Resume Tips

So- you are looking for a job. You have an idea of what you want and where you want to look. But before you can convince an employer that you are qualified for the job, you have to know yourself first. The following section reviews some basic questions that we recommend you answer to help you make the most out of your resume.

Tip 1

    Know your Personal Traits- describe yourself in your own words. Think about how your personal traits may or may not match job descriptions you read about.

Ex. You feel you are friendly. A job that requires you to work with others will probably suit you.

Tip 2

    Define your Personal Values- describe the principles that you honor. Think about the values associated with various positions you are interested in.

Ex. You value independence. Does the position you are interested in foster or stifle your need for independence?

Tip 3

    Evaluate your Skills-identify your basic and specific skills that you have developed through your education, any work experience, or any volunteer opportunities. Consider how your skills relate to potential employers. Ask yourself how your skills transfer to areas of interest as well as other potential career opportunities.

Ex. You worked at a restaurant as a waiter. While there- you trained new hires. This skill demonstrates your supervisory experience as well as your ability to work with others. Working in a restaurant requires good customer service, the ability to think quickly, and be responsible for several tasks at once. These skills easily transfer to other positions.

Tip 4

    The Resume-There are various styles of resumes, including Reverse Chronological, Position-Oriented, Functional, and Combination. The Reverse Chronological is most frequently used and provides a logical and clear presentation. The following tips use the Reverse Chronological as the reference for format.



    Include your name, address, phone number, and email address. If you desire the employer to reach you at either your local or permanent address, you may put both. But if you do not intend to actually be at one of those addresses, leave it off the heading. If you include two addresses, always put your first choice for contact on the left and be consistent with any abbreviations.



    This focuses your resume and provides the employer a frame of reference. In one or two short sentences you should either make a statement that focuses on a specific position, a statement that focuses on a specific industry, or a statement that summarizes your qualifications. The objective should express your goals and career focus and may demonstrate how you could immediately benefit the organization. REMEMBER- your resume should support your objective by demonstrating how you are qualified for the position you are seeking. All the pieces of your resume should create a comprehensive picture that relates to your objective. Your resume should tell your story.



    Put your degree and major first (spelled out completely). Then the title of the institution, location, and date of graduation. Don't forget your GPA- they will ask if you don't have it! Be prepared to discuss it. High school is not needed- you have a college degree! If you have a minor, you may add this information as well. Selected courses are not necessary unless they demonstrate an emphasis outside of your major. The employer will assume the classes you have taken in your major. If you financed 50% or more of your college education through part-time work or scholarships, you may desire to add this to the section since it is quite an accomplishment. You may also list any honors related to your education (e.g. scholarships, fellowships, President's list…).



    Hopefully this represents the largest portion of your resume. List your job title first (be descriptive!), location, and dates (include month and year). Using action verbs in past tense, describe your duties. Emphasize your major responsibilities, the skills you developed, and the results of your work. These should be written in sentence fragments.


Optional Sections

    Includes Activities, Affiliations, Skills (may include computer/foreign language proficiency/fluency or certification/license), Honors/Awards, Interests, References. We recommend including a Skills section if you have knowledge that promotes your objective (today- computer skills and languages are valuable assets for any company!). We also recommend Activities/Affiliations if you were highly involved with specific organizations or activities that demonstrate support for your objective (e.g. President of the Business College Council demonstrates leadership and managerial skills). Honors/Awards sections may be used as well. Interests and References do not need to be printed on the resume; however, these may be discussed during an interview.


"The perfect resume is a written communication that clearly demonstrates your ability to produce results in an area of concern to selected employers, in a way that motivates them to meet you." --Tom Jackson

An effective resume is your key to getting an interview. Your resume allows you to present your qualifications in an interesting and efficient manner, focusing in on your skills, responsibilities, accomplishments, and leadership. The following sample is presented to you to help you put the previously presented tips into a clear, concise and easy to read manner. This sample is to be used as a reference, only you can determine the best format in order to reflect your strengths.

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Is the resume attractive, clean, and unwrinkled? Is it printed on good, light colored bond paper? Proper margins? Does it convey most important information, capturing attention in less than 30 seconds?
LENGTH & ORDER One page is preferred - two pages maximum. Could your resume present the same facts if it were shortened? Does it have good page placement, listing the most important information first in each section and on the page?
RELEVANCE Each item in the resume should highlight your abilities and qualifications in your chosen field. Has all necessary information been included? All unnecessary information eliminated?
Does your resume focus on specific information about your experience and accomplishments? Is the writing style clear, concise, and easy to read, with a logical flow of information?
Did you use action verbs and phrases to present yourself as a “doer”?
SKILLS Are your skills and achievements emphasized?
BOTTOM LINE Does your resume arouse interest in 5 - 15 seconds? IS IT ERROR FREE?


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Many businesses and organizations are using computer technology to scan resumes for information pertinent to evaluating candidate qualifications. The following tips will help you produce an effective scannable resume:

Focus on skills and facts, using key words for definition.
Use concrete words to describe your experiences.
Avoid vertical and horizontal lines, italics, underlines, graphics, shadows, and boxes.
Use standard typefaces, with a font size of 10 - 14 points.
Do not condense spacing between letters.
Use white or light-colored paper, printed on one side only.
Provide a laser printed original.
Do not fold or staple.

Camenson, B. (1997). Great jobs for liberal arts majors.Lincolnwood, IL: VGM Career Horizons.
Jackson, T. (1990). The Perfect Resume.New York, NY: Doubleday.
Resume preparation (1998). Gainesville, FL: The Career Resource Center.

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