Employers in different industries look at specific qualifications in potential workers, and the most effective resumes will be tailored to best show off those particular features. Here are a few tips to make the qualities that skilled trades employers want to see most stand out.
Summary of Experience
Instead of writing an objective, write a summary of experience. This is just a straightforward statement of one or two sentences that describes your experience and qualifications. This statement sets up the rest of the resume to be understood in that context. In other words, by laying down the overarching idea of your resume, employers will be getting a clear picture of you instead of piecing one together from the experiences you list. It also makes clear what aspect of your experience you are emphasizing. Your career goals may be combined into this section, as well.
Example: Solar installation and electrical wiring experience in Texas and Oklahoma. Seeking a position in project management or solar panel inspection.
“Experience” in a resume is a loose term. It doesn’t have to mean work that you were paid for. It could also include personal projects, internships, apprenticeships, volunteer work, etc. List items in reverse chronological order (most recent first), and only list experience that is directly relevant to the position or industry you are applying for. Putting down all your work experience will take up valuable space and distract employers. For example, you may have learned important customer service skills by working in a movie theater as a teenager, but your HVAC technician employer probably will not be very interested in that. Include the business/organization name, location, employment dates (month and year), and make bullet points (1-4) describing your main responsibilities, the scope of the workload, and major accomplishments (e.g., increased team productivity by 20%, promoted to senior technician position, always exceeded sales quota by an average of $500, etc.). Be as objective and concrete as possible.
Education, Training & Certification
In the Education and Training section, list the schools you attended, the school’s location, the dates (month and year) of attendance, and the final degree, concentration, or any special honors you received. Supplemental career training (say, a workshop on Commercial Air Conditioning or a seminar on Solar Installation Training) should also go into this section. Certification and licenses may be combined with this section if there are only a couple, particularly if they required extensive training to earn. Otherwise, they can be listed in a separate section.
Honors, Awards & Grants
List out special honors, scholarships, awards, and other notable achievements here. Include the issuing party and the date (year). Even if you’ve already listed academic honors in the Education section, you can list them again here.
Proofread your resume carefully. After it’s written, have a friend, counselor, or mentor go over it for content and spelling. They may have a few more ideas that you can take advantage of. For more tips on writing a skilled trades resume and general resume writing, see Acorn Career Counseling and Resume Writing.