University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Step 1: Gathering Information

In order to write an effective resume, you need to understand why you are writing one. In general, if you are applying for a specific job, you need to tailor your resume to meet the requirements of the position. So, grab your job description! It contains valuable information for you to use in your resume.

If you are trying to write an initial resume without a specific job in mind, think about the type of job you want and what will be important skills or experiences you need to include.

Create a Mega-Data File

Make a list of all items that could be important to your resume. Gather information or write notes about previous work experiences, job descriptions, performance reviews, previous resumes, transcripts from educational programs, papers you have written, presentations you have delivered, volunteer programs, certifications, licenses, curriculum you created, awards, honors...whatever you feel is relevant to your work. If in doubt, include it. We tend to forget the things we have done, so think of things that will help you remember. If you are just out of school, you might want to think about extracurricular experiences, volunteer work, internships, etc.

This mega-file is an important step in managing your career. Continue to add to it as you take on new jobs, attend classes, etc. This will make it much easier in the future!

Next > Step 2: Deciding What to Include