A resume is a written compilation of your skills, education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments that you want the employer to know about you. It is also good to include a summary of your qualifications.
Resume dos and don’ts:
- Place a header on every piece of paper that you turn in.
- Use the fours C’s- clear, concise, consistent and correct.
- Use self-evaluations on your resume!
- Put your resumes, cover letter and references in one document. They three separate documents!
- Try to tell people your life story.
Every piece of paper that you turn into an employer should have your contact information. Do not put your trust in a paperclip or staple, because they can easily be removed, and the employers will not take the time to put your documents back together.
Stay away from self-evaluations. These are dangerous for two reasons: one, you don’t know what your new employer’s definition is of outstanding or excellent, and you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you and your supervisor are fighting over definitions; two, employers already know that you are putting your best foot forward when writing your resume, but if you overdo it, you will just end up wasting space on your resume.
The main purpose of writing a resume is to excite the employer enough to make them want to bring you in for an interview. By giving them too much information, you can turn an employer off, and you should always keep in mind that they are not required to read your resume and will move to another if it becomes too difficult.
General Resume Tips & Tricks
- Keep your resume to one page
- You have 7-10 seconds to gain an employer’s attention.
- The font size should be 10 to 12 point (Times New Roman or Arial) for main content.
- Pick a spot for your dates and leave them there.
- Avoid color and fancy formatting.
- Use grammar and spell check, and always have someone look at your resume before distributing.
It’s always a good idea to keep in mind that the first time somebody looks at your resume you only have seven to ten seconds to impress the reader.
White space is important on your resume because nobody wants to read a document that is covered in words from left to right, top to bottom.
Your resume needs to be one page. If you have a lot of education and work experience, sometimes it can go over to two pages, but these are the exception instead of the rule.
Your font size should be between 10 and 12. Anything smaller than 10 is too hard to read; anything over 12 looks unprofessional.
If you want to ensure that your resume can be read by every computer system in the world, make sure your font is Times New Roman or Arial.
Your dates can be on the left, right, or center. Once you have chosen a spot for your dates, you need to ensure that they are all in the same place.
Unless you are personally printing out the resume and handing it to the employer, avoid color and fancy formatting. You never know what another computer system will do to your formatting and some color documents are invisible when they’re printed out on a black and white printer. Before you hand your resume out to anyone, it is highly recommended that you show it to other people so that they can check your grammar and spelling. Be sure that you remind people that you are happy with the format and ask only that they give you the advice about grammar and spelling.
Parts of the Resume Templates
- Contact Information
- Work Experience
- Computer Skills
The four sections that you should always put on your resume are contact information, education, work experience, and computer skills. There are optional sections that you can use to fill out your resume, but these should always be there.
Your contact information needs to go on every piece of paper that you turn in to an employer. As you can see on the slide, there is no wrong way to do this as long as you relay the information. Always ensure that you use a professional email.
- Most recent ==> least recent
- If you were not awarded a degree or certificate, do not list it
- No high school
For your education, you’re going to start with the university you are currently attending and work your way backwards. You will not list a college if you did not graduate or receive a certificate of training.
Once you’ve finished your first semester of college, you will not list your high school any more. Important things to remember about your education section is to spell out the entire name of your degree.
Do not use abbreviations. Do not put your beginning and ending dates.
Simply put the month and the year that you either did graduate or you are projected to graduate.
Do not write anticipated upcoming or expected if the date is in the future. They know it hasn’t happened yet. Especially if you are still enrolled in college, your GPA is a big factor in hiring. If your GPA is over 3.0, you will want to ensure that it is on your resume.
If it is below a 3.0 it is up to you, but if you do not have your GPA on your resume you need to be able to explain that during an interview.
- Start at the present, and work your way backwards
- Do not go back more than 10 years.
- Bullet points start with action verbs
- Quantify whenever possible
- Past tense verbs for past jobs
- 3-5 bullet points per job
You are going to start at the present and work your way backwards.
Do not use paragraphs, use bullet points that start with action verbs. You want to quantify whenever you possibly can. It’s important to remember that businesses speak in numbers and percentages. The more you communicate with them in their language, the more you will stand out.
All of your bullets need to start with action verbs. If you are currently working in your position, all of your bullets need to be in present tense. If you are no longer working there, they need to be in past tense.
You should have three to five bullets for your current position, and the most important part about this is to remember to not talk about your daily duties but instead to talk about what you do that makes you stand out from all of the other employees.
As you can see in the example, we chose a cashier at McDonald’s. A lot of people write bullets like “talk to customers,” “take orders,” “customer service.”
Head Fry Cook/Cashier
McDonalds, Wichita, KS January 2009 – May 2011
- Implemented new safety procedures that resulted in a 25 percent decrease in injuries
- Handled more than $400 daily in cash and credit transactions with zero discrepancies
It lets people know that what they do during the day during their day to day activities, but it doesn’t say anything about them as an employee. As you can see from the bullets in the examples, “handled more than four hundred dollars daily in cash and credit transactions with zero discrepancies,” this tells the employer a lot about you and helps to highlight your skills.
- Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word; SMART Boards
- Industry specific software
- CATIA, Matlab
- InDesign, Photoshop
In a skill section you are going to list out all of the various computer programs that you are comfortable with using.
Do not quantify your use of any of these programs. Once again, definitions matter. As long as you can open, it maneuver around in the program, and close it successfully, you can put it on your resume.
If it’s important to an employer that you have advanced knowledge of a certain skill, it should come out during the interview. If you are in an industry that has specific software, you want to ensure that you list those programs on your resume.