CREATING THE EFFECTIVE RESUME
What is a Resume? A resume is a one page summary of your skills, education, and experience. The resume acts much like an advertisement for a company trying to sell something. The resume is your advertisement. Just as a sneaker company spends countless hours (and millions of dollars) designing their latest advertising campaign, you too must spend a good deal of time creating, proofreading, editing, and perfecting your resume. A resume is one of the most important pieces of writing you will ever create. A solid resume is the key that will open the door to good jobs. Don’t cheat yourself...work hard on it.
How long do employers typically look at a resume?
A. Less than 30 seconds
B. 3 Minutes
C. 1 Minute
If you answered “A”, you are correct. Employers often receive hundreds of resumes for a single
position. They do not have time to pour over every word on each one. This increases the importance
of the smallest details.
What should be included in a resume? Not all resumes are the same, but there are some common elements that they all should include. The necessary elements are:
Heading - Your heading should include the essential personal information. Your formal name (not
nickname) should appear at the top and it should stand out above all else on the paper. You want
them to remember who you are in less than 30 seconds. Also include your address (both permanent
and temporary) and phone number. If you use email, include your email address.
Objective - (Also called “Career Objective”) Employers often say this is the most important part of a
resume. It is generally a one sentence explanation of the type of job you are seeking. Your objective
should be fairly specific. If you are applying for different types of jobs, change your objective to match
each type of job. If you are uncertain about the specific positions available, note your areas of interest.
Education - As students, this should be your next section of information. If you are in college, you only need to include college because it is assumed that you have graduated from high school. For the same reason, high school students should not include information from junior high/middle school. You should specify the dates of attendance or graduation (or expected graduation). As a college student, include your major and the degree you expect to receive. Some people include education-related honors in this section. If your education is particularly relevant to a job, you may want to include a section titled “Relevant Courses.” In this category, you can list classes that might contribute to your employability.
Experience - (Also called “Work Experience” or “Employment Experience”) In this section, you should include previous employers, their locations, your dates of employment, and your job title. You may have to create a job title if you did not have one. You should include at least two one-line descriptions of what your job duties and responsibilities were. You can not assume that the job title explains what you did to all readers. Use action verbs to start each of these descriptions. Do not use “I” in descriptions.
Activities - Employers like to see people who have been involved in school or community activities. In
this section, list special activities you participated in (prom committee) and organizations you joined
(drama club, baseball team, etc.). Include the years in which you participated. Be aware, however,
that some employers may eventually view this information as irrelevant. As high school students, this
should not be a concern.
Summary of Skills - Some people use this section to include special skills or talents that are not
included elsewhere on the resume, but would be relevant to the employer. Some possibilities are:
• Type 60 words per minute
• Fluent in French
References – Although it is common practice to put “References Available Upon Request” at the
bottom of a resume, most career advisors say it is unnecessary. However, there is nothing wrong with taking a nicely printed list of personal references with you to an interview. You should have 2 - 3
people who have observed your work habits (employers, teachers, coaches, etc.) and 2 - 3 people
who can speak about your character. Make sure you have asked their permission to include them as
references. Only ask people who will speak well of you. Create a separate list of references including
their names, addresses, employers, job titles, and phone numbers. It is best to list work numbers
since some people don’t appreciate calls at home. You know an employer is interested when they
request a list of references.
How do I set up a resume? Your resume should be divided into distinct sections. The italicized
words above are typical section headings. Do not label the heading section. Headings should stand
out as boldfaced, larger text. Employers tend to have certain headings that interest them most. Make it easy for them to find them. Here are some suggested headers:
Major Headers (to be used in almost all resumes): Objective, Education, Employment History/Work
Experience, School Activities.
Minor Headers (to be used if appropriate): Computer Experience, Associations, Certifications,
Community Activities, Highlights of Qualifications, Honors/Awards, Interests and Hobbies,
Projects, Relevant Courses, Summary of Qualifications, Volunteer Experience.
Should items be arranged in any particular order? Yes! You want your resume to be coherently organized. There are two distinct types of resumes. Most young people utilize a Chronological Format. The chronological style is exactly what it sounds like: It follows your work history backward from your current job, listing employers, dates, and job responsibilities. This is the format that you would most likely use if you are new to the workforce and have limited experience. Frequent job changes and work instability show up dramatically with this format. For someone who has held many jobs, the Functional Format is more useful. A functional resume is created without employment dates or company names. This format concentrates on skills and responsibilities and is more likely to be used after you have developed your career skills and have accomplishments to your credit.
Should I place Education above Experience or vice versa? Most high school and college
students include the Education section directly after the objective. However, if you have experience
that relates directly to the job you are applying for, you should place the Experience section above
How important is the format? The importance of the format lies in its consistency. There is no one best resume format. Remember to stick to one format. It shows off your organizational abilities.
Should I use complete sentences when describing jobs? Not usually. Use action phrases
instead. Leave out unnecessary words. Try to match your skills and experience with the employer's
Do the looks of a resume matter? Absolutely! When sending a resume to an employer or college,
don’t skimp. Use white or off-white professional weight paper and black ink. Avoid using colored paper or fancy graphics in your resume unless the job you are applying for is in a career area that might stress this type of formatting (art, graphic design, advertising, etc.) Always print resumes using a quality laser printer.
**NOTE: All documents should be copied and renamed and shared with us!)
Owl Purdue Resume Building https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/719/01/
Rockport Institute Resume Building http://www.rockportinstitute.com/resumes
Resume Build Bucknell University http://goo.gl/XNU8v
Department of Labor Resume Buildinghttp://goo.gl/7leAc
Your final printed-out resume is due Monday before you leave class!
Resumes are an important part of getting a job, and will be important for you as you get closer to earning an internship. This is a grade! Take your efforts seriously, and remember you can update your resume whenever you'd like as you gain new experiences and skills. Below is the basic information we've covered in our chat as a reminder as well as links to help build your resume: