Building a Resume
Whether this is your first coaching job or your last (or so you think), your resume is the first interaction you have with the program director, head instructor, or hiring manager. Building an effective resume is one of the most important parts of landing your dream job. In sailing, just as in any other industry, there are several key aspects of your resume that will increase your odds of getting an interview: formatting, content, relevancy and length.
Formatting: Be Organized
When reviewing applications for a position or positions, most resumes get a quick scan when they hit the desk of whoever is in charge of hiring. Increase your odds of getting a second read by keeping your resume organized and simple. Uniform fonts, wide margins and equal spacing are a start, paired with offset bullet points for important information and organization help create a simple effective document.
Uniform font also applies to color. Keep the whole document in a simple font such as Cambria or Times New Roman. Mixing in wingdings or Brittanic Bold is never a good idea; it is unprofessional and displeasing to the eye. Effective use of italics, bold and underlining can help draw attention to important information and guide the reader through the resume. Additionally, offset bullet points organize important information into concise, easily read sections.
Content: Short and Sweet
When it comes to resumes, length matters. You should never feel like you need to fill up space for the sake of making your resume longer. One to two pages are acceptable for the vast majority of the positions for which you will be applying. Potential employers want to see the following categories:
- Header with personal information
- Professional Experience (paid or unpaid)
- Achievements (race results, awards, etc.)
At the top of the document should be a simple header with your name, contact information (phone number, email address, physical address). If you plan on moving due to school or other circumstances, put a permanent address (such as your parents house) down as well.
Education should list your high school and college with dates of attending, location of the school, and what you studied (degree, major/minor). You can include time abroad, any job training you may have, certificates earned and GPA if over 3.0 (individual employer requirements may vary).
Professional Experience is a big section. This is where you list your previous jobs, internships or other relevant experience. When listing jobs, be straightforward with the position title and briefly describe what you did. It is best to avoid using big industry terms or over-inflating the importance of your position.
All program directors are looking for someone with adequate experience. Often times this is quantified through race results, awards, or achievements in sailing. If the job listing specifically asks for race results and you provide none, your resume is probably going to the bottom of the pile. Organize all your accomplishments in sailing (results, awards, etc.) into a section that is easy for the hiring manager/program director to read and understand.
The assumption is that when you are applying for a coaching position, you either have taken your Level 1 certification or you are planning on taking the course in the near future. It is a long course and while not outrageously difficult, it is a lot of information in a short time and you deserve recognition for that. List your certifications such as your Level 1, CPR/AED/First Aid, and so on.
Relevancy: To The Point
Keep your resume relevant. Many people have several different copies of their resume edited for slightly different positions. The content in your resume for a head coaching position will differ from other positions to which you will apply. This applies to the accomplishments and experience sections mainly.
Job history is important in that many hiring managers are looking for someone who has worked somewhere doing something previously. If you have only held a couple positions in your life, great, list those positions. If you have had many jobs in your life, list the ones that pertain to the position that you are applying for. Same with accomplishments, list what you think has helped you become the candidate you are today, or that demonstrates why you are a good candidate.
Length: Short and Sweet
A popular question is, how long should my resume be? The answer is between one and two pages. Your resume should never be shorter than a page or longer than two. Keep descriptions to the point and only list the experience and achievements that help your candidacy. Be direct and specific.
Putting It All Together
Your resume is the first interaction that your potential employer has with you. They don’t know anything about you besides what you put down on that page. Crafting a good resume is difficult and while these tips will get you on the right path, always consider consulting someone you know who has experience reviewing resumes. A well-written resume will open a lot of doors down the road. Be concise, make it relevant to the position, include your pertinent content and make it look good with proper formatting. You will be one step closer to landing the best summer job out there.
Do you feel ready for summer yet? Check back here for more tips and tricks to landing your dream coaching job, and as always you can email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or if you’d like to see a particular article written.