

So how do you customize your resume?

1. First you need to really understand the job you’re applying for. Read the job description closely, read the company’s website and social media pages, and network with anyone you know who works for them.

Purcell comments, “You tell a story by being familiar enough with the job that you’re applying for that you can choose the elements of your story—past work, education, life experiences—that fit best.”

2. Once you have a better understanding of what the position entails, write a list of what qualifications you have. Did you have a similar job? Was your education in the same field? Do you have relevant volunteer experience? Maybe you’re changing careers but you have a lot of transferable skills that would make you a good fit. Whatever they are, identify your biggest selling points.

3. Now, you need to front load your resume.

An employer is going to spend a limited amount of time before deciding whether or not your resume is worth consideration. If your relevant skills and experience are buried in the middle or end of your resume, an employer may not see them. So you need to do the work for them. Pick a resume format that allows you to include all of your biggest selling points in the top third of the page.

There are a lot of different types of resumes. Purcell advises, “There is no perfect resume format that I can tell everyone to use because everybody has a different story to tell and need to tell it in a different way.”

For instance, if you are shifting career directions or have gaps in your work history, a functional resume will allow you to focus on skills rather than where and when you worked. If your qualifications are interspersed throughout your work history, a combination resume will allow you to create an opening summary of the most relevant information that includes points that specifically pertain to the job.

Writing resumes is hard work. But Purcell assures us that “there are employers out there looking for what you have to offer. Be confident; you can do this!”

To talk to someone like Gloria at your nearest employment center, or to read similar career tips, visit ldsjobs.org.

Now that you've got your resume down, listen to some tips on how to stand out in an interview.

Transcript

    Did you know that your resume should tell a story?

    Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just a list of places you’ve worked and things you know how to do. A good resume tells a story about the experiences you’ve had that will make you a good fit for a particular position.

    So even though most people have a resume filed away somewhere, the majority of us could use some advice about how to write a resume that makes an employer want to pick up the phone and schedule an interview right away.

    As a manager of the LDS employment resource center in Orlando, Florida, Gloria Purcell has helped thousands of job seekers with resumes. She says that one of the biggest resume challenges she sees on a daily basis is that people “don’t realize that their resumes need to be customized. They can’t just have one resume that lists their job history and use it to apply for every job.”

    So how do you customize your resume?

    First you need to really understand the job you’re applying for. Read the job description closely, read their company website and social media pages, network with anyone you know who works for them.

    Purcell comments, “You tell a story by being familiar enough with the job that you’re applying for that you can choose the elements of your story: past work, education, life experiences, that fit best.”

    Once you have a better understanding of what the position entails, write a list of what qualifications you have. Did you have a similar job? Was your education in the same field? Do you have relevant volunteer experience? Maybe you’re changing careers, but you have a lot of transferrable skills that would make you a good fit. Whatever it is, identify your biggest selling points.

    Now, you need to front load your resume.

    An employer is only going to spend a limited amount of time before they decide whether or not your resume is worth consideration. If your relevant skills and experienced are buried in the middle or end of your resume, an employer may not see them. So you need to do the work for them. Pick a resume format that allows you to include all of your biggest selling points in the top third of the page.

    There are a lot of different types of resumes. Purcell advises, “There is no perfect resume format that I can tell everyone to use because everybody has a different story to tell and need to tell it in a different way.”

    For instance, if you are shifting career directions or have gaps in your work history, a functional resume will allow you to focus on skills rather than where and when you worked. If your qualifications are interspersed throughout your work history, a combination resume will allow you to create an opening summary of the most relevant information that includes points which specifically pertain to the job.

    Writing resumes is hard work. But Purcell assures us that, “there are employers out there looking for what you have to offer. Be confident, you can do this!”

    To talk to someone like Gloria at your nearest employment center, or to read similar career tips visit LDSJobs.org.