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Resume and Application Support | Students |

6 Steps to Write the Perfect Resume

By Shauna Harman | CareerWise marketing manager

Published from CareerWise Colorado.

Tips for Writing the Perfect Resume

Step 1:Experience-based or Strength-based Resume

On the CareerWise student resource page you can find templates for both an experience-based resume and a strength-based resume. If you have had previous work experience, the experience-based resume may work well for you, otherwise the strength-based resume will probably be your best choice.

Once you select the template that is best for you, begin filling your information into the template. Use the tips below to ensure your resume effectively highlights your skills and helps you stand out among the other applicants.


Step 2: Identify Keywords and Skills in the Description

Look at the description for the job you are interested in and see what keywords and skills they use. This tells you what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. If you have the skills the employers are describing, use those words in your resume.

Take a look at step three to identity skills you may not even know you have!


Step 3: Identify YOUR Skills and Strengths

Use the checklist on the CareerWise’s Resume Builder to help brainstorm the skills and strengths you want to highlight. Remember, don’t underestimate yourself! Even if you haven’t had a job before, doesn’t mean you don’t have attributes that would be valuable to a company.

Below are few examples of experiences where you may have gained critical skills:

Example 1: Do you play sports? Have you been a captain or leader on the team? Being on a sports team helps you build countless skills including, communication skills, critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving, dependability, persistence and so much more. Think about your experience on a team and the lessons you could take to a job.

Example 2: Have you been a babysitter? Taking care of someone else’s child or your younger siblings demonstrates dependability, trustworthiness, creative thinking, time management, adaptability and organization. How did you hone some of those skills by babysitting?

Example 3: Have you volunteered or been involved in a community or religious organization? Being involved in any sort of group shows leadership, dedication, time management, collaboration and depending on the group, so much more. Think about the projects or other contributions you’ve made to an organization and translate those experiences to your resume.


Step 4: Use Action Verbs

When describing your previous work experience, strengths or skills use powerful action verbs to clearly define your accomplishments.

For example, if describing your experience running weekly meetings in student government instead of saying “held weekly meetings to share committee updates” use something more powerful like “Spearheaded weekly status meetings to increase communication and transparency among committees.”

Check out this list of action verbs to rocket your resume to the next level!


Step 5: Use Timely Information

When thinking about accomplishments to include on our resume, try to only include events from the last few years. While it’s great if you received a citizenship award in 5th grade, that doesn’t belong on a professional resume. The information on our resume should be accomplishments from high school. Only include accomplishments from middle school if they were significant or directly align with the job you are applying for.  


Step 6: Proofread

Before submitting your resume, be sure to undergo several rounds of proofreading to ensure there aren’t any spelling or grammatical errors. While you may have spell check, it doesn’t always catch everything, so be sure to review several times. And, because even the most experienced writers miss mistakes in their own work, ask a trusted adult to proofread it, too.