Résumé Writing Guide
An Effective Résumé
- Focuses on aspects of your background most relevant to your current job objective
- Addresses the employers needs and how he/she will benefit by hiring you
- Is a marketing tool; a way to spark an employer’s curiosity and interest in you
- Gets your foot in the door – Increases your likelihood of getting a job interview
How Do I Begin?
The résumé is an important, primary tool of a job search that should receive a significant amount of your time and attention, and may take several drafts to prepare competently. The best résumés are often written by people who have a focused career objective, and can effectively communicate to employers, the qualifications that demonstrate their suitability for that objective. It is important that you are aware of what skills, education, and personal qualities are needed for jobs that interest you, so you can decide if these requirements match your own abilities and needs. Many people will develop more than one résumé, each targeting different types of employment opportunities.
Which résumé format should I use?
There are 3 main résumé styles. Choose the one most effective in presenting your qualifications:
- Best for those with an impressive work history in their field of interest
- Effective for people staying within the same field or climbing the career ladder
- Useful for new college graduates
- Focuses on employment history and education
- Experience and education are listed in reverse chronological order
- Best for those who have limited work experience in their field of interest
- Appropriate for career changers or frequent job changers
- Effective for people returning to the work force with employment gaps
- Emphasizes skills developed through academic/volunteer/work experiences
- Downplays unrelated work experience, stressing transferable job skills
- Clusters one’s education, experience, and activities into skill categories
- Effective for people with widely varied experiences
- Suitable when experiences are limited or not clearly related to job objective
- Used by new college grads with relevant leadership/internship positions
- Combines the elements of the chronological and functional resume types
- Highlights marketable skills by summarizing strengths at the beginning
- Places vital experiences in reverse chronology, after qualifications summary
What are the parts of a résumé?
There is no one perfect way to write a résumé. The focus of your résumé will determine what contents to include and how to arrange the topic headings. The following guidelines will help you to prepare and present that information in a highly effective way.
Your name and contact information should be clearly visible at the top of the résumé. Also, your name and the page number should be placed at the top of any additional résumé pages.
- Present/Campus Address (if applicable): Institution, Street, City, State, Zip Code, Area Code & Phone #
- Permanent Address: Street, City, State, Zip Code, Area Code & Phone #
- Include appropriate e-mail address (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org)
The objective should be current, concise, focused on your career goals, and directed to as targeted an audience as possible. If possible, name a specific job title and employer.
Example: To obtain the position of Business Analyst at Motorola.
If you’re considering more broad or diverse job options, you may decide to omit the job objective statement. As an alternative, you may discuss your career interests in the accompanying cover letter or prepare more than one résumé using different objectives.
Place your education in the first section of the résumé, if it is related to your objective and has been obtained within the last few years. As your work experience increases, place education in a subsequent section. List in reverse chronological order, all college, university, and professional school data. (Don’t include high school)
- Degree, institution name & location (city, state), graduation date or date expected (month, year)
- Major, Minor (and concentration if appropriate), Cumulative GPA/GPA in major (optional) – list if 3.0 or higher
- Academic awards/honors/scholarships – Note if based on academic performance or faculty nomination
- Relevant current certifications/licenses (list dates) or program endorsements by professional associations
- All teaching certifications (include states, grade levels, subject, and special areas certified in)
- Relevant coursework outside of your major or unique to your major program
- Percentage of educational expenses personally financed, if significant (traditional age students only)
- Consider a section heading called “Educational Highlights” or “Special Projects” to describe any relevant research studies or projects developed through coursework.
Marketing Plan Development, Contemporary Chrysler-Dodge, Milford, NH
- Led group research of primary market to educate principal on the most effective approach toward product positioning and differentiation
- On-site review of existing sales and marketing program
Use this section to showcase responsibilities, skills, and accomplishments that qualify you for the job. Possible sources of relevant experiences to consider including are:
- Full-time, part-time, and summer jobs
- Internships and Co-ops
- Volunteer work
- Student teaching, practicums, and field work experience
- Research and teaching assistantships
- Study/work/travel abroad
- Student or community organizations – active participation & leadership roles
Include title held, name of organization, location (city, state, and country if not USA), and dates (month/yr)
List experiences in reverse chronological order within categories. You can use different headings to group related experiences together. Doing so, will allow you to prioritize your most relevant skills, by putting them in categories closer to the top of the resume, so they’re read first.
- PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
- WORK HISTORY
- RELATED EXPERIENCE
- VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE or LEADERSHIP ACTIVITIES
- STUDENT TEACHING, INTERNSHIP, or CO-OPERATIVE EXPERIENCE
- (career field) EXPERIENCE (ie. BUSINESS EXPERIENCE, DESIGN/MEDIA EXPERIENCE)
TIPS FOR PREPARING YOUR EXPERIENCE SECTION:
- Include a brief summary of your major job/volunteer responsibilities
- Use well known buzz words and industry jargon related to your career field
- Begin statements with action words (see enclosed list), using telegram rather than narrative writing style
Highlight accomplishments that illustrate your expertise, strengths, and contributions, which are most relevant to your objective. Ask yourself, “What challenges did I face?” and “What solutions did I find?” Use the following SIR formula approach:
S = the situation or challenge you faced
I = your input to resolve the situation or contribute to the organization
R = the quantitative or qualitative results which measure your achievements
For example, if you were an employer sorting through resumes, would you prefer to interview the candidate who merely listed duties?
- Maintain customer service. Responsible for deliveries to different departments.
– OR –
Would you select the applicant who qualified/quantified their abilities with specifics and proven results?
- Using the SIR approach
- Improved customer service by having supplies delivered to the desks of department representatives; decreased lost and misdirected orders by 60%.
You and your competition may have similar work and/or educational backgrounds. Emphasizing your unique successes and strengths will allow your resume to stand out above the rest.
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS / CIVIC ACTIVITIES / EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Employers seek applicants who are active “doers”, being able to balance many activities
- List significant memberships and leadership roles, including offices held (note if elected or appointed)
- Include title (if appropriate), name of organization/team/club, awards or honors, and dates involved
- Describe major responsibilities, achievements, and results
- COMPUTER SKILLS – Software applications, languages, hardware, operating systems, & Internet experience
- FOREIGN LANGUAGE SKILLS – Level of speaking, reading, & writing fluency (basic, intermediate, proficient)
- TECHNICAL or LABORATORY SKILLS – List those relevant to the particular job sought
OTHER CATEGORY OPTIONS
- QUALIFICATIONS SUMMARY / SKILLS PROFILE – Used to condense an extensive work history or highlight transferable skills, using brief keyword phrases to emphasize important qualifications.
- PRESENTATIONS / PUBLICATIONS / RESEARCH – List titles, dates, and biographical info
- WORKSHOPS & CONFERENCES ATTENDED – List dates, location, & title of relevant workshops
REFERENCES: Create a separate Addendum with names, contact information and title.
Résumé Do’s and Don’ts
- Make your résumé concise (1-2 pages preferred), neat, well spaced, and visually appealing
- Use consistent grammar structures and verb tenses (previous jobs/past tense, current jobs/present tense)
- When describing relevant experience, avoid the use of personal pronouns like “I”.
- Proofread your resume for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors that employers will view negatively
RÉSUMÉ ACTION VERBS BY SKILL CATEGORIES
|Management Skills||Communication Skills||Clerical Skills||Research Skills|
|Technical Skills||Teaching Skills||Financial Skills||Creative Skills||Helping Skills|