Resumes 101 Video
Table of Contents
- What is a Resume?
- Effective Resumes
- Important Tips
- Getting Started
- The Anatomy of a Resume
- Resources for Writing
- Evaluating Your Resume
What is a Resume?
A resume is a statement of who you are and how you can contribute: your abilities, your accomplishments, your future capabilities. An effective resume will make a prospective employer want to meet you in person to discuss your potential value to her or his organization. A resume is created to land you an interview, not a job.
- Immediately impress the reader
- Be concise—using short phrases
- Be visually appealing; easy to read
- Have a clear skills profile reflecting primary skills mentioned in job posting
- Be targeted to the applied-for position
- Communicate job-related abilities
- Emphasize your accomplishments
- Focus on the needs of the employer
- Demonstrate increased responsibility
- Distinguish you from other applicants
They should not:
- Have a vague or generic objective
- Be poorly organized
- Contain misspellings or typographical errors
- Use lengthy sentences or personal pronouns
- Misrepresent your background or qualifications
- Contain irrelevant information Omit critical information (dates, education, etc.)
- Require too much interpretation
Always accompany the resume with a cover letter and reference sheet personalized to each individual employer. (This includes resumes being sent electronically.) Headings and font should be consistent on all three. Information about cover letters is included in this packet.
Recognize that on average, the employer must find something key about you within a 30 second scan of your resume to keep you in the running for an interview.
Keep in mind that resumes are subjective based on who is reviewing them. Recognize that ultimately YOU will need to decide what should be included and have a specific reason for including that information.
Writing a quality and effective resume is a time-consuming process requiring many revisions. If you plan to write your resume in one sitting, chances are your brief investment will show in the end product. Be encouraged that the time you take now to write a powerful resume will allow you to use that resume for years to come with minimal additions and adjustments of information.
Where do I begin? Brainstorm! Write down everything you can think of—whether you believe it is relevant to the position you are applying for or not. (High school information is typically left off of the resume unless there is something unique and relevant to mention.) You will edit and tailor the resume later. Take time to brainstorm, maybe over a course of a few days—do not try it all in one sitting.
The Anatomy of a Resume
Use a standard font for body of resume, between 10-12 font size, and 18-24 font size for name. Do not use multiple fonts or decorative fonts—keep it professional. Margins can be from 1⁄2 inch to 1 inch, top to bottom and left to right. Avoid too much white space.
This should include your:
- Name: This should be the most prominent piece of your resume. Be sure to have it in a larger
font size (18-24) at the top of the page. Avoid nicknames.
- Address: If you can be reached at more than one location during your job search, you may want
to list both sets of contact information.
- Phone Number: Be sure to identify type of phone (cell, home, or office). Use a professional
- Email Address: Many employers will communicate via email. Be sure that your email address is
professional and permanent (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org). Be sure to give an email
address that you check frequently.
- LinkedIn URL: Create a LinkedIn profile (online resume and networking source). Then, edit your
URL to include your first and last name. Example: http://www.linkedin.com/in/johndoe. Be sure to keep your activity up to date and thorough.
Use the same heading design and paper for your resume, cover letter and reference sheet.
Keep it focused, concise, and specific so it’s written in a paragraph form of 3-4 sentences or bulleted highlights that reveal your specific areas of expertise. The profile should include your key strengths, your passion/experience and your goal/focus. Include key words from the job listing and illustrate how your experience and skills meet the employer’s needs. Your profile section will frequently be rewritten based on the particular position for which you are applying. In some cases, a profile is not needed.
Your most recent, full-time role has been that of a student, so list your education first. Be sure to include:
- Name and location of each institution where a degree was earned
- Degree earned or earning, with your major(s) and minor(s) and (if applicable) additional or related
- Graduation date and GPA if above 3.3
- Academic honors (dean’s list, cum laude, etc)
Potential Subsections to Add to Education:
- Study abroad experience
- Coursework relevant to the position or graduate school program
- Honors (Honors can be a subsection of education or, it can be its own section. The location of the honors section depends on the number and/or type of honors and their relevancy to the position sought.)
Work Experience/Related Experience
Choosing a format:
This is the main body of your resume. The two most standard formats are chronological and functional. [See sample resumes later in packet for examples]
- Chronological: List experience in reverse chronological order (most recent first). It is very effective for highlighting work, internship and/or volunteer history, especially if upward movement is evident. This format is most commonly used by recent college graduates.
- Functional: Organizes and highlights your skill set by using section headings to divide experience into skill categories. This style is most beneficial for individuals who do not have much work experience, are changing careers, or are graduates looking for a job that is not directly related to their major.
Entering the basics:
Briefly give the employer an overview of work you have done that has developed the skills you want to highlight. Make sure to include:
- Title of position
- Name of organization
- Location of work (city, state)
- Dates of employment (month/year or season/year)
- Description of your work responsibilities with emphasis on specific skills and achievements
Describing the work/experience:
Using bullet points is an effective strategy for describing your experience. Beginning each bullet point with a past tense action verb will focus on your skills. (Present tense verbs should only be used for actions that you are doing presently.) Use the action verb list to emphasize your abilities and accomplishments. Your resume should sound positive and confident. Avoid large blocks of text.
Add-Ons to the Basic Anatomy of a Resume
Choose from the following to strengthen and compliment the core of your resume. Include items that most directly relate to the position for which you are applying.
- Leadership/Honors/Community Involvement: Include professional, school, and community activities. Stress leadership roles, accomplishments, and awards received. Be sure to include any cross-cultural and service experiences that did not fit in the work experience section.
- Special Skills/Certifications: Note if you have computer skills or specialized training in the field you are applying for. Be sure to include any language skills or special licenses/certifications.
Aim for a ONE PAGE resume! It is preferred by employers for recent graduates.
Resources for writing
Developing a Bullet Point
To develop a bullet point, write an action-packed, results-oriented statement!
- action word
- what/how many/for who
- Maintained twelve months of reconciled records for Asbury Young Republican club resulting in
balanced year-end budget.
Evaluating Your Resume
Check, Check, and Re-Check
Run a spell check on your computer before anyone sees your resume—but don’t rely only on spell check. You may find yourself involved in lots of “communist” activities instead of lots of “community” activities! Take your resume to the writing lab for extra spell check assistance. Ask your career counselor, friends, family, or professors to proofread. The more people who see your resume, the more likely that misspelled words and awkward phrases will be identified.
Evaluate your resume with the following questions:
- Is the page too busy with different fonts, lines, sizes, indents, or boxes?
- Is the information well-spaced?
- Is there too much “white space”? Not enough?
- Is important information quick and easy to find?
- Do all entries highlight a capability or accomplishment?
- Is your name, address, phone number, and email complete, correct, and easy to locate?
- Are all your verb tenses consistent (all past tense)?
- Is repetition of words or phrases kept to a minimum?
- Are capitalization, punctuation, and date formats consistent?
- Did you avoid personal pronouns (e.g., I) and articles (e.g., a, an, the)?
- Do you feel confident about your resume?
The following tips will give your resume a professional edge:
- Tailor your resume and cover letter to each position you are applying for. Stress the experiences that are most relevant to that specific position.
- Use 8 1/2 x 11-inch lightly colored bond paper. This is also known as “resume paper” and is heavier than regular paper (if mailing: use for resume, cover letter, and reference page).
- Use matching heading for your resume, cover letter, and reference page.
- Use a standard font size for body of resume between 10-12 points, 18-24 points for name.
- Do not use multiple fonts or decorative fonts. It gives your resume a cluttered look.
- Try to avoid using italics, script, and underlined words.
- If mailing your materials, send your resume and cover letter in a large envelope to avoid folding your materials. Do not fold or staple your resume and cover letter.