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.
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.
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.
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:
Sample Career Objectives
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.
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.
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)
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Keep margins even, using an appropriate balance of white space to printed word. About 30% white space is considered a good balance.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Resume Writing Tips and Format
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
Open Resume Critique Sessions with University Career Center Staff
Sample Cover Letters