Resume Resources

A good resume can't get you a job; however, a bad resume can prevent you from getting your foot in the door. We believe the best way to explain the new "rules" of resume writing is to explain what you should and shouldn't do.

Fundamentals of Resume Writing

A resume summarizes your accomplishments, your education, and your work experience, and should reflect your strengths. Effective resumes control, to a great extent, the salary offers you receive, the number of interviews you get, and the quality of job offers that you generate. Remember that the purpose of a resume is to: 1) get an interview; 2) structure the interview process; 3) remind the interviewer of you after you're gone; and 4) provide a basis for justifying the hiring decision to others. The following are some helpful tips to writing a good, effective resume.

It is essential that a potential employer can reach you. This section should include your name, address, phone number(s), and e-mail address. Remember that when you're searching for employment your telephone's answering service should have an outgoing message that is tactful and professional. Remember to never include the following categories on your resume:
  • Height, weight, age, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, sex, race, health, or social security number
  • Reasons for leaving previous job(s)
  • Picture of yourself
  • Salary Information
  • References
  • The title "Resume"
  • Religion, church affiliations, political affiliations
Job Objective
There is no consensus among resume experts about objectives. It is a matter of individual choice, BUT about 40 percent of employers say they want to see an objective. If you decide to include an objective remember the following factors:
  • An objective can help sharpen the focus of your resume.
  • If you use an objective, make it specific. Vague, all-purpose objectives defeat the purpose.
  • Ideally, include title, field, or industry of position you are seeking.
  • DO NOT include what you are expecting from the company. Always tell what you can do for the company; not what the company can do for you.
  • DO NOT ask for an entry-level position.
  • Remember that your objective should explain the kind of work you want to do and should be no longer than two to four typed lines.
  • If you do not use an objective, state your objective in your cover letter.
Key Accomplishments
Some resume experts are suggesting adding a section that highlights your key accomplishments and achievements. This section should summarize your major accomplishments.
For new college graduates, this should be the next entry. For others with work experience, this section should follow the work history section. This section should include school(s) attended (including years of attendance), majors/minors, degrees, and honors and awards received. ALWAYS list name of your degree FIRST. Generally, omit high school education from your resume, for it is normally expected that you have a high school education. If you insist on including your high school, at least list your college education first!
Work History
  • This section should be in bullet format, in reverse chronological order and should include company name, your job title, dates of employment, and major accomplishments.
  • If you don't have a lot of career-related job experience, consider using transferable skills to better highlight your work experience.
  • Job subheadings should include name of company, city, and state (DO NOT include street addresses, names of supervisors, contact telephone numbers, or other extraneous data);
  • Generally, list the job title first unless you are trying to call attention to the name of prominent companies for which you've worked.
  • When listing jobs DO NOT use phrases such as "Responsible for . . .," "Duties included . . .," and "Responsibilities included . . ." When you use these phrases, you are giving job descriptions instead of describing the skills you used, the accomplishments you made, and the initiative you took.
  • If you have no practical work experience, identify transferable/applicable skills from these areas:
    • Internships
    • Summer jobs
    • Campus jobs (work study)
    • Entrepreneurial/self-employed jobs
    • Temporary work
    • Volunteer Work: school, church, club, not-for-profit organizations
    • Research papers/projects
    • Certification courses
    • Campus activity positions
    • Fraternity/sorority/social club positions
    • Extracurricular or sports leadership positions
You don't absolutely have to have an one page resume, especially if you have an extensive work history. However, your resume shouldn't be more than two pages without a good reason. Your resume should be long enough to establish what you have to offer, yet short enough to entice the reader to want to know more. The most important points should be introduced on the first page if your resume is more than one page. If the material on the second page of your resume fills less than half a page, it may be better to condense it to one page. Your resume font size should be no smaller than 10 point and no larger than 12 point. Eleven point type is ideal. Only include relevant information on your resume.

Miscellaneous Tips

When preparing a resume there are some unbreakable rules that must be adhered to. The absolute unbreakable rules include:

  • No typing errors
  • No misspellings
  • Do not lie
  • Do not include any negative information
Try to set yourself apart from other candidates by: 1) knowing and identifying what you're worth to an employer; 2) identifying what uniquely qualifies you for the work you want; and 3) positioning yourself as a company asset with real capital value.

Consider having more than one version of your resume if you are applying for jobs that are rather different from each other. For instance, if you are a computer technician but are willing to work temporarily as a secretary during a job transition, you may want to create two resume versions, one that will be tailored to your computer background and one tailored to your secretarial background.

References should always be listed on a separate page with the same name and address headings that are listed on your resume. Do not submit references with your resume unless requested. However, you can give your references to an employer at the end of an interview if you are interested in the position.

List a minimum of three business references. These people should have direct knowledge of your daily job performance. Be sure to get your references approval first and provide them with a copy of your resume. List contact's name, title, company, complete address, and phone number with area code.

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