Definition & Purpose
A resume is a document that contains a summary of relevant job experience and education. The resume is often the first item a potential employer encounters regarding a job seeker, and it is used to screen applicants during the hiring process.
One purpose of a resume is to obtain an interview. The goal is to convince employers that you would be a good candidate for the job and persuade the employer to give you a closer look through an interview.
- Keep your resume to one page and use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial in 10, 11, or 12 point size.
- Tailor your resume for each position you apply for to grab the employer’s attention
- Highlight your experiences in a way that matches the duties listed in the job description.
- Use action verbs to start each description – see attached.
- Employers are interested in results – quantify your accomplishments and qualifications in a way that demonstrates you would meet the needs of the organization. Example: original bullet vs. new/improved bullet with action verb:
- Original bullet: Cash Register
- New bullet: Processed $5,000 per week in cash and credit transactions
- Be sure to include these essential categories: Contact Information, Education, Experience
- Experience can be both paid and unpaid; internships, co-op, volunteer experience, part-time experience, leadership experience, student organization experience, research, class projects, etc.
- Experience should be in reverse chronological order – start with your most recent experience and work your way back; write in past tense when talking about positions where you are no longer working.
- If you use an objective on your resume, then make sure it is a well-crafted objective. Something that says “A Marketing Position with ABC Company” will not get the job done. Better: “Seeking position as Marketing Coordinator which will allow me to apply coursework in market research to promote ABC Company’s services to potential clients.
- Include Honors/Awards if they are relevant to the position or display certain skills and abilities.
- You may have a “skills” section displaying languages, computer skills, etc. if they are applicable to the position.
- Avoid using resume templates because the resume could appear jumbled to an employer. It can also be difficult to edit the resume later. Create your own professional style!
- Send a PDF version. If you have access to save your resume as a PDF, then do so. The format will not change when the file is opened.
- Proofread and get feedback! Visit your career advisor, mentor, professor, family member, or friend; the more people who look at it, the more polished it becomes.
Cover letters SHOULD:
▪ Explain why you are sending the resume – job? future opportunities?
▪ Tell how you learned about the position
▪ Convince the reader to review your resume
▪ Reflect your attitude – your personality, motivation, energy, and communication skills
▪ Indicate how you will follow-up
Tips for Success
▪ Write a new cover letter for each position you are seeking
▪ Cover letters should be one page and no more than five paragraphs
▪ Research the organization to tailor the letter to the position
▪ Use a professional and assertive tone
▪ Choose one or two skills/experiences to highlight from the information listed on your resume
▪ Font style should be clear and simple (i.e. Times New Roman or Arial)
▪ Font size should be 10-12 point and margins should be 1-2 inches
▪ Proofread! Have several people look at your cover letter for errors and to offer suggestions