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Office of Career Development & Experiential Learning Services 


Developing a Resume 

Developing a polished resume and cover letter is necessary for a successful job search.  Learn how to create your own resume showcasing your strengths.  A resume and cover letter must be perfect in grammar, punctuation, and present the candidate in the best light; the office personnel can also help the student learn how to create individual letters for each position.  Contact the office to schedule an appointment.

A resume is a promotional piece. It is a calling card to introduce you, with your unique combination of skills and experience, to a potential employer.  Accompanied by a cover letter, its purpose is to get you an interview.  Although there are some standard expectations, resume writing is not an exact science.  There is no "right way" to create a resume.

The Format: Distinguishing Yourself

Although there is no correct way to write a resume, there are strategies to promote your abilities and to grab the reader’s attention.  Formatting your resume can be the most creative aspect of resume writing. Although there are popular standard formats, your format will depend upon your target audience and the manner in which you want to present yourself.

 Effective resumes have these qualities:

·         Typically one page

·         Easy to scan

·         Clear and forceful wording

·         Stress placed on achievements

·         Laser-quality printing

The most popular formats are Reverse Chronological and a combination of a Functional and Chronological. 

Reverse Chronological

·         This format lists work experience in a reverse chronology (begin with most recent and significant). Experiences should be listed by importance rather than time sequence. The information should be clutter-free, allowing the reader to scan the resume easily.

·         Use bold or underline print judiciously.  Using varied print too often defeats the purpose of highlighting items and becomes worthless.

 Functional/Chronological

·         Functional formats concentrate on the functional or transferable skills you have acquired through academics, activities, and work experiences.

·         These skills are often grouped under headings such as Communication Skills, Leadership Abilities, Research, Writing Skills, etc.

 Resume Content

Writing your resume involves thinking aloud. Start with the categories listed below, and write everything you think of that relates to the heading. Don't edit at this point. Whatever comes to mind, let it spill out on paper.  If you need help getting started, utilize this resume worksheet.

The Resume Heading

Every resume should highlight your name and contact information.  If necessary, a college student can include both home and college addresses and phone numbers.  Listing one address and phone number can save resume space and is aesthetically more pleasing.  Be sure that the phone number you use will be answered and has an appropriate voice mail message.  Moreover, always use a professional-appearing e-mail address, such as the one the college or university has provided to you.  Nothing will destroy your candidacy for a job quicker than an unprofessional voice-mail message or e-mail address.

The Job Objective (optional)

The problem with most job objectives is that they are broad in nature and say very little; or, they are so specific that they narrow the effective range of the resume. For most students, the cover letter will serve as the vehicle to get across "why you are writing and what you want." Nevertheless, if you include an objective, describe what you want to do and what you are able to do which adds to your marketability. 

Here are some examples of job objectives: 

·         To serve as an Assistant Curator within an art museum.  Prior internship experience in museum work has equipped me to assist in art exhibit installation, publicity, cataloging and research.

·         An internship which allows for use of my strong research and problem-solving skills within a biochemical research lab.  Familiar with various laboratory procedures and possess strong attention to detail.

·         Past involvement in campus activities and new student advising leads me to seek a position as an admissions officer in a liberal arts college.  Capable of promoting the college to prospective students and their parents, organizing orientation programs, and assessing prospective student applications.


Education

The education section is usually appears as the first section of an undergraduate resume.  Students who have come directly from high school to college or those students who

However, if you have had significant experience (work, volunteer, college activities, etc.) you may want to list EXPERIENCE as your first section.

Keep in mind the following points when formatting this section:

·         Start with your most recent educational experience: Indiana State University. List your major and graduation date. Bold the Indiana State University name or the name of your major (whichever you want to emphasize).

·         Whether to include your GPA or not depends on how you feel about it. If it is above a 3.0, include it. The GPA can be represented through your MAJOR GPA or your JR/SR GPA. The point is if your cumulative GPA is on the low side, you don't want to give employers a reason to discount your job candidacy based on this one factor. Employers may never get beyond the GPA to see the rest of your story.

·         Foreign Study and Exchange Programs: List these experiences and mention a fluency, proficiency, or familiarity with a foreign language.

·         Coursework: Don't laundry-list every course you've had. Rather, be judicious and highlight those courses that will catch an employer's attention. You may want to highlight courses that complement your major or that add somehow to your "marketability." List course names, not numbers, as course numbers have no meaning to a recruiter.

·         Honors and Awards: These can be either placed under the Education section or highlighted by themselves in a separate category. Remember a resume is not an autobiography. Select only those awards or honors that represent a composite picture of your strengths.

Be sure to check out the visual examples of resumes and other documents.

Experience

Students use different titles - Work Experience, Employment, etc. - to highlight this section of their resume.  As stated throughout this document, there is no one way to format a resume.  However, the Office of Career Development suggests you use the heading Experience or Career-Related Experience to caption this section.  Experience is a better title than Work Experience or Employment since it can encompass a wider range of activities, including clinical experiences, field work, practicum, and internships.  Business-Related Experience or any other specified type of experience can also be used if targeting specific work.  Non-related but relevant work experiences can be placed under the heading of Additional Experience.  Since most employers "skim" resumes rather than "read" resumes, you want to control the eye of the reader. This is done by good use of space and by highlighting information relevant to your candidacy.

Commonly asked questions regarding this section of the resume include:

Can I include paid and unpaid experiences together?
Certainly, the responsibilities you held and the skills demonstrated through internships, clinical experiences, field work, practicum, campus activities, and volunteer experiences, etc., are all transferable and worth highlighting.

Do my experiences need to be listed with the most recent experience first?
No. It's better to list experiences by order of importance. If an employer is skimming a resume, you want him/her to see the most relevant experiences first.

How far back should I go in listing jobs?
You need to be judicious in what you put in the resume and what you leave out. Since this is not an autobiography, focus on only those experiences and jobs which are relevant to your objective.  As you progress through college, more recent jobs and experiences will take their place.

What about all the odd jobs I had (work study, jobs during breaks, etc.)?
You don't want to discount experiences but neither do you want to elaborate on wait staff jobs, etc. You can summarize these experiences in a statement or two to get across the idea that you have an ingrained work ethic, helped finance your education, etc.

Activities and Interests

Many employers look at three key areas of your resume: academic performance, work-related experiences, and involvement in activities.  Membership in college organizations is fine. Leadership positions or in-depth involvement within these organizations is even better.  The activities you list give the reader a look into who you are and how you spend your time.  Employers often "latch on" to items in this section as ice-breakers in interviews and to find common interests.  Include information that complements the other parts of your resume and which adds personal dimension.

Do not include:

·         A personal section giving birth date, marital status, height, weight, health, etc.  By law, employers cannot discriminate on the basis of sex, race, or marital status.

·         Tag line "References available upon request": If employers are seriously interested in hiring you and want references, they will let you know.  However, be sure to have people in mind who can serve as references should you be asked.  It has been our experience that few employers request references for entry-level positions.  It is not necessary to maintain a reference file with our office for the purpose of a job search.

You may want to include:

·         Tag lines such as Portfolio Available Upon Request or Writing Samples Available Upon Request if you seek positions that require unique skills or experiences.


Resume Writing Tips

·         Use bold or underline separately, not together

·         Notice spelling of commonly misspelled words i.e., liaison

·         Avoid using more than two fonts in your document

·         Use simple, everyday language

·         Keep sentences short; begin with varied action verbs

·         Be honest; don't exaggerate

·         Don't list references on resume (if needed, use additional page for names)

·         Use high-quality bond paper

·         Keep margins and spacing clean and inviting to the eye

·         Proofread and have other people read it as well: read backwards to catch mistakes.

Preparing the Scannable Resume

Some employers are now using computer programs to sort through large numbers of applicants to find desirable employees.  These resumes are scanned into a database; key word searches are then conducted to identify applicants who have the desired traits.  These electronic tracking systems can extract skills from many styles of resumes.  The most difficult resumes to read are those with poor copy quality, blue or gray paper, or unusual formats such as a newspaper layout, complex fonts, graphics, or lines.  When possible, you can ask the contact person for the position whether or not a scannable resume is recommended.  When this is not possible, you can either include a scannable resume along with your regular resume, or make sure that your resume is scannable.

Tips for Scannability

·         Use white paper and do not fold or staple

·         Use laser printed original; avoid photocopies

·         Use standard typefaces such as Helvetica, Futura, Times, Palatino

·         Use font sizes of 10 to 12

·         Use boldface and/or all capital letters for section headings as long as letters don't touch

·         Avoid fancy styles such as italics, underline, shadows and reverses

·         Fax only when necessary. When faxing, fax in "fine" mode if possible


Action Verbs

Your resume should be action-oriented in order to catch the reader’s attention.  Listed below are a few ideas to help you begin writing action-oriented statements to further describe work, leadership, or volunteer experience. 

Communication Skills

Creative Skills

Advertised

Built

Arbitrated

Composed

Authored

Conceived

Clarified

Conceived

Composed

Conceptualized

Contacted

Constructed

Corresponded

Created

Demonstrated

Designed

Drafted

Developed

Edited

Directed

Facilitated

Established

Informed

Formulated

Interpreted

Generated

Mediated

Initiated

Moderated

Invented

Negotiated

Launched

Notified

Performed

Presented

Piloted

Promoted

Planned

Proofread

Produced

Publicized

Revised

Published

 

Translated

 

 

 

Helping or Counseling Skills

Leadership Skills

Advocated

Achieved

Aided

Clarified

Assessed

Decided

Assisted

Delegated

Coached

Effected

Collaborated

Enhanced

Counseled

Exceeded

Diagnosed

Excelled

Directed

Headed

Encouraged

Improved

Guided

Inspired

Inspired

Instigated

Led

Led

Mentored

Marketed

Represented

Motivated

Served

Participated

Supported

Presided

 

Recommended

 

Succeeded

For an additional list of action verbs, click here


Example Resumes

The suggestions that appear in the examples resumes are general guidelines, not a blueprint. Since the resume is a marketing device, it should sell you.  Examples have been selected to emphasize basic resume structures.

The Ohio State University at Newark

     Example Resume 1

     Example Résumé 2

     Example Resume 3

     Example Resume 4

     Example Resume 5

     Example Resume 6

Central Ohio Technical College 

     Nursing Technologies Résumé Packet

     Nursing Resume 1

     Nursing Resume 2

     Diagnostic Medical Sonography 1

     Diagnostic Medical Sonography 2

     Radiologic Technology 1

     Radiologic Technology 2

     Early Childhood Development Technology

     Computer Programming Technology

     Drafting & Design Technology 1

     Drafting & Design Technology 2

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