WHO GETS THE JOB is not always the one who can do the job best BUT who knows best how to get the job! Hence, each detail of this process should have your meticulous attention since people are often screened OUT on the basis of a poor letter and/or resume.
PEOPLE DON'T READ RESUMES, THEY SKIM THEM. So think of your resume more as a piece of advertising than a comprehensive data sheet. Use margins and good spacing, which make it easily skimmed.
USE ACTION VERBS. Don't use the verb "to be." Instead of "I did... I was... I am..." use verbs like "initiated, created, developed, supervised, managed, instructed, counseled, negotiated, maintained...etc."
EMPHASIZE SKILLS, especially those which transfer from one situation to another. The fact that you coordinated a student organization leads one to suspect that you could coordinate other things as well.
DON'T USE NEGATIVE WORDS. Don't apologize for lack of experience or weaknesses. This is not the place to hang out your dirty laundry. Be positive, capitalize on strengths, and leave out tone negative or neutral words.
RESUMES SHOULD BE ONE OR TWO PAGES. Anything longer is an autobiography, not a resume. Don't overwhelm employers with information. If your resume is two pages long, be sure to write "Resume of (your name), Page 2" somewhere on the top of the second page. Using that type of heading eliminates the need to staple your resume.
EXPOUND ON YOUR RELEVANT EXPERIENCES, condense jobs or experiences that are not directly related. This means that you slant your resume to the type of job you are seeking. Hence, you will need more than one resume if you're applying for different types of jobs. For example: If you are applying for a Child Care Counselor job, devote more space to your experience as a camp counselor. But if you're applying for a position as a Manager Trainee, condense that and emphasize your organizational and supervisory abilities.
EXPECT A PHONE CALL if they are interested. Most employers call to set up an interview. Seldom will they write. Hence, make sure they have your phone number or a number where a message can be left. Remember that the outgoing voicemail message must sound professional, as some employers may be turned off by silliness.
Rules to Writing A Resume
Rule #1: NEVER use a resume template
Rule # 2: Resumes should be printed on quality bond resume paper (white, ivory, or light gray) and sent in a matching envelope.
Rule #3: Resumes for recent college graduates should be 1-2 pages long.
Rule #4: Be certain that the second page of your resume reads “Name, page 2”.
Rule #5: Never staple a resume or cover letter.
Rule #6: Use only 1 font style throughout resume and cover letter. (Vary size; use CAPS, bold, underline and italic to guide the reader’s eye to pertinent information)
View our resume critiquing checklist! Do you have everything that should be on your resume??
Typical Resume Information
These categories are suggested areas. If you do not have information that can fit in a category, skip it!
Identifying Data: Include your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address.
Occupational Objective: If you know the occupation in which you are interested, state the job function and industry in your objective statement. Stating an objective informs potential employers and network contacts that you have determined a particular direction and serves as a focal point from which they can review and analyze your resume. If you are applying to a variety of industries and your background supports several career options, state your objective using adjectives supporting the job function you wish to obtain. To maximize your options, you may need two or more resumes, EACH with a different objective to effectively "market" yourself to prospective employers. If uncertain about a career direction, just eliminate the objective.
Education: List the colleges or universities that you have attended. Include the degrees received or anticipated with a date. If you did not receive a degree, you may wish to list the dates of attendance. Your most recent educational institution should appear first. Include any certification that you have received. If you have been awarded academic honors, you may include the information in this area of your resume. If you have a significant number of honors, you may wish to locate it in a separate category on your resume. If your grade point average is 3.0 or above, you may wish to include it.
Work Experience: Include a brief summary of your previous employment listed in reverse chronological order. Include the title of your position, name, and location of the employer, time frame of employment and a brief description of your accomplishments. Begin sentences with action words that describe what you did, i.e., "Posted and audited bills of original entry". If you were involved in an internship, state the dates, type of internship, organization, geographical location, and position accomplishments.
Honors: Include honors awarded for sports, leadership, and service. If you received scholastic honors, you may wish to include this information here or in the Education category.
Extracurricular, Civic and Community Volunteer Work: Include activities in which you have participated, especially positions of leadership within the activities or organizations. Volunteer work or community service may also be listed.
Professional Affiliations: Include memberships that you hold in organizations related to your career field; e.g., National Education Association, American Management Association.
Special Skills and/or Abilities: Include fluency in a foreign language, computer knowledge, and experience (if this is your major area, put it under Computer Skills), skills in operating office machinery if supporting job qualifications, certification or license to operate special equipment in this section. If you have written and published articles or papers, bibliographic information should be included.
References: Indicate that references will be "Available upon request". If you indicate this statement on your resume, you must be prepared with a list of references. To accomplish this task:
- Request permission to list the name of each person whom you wish to serve as a reference; ask him or her if they are willing to serve as a positive reference for you. After receiving confirmation that they are willing to serve as a good reference, then:
- Create a page that matches the heading on your resume including your name, address and telephone number. List the name of each reference person; his or her official title, such as "Office Manager"; the name of the company, street address, city, state, zip code, telephone number, and e-mail address.
- Submit your list of references only when asked to do so by the prospective employer. Discretion on your part will be appreciated by your references. The individuals who are serving as references are busy people and they want to help you, so please be fair to them by not giving out their contact information unless asked to do so.