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As you put together your resume, remember for yourself that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” formula. In fact, it will look better for you if you tailor each resume to the particular company or industry you’re focusing on. While some of the basics will remain the same, bear in mind that for something such as a skilled trade, you want certain aspects of your background to stand out immediately. The average resume gets anywhere from six seconds to five minutes of viewing by HR, so you want to make yours stand out immediately from the pile.

  • Start with the basics: contact information such as your full name, address (mailing address added if different from your permanent), telephone number, and an email address. Make sure the email address looks professional; you want it to read JohnSmith@gmail.com, not something confusing or juvenile that you chose when you were less mature. Add a short (1-2 sentence) objective that conveys specific industry, positions, and/or relevant skills: What are you looking for and why would you be the right fit?
  • List your education in chronological order, starting with the most recent degree. Include the name of institution, city and state, as well as degree earned, major, and year the degree was awarded. You don’t need to list your GPA.
  • Have a section for your range of experience. Here you put in any apprenticeships, accreditations, certifications, and licensing affiliations. It may also help to add the year you went through/earned each.
  • Now focus on your skills and experience. This is where you list your previous positions (again, start with the most recent), responsibilities, and any specific achievements. List by job title, adding in employer name and location, and dates of employment. Under each be sure to prominently list skills an employer is looking for – remember, an employer may only give the resume a good once-over, so you have to somehow make those relevant skills and achievements pop out.
  • Have a list of references ready, ranging from former employers and co-workers to customers. It helps to have the wide range of people who have worked with you in different capacities. You should list a phone number and email contact for each one.

The focus for skilled trades is just that – your skills. While the rest of the information in a resume is necessary, make sure your objective and job descriptions cover the skills that make you the right person for the job.

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