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How to Write Your First Resume – LifeSavvy

Woman working on her resume in a sunny room
Nitchakul Sangpetch/Shutterstock

Maybe you’ve just graduated and haven’t truly started the job search yet, or perhaps you’ve been working for a family friend who never asked you for a resume. No matter what, if you don’t have a resume yet, nothing can feel more daunting than staring at that blank page. We’re here to help.

Almost every job-hunter started just where you are. Writing a resume isn’t a creative exercise: you just need to follow the right formula. We’re here to give you that formula, so you can build a resume that will open doors for your career.

Whether you’re writing your first resume or starting from scratch when you change career paths, follow these steps to start the job search with confidence.

Make a List

For many new job seekers, the hardest part about drafting a resume is figuring out what to put on it. With no prior job experience, how can you write a resume?

Before you start trying to put together your resume, start by brainstorming things you could include. Don’t worry too much yet about what’s relevant to your dream job and what isn’t. Consider things like:

  • Education: Majors, grades, and school-related extracurriculars or clubs
  • Volunteering: Any unpaid work you did
  • Informal jobs: Babysitting, pet-sitting, and other temporary or unofficial jobs—internships are great for resumes too
  • Awards: Things you’ve won for school, sports, or another reason
  • Activities: Clubs, sports, and other non-school activities
  • Skills: Any skills or abilities that could be related to a future job
  • Social media: Relevant social media information, such as your email address (a professional-sounding one that features your name) and LinkedIn profile URL

Try to start the resume process early, so you’ll have plenty of time to make this list. More things will come to you as you start thinking about what you’ve done and what you’re good at.

Keep your list organized by sections (like “work,” “school,” and “achievements”), so you can easily plug the information into your resume later on. And even after you’ve built your resume, save this list and keep adding to it—it will make an excellent reference for future updates.

Research Potential Jobs

Before you get to writing your resume, take some time to research jobs you’d like to have.

Check job listings at companies you want to work for, or on websites like LinkedIn. Look for keywords and phrases that come up repeatedly, and write those down. Make a note of specific skills or types of experience required.

Reading these job postings will help you get an idea of what your future employer is looking for, so you can use your resume to show them that you have it. If you’re not sure what kind of job you want yet, take this time to browse job listings and find ones that could work well for you.

Choose a Format

Now that you have some idea of what to put on your resume, you can pick your resume format.

Lots of free resume templates exist online, so use one of those instead of starting from scratch. There are three main resume formats you’ll find:

  • Chronological: The most popular type of resume lists your work experience in order, starting with your most recent job.
  • Functional: These resumes focus on your skills and activities instead, and don’t rely on a time-based format.
  • Hybrid: A hybrid resume mixes elements of both formats.

If you have no job experience yet, putting together a chronological resume will be difficult. Instead, look for a functional or hybrid template that will work well for the experience you have.

For example, if you’ve had a couple of summer jobs, but not enough to fill a whole resume, find a hybrid template that will highlight both that job experience and your other relevant skills and achievements.

Stick to a standard, one-page template that doesn’t include unnecessary or irrelevant information. You don’t need references, photos of yourself, or loud colors on your resume. While there are times when a creative and unique resume is a good idea, keep it simple for your first one.

Read Example Resumes

When you have an idea of your resume format, look up some sample resumes online in that same format. Try to find resumes made for the type of job you want to have. Seeing how other people presented their information can give you ideas for how to present your own.

Plug in Your Information

Woman typing on a laptop, entering information onto her resume
fizkes/Shutterstock

With your template downloaded, start by filling in your basic information. Don’t hesitate to make adjustments to the template as needed. For example, old resumes always included your full address, but today, it’s more common to list only your city and state. You can add your email address or LinkedIn URL to the extra space.

This is just a rough draft, so don’t worry about phrasing everything perfectly and don’t spend too much time fussing with little formatting issues (it’s more important to get it all down and tweak the details later). Just try to decide what will go on your resume and where you’ll put it. You probably won’t use everything from your initial brainstorm list, but pick out the things that fit your ideal job best. If the template you chose doesn’t seem to fit your experience well, download another and try it out.

Add a Summary Statement

A summary statement is a good, modern alternative to the outdated Objective section. If you’re struggling to find enough to include on your resume or feel that your experience seems all over the place, consider including one.

In this statement, you’ll write a couple of sentences to summarize what you bring to the table as a candidate. This takes up space on your resume with valuable information, giving employers an at-a-glance look at who you are. Focus on what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.

Rearrange as Needed

Once you have the basics on your resume, play around with rearranging your sections and content to get the best results.

Things at the top of the page will get the most attention, so put your most important information there. For example, if you have a stellar GPA and have been active on campus, your Education section might belong near the top of the page. The experience that’s relevant to the job you want should go above the less-relevant experience.

Spin Your Content

After you have a rough draft with all the essential information on it, it’s time to spin your content for the job you want.

This doesn’t mean you should embellish heavily or add things you didn’t do. When you have limited experience on your resume, exaggerations will stand out in a bad way. But you can still select the best way to present your information.

Go back to the notes you took when you were looking at job listings. If any keywords or phrases came up often, find places to include them.

You’ll also need to explain how your experience makes you a good candidate for the job you want. It’s not enough only to list the things you’ve done: you must also show why they make you a good job candidate.

Be clear and specific when you describe your experience. Show; don’t tell: avoid vague phrases like “responsible with money” or “good people skills.” Instead, explain the things you’ve done that demonstrate those skills in action. For example, if you volunteered at a school fundraiser, you might write, “handled both cash and card transactions” and “assisted donors quickly and professionally.” That way, employers will see exactly how the things on your resume are relevant to your work skills.

Even if something seems irrelevant to the job you want, you can often spin it for your resume. For example, if you’re applying to work in retail, your prior experience with housesitting may not seem important. But housesitting shows that you’re trustworthy, know how to keep a space clean, and can work independently, all of which is relevant to a retail job. Use your resume to show employers why your experience matters.

Make Final Edits

Soon, you’ll have a solid draft of a resume that includes your best information and presents it compellingly. But before you start sending it out with your job applications, it’s time to make some final edits.

Enlist a couple of friends or family members to check your resume for errors or missing information. Print out a copy to edit—you’ll often notice things on a printed page that you missed on your computer. Make sure the smallest details, like your fonts and spacing, are consistent. Having different fonts or random spaces can make your resume look unprofessional.

An employer might toss a perfectly good resume just because it had an obvious typo, so it’s worth taking this time to edit. This shows them that you’ll bring the same careful attention to detail to the job. Once your final edits are done, you’ll have a complete, winning resume that you can feel proud to submit to potential employers.





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How to Write an Ebook: Everything You’ll Need

Many of us have thought about writing an ebook at one time or another, whether it may be a novel or a non-fiction tome. If you need the nudge to get started here’s how to write an ebook.

Writing a book isn’t easy, but employing a good workflow can make it more manageable. In this article we’ll explain how to write an ebook, from the steps you should take to the tools you should use.

Preparation: Collect Your Research and Notes

Most of the time, you’ll already have an idea for what your ebook is going to be about. If not, it’s time to start brainstorming. Assuming you do have an idea, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to start writing just yet.

Ideally, you’ll have as much information as you can ready before you start to write. For fiction, this means compiling character notes, settings, plot details, and other bits of lore. For a non-fiction book, this would be your research and sources.

How to write an ebook: Evernote icon

If you’re more of a hands-on type, you might want to capture your notes or research with a pen and paper. Assuming you’re more digitally inclined, there are plenty of apps that can help you with this.

Evernote and Microsoft OneNote are two of the most popular note apps available, but they’re not the only ones. Google Keep, Apple Notes, and relative newcomer Notion are all viable options as well. Some of these apps have built-in scanning functionality that can even help you organize your pen and paper notes.

Writing: Getting to the First Draft

Some people prefer to just start writing and see what comes out. Others prefer to prepare and plan everything in advance so they know the structure before they start writing. Both methods have their strengths, but for non-fiction, you’ll definitely see major benefits for planning ahead.

If you’re a planner, there are a few tools you can use. Microsoft Word has an Outline view that can make laying out the structure of your book easy. Dedicated outlining apps like OmniOutliner can also help streamline your planning.

How to write an ebook: Microsoft Word Outline view

When it comes to writing your first draft, it’s all about what makes you comfortable. If you prefer simplicity you can use a simple text editor. If you want some more features, a word processor like Microsoft Word is great, while LibreOffice is a great free alternative. For writing from anywhere, Google Docs is a great free tool (here’s how to use Google Docs


What Is Google Docs and How to Use It




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).

Some writers might want an even more powerful tool. That’s where dedicated apps like Scrivener enter the fray. Scrivener can take your first draft all the way to a finished ebook, but it does come with a steep learning curve.

Editing: Revisiting and Revising Your Work

Your first draft is just that: a first draft. To truly make your ebook shine, you’ll need to make one or more revisions. This could range from some heavy edits to full rewrites. When you think it couldn’t possibly be any better, give it one more pass.

Get some other people to read your drafts too, if you can. Even better, hire a copy editor, line editor, or both. Copy editors check your grammar and punctuation for errors. Line editors read over the manuscript and check for overall larger issues affecting the story you’re telling.

When it comes to working with editors, Microsoft Word is the industry standard. You can’t count on a copy or line editor using whatever obscure format you wrote your manuscript in. You can absolutely count on them using Word, so this is the default option.

If you need to use the Word format, specifically the Track Changes feature, but don’t want to pay for word, you have another option. Recent versions of LibreOffice map fairly well to Microsoft Word. You might run into some issues with fonts, but LibreOffice will do in a pinch.

Cover Design: People Judge Books by Their Covers

No matter how much you slave over your manuscript, nobody will read it if the cover looks amateurish. Your final draft could be perfect, but with a boring design on the cover, nobody will ever know.

Don’t worry if you don’t have design skills. You can use a site like 99designs to find a designer for your cover. Alternatively, you can hire a freelancer on a site like Fiverr. There are also these alternatives to Fiverr if you’d rather use a different service.

How to write an ebook: Canva templates

If you do happen to have design skills, that’s even better. You can use tools included in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite like InDesign or Photoshop. For something even easier, you can try Canva. Depending on what you need, you can even use Microsoft Word to design your cover. Just remember to make your ebook cover look professional.

Layout: Creating the Finished Product

You should now have your finished and polished manuscript as well as a cover design. So it’s time to put it all together into your final ebook. Before you start, there are a few things left to consider.

First, decide where you’re going to sell or distribute your ebook. Amazon is the king of ebook sales these days, but it’s not the only one. If you’re just looking to get your book out there, you might want to consider giving it away for free. Here are the free ebook download sites


7 Free Ebook Download Sites




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to get you started.

You’ll use different formats depending on where you distribute. PDF is a widely used format, while Amazon and its devices use a proprietary format. EPUB and MOBI are other popular formats, with MOBI also working on Kindle devices.

How to write an ebook: iBooks Author templates

As mentioned above, Scrivener can compile your manuscript to several different ebook formats. All you need to do is add in your author details and cover art. If you want to distribute on Apple devices, you need to use iBooks Author.

For more graphically intense ebooks, you might need different tools. Microsoft PowerPoint can come in handy for these types of ebooks, as can Adobe InDesign.

How to Write an Ebook: Read More First!

No matter how experienced you are, you can always improve as a writer. One of the best ways to learn as a writer is to read more books. Read everything you can from fiction to non-fiction, even genres you generally aren’t fond of.

Unless you want to compile a massive library (which some of us do), you probably have a finite amount of space for books. If you’re a voracious reader but don’t want to surround yourself with books, reading on a tablet is the solution. So, with that in mind, here’s our list of the best tablets for reading digital books


The 7 Best Tablets for Reading Digital Books




The 7 Best Tablets for Reading Digital Books

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.

Explore more about: Ebooks, Self-Publishing, Writing Tips.



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How to Write an AutoHotkey Script

autohotkey
AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey is a fantastic but complicated piece of software. It was initially intended to rebind custom hotkeys to different actions but is now a full Windows automation suite.

AHK isn’t particularly hard to learn for new users, as the general concept is fairly simple, but it is a full, Turing-complete programming language. You will pick up the syntax much easier if you have a programming background or are familiar with the concepts.

Installing and Using AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey’s installation process is straightforward. Download the installer from the official website and run it. Choose “Express Installation.” After you’ve installed the software, you can right-click anywhere and select New > AutoHotkey Script to make a new script.

new autohotkey script

AHK scripts are text files with a .ahk extension. If you right-click them, you’ll get a few options:

  • “Run Script” will load your script with the AHK runtime.
  • “Compile Script” will bundle it with an AHK executable to make an EXE file you can run.
  • “Edit Script” will open your script in your default text editor. You can use Notepad to write AHK scripts, but we recommend using SciTE4AutoHotkey, an editor for AHK which supports syntax highlighting and debugging.

compile autohotkey script

While a script is running—whether it’s an EXE or not—you’ll find it running in the background in the Windows notification area, also known as the system tray. Look for the green icon with an “H” on it.

To exit, pause, reload, or edit a script, right-click the notification icon and select an appropriate option. Scripts will continue to run in the background until you exit them. They’ll also go away when you sign out of Windows or reboot your PC, of course.

autohotkey script running

How Does AutoHotkey Work?

At its core, AHK does one thing—bind actions to hotkeys. There are a lot of different actions, hotkey combinations, and control structures, but all scripts will operate on the same principle. Here’s a basic AHK script that launches Google Chrome whenever you press Windows+C:

#c::
Run Chrome
return

The first line defines a hotkey. The pound sign (#) is short for the Windows key and c is the C key on the keyboard. After that, there’s a double colon (::) to signify the start of an action block.

The next line is an action. In this case, the action launches an application with the Run command. The block is finished with a return at the end. You can have any number of actions before the return. They will all fire sequentially.

Just like that, you’ve defined a simple key-to-action mapping. You can place as many of these as you’d like in a .ahk file and set it to run in the background, always looking for hotkeys to remap.

Hotkeys and Modifiers

You can find a full list of AHK’s modifiers in official documentation, but we’ll focus on the most useful (and cool) features.

Modifier keys all have single character shorthands. For example, # ! ^ + are Windows, Alt, Control, and Shift, respectively. You can also differentiate between left and right Alt, Control, and Shift with the < and > modifiers, which opens up a lot of room for extra hotkeys. For example, <! is left Alt and >+ is right Shift. Take a look at the key list for everything you can reference. (Spoiler: You can reference nearly much every key. You can even reference other non-keyboard input devices with a small extension).

You can combine as many keys as you’d like into one hotkey, but you’ll soon run out of key combinations to remember. This is where modifiers, which let you do crazier things, come in. Let’s break down an example from the AHK docs:

autohotkey directives

The green #IfWinActive is called a directive, and applies additional context to hotkeys physically under it in the script. Any hotkey after it will only fire if the condition is true, and you can group multiple hotkeys under one directive. This directive won’t change until you hit another directive, but you can reset it with a blank #If (and if that seems like a hack, welcome to AHK).

The directive here is checking if a specific window is open, defined by ahk_class Notepad. When AHK receives the input “Win+C,” it will fire the action under the first #IfWinActive only if the directive returned true, and then check the second one if it didn’t. AHK has a lot of directives, and you can find all of them in the docs.

AutoHotkey also has hotstrings, which function like hotkeys except replacing a whole string of text. This is similar to how autocorrect works—in fact, there’s an autocorrect script for AHK—but supports any AHK action.

autohotkey hotstrings

The hotstring will match the string only if it’s typed exactly. It will automatically remove the matched text to replace the hotstring, too, although this behavior can be adjusted.

Actions

An action in AHK is anything that has an outside effect on the operating system. AHK has a lot of actions. We can’t possibly explain all of them, so we’ll pick out some useful ones.

Most of these actions will also have information-oriented commands associated with them. For example, you can write to the clipboard, but you can also get the contents of the Clipboard to store in a variable and run functions when the clipboard changes.

Tying it All Up With Control Structures

AHK wouldn’t be what it is without all of the control structures that make it Turing-complete.

In addition to the #If directives, you also have access to If inside of action blocks. AHK has For loops, curly brace blocks, Try and Catch statements, and many others. You can access outside data from within the action block, and store it in variables or objects to use later. You can define custom functions and labels. Really, anything you could do easily in another programming language you can probably do in AHK with a bit of a headache and a look through the docs.

For example, imagine you have a boring, repetitive task that requires you to click multiple buttons in a row and wait for a server to respond before doing it over again ad infinitum. You can use AHK to automate this. You’d want to define a few loops to move the mouse to specific locations, click, and then move to the next spot and click again. Throw in a few wait statements to make it not break. You could even try to read the color of pixels on screen to determine what’s happening.

One thing’s for certain—your script probably won’t be pretty. But neither is AutoHotkey, and that’s okay.





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How to Format a Write Protected USB Flash Drive

You’re trying to save data on your USB flash storage, but there’s a problem. Any attempt to save displays the message that the drive is “write protected”. How can this be?

The drive won’t even allow you to reformat it, and there’s no apparent switch for enabling or disabling write protection. Puzzled? Here’s how to format your write protected USB flash drive and start using it again.

Is the USB Drive Write Protected or Corrupted?

Before proceeding, take the time to make sure that the drive is genuinely write protected. A couple of other issues could be coming into play here.

  1. Your PC’s USB port is defective or blown entirely. Fixing a damaged USB port


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    can be tricky but not impossible.
  2. The flash drive is corrupt. Whether you’re using a full USB flash stick or USB SD card adapter, problems with the device can occur. These steps will help you fix a corrupted flash drive


    How to Fix Write Protection Errors on a USB Stick




    How to Fix Write Protection Errors on a USB Stick

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    .

Confident the problem is just write protection on your USB flash stick? Let’s move on.

How to Remove USB Write Protection With Diskpart

Before starting, insert your USB flash drive into your computer’s USB port.

Windows has a built-in disk partition management tool called Diskpart. You can open this by hitting Windows key + R, entering cmd, then hitting Enter.

User Access Control will prompt you to confirm the action. Click Yes to continue.

You should now see CMD, the command line tool. At the prompt, enter

diskpart

A new command line window will open, with a new DISKPART prompt. It’s time to see which disks are attached to your computer:

list disk

The resulting table will list the currently available devices. But which is your USB drive?

Disk 0 will be your computer’s system drive. This is the one that Windows is installed on. If you have multiple partitions, these will be sequentially numbered. Note that the size is displayed for each disk.

With a USB flash device connected, (which will be Disk 1 or higher) you should be able to identify it by its comparatively low capacity.

Find a list of disks connected to your system

In the image above, while Disk 0 is 119GB and Disk 1 931GB (two partitions of the same drive), Disk 2 is 16GB.

Therefore, Disk 2 is the USB flash drive. You should be able to check the capacity on the device itself, as this is usually printed on a drive’s casing. If not, you’ll be able to confirm it in Windows Explorer.

Select the Right Disk!

Before proceeding further, be absolutely certain that you have identified the USB flash drive. Note also that USB flash drives can be as high as 1TB in capacity (like the PNY Pro Elite) at the time of writing, which could be larger than your computer’s HDD. Making the effort to be totally certain at this stage is vital to the integrity of the data on your computer!



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Once you’re certain, it’s time to select the disk. In our example, that means entering

select disk 2

This will be confirmed with the message that disk 2 is now the selected disk. Next, request attributes:

attributes disk

Various information will be displayed. Check the first line. This is the Current Read-only State. If you’re unable to write to the disk or reformat it, then Current Read-only State will be set to Yes.

You can easily remove the write protection on your USB flash drive with the command

attributes disk clear readonly

If successful confirmation of the step will be displayed with the message “Disk attributes cleared successfully.”

Make a USB flash drive readable

Happy to lose the data on the USB flash drive? You can format the drive using diskpart’s clean command. First, ensure the disk is selected:

select disk 2
clean

You can then create and format a partition:

create partition primary
format fs=ntfs

Wait for this to complete—you should now have a fully working and formatted USB flash drive!

Check the write-only status of the drive by copying a small file.

Didn’t Work? USB Formatting Utilities to Try

Below are two free tools for formatting your USB drive in the event of a write protect error. These can be used in addition to, or instead of, Diskpart. Useful if you don’t like getting your hands dirty with the command line!

1. SD Formatter

SD Formatter tool

Number one on your list should be the SD Formatter tool from the SD Association. Although clearly intended for SD cards, the tool is compatible with USB flash sticks. After all, A USB flash stick is basically an SD card wired to a USB interface.

Simply connect the device, select the drive and a formatting option, and click Format.

Download: SDFormatter (Free)

2. Kingston Format Utility

Intended for older Windows systems (Windows XP to Windows 7), the Kingston Format Utility is ideal for USB flash devices from Kingston.

Note that this has a slightly archaic method of installation. After downloading, run the EXE file and hit Browse to select a location (such as the Desktop, or Documents). Click Unzip, then browse to the new location, and double-click Kingston Format Utility.exe.

This will run the app; all you need to do now is select the Device and File system from the drop-down menus. Click Format when you’re ready, then wait.

Download: Kingston Format Utility (Free)

Can’t Reformat Your USB Flash Drive?

If none of the suggestions you’ve tried so far have been successful, don’t give up hope. It’s worth checking the support pages and forums on the drive manufacturer’s website to find links to tools that have been confirmed to work with the device.

Note that most flash storage manufacturer’s offer a long guarantee on their devices. If you have registered the drive, you’ll probably be able to get it repaired or replaced.

Your Write-Protected USB Flash Drive, Formatted

By now you should have unlocked the write protection on your USB flash drive and reformatted it. This may have been done using Diskpart on Windows, or a specialist third-party utility.

Ultimately, you should have a USB drive that now works. If it doesn’t, then there’s a strong likelihood that it is defective. So, if the drive is still in warranty, explore your options regarding a manufacturer replacement.

Struggling with a write protection issue on an SD card? Here’s how to remove write protection from an SD card


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Explore more about: Computer Maintenance, Drive Format, Troubleshooting, USB Drive.



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