True confession time: my first resume was awful.

I used a Word template (like millions of other people—not exactly a way to stand out), my job descriptions were vague (“assisted with…”, “responsible for…”), and I had massive amounts of white space because I thought I could only include paid experience. When I look at it now I have to fight the urge to take out the red pen and edit. I’ve kept every draft of my resumes over the years, partly because it’s kind of funny to see how bad they were, but mostly to see how they’ve improved.

A resume isn’t a static document that you can check off a list and say “whew, that’s done!” The document will always be in a state of flux because it’s not meant to be a history of your experience. A resume is a marketing tool—a representation of what you have to offer an employer right now. What you include on your resume will vary because you need to tailor your experience towards the requirements of the individual job you are applying for.

Everybody’s resume has to start somewhere.

Just like with any paper you want to do well on, you need to write a draft to get your ideas out. Think of your first attempts at writing a resume as a rough draft. It will get better, and stronger, as you flesh out statements and learn how to format and organize the document according to a commonly accepted set of basic standards. This is part of the learning process. CES has a thorough resume guide to help you get started, but you will need to go through several rounds of reviewing and gathering feedback before your resume becomes the tool that will best represent you to prospective employers.

The Career Fair is at the end of the month and provides a perfect excuse to get started on crafting a resume.  Here at CES we have daily drop in hours from 2-4 p.m., and appointments are available from 8:30-4:30 p.m., five days a week. We can help you take your basic resume and turn it into one that is far from awful, and just might impress employers!

© 2009 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound