How to Write an Effective Resume by mC6zOU


									                              Mt. San Jacinto College
                              Counseling Department

There is no easy way to get a good job. But you can increase your chances for getting an
interview when you market yourself with an effective resume. A resume is your advertisement.
Therefore, it should attract attention in a creative manner, stress your achievements and
accomplishments and the benefits of hiring you, and provoke action on the part of the
employer to meet you. Being able to persuade a potential employer effectively takes skill.

Preparing a successful resume also requires commitment to the task. It usually takes several
rough drafts before an impressive document is created. Keep in mind, a different resume is
ideally needed for each employer since your achievements demonstrate your ability to meet
the needs of that particular employer.

In order to market yourself effectively, you need to know what to include in a resume. As you
begin, think about who you are, what you want, and what you have to offer an employer.
Since all elements of a resume focus on the job objective, this preparation step is essential!

Selecting Your Format
The key areas of your personal history make up the content of your resume regardless if you
are new to the workforce or an experienced worker. The content varies from one individual to
another so the format you choose is one that will work best for you. Although there are many
formats from which to choose, the two most common are the chronological and the functional
style formats.

The chronological format works best if you have a consecutive record of employment in an
area that is similar to the one in which you are seeking employment. The format is read easily
by employers. Work history and education are usually listed in reverse chronological order.
Each job is described separately. This format includes dates, job titles, and names of

The functional format is best used when planning a career shift and where direct job-related
experience is lacking. Qualifications, skills, functions, and related accomplishments are
grouped into three to five specialized categories without breaking them down by jobs. These
functional areas are each given a specific heading on the resume.

Categories of a Resume
Examples of categories to include in your resume are:

      Personal Identification – You first, middle initial and last name, street address, area
      code and contact phone number and email are noted at the top of the page. This
      section should stand out on the page.

      Job Objective: The job objective states the position you desire and includes a
      statement of your three to five highest strengths or skill levels that you can offer an

      Summary of Qualifications: This optional area also summarizes your qualifications
      and strengths demonstrating how you have made positive differences, advantages, and

      Work Experience: This section is structured based on the format you have selected.
      Refer to the information above.

      Education: List formal education with names of colleges, graduation dates, degrees,
      certificates, credentials, and licenses earned. Include special workshops, seminars,
      noncredit courses, and self-taught skills when they are appropriate to your job objective.

      Awards and Honors: List awards, honors, and scholarships you have received.

      Related Activities: Focus on your participation and accomplishments in clubs,
      societies, athletic, or other organizations. List community service, civic achievements,
      volunteer experience, and school projects in this section.

      Special Skills: Describe you abilities with computers and specific software, reading,
      speaking, or writing of foreign languages, operating specific machinery and equipment,
      etc. If your interests or hobbies relate to the job, include them as well.

      Other Facts: This section contains details not appropriate for the above sections. You
      can divide the information into several sections depending on your particular history.
      Additional sections might include professional association memberships, published
      articles, or brief statements reflecting your personality, character, attitudes, and
      desirable attributes.

Writing Tips for the Hard Copy Resume
        1. Paper Quality: Minimum 20 lb. bond weight
        2. Paper Size: 8 ½ “ x 11” (Use one side only.)
        3. Number of Pages: 1-2 maximum
        4. Color: White or off-white (Match cover letter, envelopes, and resume.)
        1. Font: Arial, Serif, Times Roman, Courier, Helvetica (Do not mix fonts.)
        2. Font Size: 10-14 points
        3. Capitalizations: Use for headings only.
        4. Print: Deskjet or laser only which is of a high quality.

      Visual Effects
         1. Format: Use column format, about 4-5 inches, like in magazines, newspapers,
            and advertising copy.
         2. Balance: Balance the information on one side of the page for easy reading.

        3. Space: Use plenty of white space with wide margins and good spacing between
        4. Visuals: Use bolding, italics, underlining, and bullets as visual indicators to make
           text stand out.
        5. Margins: Align all margins consistently.

        1. Center your personal identification at the top of the page or in the upper left
        2. The job objective is noted under your personal identification.
        3. The next section should contain your strongest qualifications which is usually
           education or work experience.

       1. Demonstrate results, problem-solving, achievements and specific examples of
          successful performance including voluntary and military experience.
       2. Omit information about political, religious, philosophical preferences, special
          interest activities, or associations unless you are applying for a job with an
          organization that fully supports the work of those groups.
       3. Eliminate personal data such as Social Security number, ethnicity, gender, age,
          sexual orientation, height and weight, health condition, physical disabilities,
          marital status, and number of children.
       4. Emphasize activities that reflect ability, energy, versatility, flexibility, wide
          interests, and a well-rounded, balance, healthy image.
       5. Omit experience that is over 10 years ago unless it directly relates to the position
          that you are seeking.
       6. Do not include personal and business references on a resume! List these on a
          separate sheet of paper and present them when requested by the employer.

     Writing Style
        1. Develop brief, clear, phrases using “power” words and action verbs within short
        2. Describe results in measurable terms such as numbers, percentages, dollars,
           increases, decreases, etc.
        3. Use the language of the employer – some of the same words or terms used in
           the job announcement.
        4. Use acceptable jargon of the occupation for which you are applying.
        5. No abbreviations.
        6. Convert highly technical and military language into easy to understand or civilian
        7. Avoid use of personal pronouns (e.g. I, me, she, he)
        8. Check for proper grammar, correct punctuation and spelling!

Writing Tips for the Electronic or Scannable Resume
     You can convert your hard copy resume to an electronic or scannable version by
     making these changes:
        1. Electronic resumes are usually viewed with 80-character lines and 24 lines to a
           screen page.

             2. Use 8 ½” x 11 “ page format and one side only.
             3. Remove all special formatting such as tabs, (use space key), bolding, italics,
                underlines, boxes, columns, graphics, and shading including special characters
                such as bullets. Use asterisks in place of bullets.
             4. Align all text to the left margin.
             5. Capitalize all headings to distinguish sections of the resume.
             6. Use key skill words which are usually nouns (not action verbs). Key words
                indicate qualifications and knowledge.
             7. Email a copy of your resume to yourself to see how it looks.
             8. Use a 65-character line with a hard return at the end of every line if you are
                including a resume in the body of an email.
             9. Place your name on all pages.

Writing Tips for the Email Resume
    1. Save your resume in your word processing program as a “text only” document. Then,
       you can open the document to see how your resume will look. Correct any irregular
    2. Use caps to emphasize your name and headings since italics and bolding won’t usually
    3. Ask your potential employer in advance if the company will accept attachments. It not,
       cut and paste your resume into the body of your email.

Since it is difficult to proof one’s own work, it is wise to have your resume critiqued by
someone else. Show it to at least two other people who would have knowledge of the type of
work you’re seeking. Ask for an objective analysis, not friendly pats on the back.

Continue revising your rough drafts until you feel comfortable that the resume communicates
consistency, clarity, content, conciseness, coherency, completeness, and confidence. Your
resume can then produce successful results for you.

3-9-04 Prepared by Linda Googe


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