The SUNY Oneonta Career Development Center offers resources to help students develop the materials they need to be successful in their careers. Whether you've never written a resume before, or you want a final review before applying to your dream job, we are here to help!
The Career Development Center offers students access to our document review service. First, review the Resume Writing Guide for helpful tips on creating professional resumes and cover letters. Then, submit your resume for review. A trained career staff member will reply to you with suggestions and edits. The Career Development Center is currently accepting:
- Cover Letters
- Graduate School Statements
Attention Faculty: Please contact the Career Development Center prior to requiring your courses to submit resumes for a class assignment!
Note: Critiques typically take 2-3 business days.
Resume Tips to Get Started
- Details matter. 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.
- Employers don't read resumes, they skim them. Think of your resume more as a piece of advertising than a comprehensive data sheet. Use margins and consistent spacing, which make it easily skimmed.
- Use action verbs. Don't use the verb to be. Check out our list of Action Verbs.
- Emphasize skills, especially those which transfer from one situation to another. Example: Coordinating a student organization leads one to suspect that you have developed strong leadership skills.
- Keep your resume to one page. Anything longer than 1-2 pages 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.
- Expand on your relevant experiences. Condense jobs or experiences that are not directly related to the position you're applying for. This means that you'll want to customize your resume for specific positions. 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 follow up. Most employers call to set up an interview. Make sure they have your phone number and email address that you check regularly. Remember that the outgoing voicemail message must sound professional, as some employers may be turned off by silliness.
Rule #1: Never use a resume template. Many ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) do not recognize resumes with complex formatting. This means that even if you meet the requirements for a specific position, the system a company uses to track applications may not identify you as a qualified candidate.
Rule #2: If you are printing your resume, use quality bond resume paper (white, ivory, or light gray). If you submit your resume electronically, use .doc, .docx, or .PDF file types.
Rule #3: Resumes for recent college graduates should be 1-2 pages long.
Rule #4: If submitting a two page resume, ensure 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. Instead, vary the style to guide the reader’s eye to pertinent information by using CAPS, bolding, underlining, and italics.
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.
- Professional Summary: A summary is a brief pitch about yourself that introduces the reader to you, your values and skills as they relate to the position. If you are applying to a variety of industries and your background supports several career options, use 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.
Describing your experiences is an important aspect of creating a strong resume. Including rich descriptions that showcase the skills you possess is key to
landing an interview. We recommend the following tips:
- Create descriptions using the following formula: Verb + Skill + Result. Using this as a template to start describing your experiences can help you articulate the value you bring as an employee.
- Use our Action Verbs List to write your descriptions
- Incorporate examples that emphasize your soft skills such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership, and equity and inclusion.
If you're new to resume writing, we recommend using
- Generalized Resume
Letters of Recommendation
While many employers no longer request letters of recommendation, they remain a staple in industries such as education. The Career Development Center encourages students who need letters of recommendation to use the dossier service available through interfolio.com. lnterfolio is the premier on-line dossier management service and can store any materials you may need for your applications, including confidential letters of recommendation.
Creating an Interfolio account will allow you to receive the many benefits of their services such as:
- Storing an unlimited amount of materials. As an Interfolio user, you can manage and store unlimited amounts of both confidential and non-confidential material including transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing samples and test scores. If some of these materials are stored on SUNY Oneonta Career Development Center’s Dragon Link system, they can be uploaded into your account.
- Managing confidential letters of recommendation. You can request confidential letters through your Interfolio account. This gives your writers the ability to electronically upload or mail their letters directly to Interfolio. Writers only have to upload one letter that can be sent to multiple destinations. Although you will not have direct access to the letters, you have complete control over when and where they are sent.
- Using easy application processes. As an Interfolio user, you have complete control over your applications! Once a file is in your account, you can send it electronically or via hard copy.
- Have a service that is safe, secure and reliable. The privacy and security of your information is Interfolio’s highest priority. Robust technological safeguards, including multiple levels of encryption, keep your stored documents protected, secure, and private. A rigorous quality control process ensures the accuracy of all documents, and mailings, and digital backups are stored at a secure, off-site location to further protect your important documents.
To create your Interfolio Account, please visit Interfolio.com.
Be prepared to provide employers with a list of references before you submit your application. 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 separate document that matches the heading on your resume, including your name, address and telephone number. List the name of each reference person; their official title, such as "Office Manager"; the name of the company, street address, city, state, zip code, telephone number, and email 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.
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
The Career Development Center provides services to SUNY Oneonta students who are currently taking classes and alumni who have completed a degree.