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The Resumé (click here for a PDF version of this Resumé Guide)
What a resumé is…
A resumé according to the Webster Dictionary is a short account of one’s career and qualifications prepared typically by an applicant for a position. This is a narrative of your background and qualifications that should concisely reflect you the applicant. Think of a resumé as your business card, something that briefly illustrates and represents you while highlighting your skills, knowledge, and experience. This is your chance to market yourself to a potential employer.
What resumés are used for…
· Resumés represent your background and qualifications
· Resumés express your interest in a position
· Resumés potentially qualify an applicant for an interview
· Resumés are used as a screening process for potential candidates
· Resumés are a reference to a potential employer
How to get a resumé started…
-Consider your accomplishments, qualifications, skills,
and strengths related to the position of interest
-Evaluate your background, interests, goals, and types
of positions desired
2. Inventory your background
-List all areas of experience including past jobs, volunteer,
extra-curricular activities, internships, and externships.
-Identify abilities, accomplishments, proficiencies, and skills
related to your occupational direction and position
-Inventory related coursework, projects, research, publications,
certifications, presentations, professional organizations and
-Distill and articulate your transferable skills (general skills
acquired from college and experiences) and targeted skills
(skills relevant to your specific occupational direction).
Transferable Skills Targeted Skills
(i.e.: Business Major)
· Communication skills · Marketing skills
· Interpersonal skills · Sales skills
· Critical thinking skills · Accounting skills
· Problem-solving skills · Investment skills
Choosing a resumé format…
An employer typically receives a couple dozen to over a thousand resumés per position. An employer will scan a resumé for approximately 30-60 seconds. Your resumé should be presented very concisely and aesthetically.
Resumés have 3 general formats: Chronological, Functional, and Targeted
Chronological format: Narrates work experience, education, and background chronologically, most recent first. For the typical college undergraduate the Chronological resumé highlights one’s progression in experience and education. The Chronological resumé also illuminates students’ achievements as well as showing that a student has worked while in college thus emphasizing time management skills. Again, most college students use this format. Click to see example (Adobe Acrobat required).
Functional format: Organizes relevant experiences under skill areas such as: organizational skills, computer skills, leadership skills, etc. The Functional format is for career changers, people changing occupational direction, and applicants having specific skills relating to the position. This format is ideal for students who can demonstrate related skills but may have little work experience or inconsistent employment. Click to see example (Adobe Acrobat required).
Targeted Resume: This type of resumé targets the position specifically. The Targeted resumé is for those who have a strong understanding and competency in a specific occupational area. This resumé focuses on very related work experience, training, and educational background. Example at bottom.
What to include in your resumé…
IDENTIFICATION: Name, address, telephone number(s), email. Consider the timing of when you are using this resumé; you may consider using a current and permanent address. The identification, or heading, can be formatted in many ways according to your preference.
OBJECTIVE: A brief clear statement of your goal(s). The objective statement may summarize current specific goal(s) and/or include long term goals. The objective statement simply communicates the purpose of the resumé. Consider the following criteria when developing an
· position · organization · department
· industry · target population · skills/abilities
· desires · goals
Sample Objective statements:
-To obtain an entry level position as a staff accountant for a private accounting firm.
-To work as a marketing representative utilizing my communication, interpersonal, and marketing skills.
-To further my experience in the social service arena while utilizing and enhancing my experiential and educational background.
-To secure a position as a lower level elementary teacher.
-Seeking a rewarding parachurch professional position using my combined background in ministry and social service.
EDUCATION: Emphasizes educational accomplishments and degree(s). The education section needs to be chronological, most recent first. Arrange information in order of importance. Only include High School information that is significant or relevant to the objective. Needed information includes:
· complete name of college/university
· location (city & state)
· degree(s) (spell out-Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Art)
· major(s), minor(s), concentration(s), certification(s)
· month and year of graduation
· GPA (optional), list if 3.0 or over, can list major GPA and overall GPA
· academic honors, scholarships, achievements, licensure
· relevant coursework, special projects, research
EXPERIENCE: displays your overall work experience including full-time, part-time, summer, internships, externships, and volunteer. Experience may be divided into two categories on your resumé if warranted:
Experience Related Experience
· if you have general experience
· if you have specific related experience combined with non-related experience
· if you have limited experience
*A general rule is to keep experience more than 5-7 years off of the resumé unless it relates directly toward the objective.
When listing experience include (in order of importance):
· location (city/state)
· date(s) employed
· description of position and/or functions
Example: Admissions Representative
Nyack College, Nyack, NY
° Assisted admissions staff
° Provided customer service
° Liaison between Nyack College and community
OTHER CATEGORIES TO CONSIDER:
· Extra-Curricular (student/community activities)
· Co-curricular (academic accomplishments and involvement)
· Travel, languages
· Professional affiliations
· Personal (if position is looking for well-rounded candidates)
· Ministry statement (used in religiously affiliated positions)
Resumé Do’s and Don’ts…
· 1 page only (unless you have significant experience)
· Use 8 ½ x 11 bond paper (white or off-white are most accepted)
· Make sure your resumé is aesthetically pleasing
· Limit use of multiple fonts, font sizes, and graphics
· Proofread your resumé and have someone else proofread it
· Use short, clear, concise sentences throughout your resumé
· Use action words and emphasize skills
· Avoid using personal pronouns “I” as well as unnecessary wording
· Be consistent with your punctuation
· Include a cover letter
· Do not include personal information that may lead to biases
Adams Publishing Group (1994). The Adams Resumé Almanac. Adams Publishing, Inc.
Hoefflin, Nancy (1998). Choices and Challenges: Job Search Strategies For Liberal Arts Students. Indiana University.
Scannable Resumés/Electronic Resumés/On-line Resumés…
Many larger organizations are now requiring scannable resumés. Organizations and companies are using scanners to input resumés into a large database. Applicants must prepare resumés conducive to such as system. Some guidelines for scannable resumés include:
· white standard (8 ½ x 11) paper · limit amount of fonts and characters
· high quality print resolution · use standard font sizes (10-14)
· use standard fonts · avoid graphics, lines, boxes
· use key words, phrases, jargon · avoid column formats
· describe skills concretely · use standard formats
· be concise
Many applicants are now displaying resumés electronically (via email) and on-line (via personal homepage). These options allow infinite exposure to ones’ resumé. Do be mindful that the information displayed will have unlimited access to the public unless using a guarded resumé web book.
Kennedy, Morrow (1996). Electronic Job Search Revolution:How To Win With The New Technology That’s Reshaping Today’s Job Market. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Jandt, Nemnich (1995). Using The Internet In Your Job Search: An Easy Guide To Online Job Seeking And Career Information. Jist Works, Inc.
The Cover Letter
Click here for our Cover Letter Guide (PDF).