BTW 250 Resume Guidelines and Pointers Judgement Call for Inclusion or Exclusion There are a number of things that you may consider including in your resume, depending on the job for which you are applying. These include: A summary encapsulating your experience and highlighting one or two of your skills and/or key contributions. This would follow your career or job objective. Personal flexibility in terms of relocation. Is this an important consideration in your field? Is it something you feel strongly about? It’s often better to wait for an interview/offer before bringing this up. Career objectives (not to be confused with job objectives). Marital status—include only if you think it will help, e.g. a traveling salesperson who is single. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you based upon your marital status, however, I have seen it happen. Military service Personal interests—again, include only if pertinent and if you think they would be helpful, e.g. you’re an avid computer fan, with a plethora of computer skills that would not otherwise be indicated by your education or work experience. Personal paragraphs: usually appearing toward the end of a resume, a personal paragraph gives a candid snapshot of the resume writer as a person. These typically mention on or two traits, activities, or beliefs. If done well, a personal paragraph could be powerful; however, rather than risk it appearing inappropriate, you might want to save this sort of statement for the cover letter. What to Include: a few general guidelines A key way to persuade people that you’re worth interviewing is to carefully select what your resume omits and what it includes. Consider the following guidelines: The resume includes specific details. Compare: Sales Manager, The Collegian, University Park, PA, 2000-1. Supervised Staff. Promoted as sales. Sales Manager, The Collegian, University Park, PA, 2000-1. Supervised 22-member sales staff. Motivated staff to increase paid as inches 10% over previous year’s sales. Including specific details is one of the most important things you can do in your resume; it makes you seem much more impressive and it makes your claims seem much more believable. (Would you be more likely to believe someone who said she “promoted ad sales” or someone who said she “increased paid ad inches 10%over previous year’s sales?) When possible, the resume doesn’t just specify what you did, but includes some indication that you were successful at what you did. One student, for instance, originally wrote this under his “Sales Associate” entry: Opened and closed shop Assisted customers in selecting items Realizing that a reader couldn’t tell how good he’d been at this job, he added two more items: Averaged above 90% in customer service evaluations Consistently received praise from manager for design of floor displays. Often potential employers are less impressed by what you did than by how successful you were at doing it. The resume includes categories only if they show you to your best advantage. People who look at many resumes find significant variation in the categories that make you sound impressive. For some people, that might meant a detailed “Honors” section, but no “References” section. For others, who have no honors but do have well-known references, it may mean the opposite. With the exception of “Education” and “Experience,” all categories are optional. Just as the resume lists only certain categories, it lists only relevant jobs and responsibilities. Remember that the resume is a selective document; select only those accomplishments, jobs, and so on that are relevant or impressive and omit those that aren’t. (Be sure, of course, not to misrepresent yourself.) As a manager at Perkins, for instance, you may have often swept the floors, but you wouldn’t include this in your resume since it wasn’t a primary duty, and since it wasn’t particularly impressive. You may have also held a job as a cashier one winter a couple of years ago, but again, this may not be necessary to include. In addition to omitting such items, you should be sure to include the impressive things you’ve done. While it’s relatively easy to omit unimpressive duties, it’s harder to remember and include some of the most impressive things you’ve done. To jog your memory, it’s often helpful to have a friend interview you about the jobs you’ve held. Your friend might take what you say and probe for more details; he or she might ask questions like “How exactly did you do this?” and “Why was that particular responsibility important?” This probing can help you think of more responsibilities—and details about why they were valuable—to include in your resume. Consider including unpaid work under “Experience.” Your work as President of your floor of Secretary of Bikes not Bombs can be just as valuable as the work you’ve gotten paid for. How to Include it Order A way to achieve emphasis is to pay attention to the order in which you give information. To emphasize something, put it first; to de-emphasize it, bury it in the middle of a sentence, paragraph, or a list. Carefully consider: Dates vs. job title (or vs. place of employment). People usually put whatever they want to emphasize in the left margin, where it’s the first thing a reader sees. D you want to highlight a consistent work history? Do you want to downplay gaps in your work history? As a student who may be going on the job market for the first time, you may not want to highlight your work experience at all, but rather your skills. Place of employment vs. job title: if your places of employment are relevant and/or impressive, emphasize them by putting them before your job titles. If, on the other hand, your job titles were more impressive, put them first. The following examples are adapted from the resume of someone applying to manage a health club: Cashier, Omni Fitness Center, Tilton, IL. (1999-2001). Marketed and sold group fitness memberships to area organizations. Conducted initial interviews and assisted in employee evaluations. Developed and helped implement customer service plan. Omni Fitness Center, Tilton, IL. Cashier. (199-2001). Marketed and sold group fitness memberships to area organizations. Conducted initial interviews and assisted in employee evaluations. Developed and helped implement customer service plan. If this person were applying for another cashier’s job, the first one would be better. However, since she’s applying to manage a health club, the second one is better.
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