A good résumé is: concise, no more than 1-2 pages; with perfect grammar and spelling; positive; action-oriented and achievement-oriented; attractive and thought of as your advertisement targeted toward a "buyer," the employer.
A résumé is not your life history, generalizations, the same as an application, wordy, lengthy, or boring to read!
There are three basic types of résumés: chronological, functional, and combination-style. There is no one way to write a résumé. The style to use is the one that
works the best for you, that communicates to the employer that you can do the job!
Always include the following in any résumé
Additions and options include: special skills, professional summary or highlights, professional memberships, honors/awards, publications, relevant personal data,
(such as security clearance, licenses, citizenship, languages, machinery or equipment, computer skills) and community activities.
- Personal demographics: name, full mailing address, telephone at home and work, and e-mail address.
- An objective that gives the employer an idea of the type of work you are looking for.
- The objective gives focus to your résumé, and is crucial.
- Education/training: include degrees, certificates, majors, institution, year awarded.
- Work History: job title, employer, location, years worked.
Never include the following in any résumé
- The word "résumé" at the top
- Personal data, such as age, marital status, race, religion, political affiliation, family information, hobbies
- "References Upon Request" is understood and not necessary.
- Writing in the first person, "I"
- Salary for each job you have held
Tips for Writing a good résumé
- Write with the following format in mind: Action verb + object + the purpose + any achievement/award/accomplishment you received for doing a great job.
Indicate responsibility, results, and relevancy. Example: "Taught résumé writing to college students to increase their marketability; over 50% of students
received job interviews as a result."
- List achievements and how you solve problems. Example: "increased efficiency, saved money, increased customer interest in the product."
- Use action verbs in the present or past tense. Example: "coordinated, initiated, supervised, developed, wrote, researched, organized." Avoid using the
phrase, "responsible for."
- Use numbers or statistics when you can. Example: "helped raise over $5000 for charity" or "set up fully operational office in 3 months" or "managed a petty
cash fund of up to $3000" or "supervised and trained 3 full-time clerical employees" or "improved efficiency of contacts with customers by 40%."
- Use the language of your future profession. Example: in human resources, talk about FLMA, EEO or ADA; in management, talk about ISO 9000; in computer, talk
about ADA, C++, HTML, JAVA, Microsoft Office, Excel; in education, talk about curriculum development, lesson plans, discipline, communication with parents.
- Bring out personal, professional qualities that you bring to the job.For example: ability to work alone or as a team member, team leader, ability to work
effectively under the pressure of deadlines, creative, ability to give and follow directions, ability to work in diverse environments with all types of people.
Include qualities that are most relevant to the type of position you want. Always be 100% honest. An interviewer can tell what is true about you after a few
minutes on the phone or during the interview.
- Be specific; every word counts. Don’t write in generalities and describe "things" or "various responsibilities" or "other software."
- Be selective. Only include what is relevant to the position. Be able to defend every word and give examples in the interview.
- Include volunteer, community, club or class responsibilities if they are relevant. Example: managing a budget, writing a 20-page report analyzing a small
business and suggesting solutions to problems. Include any and all experience that is pertinent to your objective.
- Avoid using abbreviations and parentheses.
- Write your own résumé. A résumé is a "living document," and you will edit it and rewrite it many times in your lifetime. Always ask other professional
opinions, such as your professors, former employers, people you use as references, and persons in your network. By writing your own résumé, you prepare yourself
well for the interview.
- Pay particular attention to making your résumé look beautiful. Use a clear, distinct 10-12 point font (Arial or Times Roman is good). Use a laser printer.
Use high quality résumé paper (white, ivory, light gray). Lay out your résumé with one-inch margins all around, and leave the right amount of "white space." Use
bold face, underlining, italics, bullets, and capitalization so that your résumé can be easily skimmed. However, a plain résumé on white paper is recommended
for faxing, scanning or sending electronically. Résumé are looked at an average of one minute initially.
- Keep your résumé on a disk so that it can be updated or tailored for a specific position quickly.
- Each résumé should look like it was written with a particular job objective in mind, not mass produced. Some people write 2-3 different résumés for
- Always send a cover letter if you mail, fax or email your résumé. The cover letter should introduce yourself, tell why you are sending your résumé, what
position you are applying for, and requesting an interview.
- Do not include references or salary history/requirements on your résumé. It is not necessary to include the phrase
- "References Upon Request." Rather, have a separate sheet with your name, address and phone at the top; with the heading "References." List the names,
titles, business address, business phone, and e-mail of former employers, professors or anyone who can tell about your skills, abilities, and knowledge as a
worker. Take this list of references with you to your first interview and offer it as a follow-up. A copy of a letter that is complimentary about your work
performance may be sent with your résumé, if appropriate and beneficial.
- Keep a record of all résumés you send or give out, the date, and what the final outcome was. Follow up on all leads.
- Use your résumés to: apply for advertised jobs, give to contacts in your network, send to specific organizations for whom you would like to work, give to
placement agencies, give to references, use as a business card.
ALWAYS CARRY AN UPDATED RÉSUMÉ WITH YOU!