What Is a Resume?
Information relevant to why you are suited to a particular job or career area.
Your ticket to the employment interview. The main purpose of a resume is to entice an employer to call you in for an interview.
Who Needs One?
Everyone should have a current resume, even those who are currently happily employed. You may hear about the perfect job opening or about an excellent possibility for the future, and need to deliver a resume to someone day. Having a well thought out current resume on hand at all times can save you a lot of anxiety, and may save you a missed opportunity.
Can I Get Some Help?
Yes! The professionally trained staff in the Career Center will assist you as you write your resume and will give you feedback on your completed resume. Just call and schedule an appointment.
There is no charge to students for resume help. Non-student fee is $20.00.
The Center also has tools which can help you discover your best transferable skills for a functional resume, as well as many outstanding books on resume and cover letter writing.
Getting Your Information Together
This is a time-consuming process the first time you do it. But, if you keep an ongoing resume file, revising your resume will be much simpler and quicker the next time you do it. Add to your file each time you think of something new you want to include. Also slip in the information on new jobs, volunteer experiences, classes, skills etc. as you acquire them.
Get out a pad and paper and describe the following in as much detail as possible. Don't worry about polishing now; this is not even a draft. This is your first attempt at "clumping" together your "evidence." (If you're not sure of some of it, ask for assistance in the Career Center - We can help!)
- What kind of job are you looking for?
- What are your 4 or 5 best skills and how do they relate to the job you're seeking?
- What school(s) did you go to or what training have you received? When did you graduate? Did you get a diploma, G.E.D., degree (in what)?
- What jobs have you had? What job title best describes what you did (this may be different than what your actual job title was)? What are the names and addresses of the companies you worked for? What years did you work there (e.g. 1995-1996)? Describe in detail what you did in each job.
- What did you do particularly well in your past jobs or other experiences? Describe.
- How do the things you've done prove that your best skills are your best skills?
- List any tools, equipment, methods or procedures that you're familiar with.
- List any job related professional or civic organizations to which you belong.
- List any awards, honors, or professional recognition you have received.
- List special accomplishments such as publications, foreign language ability, special licenses or talents that may apply to the job you're seeking.
- Gather reference information, but put it on a separate reference sheet. Try to get letters of recommendation from at least three individuals who would have an idea of how well you might perform the duties of the type of job you're applying for.
Now you're ready to begin putting some of this together in resume form!
The Most Important Tips
Write it yourself. You want it to be an accurate reflection of you, not of someone else.
List the most important information first. (e.g. If your education is more relevant to the job you're seeking than your employment history, then list education before employment history.) You prioritize the order throughout your resume, depending on what is most important.
Only include relevant information. Leave off anything that doesn't apply to the kind of job you're seeking.
Don't put the word resume at the top.
Do not abbreviate.
Put your address and phone number with area code at the top.
Use complete formal names; avoid nicknames.
Include an objective only if you have a clear idea of your objectives. Otherwise leave it off.
Begin job description sentences with powerful action verbs. (See attached list). List specific job responsibilities and specific accomplishments. For resume scanning equipment, keywords and nouns have become most important (see book resources in the Career Center).
Describe your areas of expertise. Stress your accomplishments. Don't be humble. If your grade point average is good, include it.
Don't list the same job/employer more than once.
Salaries should never appear on a resume.
Avoid negatives of any kind.
Don't include interests or hobbies, unless they apply.
Don't include personal information such as sex, race, cultural background, religion, age, or disability.
Never mail a resume to an employer without a cover letter. The Career Center has resources to help you write a cover letter.
Do not exceed 2 pages for the main body of the resume. See if you can fit it all on one page.
Pay careful attention to how it looks. Appearance does matter, so it must be error free, typed and copied professionally.
If you get advice from different sources, you will get different information. You will have to make up your own mind and may break any rules if doing so makes your resume better. When you're finished you should feel very proud of the person represented in your resume.
Gail's 191 Action Verbs
Resume Guide by Gail K. Laferriere, Director of Career Services
Damn Good Resumes
Job Hunter’s Bible