Your resume serves as your introduction to an employer; it is a personal advertisement promoting yourself for a position. The resume can also help create a favorable first impression, showing the employer your qualifications and bridging the gap between your qualifications and the needs for the position. The ultimate goal of the resume is to create such an impression that an employer will want to set up an interview. It is important to note that there is no right or wrong way to format a resume; it really depends on your personal preference and that of the employer, so don't be surprised if your resume looks different from others'! At the Career Development Center, we provide resume advice based on what the majority of employers and career experts say they are expecting on a resume, and tailor it to the requirements and standards of your chosen industry.
Get Started on Your Resume
Below are a few guides to get you started on your resume:
Resume Writing Tips
Tips on how to write a resume. This will give you a great start to creating a solid document.
Use this checklist to make sure you have all the basics of a resume completed.
Naming Your Skills
Use this list of more than 200 verbs to describe your skills to an employer when creating your resume and cover letter. This list is just a starting point for the many possible verbs you can use.
10 Top Pitfalls in Resume Writing
How to Write Accomplishment Statements on Resumes
Navigating Disclosure Issues in Resume Writing
When deciding how (or if) to articulate your involvement with LGBTQ-related organizations or groups, it is important you do what is most comfortable for you. Along the continuum of disclosure, there are a number of ways to communicate your invaluable skills and knowledge you gained from your involvements.
Resume Writing for Veterans
This is the most common and most accepted of the three types of resumes; it starts with the most current information and moves backwards in describing your education, skills and experience.
This is a resume outline or format that presents your skills and experience without putting them in a sequential date order. Instead, you group your skills and experience by types or functions, hence the name. The career history can be either reduced to a list of dates, company names, and job titles toward the end of the resume, or no detail can be given at all, since this information has (presumably) all been stated functionally. This format is not always well received by employers, as many believe that this resume format/outline is designed to hide something! This is an important point, so be careful when using this format. If you have a question about the best way to use a functional resume, or why to use it instead of other formats, make an appointment with your career consultant by logging into Handshake!
This is a resume that begins with a functional summary of your most relevant qualifications, key skills, and abilities, then gives a chronological career history that supports the summary. This resume outline is a great compromise if you'd like to use a functional format, but are wary of employers disliking them.
Possible Resume Section Headings
The first thing that should be on every resume is some kind of contact information. This is your name followed by an address, phone number (be sure to have a professional sounding voicemail message!), and email address. If you have one, you could also include the link to your LinkedIn profile, a personal website, and/or your portfolio.
First of all, keep in mind that an objective is not required! In fact, take a moment to consider whether you'd like to include this at all, because the latest trend is to move away from this rather outdated practice. If you do decide to use a resume objective statement, it should be specific and should focus on identifying the specific job you are applying for.
Always put your highest level of education. If you are currently in college, state where you go to school and your major, and when you expect to graduate. If you have already graduated, state when you graduated and what degree you obtained. Optional information to list includes a concentration or emphasis of study, Dean's List (2 or more times), Grade Point Average (if it is relatively high), study abroad experiences, dissertation or thesis, honors, awards, and scholarships (however, honors, awards, and scholarships can be grouped together in a separate section).
Course Highlights (optional)
If you are applying for a position in a very technical field (such as technology, engineering, science) you can highlight some of the courses that you have taken. This can be very helpful if you do not have a lot of work experience in a certain field.
In this section, elaborate on jobs, internships, and other relevant professional experience. You may use a title called "Related Experience" for this section, and list items chronologically, starting with the most recent and moving backwards. Make sure to include the name of the employer, city, state, and dates of employment, job titles, and a job description. For the job description section, highlight skills that you obtained, duties that you held, and different achievements that you attained while holding the position. Use action verbs in the description and be consistent with past/present tense. Break up large blocks of text with bullets.
This is a place to highlight special skills that you possess. They could range from computer skills to foreign language proficiencies.
Activities, Honors, and Awards (optional)
This is a place to highlight awards that you have earned or different organizations with which you are affiliated.
Volunteering, Community Service (optional)
If you have a lot of experience with community service or volunteer work, write it down - it looks great on a resume!
Most of the time, you would not include this information on your resume. However, it can be beneficial to include your interests or hobbies when they are relevant to the job or demonstrate your character. For example, restoring old cars or rebuilding computers shows that you have an attention to detail, are hands-on, have lots of patience, etc., or if you run 10Ks or marathons, this shows your self-motivation, discipline, and a healthy lifestyle. If you choose to include it, this should always be the last section on a resume.
10 Questions to ask yourself to improve your resume
What can you offer employers that would be an asset to them?
Why should employers consider you over others applying for the same jobs?
What are your five primary attributes that would help you in your profession?
Have you received any special awards or special recognition for outstanding performance in any area?
Why were you hired, recruited or promoted for each of the positions you have held?
Was there a specific challenge, business problem or market issue that you needed to address?
What are your top three accomplishments for each position?
How did your company benefit from having you as an employee?
What recommendations or solutions did you make that your company adopted?
What were the biggest business hurdles/challenges you overcame at each position?