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Book Review: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

book review

Dave Ramsey is a best selling author of many popular self-help books about getting your finances together. He’s inspired many with his simple, no-hassle philosophies on how to manage money.

He also has a radio talk show called the Dave Ramsey Show, that you can listen to anywhere you listen to podcasts. He even started his own company built on his financial philosophies called Financial Peace University. Dave Ramsey and his colleagues have loads of resources you can find helpful in your own personal money management journey. Whether you are managing a household or a small business, Dave Ramsey has the financial advice you need to be successful and smart with your funds.

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Today we’re going to take a focused look into one of Dave Ramsey’s most prolific publications, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. You’ve heard of fitness journeys and makeovers that change your style into something fresh and new, but Dave Ramsey takes all that and puts a financial spin onto it. With Dave Ramsey’s baby step plan you can exercise your financial abilities in ways you never thought possible and finally get into shape where your wallet is concerned.

What Kind of Book is The Total Money Makeover?

book cover

The Total Money Makeover is written as a self-help book. It’s even been compared to popular self-help books like, Your Best Life Now and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People because of the reader-friendly way it is written. It’s an engaging book with lots of real-world examples and stories from real people who have actually gone through Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and seen results. These short anecdotal stories throughout the book help all of Dave Ramsey’s concepts make clear common sense.

The book also includes a lot of motivational help along with the tips and advice. One of the biggest factors that holds people back from taking full control over their finances is the proper motivation and encouragement to make necessary changes to their lifestyle. Dave Ramsey helps with that too, giving you the fresh outlook you need to understand your goal and the rewards you can gain.

Dave Ramsey is also a Christian, so his books often have a religious undertone. So you may find him referencing Bible verses every so often in this book, and tackling religious views and practices with regard to money as well.

What’s in the Book?

The Total Money Makeover is essentially a step-by-step guide for how to go about your own personal money makeover journey. These steps are based on Dave Ramsey’s key money philosophies. Dave Ramsey has strict beliefs about not ever using debt, loans, or credit cards. He believes that our society today is too dependent on credit and that true financial freedom only comes when you live a completely debt free life. So the first steps in his plan are all about helping you get out of debt, and then setting you up to never get into debt again.

Simple and straightforward advice.

Dave Ramsey’s book became so popular probably because of how easy it is to follow his clearly set plan. Each step is specific enough to leave no doubts about what exactly you need to do, making his plan one that anyone can follow and find success. It also helps that he is never vague about his advice, but rather he is extremely straightforward, open, and honest.

Dave Ramsey has no get-rich-quick schemes. He’s more about using honest work, responsibility, and common sense to reach your goals. So you won’t find any crazy secrets to financial stability and success in his book, you’ll just finally learn to implement the basics in a way that really works.

A change in perspective.

Another reason people enjoy Dave Ramsey’s teachings is because he doesn’t pretend that money is what brings happiness. He’s realistic and believes that money is a tool to create stability and contentment in our lives, not the secret solution to all our problems.

He eloquently tackles many mental barriers and misconceptions many of us have about money, and works to not only change your behavior with money, but your perspective about money as well. One thing he talks about a lot is getting over the need to “keep up with the Joneses.” Often in life we compare ourselves to others in unhealthy ways, and sometimes those comparisons can lead us to make poor financial decisions for superficial reasons. So, when you read the Total Money Makeover be prepared to gain a whole new outlook on the purpose of money, and break free from comparing yourself to others.

The Money Makeover Baby Steps:

The main event of this self-help read are the baby steps the reader can take to reach financial peace and freedom. You can read a more detailed article about each of the 7 baby steps that Dave Ramsey will go through in this book, but we’ll go over a quick outline of those steps here too.

1. Emergency Fund

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is to basically get your financial life in order. The road to stability starts by setting up your finance in a certain way. This begins with setting up an emergency fund. You can start with at least $1,000 in your emergency fund but eventually you’ll want to work your way toward having at least 6 months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund at all times.

2. Debts

Once you start getting your emergency fund in place, it’s time to focus all other monetary efforts toward annihilating all your debts. He goes into more detail about this in the book. For example, he suggests you start with your smallest debts first and work your way up to your larger ones. He also recommends you save paying off your mortgage for last. But eventually the idea is to throw everything you can at your debts until they are all completely wiped out.

3. Build Wealth

Now it’s time to build wealth and continue saving. Since Dave Ramsey argues you should pay for everything in cash, continually building up your financial stores is an important aspect of the Dave Ramsey lifestyle. You have to have enough in savings to cover all your costs completely with cash.

In the book Dave Ramsey goes into more detail about what savings you should prioritize. He advises that you first complete your 6 months’ worth emergency fund if you haven’t gotten there already. Then he suggests you work toward saving for retirement and (if you have kids or plan on having kids) your children’s college funds.

Things You Can Do Differently:

Dave Ramsey’s primary goal in all of this is to help people get out of crippling debt and stay out of it. But there are modifications you can make to his more rigorous financial plan.

You can choose how much you want in your emergency fund.

If you’re a college student then putting aside even $1,000 may be more difficult for you. But that’s ok! Just put aside what you can. Even just adding $5 to $10 a month into an emergency fund is better than having no emergency fund at all.

Likewise, if you’re more settled in life it might be easier for you to put even more than $1,000 aside into an emergency fund. It really doesn’t matter how you do it, what matters most is that you start accumulating that safety fund in order to be more prepared for surprise expenses in the future.

You can still use credit cards and loans.

Dave Ramsey may believe in using only cash to pay for things but there are advantages to using credit cards and installment loans. When used responsibly using credit can help boost your credit score and get you the things you need to have a comfortable life. Credit cards can also provide lots of perks outside of boosting credit scores. Some credit cards come with special points that can go toward paying for things like groceries and traveling. So long as you understand your limits and include loans and credit payments in your carefully calculated budget and financial plans, you’ll be just fine.

Should I Read This Book?

You may now be wondering whether you should give this book a read or not. You should definitely read this book if . . .

  • you are in debt
  • you have trouble managing your money or realizing where your money goes
  • you have trouble making a budget

If you are looking for a book with more specific details about financial topics (like investing, or small businesses) then you should check out Dave Ramsey’s other books that go more in depth on complex financial topics. The Total Money Makeover doesn’t expound upon these topics too much since it was written more as a beginners guide to Dave Ramsey’s financial baby steps.


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Review: The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey

The Total Money Makeover Review, by Dave Ramsey

Goodreads, The Total Money Makeover Review

The Best Books by Dave Ramsey

dave ramsey books

Dave Ramsey is a New York Times bestselling author, and a radio show host on The Dave Ramsey Show.

You can find his books wherever you buy books and you can listen to his radio show wherever you listen to podcasts or the radio. All of his books are also on Amazon, where you can find the kindle versions for your e-reader, or audiobook versions so you can learn all about finances on the go.

Table of Contents:

When getting into Dave Ramsey’s books people often wonder which book they should start with? If you want to read Dave Ramsey’s books in order there are a couple of routes you can go. You can read them in the order he wrote them, or read them in order of the things you learn in each book.

Dave Ramsey’s Books in Chronological Order:

If you want to read all of Dave Ramsey’s books in order, you can follow this master list of all his books so far.

1992 – Financial Peace

1993 – Dumping Debt: Breaking the Chains of Debt

1998 – The Financial Peace Planner

1998 – More Than Enough

1999 – More Than Enough: The Ten Keys to Changing Your Financial Destiny

2000 – How to Have More Than Enough: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

2002 – Cash Flow Planning: The Nuts and Bolts of Budgeting

2002 – Financial Peace for the Next Generation

2003 – The Total Money Makeover

2003 – The Great Misunderstanding: Unleashing the Power of Generous Giving

2004 – The Money Answer Book

2008 – Relating with Money: Nerds and Free Spirits Unite!

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money

2011 – Dave Ramsey’s High Performance Achievement: Accomplishing the Extraordinary

2011 – EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

2014 – Smart Money Smart Kids

2014 – The Legacy Journey: A Radical View of Biblical Wealth and Generosity

Dave Ramsey Kid Books: Life Lessons with Junior

kid books

4.38 stars on Goodreads

Life Lessons with Junior is a series of children’s books written by Dave Ramsey. In them, he goes over all the most basic concepts of money management. Following Junior’s adventures can teach your kids all about monetary responsibility in clear simpler terms they’ll understand. He goes over everything from spending, debt, saving, work, giving, contentment, and integrity. Don’t miss out on gracing your household shelves with these great childhood reads with life lessons your kids will keep with them all their lives.

Smart Money Smart Kids

smart money smart kids

4.26 stars on Goodreads

Smart Money Smart Kids is a book that Dave Ramsey wrote with his daughter, Rachel Cruze. It is a book that teaches parents all about how to teach their kids about money. Part of good parenting is preparing your kids to be responsible, independent adults someday and a big part of being an adult is knowing how to manage your money. In this book, Dave Ramsey and his daughter will tell you all about how to raise kids who are smart about their money.

If you’re looking for something from Dave Ramsey that can specifically help your teens, check out his article, “A Teenager’s Guide to Building Wealth.”

Dave Ramsey also has a great recommendation for a college 101 bundle that includes Debt-Free Degree by Anthony O’Neal and The Graduate Survival Guide by Anthony O’Neal and Rachel Cruze.

Financial Peace

financial peace

4.31 on Goodreads

Financial Peace is one of Dave Ramsey’s first books, but he has since revisited the book, renaming it, Financial Peace Revisited: New Chapters on Marriage, Singles, Kids, and Families. This newer edition of his first book now includes more information for married couples, singles, children, and families. This book is also where he introduces the KISS rule, which stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It’s about getting out of debt and staying out of debt and the idea that you should use contentment to make your financial decisions. It also goes over how to manage money flow and investing.

One of the primary keys to understanding your finances and being able to take control of them is to manage the flow of your money. A lot of people just let money flow as it does, not really thinking too much about where it’s coming from and where it disappears. But if you learn to take full control of where all your funds are going then the problem of disappearing funds won’t happen to you and you can find financial peace.

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

total money makeover

4.28 stars on Goodreads

A large part of what makes makeovers so fun is the joy of reaching your goals and having a different life and a different you at the end of your journey. But have you ever thought about going on a similar makeover journey with your finances? Dave Ramsey will show you how.

The Total Money Makeover may be one of Dave Ramsey’s most popular books. He talks about some of his most famous money tips all while debunking myths about money. He brings a simpler, more straight forward approach to money management that anyone can understand and utilize in their life, no matter their financial situation. Dave Ramsey says that this book can work every time, all you have to do is follow his steps.

Complete Guide to Money

complete guide to money

4.44 stars on Goodreads

In this comprehensive guide Dave Ramsey goes over all his basic financial tips and lessons—How to Budget with Dave Ramsey, how to save, how to get out of debt, how to invest, mortgages, insurance, marketing, bargain hunting, and giving. Anything you want to know when it comes to money, you can find in this master guidebook.

The Money Answer Book

money answer book

3.82 stars on Goodreads

The Money Answer Book is a quick read with questions and answers to more than 100 common money questions! It’s a fast guide that goes over budget planning, retirement planning, shopping tips, saving for college, giving to charity, and so much more. If you need something you can quickly leaf through to find the answers you’re looking for.

How to Have More than Enough: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Abundance

more than enough

4.11 stars on Goodreads

How to Have More than Enough is the newest version of Dave Ramsey’s earlier book, More than Enough. Once you have gotten out of debt, he has more down to earth advice about building wealth. Dave Ramsey’s perspective is unique because he doesn’t just talk about monetary wealth, he talks about having a wealth of happiness. He takes it a step further by talking about finding wealth in relationships and in your family. In this book, he goes through 10 traits you need to be prosperous in life beyond your financial situations.

EntreLeardership

entreleadership

4.21 stars on Goodreads

In EntreLeadership Dave Ramsey talks about how he built his company, and how to be a strong leader. He talks about how to grow as a leader and the questions you should ask yourself in order to develop yourself. This book has doable, step-by-step guidance to follow to become a better leader and watch your business grow as you do.

He talks about inspiring and unifying your team, handling your business finances, and reaching your business goals. If you are making your own business and you need some pro tips about leadership, this book is what you want. But you can find great insights in this book no matter what you are doing with your life right now. If you are a parent you can use it with your family or at work, you can use it with your coworkers! This is because leadership is really all about functioning efficiently as a team and reaching your goals together.

What Books Does Dave Ramsey Recommend?

We’ve talked all about books that were written by Dave Ramsey, but what about books that Dave Ramsey recommends? There are many other great financial reads you can find on Dave Ramsey’s website. You can also read more about Dave Ramsey’s steps to reach financial steps by reading, “Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps.” Here are just a few book suggestions from Dave Ramsey:

Dave Ramsey’s Book Club

If you’re interested in really tackling your finances with Dave Ramsey’s sage wisdom you can actually join Dave Ramsey’s official book club! All you have to do is create an account on his website and then join the book club (fees may apply). Then, at the beginning of each month, you’ll receive Dave Ramsey’s book club book of the month in the mail. You’ll also get an email with details about when the live book discussion will happen on the private book club Facebook page along with a study guide to use as you read.

For more answers to any questions you may have about the Dave Ramsey book club, just visit the book club’s FAQs Page.

 
Dave Ramsey along with his many inspiring books have helped a lot of people get back on their feet financially. You can take on his financial fitness challenge too and manage your money like never before.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.


Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps

dave ramsey baby steps

Are you trying to get out of debt? Do you want more financial stability and freedom? Are your finances one of the bigger stresses in your life right now?

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Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund
Step 2: Focus on Debts
Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund
Step 4: Save for Retirement
Step 5: Start a College Fund
Step 6: Pay Off Your House
Step 7: Build Wealth

If any of these sentiments apply to you then Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps might be just what you need to cure your money blues.

Dave Ramsey is a guy who, through personal experience, was able to get out of debt and find financial peace of mind. He is now a financial expert with courses and books to help the everyday person get in control of their finances.

The best place to start when trying to regain control over your finances and achieve a full “money makeover” is to start with his 7 step plan. This plan has 7 baby steps that you follow to reach more financial stability and get to the point where you can start building wealth.

Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund

car maintenance

The first step in Dave Ramsey’s 7 step plan is, “Save $1,000 for Your Starter Emergency Fund.”

One of the main reasons people struggle with money is because necessary emergency expenses (like medical bills, car bills, or home repairs) come out of nowhere and drag you deeper and deeper into debt. But if you are preemptively prepared for these surprise expenses then they won’t take you off guard again.

So the very first thing you should do when getting your money in line is to get an emergency fund started. Save up an emergency fund in a separate bank account, until you have at least $1,000 in the account. This will be the start of the emergency fund that will keep sudden necessary expenses from plunging you into deep debts because you weren’t prepared.

Step 2: Focus on Debts

debts

The second step in Dave Ramsey’s plan is to “Pay Off All Debt (Except the House) Using the Debt Snowball.”

The snowball method that Dave Ramsey refers to here means that you start by paying off small debts first, and work your way up to the bigger debts. Debts can include paying off your car, credit card debts, and student loans.

First, make a giant list of all your debts, every single one, except for your mortgage if you have a house. Then, put your list of debts in order from the smallest debt amount to the largest. Then you go through knocking out each debt by eliminating the smallest debts first and working your way up to the largest debt last.

Step 3: Complete Your Emergency Fund

medical bills

The third step is to “Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund.”

Now that you’ve gotten all your debts out of the way, it’s time to finish your emergency fund. You can use the same money you were using to pay off debts each month and put it toward your emergency fund until it has enough to cover 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses and bills. Then you’ll really be prepared for anything.

Reasons to Have an Emergency Fund

  1. If you lose your job.
  2. You won’t have to worry because you’ll have enough to last you 6 months. This will give you the time you’ll need to find a new job.

  3. If your car breaks down.
  4. You’ll be able to pay for the necessary repairs, the tow truck, or even for a new car in some cases.

  5. Medical bills.
  6. Don’t let your health and necessary medical bills keep you from staying afloat financially.

  7. Home repairs.
  8. If something happens to your home you’ll be able to fix the problem rather than living with it.

Having an emergency fund is THE key to keeping you out of debt in the future. After getting yourself out of debt, an emergency fund is what will keep you from getting back into debt in the future.

Step 4: Save for Retirement

retirement

The fourth step in the Dave Ramsey plan is to, “Invest 15% of Your Household Income in Retirement.”

After your debts are gone and your emergency fund is taken care of, it’s time to start seeing to other important savings like a 401K. Dave Ramsey recommends you take 15% of your gross monthly income and put it toward a retirement fund each month. To figure out how much you should be putting into your retirement fund each month, take your monthly income and multiply that number by 0.15.

Step 5: Start a College Fund

college funds

The fifth step to Dave Ramsey’s plan is to, “Save for Your Children’s College Fund.”

Avoiding student loan debts can be one of the biggest factors in staying out debt as a young adult. If you can pay for your kids college tuition then you’ll ensure their financial security in the future, as they’ll better be able to stay out debt. Dave Ramsey recommends using either a 529 college savings plans, or an education savings accounts (ESA). Talk to your bank or credit union about setting up these accounts for these specific purposes.

Step 6: Pay Off Your House

mortgage

The next to last step in this 7 step plan is to, “Pay Off Your Home Early.”

Put all the extra monthly income you have into your mortgage so you can finish paying it off early. After this step you will officially have no debts whatsoever! All of your earnings will go to you instead of getting drained away in large debts and payments.

Step 7: Build Wealth

wealth and legacy

Finally, it is time to, “Build Wealth and Give.”

Congratulations! Once you’ve reached the 7th step in Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, you can start focusing on building your wealth and leaving a legacy. Don’t forget to keep and maintain those financial safety nets like a healthy emergency fund, retirement account, savings account, and college funds.

Now you are officially in charge of your money rather than it being in charge of you.

Financial freedom is possible for you! Everyone can do it and Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps can help you get there. Dave Ramsey also has other resources that can help you implement this plan. You can participate in Dave Ramsey’s program, books, and podcasts.

You can take the actual course with Financial Peace University.

Dave Ramsey also has a free customized plan and assessment that you can do right now, in just 3 minutes!

Listen to the Dave Ramsey Show anywhere you listen to podcasts or radio.

 
Dave Ramsey’s 7 baby steps to financial freedom can help you with so many aspects of your life. They can help you decide when to buy a house or help you get situated for saving for a house. It’s a checklist program that can help you get rid of loans and debt (like student loans), or even help you get to where you can budget for a wedding.

Another way you can get some needed financial help is to take out an Installment Loan at Check City! Installment loans can help you stay on top of your bill payments and avoid late fees, which can really hurt your long-term financial goals.


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Browse Dave Ramsey’s online store for more great financial resources to help you on your financial journey.

Read more helpful articles on the Dave Ramsey Blog

Learn more about the debt snowball, “How the Debt Snowball Method Works.”

Read Dave Ramsey’s full article on his 7 baby steps, “What Are the Baby Steps?

Stay out of debt through college by using these tips, “How to Stay Debt Free through Grad School.”


How to Succeed at NANOWRIMO

nanowrimo

NANOWRIMO is a writing challenge that goes on every November where lovers of literature everywhere take on the same goal—to write an entire novel in one month. See how you can successfully achieve this goal by following these great tips!

Table of Contents:

What is NANOWRIMO?

NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month. It occurs every November and refers to a writing challenge to finish the first draft of a novel by the end of the month. So if you’ve always wanted to write a book now is your chance!

The Logistics

So the logistics of NANOWRIMO is to get a full, first draft done by the end of the month. The official final wordcount goal is 50,000 words. If you divide that into the 30 days of November, then you’ll need to write about 1,667 words every day for the whole month of November to get to the final word count and end up with a full first draft.

Final Word Count Goal: 50,000 words

Daily Word Count Goal: 1,667 words

But ultimately NANOWRIMO is about you, your writing goals, and what works best for you. Some people only have time to write on the weekends and that’s ok! If you’re a weekend writer then can write 3,571 words for each day of the weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday), instead of writing 1,667 words each day of the week. Over the course of the weekend your new word count goal would be:

Weekend Word Count Goal: 10,000 words each weekend

How to Write a Novel

how to write a book

1. Pick a genre

The very first thing you should decide when going into NANOWRIMO is the genre you’d like to work with. If you’re going to write a book it’s good to first know what kind of book you want to write. The kinds of stories you could write are an endless list of categories and subcategories, so if you want to see a more detailed list check out Literary Genres.

But here are some of the more basic literary genres:

  • Fantasy
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Memoir
  • Mystery
  • Tragedy
  • Romance
  • Horror
  • Self-help

It also might be important to decide who your audience is before writing because that can decide a lot about how you write your novel. Thinking about what age group you are writing for is a great way to start so your reading level and content cater appropriately to your readers.

2. Pick a perspective

First Person: This perspective is written in the main character’s point of view. The narrating character tells their own personal story with their own words. When writing in first person you’ll use words like I, me, us, my, and we.

Second Person: This perspective is written to address the reader directly. It’s as if the narrating character is telling a story to the reader directly. When writing in second person you’ll use words like you, referring to the reader who the narrator is speaking to.

Third Person: This perspective is not written from the point of view of the character or the writer. Instead, a third party narrator is telling a story that they are not themselves in any way apart of. This can also be referred to as omniscient point of view, because the narrator is like the all-knowing god of this story. When writing in third person you’ll use words like he, she, they, and it.

Multiple Perspectives: You can also write your book using multiple points of view. This is especially common when writing in first person because then you can switch between the firsthand perspectives of different characters throughout the story.

Present Tense: You can also write your story in the present tense. In this case you would write as if the character is telling their story as it is happening. For example you would write, “I walk toward the closet door and open it.”

Past Tense: It is much more common, and even recommended, to write your story in the past tense. This means you would write the story more naturally, as if it had already happened and someone is narrating a detailed, perfectly remembered account. For example you would write, “I walked toward the closet door and opened it.

Ultimately, if this is your first novel, it’s recommended you write in third person, in the past tense. If you feel a little more confident in your writing abilities then you can try out writing in first person, or even switching between multiple points of view throughout the story. If you really want to be different, you can write in the present tense, but most books are written in the past tense.

3. Create the world

All stories need a setting. Maybe your story will occur in a small town or the big city. Maybe it’ll take place in an alternate universe, or a completely different fantasy world of your creation. Get a clear vision of what your world is like, and all the important aspects of the world that will affect your story and characters.

4. Create the characters

There are many ways to create really great characters. You can make a vision board for each characters to keep tabs of all your inspiration for who they are. You’ll also want to find names for them and keep notes on all the things you know about each person appearing in your novel.

5. Make a story outline

Now that you have the materials and initial ideas you need to make a story, it’s time to start outlining! One thing that can really help you storyboard your book is to first think about your beginning and your ending.
There are many templates and guidelines out there for how to format a story outline that can help you with all of this.

story outlining

  • Freytag’s Pyramid
  • Imagine the rise and fall of a pyramid. The story starts with exposition, rising action, peaks with the story’s climax, falling action, and ends with the resolution. To see the story outline in even more detail check out the 7-Step “Freytag’s Pyramid” from the Writing Itch.

  • Snowflake Method
  • This method involves starting with a small story summary and expanding it to have more and more details until you have a larger story.

  • 8 Point Arc
  • The 8 point arc includes 8 key story points that you can write about in order to have an 8 step plot outline for your novel.

  • 3 Acts
  • The first act is the setup, act two is when the confrontation occurs, and act three is the resolution. This outline is great for writers who just need a really simple idea of the basic flow of their story.

  • The Hero’s Journey
  • The hero’s journey is a classic story outline you see in popular books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. It’s similar to the 8 point arc in that it has a detailed 10 step plan for your story outline.

  • Notecards
  • Write out your key scenes on different notecards. Then you can use a wall or bulletin board to place your notecards in order. This outline technique is great for writers who often rearrange events.

  • Plots
  • This outline is for when you have multiple plots happening simultaneously. You can have a main plot and sub plots, or have equally important A, B, and C plots.

Story Beginnings:

  • Mid-Action
  • Also known as in medias res, starting in the middle of the action can be a great way to get your audience hooked right away and keep impatient readers from putting the book down after the first page.

  • Ask a question
  • By starting with a question you can immediately give your book an inquisitive tone.

  • Introduce us
  • You can also start your novel by introducing the reader to something or someone important. You can describe the setting, the world they live in, or a key character.

  • Origin story
  • If your story has important background information then you can start with the origin story of your kingdom, or main character.

  • Flashes, dreams, and memories
  • You can also start your book out with an important flashback into the past, a foreshadowing flash into the future, in the lucid landscape of a telling dream, or with key memories.

Create Conflict:

Every story needs some riveting conflict. It’s what keeps the story going and keeps your readers interested in what’s going to happen next. For more help in brainstorming your main and sub-conflicts read, “Decoding the Six Conflicts in Literature (With Examples).”

Story Endings:

Some people really struggle with how to end their book. There are many things to consider in order to create a good ending. You’ll need to ask some important question like, what goal or goals you want accomplished or unaccomplished by the end, how your characters change, and what do they learn or fail to learn.

  • The Happy ending
  • The goal is accomplished and things are better now.

  • The Tragic ending
  • The goal fails and things are worse now.

  • The Twist ending
  • The goal is accomplished, but for some reason things still end up worse.
    The goal fails, but for some reason things still end up better.

  • The Cliffhanger
  • The goal remains unaccomplished, leaving readers in suspense, or in the middle of events.

Writing Resources

Every writer has their go-to resources for writing. Eventually you might find blogs, forums, or books about writing that you like.

Name Generators:

Websites:

Books:

How to Cultivate Yourself as a Writer

Like with any hobby you should look into bettering yourself as a writer, just as you would if your hobby was hiking or drawing. Here are some things you can do to really enter into the writing world:

  • Join writing groups
  • Write with others
  • Get feedback
  • Read books you love
  • Read books on writing

How to Stay Inspired Throughout November

When you’re on a writing deadline it can be really hard to stay inspired. Everyone has their own tricks to beating writer’s block and as you write more frequently you’ll gain a list of your own. Here are some things you can try to get you started:

  • Explore Pinterest
  • Make vision and mood boards
  • Get in nature
  • Take care of your physical and mental health
  • Keep reading things you love
  • Watch things you love
  • Listen to things you love
  • Set up your workspace so it’s decluttered and free of distractions

NANOWRIMO is like a community event on a larger scale. By joining the groups and forums you can accomplish your goals along with your fellow writers and who knows?! Maybe you’ll make some friends or publish something great! What’s more, writing novels can potentially become a lucrative at home job to get your household some extra income.

If you’re going to do NANOWRIMO this month, you may need a little help preparing. If you do need some financial help visit a Check City store or our website to take out an easy to use Personal Loan.

 

READ MORE

Learn some other tips about making more money, “Making More Money.”

Thinking about writing as a career? “How to Choose a Career” can help you decide if a career in writing is write for you.


What is a Chaffle?

chaffle recipe

Cutting down on carbs, especially bread, can be one of the hardest parts of dieting. But easy recipes like the chaffle can make low-carb and keto diets so easy!

SKIP TO THE RECIPE!

Explore this Article:

What is a Chaffle?

A chaffle is a keto waffle. It’s called a chaffle because one of its primary ingredients is shredded cheese, hence the CHAffle instead of Waffle, because chaffles are cheese waffles. Cute right?

Waffles are usually made of a flour-based batter, but a chaffle is flour free! Instead, chaffles are made of eggs and cheese. I know it sounds odd, but it actually works! And dieters everywhere are going crazy for this new low-carb waffle hack.

Chaffles are a great way for those on the keto diet to get their waffle fix. They’re also a great way to eat less carbs while still eating what you want! Even if it is a modified version. There are also endless combinations for what you can add to it and how you can dress up and use chaffles.

What You’ll Need

Chaffles are extremely simple and quick to make, but there are a few things you’ll need to gather from your kitchen, and if you don’t already have a waffle iron, you’ll need to get one.

Keto Chaffles Recipe

keto chaffle recipe
 

Here is the basic recipe for these keto, low-carb mini waffles. The serving size of this recipe is 2 chaffles.

Ingredients

1 large egg

1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

Optional: (add 2 tablespoons of almond flour, baking powder, or coconut flour, to make it more like a batter)

Steps
  1. Whisk egg
  2. Mix in finely grated cheese
  3. Put the batter in a mini waffle maker for 2–3 minutes
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Sweet Chaffles

Just like ordinary waffles, these low-carb, keto-friendly waffles can come in sweet or savory form. You can make your chaffle sweet by adding any of the following ingredients into your mix:

  • Fruit
  • Cocoa powder
  • Pumpkin
  • Cream cheese

Savory Chaffles

You can also make your chaffle more savory by adding sharper kinds of cheeses. Chaffles work as a great low-carb replacement for sandwich bread. Here are a couple salty chaffle ideas for you to try:

  • Make a mini pizza
  • Use a sharper, cheddar cheese in your mix
  • Make a breakfast sandwich with eggs and bacon
  • Add bacon
  • Cream cheese

 
If you’re interested in this recipe, then you should also check out the following Facebook groups for more recipe ideas from your fellow chaffle-lovers:

Keto Chaffle House

Chaffle Recipes

Keto Chaffle Recipes (Low-Carb Chaffles Too)

There are many health benefits to eating the low-carb lifestyle, but there are monetary benefits too! Making chaffles is not only quick, it’s a super inexpensive meal as well. Learn more ways you can save on your food bill by reading our other article, “5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Food Bill,” and take advantage of our payday loans whenever you’re in a financial pinch and need groceries.

READ MORE
Check out even more yummy chaffle recipes!

Chaffles—The Viral Low-Carb Waffle Recipe Everyone is Loving!

Keto Chaffles Recipe (5 Ways!) + Ultimate Guide

Keto Chaffle Recipe

How to Start a Fundraiser

fundraiser ideas

We are surrounded by causes all the time, each one just as valuable to our time and efforts as the next.

Maybe you need to make money for your organization, for a club to function, or for a charity to give away. There are a lot of ways we can do our part for the causes closest to us, and having a fundraiser is one of those ways.

Explore this Guide:

  1. Pick a Cause
  2. Pick an Event
  3. Set Goals and Plan Logistics
  4. Advertise
  5. Give a Formal Thanks

1. Pick a Cause

First you’ll want to decide on a cause and define a clear purpose for the fundraiser. You can’t save the world all at once but you can put forth a concentrated effort on one topic and really make a change. Then you can find an organization that aligns with your purpose. You can find organizations worthy of your help in your local community or nationally.

To find some national charity organizations you can visit GuideStar.org. You can sometimes contact national or local charity groups in order to get their help, affiliation, or expertise on how to run a fundraiser for a certain cause. It’s also a good idea to find a reputable organization to give the proceeds of your fundraiser, as they may have better resources for how to use it effectively.

2. Pick an Event

more fundraiser ideas
 

Nothing makes people want to spend money more like making an event out of it. But you’ll want to determine the best type of event to make people aware of your cause while getting donations at the same time. Some events may be more appropriate for a cause than others. Either way, you’ll want to make sure the event is fun and engaging for the participants.

Fundraiser Ideas:
  • Car wash
  • Host a party and sell tickets
  • Marathon
  • Sell something:
    • food
    • seasonal buys, like chocolates and flowers for valentine’s day
    • tickets to a party, concert, talent show, movie night, or other event
    • raffle tickets for prizes
    • sport, tournament, competition
    • auction
    • yard sale
  • Carnival or fair with games and contests
  • Put on an event for kids, like a scavenger hunt
  • Offer lessons, like a cooking class

3. Set Goals and Plan Logistics

make plans
 

Your fundraiser is going to need a detailed plan with goals. You’ll need a budget for how much money you can afford to spend on the fundraiser event or endeavors. You want as much of the proceeds as possible to go to the charity, and not toward the event. One way to help pay for your fundraiser is to get companies and stores to make donations. For instance, if you are having a talent show for your fundraiser, you could speak with the owner of the venue to see if they’ll let you use the space for free as their donation toward your cause.

If you need funding to put on your fundraising event, then you can also visit Check City for a personal loan to help get your charity event rolling.

You’ll also need to plan your event, decide the date and time, book the venue, set things up, get any licenses you may need, decide how you’ll receive donations, and make any other decisions and plans necessary. You’ll need to get the necessary supplies together as well. For instance, if you’re having a marathon you’ll need to mark the path, bring water, cups, and snacks.

How to Organize Fundraiser Money
  • Open a bank account
  • Create a GoFundMe account
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Cash
  • Checks
  • Cards

Above all else, make sure that everyone at the event knows how to make their donations. Make an announcement explaining how to donate at the beginning and end of the event, and place the information to donate in a visible place.

4. Advertise

Before your fundraiser takes place you’ll want to advertise for it. First, figure out who your audience is. Who is also concerned about this issue and will want to take part in your fundraiser? If you are selling items or hosting a certain kind of event, what demographic and age groups are going to be most interested? Target these kinds of people in your advertising.

  • Print
  • Social media
  • Online website/events
  • Fliers to pass out
  • Ask ppl to announce the event
  • Start an event on Facebook
How to Start a Fundraiser on Facebook

First, you’ll want to visit Facebook’s Fundraiser Page.

Second, you can either choose:

  • raise money for a nonprofit
  • or a personal cause, like raising money for a friend’s surgery.

Finally, you’ll set your fundraising goals and start sharing and posting about your fundraiser to start getting donations!

You can also explore the Fundraiser page what all is going on in the Facebook fundraising world and see what other people are doing.

How to Start a Birthday Fundraiser on Facebook

  1. log into Facebook
  2. on the left-side toolbar, under Explore, click on Fundraisers
  3. from here you’ll choose a charity
  4. set your goals and time limit
  5. invite people to participate in your fundraiser
  6. post about your fundraiser, mention that this is what you decided to do for your birthday, and if you want, briefly outline why this fundraiser is important to you
  7. make sure you thank everyone who donated

5. Give a Formal Thanks

thank you notes
 

It’s important you thank everyone involved in the fundraiser. It’s a good idea to take a moment during the activities to thank everyone, as well as send out a gesture of thanks after the activity is over. You can send out thank you notes, post a thank you announcement on your website or Facebook event, or you can send out a trinket, or small gift of some kind to show your gratitude for their help in your fundraiser.

Make sure you don’t forget to thank:

  • everyone involved in making the event possible
  • the organization involved in the charity you chose
  • everyone who participated and donated

 

Supporting a worthy cause is a beautiful thing, and anyone can make one happen! All you have to do is know how to put on a fundraiser and contact the right people for help.

Some people have even found that after putting on their first fundraiser it turns into an annual event that their community looks forward to every year! So not only can a good fundraiser do a lot of good in your community and in the world around us, but it can also bring your community closer together.


READ MORE

Learn some more tips about “How to Set up a Fundraising Event.”

Read about the benefits of charities by reading, “Charity Gives Back More Than It Takes.”


Home Tech Deals on Amazon

amazon daily deals lightning deals

There are lots of great deals you can take advantage of every single day, with Amazon’s Daily Deals! You won’t believe some of the great things you can find. Every Tuesday we highlight some of our favorite Amazon Daily Deal buys. Here are some of our top picks from today:

*The prices shown below are the sale prices listed at the time of posting.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

ring video doorbell

Current Sale Price: $149.00
Originally: $224.00
You Save: $75.00! (33% off)

Get a certified refurbished video doorbell pro for a great price! This video doorbell works with Alexa. With the Ring doorbell you can easily check your front door and keep an eye on your house, at any time of day or night. You can even speak to visitors at your doorstep through the ring doorbell, and it’ll send you alerts when it detects movement.
 

Echo Show

echo show video display

Current Sale Price: $64.99
Originally: $89.99
You Save: $25.00! (28% off)

The Echo Show is a compact smart display that works with your other Alexa devices. You can also get an adjustable stand to go along with it. The Echo Show is incredibly useful. With it you can watch the nursery to check on your sleeping baby, you can make video calls, and you can use it to listen to music and audio books.
 

Electric Kettle

electric kettle cordless

Current Sale Price: $29.99
Originally: $36.99
You Save: $7.00! (19% off)

This sleek looking Miroco electric kettle is a great staple to get for the oncoming winter months. It holds up to 1.5 liters, which can fill up to 8 glasses. It’s also 100% stainless steel with double walls so it’s safe to touch. This electric kettle also comes with overheat protection and auto shut-off so you won’t have any boiling accidents. But one of the most convenient features of this kettle is that it’s cordless! Use this electric kettle to brew all kinds of warm beverages and stay cozy this winter season.
 

YOSUDA Stationary Indoor Cycling Bike

indoor bike

Current Sale Price: $220.99
Originally: $259.99
You Save: $39.00! (15% off)

With winter coming around it can get harder to stay active. Not all of us have the resolve to keep jogging outside when the weather starts turning cold and snowy. But with an indoor bike you can keep up with your workouts from the cozy comfort of your own home. The YOSUDA stationary bike comes with an iPad mount, a comfortable seat cushion, and a water bottle holder, so you won’t want for anything as you meet your goals this year and stay active this winter.
 

Winix Air Purifier

air purifier

Current Sale Price: $99.99
Originally: $199.99
You Save: $100.00! (50% off)

Clean air is as important to our well being as eating healthy. Getting an air purifier for your room can be a great way to clean up the air you breath in your house every day. It even connects to WiFi and Alexa, so you can control the air purifier with your voice.



Sometimes deals and sales are the way that we get things we really need. You may especially depend on sales when you’re in college, or just starting out on your own, or in a new place. So when you find something you really need on sale, and payday is just a couple days too late, that can be really frustrating. Luckily Check City can help you out with a quick and easy Payday Loan so that you can take advantage of important deals regardless of when your payday comes.
 
Share with us what deals you snagged today by using the hashtags #amazondailydeals #checkcity
 
READ MORE
Make clothes shopping not just easier, but cheaper too, by doing your clothes shopping online, “Shopping for Your Clothes Online.”

Get ahead on your Christmas shopping this year, “4 Reasons to Start Early Christmas Shopping.”

Learn how to get thrifty with all your gift shopping this season, “Thrifty Gift Shopping.”

Read all about the post Christmas online shopping addiction and how to you can save yourself from overbuying this year, “The Post Christmas Online Shopping Addiction.”

Save on all your holiday shopping with these tips, “Saving while Online Shopping for the Holidays.”


How to Write a Cover Letter

write cover letter

A cover letter sent in along with your resume, is a key tool for eager job seekers who want to stand out amidst their competitors.

Having a cover letter in your job application can be just what an employer needs to really get to know you and see what you have to offer. When you effectively include the key sections listed below, you can create an effective cover letter that ensures the employer has everything they need to see how qualified you are:

Explore this Guide:

What is a Cover Letter?
Cover Letter Format
Elements of a Cover Letter

  1. Your Name and Contact Information
  2. The Date
  3. Professional Greeting
  4. Introduction
  5. Key Experiences
  6. Conclusion
  7. Professional Closing

Cover Letter Examples

What NOT to Do in a Cover Letter
 

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is like the front page of your resume, but in letter form. You write it just like a regular letter, but include certain things related to your resume and the particular job you are applying for.

Cover letters are often used because your resume is only a page long so you might not have room on your resume to explain a lot of things. A cover letter summarizes the most important aspects of your resume, or the most important qualifications you’d like to highlight.

A cover letter also gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself a little more, and explain important aspects of your resume and why you want this job.

Cover Letter Format

Though not every job ad requests it, it is always a good idea to include a cover letter when you send an employer your resume. Like your resume, a cover letter is a single page and consists of 3 to 5 paragraphs.

When writing a cover letter it is also wise to research the company because just going off the job ad isn’t enough. Look up the company and try and learn a bit about them. This can help you make the letter specific since employers prefer it when an applicant seems to specifically want this job, not just any job.

Make a master cover letter where you store all the brief paragraphs you write to outline certain skills, so that when you go to write a letter for a specific job, you can pull from there. Sometimes certain experiences will relate to more than one job application, so these paragraphs can be reused.

Still, always read through your cover letter before sending it to make sure there aren’t any references that don’t apply to that specific job application. Each letter should be written for that job in mind, and shouldn’t sound like a reused template.

Elements of a Cover Letter

Just like a resume, a cover letter has key sections that are always included.

Your Name and Contact Information

Put your first and last name at the top of the cover letter, on center stage, in a similar way to how you put your name at the top of your resume. This way, if the two papers should get separated they’ll still be distinguishable as a unit because of this similarity. It will also leave the readers with no confusion about who they are reading about.

Then you’ll want to place your contact information below your name, just like how you did on your resume. You can think of your name and contact information as the header of your job application documents, present on each page for optimal clarity.

Contact information to include:

  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Your website or online portfolio
  • Your LinkedIn account

 
name and contact info
 

The Date

Include the date you submitted or sent the letter right below your name and contact information—right before the rest of your letter.

 
date cover letter
 

Professional Greeting

There are several ways you can address your letter. If you are able to find out the name of who would be receiving your letter or who the hiring manager would be, then you can address them by name.

But more often than not, we aren’t able to know such specific information in the application process. When this happens, you can simply address your letter by the name of the corporation with whom you are applying.

You can also use a general term like, “to whom it may concern,” but this might be seen as too impersonal or like you didn’t research the company enough.

 
professional greeting
 

Introduction

First, introduce yourself. Write a brief paragraph about yourself, introducing some key information they’ll want to know—like who you are and what you’ve been doing with your career so far.

For instance, you can tell them if you’re a student, if you’re looking for a career change, or if you’re looking for a new job in a new area after moving.

Second, tell them how you came across the job opening. Maybe you found it on indeed, or knew someone who referred you to the job opening.

Third, tell them why you want this job. Briefly explain why you are interested in this particular job and what caused you to apply for it.

This section should only be a small paragraph—just a couple sentences to briefly outline the three items mentioned above.

 
cover letter intro
 

Key Experiences

In the main body of your letter you’re going to talk about two or three key experiences that prove your skills. This may be the most important section of your cover letter. If a cover letter is the written form of your resume, then this would be the experience and skills section combined into one.

Here is where you’re going to outline choice experiences that illustrate important skills and abilities. Give real life examples that prove your qualifications. Be careful about which experiences you decide to write about, and make sure they are relevant to what the employer would be looking for.

Below is a sample template of how you could format these paragraphs:

 
key experiences
 

Conclusion

The closing paragraph should be as brief as your introduction, if not shorter. It is where you place your call to action. But since this is a job application you have to be careful how you frame this call to action. If you’re too pushy or seem arrogant, you could give a negative impression to the employer before they even meet you.

Simply let them know that you would be happy and willing to come in for an interview, or be contacted for any additional information they may need.

Framing your call to action this way invites them to act on your cover letter, without making demands or assumptions about your acceptance.

 

 

Professional Closing

Now it’s time to wrap up your letter with a professional closing. Here are some examples of professional letter closing phrases you can use in a cover letter for a resume:

  • Sincerely,
  • Regards,
  • Best,
  • Thank you for your consideration,

 
professional closing
 

Cover Letter Examples

Unlike a resume, there aren’t any websites that will let you simply plug in information while their template arranges your cover letter for you. You have to write it yourself. But here’s an example of a basic cover letter template you can use to help you write:

 
cover letter template
 

People also often wonder how to write a cover letter if they’re still in high school, or if they’re applying for an internship instead of a job. Either way the main principles of your cover letter will be the same. The only main difference will be in the key experiences section.

Cover Letters for High School

If you are a high school student, or lack work experience, get creative and use other experiences you have. Maybe you don’t have stories from a past job, but you were in the marching band where you learned about hard work and dedication. You can talk about these kinds of experiences instead.

Cover Letters for an Internship

If you are applying for an internship instead of a job, make sure you understand what the internship is all about, and the kind of tasks they’ll want you to do. Showing you understand what the internship entails will help them take you more seriously as a candidate.

Then you can talk about the things you are learning in your college classes that make you a good candidate for the program.

You should also talk about how you plan to use this internship to further your professional career, so that they can see all you plan to gain from this program.

What NOT to Do in a Cover Letter

Here’s a list of some things you should never do in a cover letter:

  • Don’t send the same exact cover letter in every job application. This can make you look detached and sloppy if there’s ever something on it that relates to a different job you previously applied for.
  • Don’t use a casual voice, or any slang.
  • Proofread! Make sure you thoroughly edit your cover letter before sending it so there are no spelling mistakes, run on sentences, or any other mistakes or oversights.
  • Don’t be pushy. You want to sell yourself in your cover letter, but if you do so in a demanding way you could make a bad impression.

If you’re worried about how you come across in your cover letter, it’s always a good idea to have some other people read it too. They can give their impression of you through the letter and make sure you’re portraying yourself in the correct light and clearly getting your points across.

Having a second or third set of eyes look over your cover letter is also a great way to make sure you don’t miss any spelling or grammar mistakes.

Meanwhile, if you’re still in between jobs, you can always take out a Check City Personal Loan to tide you over while you write your killer resume and cover letter to land that great new job!

READ MORE
Don’t forget to check out Check City’s other article on how to write your resume, “How to Make a Resume.”

Take a look at GlassDoor’s article about cover letters, “How to Write A Cover Letter.”

Learn some other cover letter tactics, “How to Write a Cover Letter.”

How to Write a Resume

make a resume

Resumes are a very important part of the job application process.

A resume is often the first impression you’ll make on an employer and can be what gets your foot in the door and gets you that interview!

Explore this Guide:

Job seekers everywhere are panicking about how to make an effective resume so they can start seeing success from their job searching. Even if you’re just starting out in your field you still want a professional resume that will clearly show any hiring manager what you can bring to the table.

What is a Resume?

A resume comes from the French word, résumé, meaning outline. Now we spell it without the accents and use it to refer to an outline of our work history, expertise, and skills.

Resume is pronounced re-zeh-may, or “re-zə-mā” if you understand the phonetic alphabet. Either way you can easily listen to the pronunciation of the word at Merriam-Webster.com.

Resume Objective

The objective of a resume is to show a potential employer, an easy-to-read, brief outline of why you qualify for the job. They want to see a quick glance at your career, accomplishments, and what skills and qualifications you’ve gained so far.

It is a formal document showing your professional life thus far, that a potential employer uses to make an educated decision about whether you merit an in-person interview or not. When creating a resume you’ll want to make sure it includes all the information an employer would need to make this decision.

Create a Master Resume

It’s a good idea to create a master resume where you simply write everything you could ever put on a resume. This can also be considered a curriculum vitae (CV)—a lengthier version of a resume that isn’t meant to be an overview, but instead a thorough outline of all your experience, certifications, awards, achievements, projects, and publications. A CV or master resume, is meant to be a complete history of your academic and professional career, endeavors, and accomplishments. You want to keep a copy of your master resume, or CV, because different jobs are going to necessitate you include different information, depending on the job.

For instance, if you’re applying for a job where you’ll be designing someone’s website, you won’t need to include the cashier job you had as a teenager. But if you’re applying for a job in customer service, then the employer will want to know that you have that customer service experience as a cashier.

You also only want your resume to be a page long, but a resume with absolutely all the experience you’ve ever had in your life is going to eventually be longer than a page, so keeping all this information in one place on your master resume is a good idea to have as a reference.

resume example

Resume Sections

There are a few key sections that go into every professional resume. Once you have a master resume to work from you can start putting everything into these main sections.

Personal Info

Somewhere near the top of your resume, you want to put your name on the center stage of your resume so the employer can easily know right away who they are looking at. Then you can kind of introduce yourself briefly by including a personal bio section that may list your personal interests and hobbies. If you’re including a cover letter on the front of your resume, you can also put this personal introduction there instead.

Contact Info

You’ll also want to include your preferred contact information on your resume. This information is usually so that they can contact you in case they want to offer you a job interview, so make sure you put down the best way for them to contact you for this. Usually this includes your phone number and email address.

Your email address on a resume should be simple and professional. If you don’t already have an email username with your name instead of a TV reference, then it’s time to make one for professional purposes like this.

You can also include other ways for them to get to know you and see your qualifications if those apply for you. If you have a personal website, or an online portfolio you can include that here too. You can also include any professional accounts you have, like your LinkedIn profile.

Experience

Here is where you outline your job history. You don’t necessarily need to include every job you’ve ever had, sometimes it makes more sense to show the work experience that most applies to the job you’re applying for now.

You also want to list your work experience in reverse chronological order, meaning that the job you had most recently goes first, and the oldest job experience goes last. This way you are putting the most relevant information, the most recent and therefore most applicable information up front.
When listing each job you’ll want to include the following information:

  • Job title (the title you had at this job)
  • Company name
  • Location
  • Job description (what were your main duties at this job, and what did you accomplish there)
Education

This section is where you outline your education. Many people have questions about what to include and not include in the education section, like when do you stop putting your high school education on your resume? Once you have a bachelors or associates degree you are usually ok to stop including your high school education on your resume.

Your high school education is a basic education that everyone receives, so there really isn’t anything specific about it that applies to your future job. And once you’ve officially gained some form of higher education an employer can easily assume you also have a high school education, but it’s what you did in your higher education, what you studied and learned specifically there, that interests them now.

  • When listing your education you want to include the following:
  • The name of the school
  • The years you were there
  • What degree you have (associates, bachelors, masters) and in what

If you haven’t finished college yet you can include your estimated future graduation date and what you are studying, meaning your majors and minors.

Achievements

You don’t have to just put down jobs that you’ve had though, also put down any other achievements, accomplishments, awards, or community involvement that might be important for employers to know. If you’ve published anything before here is the place to list that. Any volunteer work you’ve done. Any licenses, certificates, or other special training you may have, including if you speak another language.

Skills

When making your skills section the first thing you want to do is look into what skills are involved in the job you’re looking for. Job ads usually list the kinds of skills they are looking for in an applicant. If any of these skills apply to you be sure to include them.
The skills section should include both hard and soft skills.

Hard skills are specific abilities and knowledge that you have, like knowing how to use Photoshop.

Soft skills are useful attributes, like being organized or friendly.

Then, if you have room, don’t just list these skills, but provide examples to show how you do indeed have these skills. These examples can also be included on your cover letter instead, where you’ll have more room to tell key experiences that prove you have these skills.

For example, if one of your skills is that you know how to use Photoshop, you can also say that you used Photoshop to design a poster in your most recent job. Or if you list that you are organized, you can briefly talk about how you created a new filing system at your last job.

Design a Resume

You can make your resume on Microsoft Word, on Google Docs, or even online. Both Microsoft Word and Google Docs have free-to-use resume templates that can also work as good examples of how to professionally format your resume.

Resume Template Websites

How you design your resume is how you’re going to make your resume stand out. But this doesn’t mean you should make your resume flashy, in fact you should do the opposite. Your resume’s audience doesn’t want to be distracted by too many colors or graphics, they want to focus first on the information that is most important, so center your design around the information itself.

Create a Path for the Eye to Follow

You want your resume to be easy to read. One way to accomplish this is to create a path for your reader to follow. We read left to right, so this path tends to make a kind of Z shape on the page.

Make it Organized

Use bullet points to help organize your lists. Use headings with a clear heading hierarchy so the sections and subsections are clear.

Use a 10–12 Point Font Size

This way your font size won’t be too small to read, but it also won’t be silly looking by being too large.

How to Make a Resume for a First Job

If you are making a resume for a first job then you may not have a lot of experience yet to fill out your work history. A resume for someone just entering the job arena is often called an entry-level resume or a student resume if you are still going through school.

But the experience section of your resume isn’t just for your work history. You can put all kinds of other useful experiences there as well. You can list programs, clubs, and organizations you’ve been a part of, or volunteer work you’ve done. For example, you may not a previous job to list in the experience section, but maybe you were the president of the horticultural club, or the lead flutist in the concert band. You can replace your work experience with these types of high school experiences instead.

Another approach you can take to fill out your resume as an inexperienced student is to make your resume more skill focused than experience focused. If you can’t list any jobs than you can list different skills you have and describe how you gained those skills.

You can list your high school experiences in the same way you would list a job, including the following information:

  • Your Title (Volunteer, Club Secretary)
  • Company/Organization Name (National Honors Society)
  • Location
  • Description (what were your main duties, what did you accomplish)

How to Make a Resume for College

If you’re in college, or freshly out of college, you may also run into a unique problem when creating a resume. Your experience section is also going to look different because you may not have a lot of jobs to list. But college provides tons of exceptional experiences that you can include in a resume instead of jobs. You can list internships you’ve done, or apprenticeships. You can talk about capstone classes and the major projects and research you did for these key courses, and show how these classes have prepared and trained you for a job. You can also talk about any programs, clubs, and organizations you were apart of during your college career.

In the accomplishments section, be sure to include all the certifications you’ve received while in school. Today, successfully obtaining degrees and certificates from your college classes can mean a lot to a potential employer. If you received any awards, special honors, or published your work in a student journal you can include these kinds of accomplishments as well. You can even include your GPA in your college resume if you have a particularly high GPA to boast about.

How to Make a Cover Letter for a Resume

It is always a good idea to include a cover letter when you send an employer your resume. A cover letter is formatted like a formal letter consists of these main points,

  • Your name
  • Your contact information
  • The date
  • Professional greeting
  • A brief paragraph about yourself
  • A paragraph or two for key experiences where you prove your skills
  • Conclusion
  • Professional closing

To create a winning resume all you have to do is follow the advice in this article and remember the whole point of a resume—to show what you have to offer in a brief, clear, straightforward way. Meanwhile, if you’re in between jobs and need some financial help, feel free to check out Check City’s Personal Loans.

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Check out another great article about writing a resume, “How to Make a Resume for a Job.”

Read another Check City article about getting a new job, “New Year, New Job.”

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