Resumes

A resume is...

  • A marketing tool for your job and internship search.
  • An individually designed document tailored to each application.
  • A highlight of your background, experience, and skills.
  • Used by employers as a screening device.
  • Just one piece of the job search process.

The first draft of your resume is important because it lays the foundation for a more polished version of your resume later.

What’s on a Resume?

  • Identifying Information: Includes name, address (permanent and temporary), telephone and e-mail. If you have an e-portfolio, professional blog or LinkedIn profile, you may choose to include that information as well. 
  • Objective: Objective statements are optional, but if you choose to include one, it should be a short, specific statement that includes position, industry and relevant skills.
  • Education: In reverse-chronological order, this section includes the schools you have attended, dates of graduation or dates of attendance, as well as degrees sought or completed. Other information that might be included: related coursework, scholarships and honors, percentage of college expenses earned by you and special projects (e.g. research projects, teaching).
  • Experience: This section includes work, volunteering, extracurricular activities, research or field experiences. Names and locations of employers and dates of employment should be included. Descriptions should detail level of responsibility, breadth of exposure and acquired skills. Possible headings include: Related, Leadership, Volunteer Experience, Involvement, Research or Relevant Course Projects and Skills. Focus on what you want employers to notice first—they will read top to bottom, so make sure the sections most relevant come at the top of the page after education.

Language

Resume language should be professional, succinct and expressive. Make the reader pay attention by using strong action verbs.

  • Use the minimum number of words necessary to convey meaning. 
  • Use precise action verbs to describe accomplishments and responsibilities (i.e., “Managed a group of 4 members to…” instead of “Responsible for managing a group of 4…”) 
  • Avoid personal pronouns, but write in the first person.
  • Leave out articles: a, an, the. Use short sentences or phrases.
  • Use parallel grammatical structures and consistent verb tenses. 

Does Your Resume…

  • Include only relevant information?
  • Use strong action verbs?
  • Stress skills and accomplishments over duties?
  • Make qualifications evident?
  • Include specific info: figures, dates, numbers?
  • Support your purpose/objective?

Master Resume

Every resume you send out should be unique and particular to the job you’re applying for, but you won’t be writing each of your resumes from scratch. Your "master" resume will serve as a digest for all of your industry-specific resumes, and you can further develop these by modifying or rearranging elements for specific jobs.

Content for a master resume can include:

  • Education
  • Honors/Awards
  • Leadership
  • Professional Development
  • Presentations
  • Skills
  • Research
  • Internships
  • Volunteer
  • Activities
  • Certifications
  • Coursework
  • Work Experience
  • Shadowing/Externships
  • Abroad/International Experience
  • Publications

Tailored Resume

You need a tailored version of your resume for every job application. 

Making customized resumes does two important things. 

  1. It makes you look like a more appealing and relevant candidate. 
  2. It shows your employer that you are serious about applying and that you didn't simply send your generalized resume out to every employer you could find.

Start by asking yourself what types of jobs you’re applying for. Adjust each one with slightly different information according to the job description. You might include the same work histories and skills, but rearrange them so that the most relevant information shows up higher in the resume for each job type. After you’ve come up with several of these “themed” resumes, you can use them for the most relevant job applications.


Resume Formatting

DO's

Recruiters want to see that:

  • You have the basic skills that are required and more
  • You have gone above and beyond your job, extracurricular, or volunteer duties in the past
  • You demonstrated pride in your experiences and put together a professional resume
  • You are able to write a professionally concise description for your experiences that reflect your skills

DON'T's

Recruiters do not want to see:

  • Your entire life story
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cover a skill or experience that you don't have
  • Unrelated work experience and hobbies
  • Unnecessarily lengthy explanations 

Resume Styles

Chronological

A chronological style is usually recommended for college students. In a chronological resume, items are arranged in reverse-chronological order within topic areas (education,experience, etc.). If only some of your experience is relevant, you can divide it into two blocks: “Related Experience” (or “Teaching Experience”, for example) and “Additional Experience.”

Functional

A functional style stresses skills and abilities regardless of where and when they were developed or demonstrated. A resume in this format is not arranged chronologically. For more information about resume styles, visit our office in Bryant Hall. 

Bullet vs. Paragraph

The bullet format presents information in a concise, easy to follow manner; however, because each description is on a separate line, the page fills up quickly. In contrast, the paragraph format allows for more text on the page, but can come across as dense and overwhelming, and thus lose the interest of the reader. Whether using bullet or paragraph format, make sure to: 

  • Use strong action verbs.
  • Use the minimum number of words to convey meaning.
  • List your most impressive descriptions/skills first within each entry. 

Resume Layout

The layout of your resume is very important. It must be visually attractive, well organized and easy to read.
Resume tips include:

Formatting

  • Avoid resume templates—the automatic formatting will limit your options. Find a resume you like and copy its style.
  • Avoid large blocks of text (i.e. more than 10 lines).
  • Keep it to 1 page. As a general rule, one page is the recommended length. This may vary if you have extensive experience.
  • Keep margins wide (no smaller than 0.5”) and even.

Fonts

  • Fonts are important.
  • Only use one font type.
  • Use standard, readable fonts like Helvetica, Bookman, Arial, and Times New Roman.
  • Keep font size within 10-14 points.
  • Do not use script fonts or underline. Boldface and italics are better ways to highlight something.
  • Don’t compress the space between letters; you want your resume to be readable!

Visuals

  • Avoid color, graphics, and shading.
  • If you use lines, put at least 1/4 inch of white space around them.

Printing

  • Always send originals on light-colored 8 1/2" x 11"paper.
  • Don’t fold or staple your resume.

Your Skills & Interests

A clear understanding of your values, interests, and skills will help identify components that you will want to highlight on your resume.

Transferable Skills

Identify the transferable skills below that apply to you and write down specific examples of when, where, and how you used the skill.

Communication

The skillful expression, transmission and interpretation of knowledge and ideas.

  • Speaking effectively
  • Perceiving nonverbal messages
  • Writing concisely
  • Persuading
  • Listening attentively
  • Reporting information
  • Expressing ideas
  • Describing feelings
  • Facilitating group discussion
  • Negotiating
  • Providing appropriate feedback
  • Editing

Research & Planning

The search for specific knowledge and the ability to conceptualize future needs and solutions for meeting those needs.

  • Forecasting, predicting    
  • Solving problems    
  • Creating ideas
  • Setting goals    
  • Identifying problems    
  • Extracting important information
  • Imagining alternatives    
  • Defining needs    
  • Identifying resources
  • Analyzing    
  • Gathering information    
  • Developing evaluation strategies

Human Relations

The use of interpersonal skills for resolving conflict, relating to and helping people.

  • Forecasting, predicting    
  • Solving problems    
  • Creating ideas
  • Setting goals    
  • Identifying problems    
  • Extracting important information
  • Imagining alternatives    
  • Defining needs    
  • Identifying resources
  • Analyzing    
  • Gathering information    
  • Developing evaluation strategies

Organization, Management & Leadership

The ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals.

  • Forecasting, predicting    
  • Solving problems    
  • Creating ideas
  • Setting goals    
  • Identifying problems    
  • Extracting important information
  • Imagining alternatives    
  • Defining needs    
  • Identifying resources
  • Analyzing    
  • Gathering information    
  • Developing evaluation strategies

Work Survival

The day-to-day skills that assist in promoting effective production and work satisfaction.

  • Forecasting, predicting    
  • Solving problems    
  • Creating ideas
  • Setting goals    
  • Identifying problems    
  • Extracting important information
  • Imagining alternatives    
  • Defining needs    
  • Identifying resources
  • Analyzing    
  • Gathering information   
  • Developing evaluation strategies

It's helpful to make a list of all of your high school and college experiences. Consider the following points for each experience:

  • The tasks, duties, and responsibilities involved 
  • Skills, knowledge, and training required
  • The parts I liked best/least
  • The areas in which I excelled
  • My biggest challenges 
  • Skills I developed as a result of the experience
  • Interests I developed as a result of the experience

After completing this exercise for multiple experiences, do any patterns emerge? If so, how can these inform your decision making as you continue to explore career choices?

More to Explore

Choose your major, develop your resume, learn how to interview with top companies, and more. 

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Explore: 1515 2nd Floor 1-5p M-F

 

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