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How to Make a Good 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!

 
What is a Resume?
Create a Master Resume
Resume Sections

Design a Resume
How to Make a Resume for a First Job
How to Make a Resume for College
How to Make a Cover Letter for a Resume
 

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.



READ MORE
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.”

How Much Do Teachers Make?

New Article Series: How Much Do Professions Pay?

Check City would like to officially introduce its new article series about how much different professions pay. Understanding the median salaries for a profession is a very important thing to know, whether you are looking for a new job, or looking to choose a career. In fact, between 10,000 and 100,000 people have searched online for the answer to how much teachers make. Well, search no longer! With our new article series about professional pay you can get all the answers you need to make informed decisions as a student and future employee.

Teachers have a lot of influence over their students. Teachers help their students learn social skills, and figure out what they want to be when they grow up. They have the ability to forever change the course of a student’s life. Teachers help us grow as people, realize our passions, and teach us how to fully pursue those passions and contribute to a healthier and happier community. Students spend about 13,000 hours each year at school with their teachers. Needless to say, the teaching profession is an important aspect of our society.

How to Become a Teacher

Once you decide you want to become a teacher you may want to consider what type of teaching you want to go into. You can teach different subjects and at different grade levels. Primary education is the first level of education done by elementary school teachers. Secondary education refers to middle school and high school. Higher education is typically how we refer to any level of education done after the high school level, like college. As with all professional careers today there is a process that prospective teachers must go through in order to be qualified and subsequently hired by an employer. This process to becoming a teacher includes an education specific to your field, certifications, and classroom experience.

First,

You’ll want to get a bachelor’s degree.
Elementary teachers often major in education or child psychology. Middle and High School teachers tend to major in whatever subject they wish to teach while taking teacher preparation courses alongside that. College professors must also go to graduate school to complete a master’s degree. Depending on the university and the area of study you would like to teach you may also need to get a doctoral degree.

Second,

You will get certified and licensed to teach in your state.

Third,

In order to complete your certification, you will have to spend a certain number of hours in the classroom under the instruction of an established teacher, and take a certification test. You can think of this part of the process like an internship that is required for your teacher certification.

As a prospective college professor your university may have their own requirements to enable you to teach. You may need to work a number of years as an associate professor first or meet certain publishing requirements.

What Teachers Do

The tasks of a teacher are going to vary by grade level, subject matter, and school district or university. But in general teachers in the primary and secondary education levels (elementary through high school) will do the following:

  • Create lesson plans
  • Teach core subject materials
  • Teach social and group skills, and other proper behavior
  • Enforce classroom rules
  • Evaluate their student’s abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach to the entire class, in smaller groups, and one-on-one
  • Grade assignments, essays, tests, and quizzes
  • Communicate with parents and guardians about the student’s behaviors, grades, accomplishments, and struggles
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Supervise during lunchtime or recess

Some of these tasks are exclusive to teachers in the primary and secondary grade levels, while professors teaching in higher education (college level) may not have some of these same duties. Professors do however have the following duties:

  • Create a syllabus and semester lesson plan
  • Give lectures, discussions, and demonstrations
  • Grade student assignments and tests
  • Record grades
  • Fulfill university requirements for professors like publishing papers every so often

What Determines Pay

Generally most jobs are going to vary in salary depending on things like what state you work in, your specific employer, how much experience you have in the field, and how much education you have. But sometimes a career will have its own variables that go into determining salary, and factors that weigh more heavily on that decision than others. For teachers, the following variables play into determining salary:

  • The state and region you work in. Every school district is going to be different.
  • What type of school you work in. A private school, a public school, and a charter school are all going to pay differently.
  • The years of teaching experience you have.
  • Your level of education.
  • If you specialize in a certain area.

How Much Do Teachers Make:

There has been a lot of turmoil in the news lately about teachers’ salaries and whether teachers are being paid fairly. Teachers have been a part of several protests in the recent past, asking for better wages and more funding for their schools. During these protests some teachers have even gone on strike and stopped teaching to try and get their voices heard. This aspect of the teacher strikes has been a particular point of controversy since teachers aren’t just seen as employees. The role of a teacher is culturally held aloft as more of a noble pursuit than as the means to someone’s livelihood, making it difficult for teachers to talk about wages without judgement.

Kindergarden and Elementary School Teachers Make:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that kindergarten and elementary school teachers make a median salary of $57,980 a year with a job growth rate of 7 percent.

Middle School Teachers Make:

Middle school teachers make a median salary of $58,600 a year with a job growth rate of 8% which is a bit closer to average growth rates.

High School Teachers Make:

High school teachers make a median salary of $60,320 a year and also have a job growth rate of 8%, which the BLS calls “as fast as average.”

Substitute Teachers Make:

Kids may miss a school day here and there, but class will still go on even if a teacher needs to miss a day. That’s why there are substitute teachers that can fill in or regular teachers when they aren’t available. They usually make a mean annual wage of $31,510 at $15.15 an hour.

Private vs Public School Teachers:

Believe it or not Private school teachers actually make less than public school teachers generally do. Obviously this is going to depend on the school because some public school district areas do better or worse than others, while some private schools are more expensive than others. But on average, public school teachers make $50,000 a year while private school teachers only make $36,000 a year.

Side Hustles for Teachers

Being a teacher also includes a number of side hustles that can provide some extra income to teachers.

  • Tutoring
  • Summer camp or summer school
  • Selling worksheets, lesson plans, and other classroom materials
  • Creating curriculum for publishers
  • Proctoring exams
  • Teaching adults

Whatever your profession might be, there are always ways for you to make a little extra income to cover all your expenses. Teachers aren’t the only ones who struggle to make ends meet each month. Many people get hit with emergency expenses that can also make hurt your monthly budget. When you have a bad month financially, you can depend on the Check City Personal Loan to see you through it and get you quickly back on your feet again.

So What’s the Problem?

The short reason you’ve been hearing so much lately about teachers struggles and issues with teachers’ salaries is because the issue goes beyond their income. The problem isn’t so much that teachers need a higher wage, but that their classrooms and their students need more funding. In order to adequately provide for their students and to facilitate their success, learning, and care, teachers often end up using their own money in order to do their job well. So in this sense the issue may not be that teachers pay is too much or too little, but rather that the situation is unfair. Most full-time jobs are required to provide their employees with whatever they need to do their job successfully, and this is where teachers have been struggling the most to keep up financially.

Teacher’s Need More Funding

There are a lot of important things that go into successful learning for children and adolescence. They spend the majority of their day at school and nee to be adequately fed in order to focus throughout the long school day. They also need a number of materials in order to actively learn, practice, and take notes. Teachers also need materials and resources to teach their subjects in the best way possible for each child. Providing food, notebooks, and pencils to kids and teens from low-income families are just some of the many personal expenses being left on the shoulders of teachers alone.

Teachers should be able to have the funding and resources necessary to have a successful classroom. Some school districts and states are doing better than others at funding their schools and providing their teachers with a decent salary for their area and hopefully the number of school districts doing well by their teachers and their students will continue to grow. The teaching profession is a unique opportunity to mentor and mold the coming generations and by so doing, help build us all a better world.


READ MORE
Take a look at Education Week’s article “Which States Have the Highest and Lowest Teacher Salaries?” to see what teachers are making in each state.


Learn about the history of the teaching profession on PBS.org.


Read Hunger in Our Schools to see the data on kids going hungry in schools today.


Visit the Bureau of Labor and Statistics site to see their survey about teacher’s salaries.


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