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Resume Writing Tips/Sample Resumes

Resume Writing 101

 

 

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Overview 

A resume presents to an employer a summary of your educational credentials, your experience, your skills, and your extracurricular involvement. In many situations, your resume is the first impression an employer has of you. You want to make sure it is the strongest statement possible of your assets and reflects the "true" you. Professionalism and honesty are important.

Content

Your resume should provide the reader with a review of your general background information whether it is for a career position or internship. Do not include irrelevant details. They can be distractions and cast doubt on your ability to think critically, synthesize data, and organize valuable information. In short, if it does not directly show how you are qualified for the job, leave it out.

Three critical content areas are included in resumes: Identification, Education, and Work Experience. Optional categories include: Objective, Honors, Activities, Interests, and Military Data. At the close, you should indicate that references will be provided.

Identification

Name, address (including ZIP code), phone number, and email are mandatory. Omit information about marital status, height, and weight, as they are not qualifications for a job. It might be a good idea to indicate willingness to relocate, and date available for employment. This would best fit in a category labeled "Additional Information" at the end of the resume.

Objective

There are conflicting views on inclusion of an objective in the resume. Very often, an objective is either too broad to be meaningful or so specific that it narrows your options. If you can articulate a workable statement of your career goals (i.e., if there is a specific job type you seek), including an objective can work for you. An objective should state your short-term goals, your long term goals (if you know what they are), and it should focus on the skills or area of interest that you want to pursue.

From this type of objective the reader learns quickly of your career interests; however, the risk you run is turning the reader off if he/she has no vacancies in the specified field of interest. Two possible solutions to this dilemma:

  • Draft 2-3 versions of your resume, each with a different job objective, to reflect the types of jobs you are interested. The supporting data in the body of your resume may change to support differing objectives.
  • Leave your objective off your resume and describe your job goal in the cover letter, which accompanies the resume. In this way, you can tailor your objective to the specific position for which you are applying.

Sample Career Objectives

  • "Seeking an entry level position as a financial analyst."
  • "A position in the research field emphasizing analytical, and communication skills."
  • "A position focusing on financial and investment analysis. Areas of interest include corporate finance, merger and acquisitions, and securities sales."
  • "To obtain a computer programming position that would enable me to use problem-solving skills, knowledge of six programming languages, and the ability to adapt to organizational needs and challenges."
  • "Entry-level position in chemical research."
  • "An entry-level position in sales with opportunity for advancement."
  • "A position as First-Line Supervisor, with opportunity for managerial advancement."
  • "Mechanical engineering Co-op position for three alternating sessions within the automotive industry."
  • "To obtain an entry level position in a retail store with the opportunity to advance through a merchandising track."
  • "An entry level position in Human Resource Management, preferably in recruiting and employment."
  • "Seeking an internship in environmental conservation."

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Education

Information appears in reverse chronological order, with the most recent degree first. Include complete name of awarding institution, accurate title of degree and date received.

  • State honors awarded.
  • Include grade point average. (You may use overall or major G.P.A., whichever is higher.)
  • A statement of percentage of college expenses earned is optional.

Any publications or papers presented, professional licenses or attendance of professional development and training courses may also appear in this section. It is not necessary to include information about high school. However, if some items in your high school background show honors, leadership traits, and generally reinforce your qualifications, high school data can be appropriate.

Work Experience

What the reader looks for here is ability to assume responsibility, evidence of follow-through, and willingness to work hard. The widely accepted presentation is reverse chronological sequence (most recent position first).

For each position, the following information should appear:

Organization’s name (city, state)

  • Position held
  • Dates of employment
  • A description of your responsibilities (managerial, financial, organizational, etc.)
  • It is also important to include major accomplishments and initiatives for each position.

Highlight those abilities that relate to the position you are seeking. Keep in mind that your resume is a key opportunity to market your skills. (If you have different types of experience, such as: volunteer, military, or relevant experience, you can divide the category into two or more categories, for example, relevant and additional experience.) You should list your experience in reverse chronological order (most recent first) within each category. If you have held a wide variety of part-time jobs, highlight the most career related experiences.

Optional Data

It may be advantageous to identify specific background, professional association memberships, and significant civic activities not previously mentioned if they serve to strengthen your image as a job candidate. For example, you may include categories, such as:

  • Honors (list any honors received, ex. Dean's List)
  • Activities which you have been involved (especially leadership positions) and
  • Interests (any activity outside the university). You may also combine these into categories into Activities and Interests
  • A computer skills category is highly recommended for you to include

References

It is not necessary to list names and addresses of references. Simply state "Available upon request" or "Furnished on request." Indication that references will be provided offers a source of feedback. If an employer asks for references after receiving your resume, you should assume the organization is interested in taking a serious look at you.

Style

Sentences need not be complete. Use short phrases that highlight your skills using action verbs. Do not write in the first person, singular case ("I"). Be consistent when using periods – either don’t use them at all or always use them. Use past tense action verbs for past work experience and present tense action verbs for current work experience.

Paper

Use 8 1/2 x 11" bond type paper. A good typed copy or printed copy will be copied easily onto resume paper at local printing facilities. White or buff is the best choice of paper color, because it can be faxed, copied or scanned with out discoloring the copy.

Margins

Keep margins even, using an appropriate balance of white space to printed word. About 30% white space is considered a good balance.

Length

Do not exceed one (1) page unless you have had rather significant work experience. Even with experience, try to work within 1-2 pages. Keep in mind the fact that administrators and executives rarely read beyond the first page or two of most employment correspondence. Thus, if work experience is your "strong suit," you might present information on experience first on your resume, followed by educational information. The key to the resume format is to keep it organized, consistent, neat, and easy to read.

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Suggestions

  1. Review categories - jot down all pertinent data for each category.
  2. Rough out the first draft of your resume then put aside for a day or two.
  3. Edit initial draft; get feedback from a neutral party. Make sure the University Career Center staff provide feedback on one of your drafts. (Resume critiques are available at the University Career Center during our drop-in hours.)
  4. Make final changes.
  5. Type or put final copy on the data processing system of your choice. (*Microsoft Word  is recommended and will upload to NinerJobNet.)
  6. Have two people proof for misspellings or typographical errors.
  7. Take to a printing facility to have copies made or use a laser printer (as needed). Note: Laser printers are available in the campus computer labs.

Format

Neatness and an appealing layout counts. Your goal is to impress the reader with the content of your resume, but appearance is the first thing that is noticed and makes a lasting impression. You will distract the reader with irregular margins, material that is out-of-balance, cluttered layout, or typographical and spelling errors.

We recommend using Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word will upload to NinerJobNet, which is the resume package used in the University Career Center. NinerJobNet is required for all Experiential Learning and On-Campus Recruiting Programs.

What is NinerJobNet

NinerJobNet is the University Career Center’s online database offering students and alumni the ability to:

  • register with the University Career Center, allowing access to on-campus interviewing, full-time, part-time, internship, and co-op opportunities
  • participate in Resume Referral to employers with current vacancies
  • participate in Experiential Learning opportunities.

NinerJobNet Orientation Sessions:

In order to register with NinerJobNet, you must attend an orientation session or view the online tutorial. 

What is the cost and how is it established?

There is no student cost for NinerJobNet.

Can my friend and I share the same NinerJobNet software?

Sorry, no. The software is copy-protected when you enter your 800 number. Your friend could change your registration codes and resume information to reflect his or her job preferences and experience but yours would be completely erased in the process. Moreover, when we would upload your friend’s information into our database, the information would automatically be attached to your 800 number. So, NinerJobNet software cannot be shared.

The system allows the University Career Center to make fast, direct referrals to employers who request information on potential candidates in either electronic or hard copy format. Resume referral is the fastest growing service in career centers across the country since on-campus recruiting is decreasing. The candidate database can be searched by multiple fields including major, geographical preferences, grade point average, technical skills, foreign languages skills, and work experience. Employers can receive print or online resumes. Nationally, over 100 very competitive institutions of higher education use this program to more efficiently and effectively help their students and graduates gain connections to employers. The University Career Center sent over 1700 resumes to over 130 employers last year.

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In Conclusion 

Language used in a resume must be persuasive and convincing. Because you must streamline your presentation, eliminating unnecessary information, wording used must be as descriptive as possible. It is important that you paint a picture for the person reading your resume. Using the action words suggested above will assist in the development of concise, tight paragraphs unhampered by space-robbing adjectives and adverbs. Developing a resume challenges your narrative writing style. Remember! The goal of your resume is professional impact.

Sample Resumes

Job Choices (brought to you by the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the University Career Center)

Includes sample resumes for different industries

Additional Sample Resumes
Sample Full-Time Resume
Sample IT/Computer Science resume

Resume Writing Tips and Format

Resume Writing Handout

What Should You Include on Your Resume?

In developing your resume, you will need to think about what you want to do, what image you wish to project and how your past experiences relate to your current aspirations. Once you have addressed these issues, assembling your thoughts on paper is relatively easy.

University Career Center Career Resource Library and Videos on Resume Writing

Career Center Library

The Career Resource Collection (Career Library) has materials especially designed to assist students in all stages of the career decision making process. From general information to specific career and company information, the Collection is arranged in a "user-friendly" way. Annually, the Collection also receives over 7,000 co-op, internship and full-time position descriptions and current job openings.

Open Resume Critique Sessions with University Career Center Staff

Resume Critiques

Resume Critique sessions are held in the University Career Center at scheduled times throughout the academic year. Resumes will be critiqued by a professional from the University Career Center staff on a first-come-first-served basis.

Sample Cover Letters

Job Choices (brought to you by the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the University Career Center)

Includes sample cover letters for different industries

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NinerJobNet

Upcoming NinerJobNet Orientations

 

Online NinerJobNet Orientation


Password? Register

Upcoming Events

04/23/2014 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
04/23/2014 - 2:00pm - 2:45pm