My 5 Step Process for Resume Writing

We’re in the heat of the internship application season, and already my wrists ache from typing resumes, cover letters and requests for references. Even as I’m working with CareerImp (the start-up for which I am a writer/analyst) to fix part of this problem–allowing anyone to craft a great resume quickly–I find myself writing my resumes using my 5-step process.

Step 1: dredge my memory for what I’ve done that I think my internship of choice will want to know about.
Step 2: dig through 6 months of previous resumes, trying to see if I’ve already written up that experience.
Step 3: give up on that search, write it from scratch.
Step 4: obsess about every comma and colon for hours.
Step 5: submit resume and cover letter, only to realize I left something out.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

(Secret Step 6: eat ice cream and watch trashy tv, or go to kick-boxing class until you feel better).

Most of my friends are going through something like this. However, in the midst of all the stress and angst over whether to use “enabled” or “facilitated”, and whether to say “I doubled X” or “I increased X by 200%” it is important to remember that whatever happens in the job search is rarely personal, particularly when you are as junior as I am. Now, time to breath, and finish that episode of True Blood.

Inspirational Quote:

“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”- Booker T. Washington


  1. Add to Step 4: double-check for spelling and grammar – don’t depend on Spell-check. Example: you say -“particularly when your as junior -.” You should use “you’re” not “your” which the computer may not catch, but you should. After years of checking my manuscripts for errors I could get a job as a professional Proofreader: I’m not proud of this, but use it to point out that the people who read your resumes and letters will automatically spot something like that and mark you down for it. You are naturally more interested in word usage and thought processes – which do and should matter more than the mechanics of writing – but you will still get marked down for any such mistakes. You are a good and insightful writer – but don’t skip the basic mechanics!

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