Building a resume can seem like a daunting task. The best way to create something you are proud of is to take the time to set the tone prior to starting. Think of your resume as a collection of where you have been professionally and an opportunity to connect to your next team.

Before you begin:

1.) Think about your audience. Ask yourself: Who will be on the other end of my resume? What do I want them to know about me and my skillset? What experience have I had professionally or personally that would add value to the position/company I am applying for?

2.) Be mindful about choosing the right layout and formatting. Below are the key areas recruiters and hiring managers will most likely skim first: 

  • Executive Summary/Career Snapshot This section is an opportunity to create a small snapshot of who you are as a professional. If you do a good job in this section, the reader will be more inclined to continue through the details of your experience.

Key items for your summary: 

  • Who are you as a professional? Use descriptive words that showcase your strengths.
  • How many years have you been practicing a skill or in a specific position/industry?
  • Lastly, add a sentence about your education, community involvement and/or committees or groups you have served on.

Example: Strategic and innovative Human Resources Leader with 6 years of experience and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management and Change Management. Influential collaborator, problem-solver, and communicator. Seen as a valued partner to both regional and corporate executives regarding new initiatives and process improvement. Currently the VP of Marketing for Phoenix SHRM Chapter.

  • Your current and previous titles and years of service for each one. Companies want to see that you have 1.) experience in the role they are hiring for 2.) You stay with the company you sign up for for an extended period of time. If you show 1 year or less of employment at the last three companies, this tends to be a red flag for individuals doing the hiring. In these instances, I’d make the most of having your value shine through in your cover letter. For those of you that have roles where you have been with each company 3+ years, you will want to highlight this, it’s a plus! Consider having years of service next to your title and dates of employment.

                            Ex. Dispensary Associate – May 2010 – May 2014 ; 4 years

  • Adding a photo. Depending on the role you are applying for and the company looking to bring on a new teammate, use your best judgement. I believe that businesses are starting to take a humanity first approach as we all continue to evolve. For me – a resume should be all of you, and how you present is part of that. If you are applying for a customer service role and you are known for your great energy and big smile – that big smile will most likely make a positive impact on the hiring manager. However, in the past there have been several different perspectives pertaining to pictures on resumes, so knowing your audience is essential.

3.) Ensure that your bullet points for each former role highlights duties that will help you in your next position. For example, if you are applying for a Customer Service role in a clothing store, and your past experience is in the restaurant industry as a Server – here are some skills that you may want to highlight:

  • Cashier Duties: Ability to process multiple forms of payment and provide accurate change for cash transactions, familiarity with [ insert program here such as Square or any POS system you have used and are comfortable with]
  • Conflict Management: Responsible for de-escalating customer complaints, ability to provide positive resolution to customer issues.

4.) Lastly, Be specific. Think of projects and experiences you have been involved in that resulted in a positive outcome for your team, department or business. If you are in a sales role make sure to include metrics. If metrics are not provided on an enterprise level – start to track your own accomplishments.

After you put the work in to build your resume, get in the routine of maintaining it even after you’ve landed your new role. Yes, trust me this is a good idea! 🙂 Make any updates necessary at least annually, or when you have a new experience or skill to add. Need some additional guidance? Reach out to me at