How to build a resume

Tiffany Jachja
3 min readFeb 5, 2023

This year I’ve started to coach over 40 individuals. Each person has a unique set of career goals, desires, and experiences. A resume should do justice to what that career journey was, is, and will be. So here is my post all about crafting resumes from start to finish.

If you’d like to follow along, I’ve included resume templates, make a copy and edit as desired.

Consider the major components.

Every good resume has sections containing relevant information about your match to the job opportunity. At the minimum, have a section containing the following information:

  • Your name and contact information
  • A list of relevant skills pertaining to the career opportunity
  • A description of past experiences where you leveraged those relevant skills to make an impact on a project, job, or volunteer experience(*).

Your name, skills, and other experiences will be your resume's section headings. (*) Note that Projects, Work, and Volunteering can be separate section headings in your outline. If you have relevant education, training, certifications, publications, or extracurriculars, you can create another section below these major components that include these experiences.

Example summary and skills section of a resume.

Write down the details.

Now it is time to recollect your contributions and accomplishments thus far. Write down the skills, technologies, tooling, and practices you’ve learned, used and grown. Here are some questions to encourage getting these items written down:

  • Have you led any projects recently?
  • Have you created or introduced any new components, features, or processes?
  • Have you reduced wasted time and effort? Have you improved any processes recently?
  • Who have you worked with or for recently, were they customers, stakeholders, or team members?
  • Have you researched, analyzed, or found important facts about your industry?
  • Have you communicated, presented, or shared findings with stakeholders? What was the impact?

Don’t worry about judging what you have, understanding how it fits your career interests, or even having too much or too little information at this stage of the resume-building process.

Craft the story

This is where we review everything that was written down. I like to check every bullet point or descriptor for every work experience shared. The information should be organized to illustrate your contributions to the organization and the skills you used to make those impacts.

Example work experience. Notice these accomplishments closely align with software developer competencies which can be cross-referenced or found in job descriptions.

I like to reorganize the descriptions so that the first thing a hiring manager or recruiter sees is how I’ve demonstrated a core competency and that the competency closely aligns with the job opportunity of interest.

This is a screenshot of my resume from when I was applying for management roles. Notice the bullet contains language that focuses on management achievements and skills. If I was applying to a software engineering role, I would replace the last two bullet points with a description of my achievements and accomplishments using relevant technologies and practices.

This is where you can also wordsmith and diversify your bullet points to craft a story about your experiences. Here are some resources to consider if you are struggling to select strong action words to start your bullet points:

If you notice or feel as if you are missing some competencies, this is also where you can take action and build into those potential areas of growth.

Building a resume gives you an awareness of what you’ve accomplished, who you are, and what you will do — before going into an interview. Knowing what experiences you’d like to develop gives you a chance to grow in your career and is valuable in finding a job with career opportunities.

Add the final touches.

This is when you check your grammar, structure, and formatting. I have a resume checklist that functions as a sanity check. Resumes summarize what makes you uniquely ready to obtain the opportunity that an employer owns. Resumes should be accurate, concise, and easy to read. And most importantly, they should make you excited to tell your story in an interview.

I hope this helps you on your journey. Reach out in the comments if you have any questions!

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Tiffany Jachja

Software engineering manager covering topics on software, personal development, and career.