Because your resume is perhaps the most important part of your job search efforts, there are some points to be considered in making this tool as effective as possible. Be prepared to invest the time required to polish and update your resume. Other resume writing resources are available in the University Career Services Resource Library.
All information on your resume must be accurate and up to date. By sending or posting your resume, you are agreeing that all information disclosed is accurate and true.
THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS WILL HOPEFULLY ASSIST YOU IN PREPARING YOUR RESUME:
Why have a resume?: Your resume is your greatest tool in acquiring an interview. Everyone needs a powerful resume to serve 2 main purposes:
- To present a snapshot of you when not present
- To help you get an interview.
Style The three styles of resumes are chronological, functional and a combination of the two. The chronological resume lists jobs and duties sequentially beginning with the current or most recent position. This style focuses on your growth in a specific profession. The functional resume emphasizes professional skills. The combination of the two styles incorporates the strengths of both the chronological and the functional. Your resume should be short, easy to read and use words that are familiar to the reader. The goal is to show off your achievements and minimize any weaknesses.
Length. You are encouraged to limit your resume to one page. Certainly, there are exceptions. A counselor will be happy to review your resume and help you in this process.
Identifying Information. There is no need to put the word "resume" or words "resume of" at the top of the page. This document has become recognizable and will speak for itself. Your name, address, phone number and e-mail address should be placed at the top of the page. If you have a school address and another address (parents, etc.), it is advisable to list those addresses where you might be reached. Be sure to update the address or phone number if changes occur.
Objective. Ideally, each resume will be specifically prepared for each employer. Because of this, use care in how you word your "career objective." If you are applying for positions in several different areas, the objective may be omitted from your resume. Education majors should replace "career objective" with "teaching field" because this is what they are certified for and it is not likely to change. To target a particular employer or career field, you may want to prepare individual resumes for the actual interview. Remember, cover letters can be used to serve the purpose of establishing why you are sending a resume and you will be the communicator of this information in the interview itself.
Education. Included in this section are undergraduate and graduate degrees earned. Most recent degrees are listed first (reverse chronological order). Include your major and minor if applicable. You may promote your marketability by putting other areas of academic emphasis; i.e., "15 hours computer science," "8 hours technical writing," etc. If space allows, you might even list some course titles. Grade point averages may be given in this section. Some students give their cumulative GPA or choose major GPA or junior/senior GPA, depending on which represents them most favorably.
Experience. This section may include part-time or full-time work. It may also include internships as well as volunteer experiences. Name, address of the organization, your title or position, and dates worked should be included. Describe your experiences in active, skill-related terms and emphasize accomplishments.
Extracurricular Activities. This section may be titled many different ways. What you want to emphasize is the name of the organization, leadership roles, accomplishments and dates. Involvement in activities can and should be presented in such a way to show that you can deal with others, motivate, problem-solve, and achieve goals.
Languages. State your foreign language skills and accurately indicate your fluency. Foreign studies and/or travel might be appropriately placed here.
Skills. A skills summary can be a strong section to add, particularly for a generalist or for someone with varied work experience.
Computer Languages/Literacy. State your language knowledge and application.
Interests. The addition of a section on personal hobbies can provide the interviewer with helpful information. However, you should rarely delete other, more useful information to allow space for this section.
Personal. Personal data such as age, sex, weight, and place of birth were, at one time, a standard listing on the resume. Since the passing of equal employment legislation, this material is usually omitted. Unless you believe this is truly beneficial to the job you are seeking, this information is now considered to have little impact on hiring decisions and is generally omitted.
Because relocation and willingness to travel are often a requirement for some career opportunities, University Career Services suggests that phrases such as "willing to travel," "willing to relocate" or "seek position in Southwest or Texas" be placed in the Personal Section or in another section of the resume. For international students, residency status and type of visa may be placed in the personal section or in its own section.
References. At some point during the hiring procedure you will be asked to furnish references. With few exceptions, your references will be contacted regarding your employability.
Though you may have written references in your file, we encourage you to list your references separately. Include each reference's name, title, address, phone number and e-mail address. Only list those persons who have given you permission to do so. For those students who will be certified to teach, student teaching evaluations will automatically be included in your file at University Career Services.
Cover Letter Tips
The letter of application, or cover letter, should accompany every resume you mail to prospective employers. A good letter introduces you to the employer, briefly states the purpose of communication, highlights pertinent information from your resume, and suggests a meeting or interview. It should not reiterate everything in the resume, but should complement and expand upon the resume and support a position as to why the applicant should be considered further. Remember that the main purpose of a cover letter is to get the reader interested enough in you to want to read your resume.
In the cover letter, remember to do the following
- Type it neatly on 8 1/2" x 11" bond paper to match your resume. Keep it clean and free of errors.
- Keep it brief (no more than four paragraphs). Cut to the chase - don't ramble.
- Never send a form letter. Each letter should be individually composed.
- Always address your letter to a specific person, and with his/her appropriate title.
- Talk about what you can do for them, and then take the initiative when closing by asking for an interview.
- Use your own style of writing.
- Use correct sentence structure and grammar.
- Always send an original and not a carbon copy; however, once a good letter has been developed, it may be used as a model many times with slight revisions.
- Avoid "I-itis"-excessive use of "I," "my," and "me"; blend the letter and the resume.
- Keep a copy of all correspondence sent for your own records. You'll be amazed how helpful this can be.
- When you complete a rough draft of your letter, show it to a career counselor, professor, experienced professional, or a friend for some helpful feedback.