VIEWS: 86 PAGES: 40 CATEGORY: Career Development POSTED ON: 6/26/2009
Writing an effective resume. Tips and ideas. This presentation will give instructions on the topic of writing a good resume.
HOW TO WRITE A RESUME Presented By Dinorah Rodriguez HOW TO WRITE A RESUME As you approach writing your résumé, it is important to know that this is a marketing piece, an advertisement, for your unique set of skills, abilities and experience. It is a tool that you use to gain an interview. Employers today want to know “What can you do for me?” …It is up to you to do the research and discover what employers in your field seek in a prospective employee. A résumé today is not the "historical" document it was 5-10 years ago, with the availability of personal computers, it has become a fluid and changing document which must be personalized and targeted whenever possible. In marketing terms, we'd like you to think of your résumé as a billboard. It is not going to be possible to list every single item of interest about yourself in this document - you need to identify what will be of interest to your target audience and highlight that information. We invite you to go through this workshop from start to finish - it will take less than an hour. After doing so, if you are a current student or alumni of Texas A&M University- Kingsville feel free to contact our office if you have any questions. We look forward to working with you! What Will a Resume Do For Me? Enable you to assess your strengths, skills, abilities and experience - thereby preparing you for the interview process Act as a reminder of you to the employer/interviewer after you're done interviewing Be a basis for the interviewer to justify your hiring The ultimate goal of a resume is to gain you an interview! Are There Any Absolute Rules of Resume Writing? Yes, but only a few! Almost every rule you have ever heard can be broken, if you have a very good reason. Some rules, however, are absolutes, including: No typing errors No errors in spelling No lying or grandiose embellishments Are There Any Absolute Rules of Resume Writing? No negative information should be included Include only relevant information Never be more than two pages long What Are the Other (Sometimes Breakable) Rules of Resume Writing? While most recently graduated college-student resumes are one page, this is not an absolute rule, IF you have the right combination of experience and education. Your resume must be long enough to detail what you have to offer a potential employer, BUT short enough to entice that employer to want to know more (that is, invite you for an interview.) As a general guideline, you should keep your resume to one page until you have 5-10 years of experience, then go to two. If you cannot fill two entire pages, you should condense it to one page. Will I Have More Than One Version of My Resume? YES! Employers today want to know what you can do for them, so it is imperative that you create a targeted resume each time you apply for an opportunity. You will also develop a 'generic' resume to use in online databases, such as ours. You may also need a scan able or web-based resume, depending on your field; more on these later. Are There Different Styles of Resumes? Yes, there are three resumes styles. The chronological and functional styles have been around for a long time. Employers today are requesting the targeted style. Click on the resume type to see an example. Our workshop focuses on developing a targeted resume. We are not recommending that you follow these examples. It is important that your resume be unique Which Style is Recommended for College Students? Texas A&M- University Kingsville Career & Counseling Services recommends doing a TARGETED resume, although some circumstances dictate a more generic approach. Types of Resume Chronological Functional Targeted How Do I Get Started? • Get a job announcement or description for the job, or type of job, you are seeking, if possible. Make a list of all co-curricular activities you are involved in (clubs, Greek organizations, honor organizations, major-specific fraternities, intramurals, etc.) Compile a list of all community activities of which you are a part (PTA, church committees, social clubs, volunteer work, etc.) Gather together job descriptions from your past positions. If you haven’t saved copies of these, you should from now on! List what things friends/relatives/peers come to you for help with. This may assist you in identifying strengths you would not otherwise recognize in yourself. • • • • What Must I Have on My Resume? Name Address Phone number Objective Education Profile or Summary of Qualifications Experience What Else Can Be Included on My Resume? Licenses/Certifications Accomplishments/Achievements Affiliations/Memberships Activities and Honors What Should Never Be on My Resume? Height, weight, age, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, sex, race, health (some of these items may be necessary on an International Resume) or social security number (NEVER!) The word "Resume" at the top! Any statement that begins with "I" or "My" Reasons for leaving previous job(s) Picture of yourself Salary Information for previous positions or Salary Expectations Reference names Religion, church affiliations, political affiliations How Do I List My Name? Use your "go-by" name. That is, if everyone knows you by a nickname or your middle name, use it. For example, Katherine Elaine Johnson – if everyone calls you Kate – just put KATE JOHNSON on the top of your resume, if everyone calls you Elaine – use ELAINE JOHNSON or K. ELAINE JOHNSON. List any professional credentials (M.D., CPA, Ph.D.) that are appropriate for the job sought. What About Phone Numbers or Email addresses? By all means, list your current phone (and permanent phone if you plan to move soon) then ~ get an answering machine hooked up to it and make sure you have a professional sounding message on it! Think about who is going to be calling and what image you are trying to project. We don’t recommend including any mobile phone #s, mainly because you want to be as prepared as you can for a phone call from a prospective employer. You don’t want to be caught at the gym or putting gas in your car. With your home phone # and an answering machine you can check remotely, you will be in touch. What About Phone Numbers or Email addresses? If you must use your cellular phone # - be sure not to answer it every time it rings. If you are not in a position to have a professional conversation and consult your calendar to make an appointment DON'T answer; rather, let your voicemail pick it up and you can return the call when you are ready. Email is a great way to communicate. However, only include yours if you check it on a regular basis (everyday!) Employers who use this method will expect to hear back from you soon. Also, be sure your email address projects your professional image as well ~ addresses like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org would not be appropriate! Use common sense. Do I need an OBJECTIVE? YES, it tells the reader why you are sending the resume, i.e., what position or type of position you are seeking. It should be very brief, does not need to be a complete sentence. An objective is like the thesis statement of your resume. Everything you include after it should support it! Ideally target your objective to include job title desired, position level, field, industry, and/or company name. If you are sending this resume for a specific position at a specific company - SAY IT HERE! Do I need an OBJECTIVE? Use the objective to tell what you can do for the company, NOT what you want the company to do for you… no statements like: to gain valuable experience, etc. Avoid the words "entry level" ~ we recommend "professional" instead. All post-secondary institutions from which you (a) have a degree or (b) expect to receive a degree College name, city, and state Major - be sure to get the exact name of your degree and list it here! If you don’t know, check your degree plan or check with your advisor or dean’s office. Graduation date (or expected graduation): Month/Year Should I put my GPA on my resume? Yes, if it is 3.0 or higher If your overall GPA is lower than 3.0, but your GPA within your major is 3.0 or above, you can isolate your major GPA. If you list your GPA for one degree, you must list it for all. Licenses and Certifications – Do I include them? Yes, if they are relevant to the job you are seeking. Otherwise, no. Does Coursework Belong on my Resume? Typically you use this section only if you are seeking a coop or intern position, in which case, you will have a section under Education where you list your Related Courses. However, some disciplines utilize a relevant coursework section. When in doubt, check with our office or ask a trusted professor. If you took a course that is one which other students with your major would not take and it would be advantageous for a particular position, list it (probably under your qualifications area.) What About High School? Don't include high school on your resume, as a college student, it is understood that you completed high school. Exceptional activities and honors from high school may be included IF (1) the honor is one that very few receive (i.e., valedictorian, Eagle Scout, etc.) or (2) the award shows an early interest in your career What About Junior College? Include it under education only if you received a degree. By all means, include any campus organizations/honors you received (whether or not you graduated) IN THE HONORS and ACTIVITIES section at the bottom of the resume, NOT under education. Space issue: If you are having difficulty getting your resume to fit on one page and your junior college major was unrelated to your current career objective, omit it. Where do I list Academic Awards, Honors, and Recognition? We suggest using the Honors and Activities section at the end of the resume. Summary of Qualifications / Profile / Skills Section This is where you showcase for the employer what you have to offer keeping in mind what the job entails. You won't put every single skill, experience, or attribute you possess here, focus on what you can do to successfully perform the job. Tailor this section to reflect what the employer is seeking, different positions will warrant that you create different qualifications sections. These are brief statements of your experience, training and/or personal abilities which summarize your skills, abilities and experience. Qualifications are more experience-based whereas Profiles are more personal attributes Complete a Job Duty/Task Analysis worksheet for each job you've held and activity you are involved with. Refer to the lists you prepared earlier in the workshop from past jobs and activities. Developing a Summary of Qualifications / Skills / Profile - STEP ONE Begin by identifying your strengths, skills, abilities gained through past employment or campus organization or classroom experience. List job duties, one at a time, from past jobs and from campus involvement, etc. using the Job Duty/Task Analysis Form like this, if you've already done so. Are you getting the idea that this is an important step? From these duties, identify what transferable skills you developed and write these in the middle column of the worksheet. Remember, typically an employer doesn't want to know what you did for someone else. S/he wants to know what you can do for his/her organization. If there was a result (an accomplishment) related to the job duty, put it in. This information may or may not be included in the Summary area, but would probably be used under the specific job to illustrate your on-the-job success in the Work History section of the resume. Developing a Summary of Qualifications / Skills / Profile - STEP TWO Now that you know what you can do, it is time to identify what the employer needs This can typically be determined by thoroughly reading the job description and/or position vacancy announcement. Look at job duties, position requirements and preferences, desired traits, knowledge/skills/abilities (also called KSAs on governmental announcements), etc. If you are developing your resume for a database or a class, not for a specific job, this step can be accomplished by gathering job descriptions/vacancy notices from various websites. Get 5-10 different notices or job descriptions and note the common traits and experiences sought. Don't worry about where these jobs are located. You're not really applying for them - you're just trying to get a feel for what employers are looking for in a successful candidate! Developing a Summary of Qualifications / Skills / Profile - STEP THREE Employer Skills Match - develop your Qualifications or Skills section by matching up what the employer needs with what you can provide. Sounds simple enough! These are brief statements of your experience, training and/or personal abilities. They should highlight what you have to offer an employer (based on what the position requires.) Begin each with an action verb or number, being sure to choose different words to begin each statement - click for sample verb lists. Subheadings can be used, if appropriate, i.e., computer skills, customer service skills, etc. Note that "Qualifications" or "Skills" are more experience-based or quantifiable whereas "Profile statements" are more personal attributes. How Do I List Jobs Within the Experience Section? Job listing should be in reverse chronological order (that is, your most recent job is listed first.) Listing must include name of company, city and state. Do not list street addresses, supervisors, telephone numbers or reason for leaving. Dates of employment are required. Be sure to include month (or term) and year, i.e., Fall 2004 or June 2003-present. There is no rule about which jobs you must include. Use your discretion and include everything needed for the employer to make a good decision about whether or not to interview you. You might list every job you've ever held or you might just list your last 3 positions. Another approach might be to only include the relevant positions you've had and name the section Related Experience or Relevant Work History or something similar. How Do I List Jobs Within the Experience Section? Another option is to isolate the related experience (including internships) in one section (titled Related Experience or Internships or ??) then follow with the unrelated (but still valuable) experience in a Work History section. List a job title so the employer has an idea of the work you performed. If you didn’t have an official title, choose one that best describes what you actually did at this job. Typically job duties should not be included here unless they are highly Relevant to your objective. Even then do not include duties which are Implied by your job title or alluded to in the Summary of Qualifications or a Profile section. However, job accomplishments SHOULD be listed as bullet statements under each position as applicable. This is where you get to use the information identified as "results" from the Where Do I Put My Activities and Honors? We recommend that you put this section after your Employment History. Include scholarships, honors, organizations, and memberships. Community work, volunteer work, is also appropriate to list here. You don't have to include everything you've been involved with if it is overwhelming. Keep your goal in mind (getting that interview) and give enough information to allow the reader (i.e., potential employer) what s/he needs to make that decision. Remember, don’t include anything from before college unless it is truly an exceptional feat. Rank these items from 'most impressive' or 'most relevant' to 'least impressive' or 'least relevant' as it relates to your job target. Name this section what it is. If it is all community work – Community Involvement – would be a good name; if it is all clubs and organizations – call it Activities; if it is all honors – call it Honors. Are There Activities That I Shouldn’t List? Some activities we are involved in may be controversial. For example: political affiliated groups or volunteer work or church activities. We call these "hot buttons" and our advice is: IF that activity or membership is SO important to you that you would not want to work somewhere that it wasn’t ‘ok’ then include it on the resume, but IF you are more interested in the opportunity and would just as soon wait to let them know that you are a Democrat or a Baptist, leave it off or list it generically, for example: Sunday School Teacher What About Hobbies and Interests? As a general rule, we don’t recommend that you list hobbies or interests unless they are (1) organized, i.e., you belong to a club or (2) relevant to the type of position you are seeking Who Can I Use As a Reference and How Do I Format the Reference Page? As stated earlier, reference names don’t go on the resume itself. They are a separate document, using the same header you did on your resume. Then list the reference names and contact information in block (envelope) style. Do not send to employer unless they request it. What About Hobbies and Interests? We recommend between 3 and 5 references. They should all be individuals who have direct knowledge of your job abilities (supervisor, etc.) or a professor who teaches a major-related class. They should all be individuals who have direct knowledge of your job abilities (supervisor, etc.) or a professor who teaches a majorrelated class. Ask the references permission before you use them. Also ask them if they will give you a good reference. You don’t want to list folks who won’t sing your praises! Make sure to ask where they would like to be contacted, i.e., home or work and get the correct contact information for each person. Afterward, follow up with your references by sending them a copy of your completed resume. This will help them if/when they get a call on you. Be sure to take copies of your references to all interviews. Most employers will request them at that time. When & Why Do I Need a Cover Letter? Any time you send your resume to an employer it should be accompanied by a cover letter. A cover letter acts as an introduction for your resume. A cover letter also stands as a sample of your writing skills, so be sure to make it the best possible sample you can. If you are sending your resume via email - the cover letter is the email message itself. Then attach the resume following the employer's instructions (i.e., MSWord document, text document, etc.) I Need My Resume to Distinguish Me From Everyone Else, How Do I Do That? Spend some time up front to determine what you have to offer and what you are worth to an employer. DON'T use the resume wizard or template from your word processing software or copy the samples from this workshop! This document needs to be uniquely you - you don't want to look like anyone else's. Answer the question, "Why am I more qualified than the next guy?" Then develop your resume to reflect that. DON’T try to distinguish yourself by fancy fonts, clipart or non-traditional papers. That is not the interest you want to capture! What Is Focus In a Resume and Why Should Mine Be Sharp? It is imperative that you catch a prospective employer’s attention within the first few seconds of reading your resume. People today are busy and often don’t spend more than a minute or two scanning resumes, so you have to sell yourself quickly and concisely. Be sure when you are crafting your Summary of Qualifications / Profile area to highlight those skills that apply to your job objective. Remember that your objective is your "thesis statement" – proceed from there. What Are the Type/Design Details I Most Need to Know and Follow? Make use of your word-processor's style elements. Use bold, italics, different font sizes, upper-case and small capitals lettering for emphasis and to direct the reader's eye. Type should be between 10 & 12 pt. We suggest using a professional, readily-available font such as Times New Roman, Arial, Bookman, Trebuchet, Lucida Sans, Garamond, Verdana or Courier. You can use a different font for the headers of your resume as well as your contact information but don't use more than 2 types. As noted above, however, you can vary the size, style, etc. Make sure your resume looks good! Don’t have all the text on the left side of the page and lots of blank space on the right. Use white space, but also spread out your information in an aesthetically pleasing way. Use bullets to draw the reader’s eye. But don’t bullet everything! Use them to highlight the strong points of your resume such as the Qualifications or Profile statements. Be consistent with headings (size, boldness, etc.) and body text (indented, not indented, tabs right-justified, tabs left-justified, etc.) What About Paper? Use resume paper. This can be purchased by the sheet at a print shop or by the box at any office supply or discount store. Don’t get fancy – plain white or off-white (cream, ecru, etc.) is your best bet. As noted earlier, don’t go with any bordered or themed paper. You want the attention on your resume content not on it’s vehicle! What About Mailing? Don’t fold and stuff your resume in an envelope (even the nice ones you can buy to match your resume paper!) Buy envelopes that are the same size as your resume and slip your cover letter on top, then your resume. Type an address label and return address label (or stamp if you have it) and mail flat. GOOD LUCK WRITING YOUR RESUME AND DON’T FORGET TO VISIT OUR CENTER
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