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Financial Literacy - Feature Article Financial Literacy:  Creating an effective resume

Top 5 Tips for Creating an Effective Resume

by Lauren Podolsky, Financial Literacy

Raise your hand if you would like to have an enjoyable and promising career one day. If you intend to develop yourself in any profession, it all starts with one very important document, your resume.

Your resume is one of the most vital and most used records you will ever create.  It’s a blueprint of who you are, what you’ve done, what experience you have, and what skills define you as a potential employee. 

Most students believe it’s not necessary to begin building this career profile until they are well on their way to landing a full-time job; however, the sooner you begin writing down your experiences, the easier it will be to expand upon your areas of expertise as they develop.

In order to construct an effective and valuable portfolio, it’s important to start with the basics.

5 tips for creating an effective resume:

Effective resume tips1. Choose a format and stick to it - many people think there is one principal format to follow when designing their resume, but the truth is, it doesn’t always matter what format you use, so long as it is consistent!  There are many templates on the Internet that provide a good framework to get you started.  Find one that best suits you but make sure it looks clean, professional and coherent.

2. Include your personal information clearly – in order for a future employer to get in contact with you, they need to know how to reach you.  Make sure you are including your name, phone number and email address at the top of your resume and also be sure that the information is current.  A helpful hint: if your email address is not professionally appropriate, don’t include it.  First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to a potential job.

3. Keep it short, simple and strong - the average employer spends less than 30 seconds looking at a resume, so it’s essential to know what to include and what not. Include only information that is job relevant and dated.  It’s not necessary to include previous education or careers that are obsolete.  Keep your resume to 1-2 pages and avoid any duplication of information.  If you expanded on your ability in your previous employment section, there is no need to reiterate that in the skills segment of your resume. What resumes work best4. Use Action Verbs - you want to appear as though you are able to make a positive contribution so using action verbs like organized, led, created, designed, edited and so on when describing your experiences will help you achieve a dynamic aspect. Review each of your experiences and ask yourself if there were any minor achievements in class, clubs, sports or the workplace as you carried out your role. If so, use verbs like enhanced, reorganized, increased, improved, initiated, upgraded, expanded and so on to point to the value that you added.

5. Proofread for perfection - review your draft very carefully before finalizing your document and make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. When employers are looking through piles of resumes, they will find any factor to rule out candidates, and spelling and grammar is one of the biggest deterrents. Have someone proofread your work before submitting it to a potential manager.  Perfection is a must!

No matter what job you are hoping to achieve, having a polished and efficient resume is the first step to set you apart and put you on track to a rewarding career.

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Lauren Podolsky - Financial LiteracyAbout Lauren Podolsky: With over 10 years as a blogger and Financial Literacy adviser, Lauren lends her money tips and financial Q&A insights here on Stage of Life each and every month. For more healthy tips, recipes and advice, check out Lauren's personal site at where she shares her love of food, staying fit and living a healthy and balanced life.

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