Your college or university has probably already given you some guidance on what a resume should look like—or at the very least, maybe Microsoft Word has suggested a template for you. Although there is no one way to draft a resume, for the politically-oriented woman there is a best way. I’ll be addressing key resume components as well as debunking resume myths in this mini-series of resume tips for the politically career-driven woman. So, whether you’re graduating high school, currently in college, a recent college grad, or a career veteran looking to shake things up on the political scene, you’ll find that these tips are not simply my ideas of what I think works, but they’re each tried and true and proven to be successful.

1) Remember what a resume is

Sometimes, we get away from what the purpose of a resume is. Remember that your resume is the tool you use to get an interview. Bear this in mind as you draft your resume. Keep the job description in mind as you draft your resume. Be sure you’re tailoring your resume to the job you’re applying for.

2)  The header

The header should be two lines—max. Line #1 should be your first and last name centered, and line #2 should have all of your contact information, phone number, email, and address. I’ve chosen to format mine like this:

(###) ###-#### • • Street Name, City, State, Zip

3) Education

If you’re currently in school or a recent graduate, be sure to list your education early in your resume. List your college/university and major left-aligned, two lines are fine, and your graduation month/year right-aligned. If you haven’t yet graduated, no worries. Just list your anticipated graduation date instead. It should look something like this:

University Name May, 2021

A., Really Cool Major  

4) Relevant experience

I love this part! Even if you feel you have zero work experience, any leadership roles, volunteer roles, or unpaid positions can go here, along with paid work positions. For example, if you’re involved with College Republicans, list that here. Or, that summer job where you worked at Chick-fil-A or worked as a lifeguard, that goes here. To all of you wonderful campaign volunteers who knocked doors, made phone calls, and staked signs, put all of that here too!

Once you start to think with the mindset of “relevant experience” versus “work experience,” you’ll find that you really have a lot more to offer. Plus, you’ll find your resume really filling up.

Note: Let yourself get carried away here. We’ll address resume length later on.

5) Skills & certifications

Microsoft Office programs are not skills. Don’t waste precious space on your resume with things like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Instead, only list uncommon skill sets such as, language fluency, certifications (i.e. Microsoft Certified Professional), coding and programming skills (i.e. Python), or design software (i.e. InDesign, Adobe Illustrator).

You have a unique set of skills, talents, and experiences that set you apart from the crowd. All you have to do now is put it down on paper to snag that interview. These first five tips should get you started in obtaining that political career you’ve always dreamed of.