Writing Your Resume

The reverse-chronological format resume allows employers to evaluate the candidate from the most recent experience backward to past experience.  When seeking positions, the job seeker should tailor unique resumes that reflect the individual job posting.  When drafting a "generic" resume, the job seeker should focus on descriptive language and strong action verbs to enable potential employers to understand the capabilities of the candidate.  Generic resumes should be avoided, if possible, and job seekers should research positions fully and make the effort to draft tailored resumes. 

One of the best online resources for resume writing is the Purdue Owl Writing Lab Resume Workshop. A brief overview of resume writing is as follows: 

THE SECTIONS OF A RESUME

Gather information for the following sections on your resume:

Summary

The summary links the job seeker directly to the position and the company/organization by specifically referencing desirable skills, interests, and behaviors (as outlined in the job description and as evidenced in the details of the resume). A summary is not required, and the job seeker should be able to write with specificity and relevance if a summary is included.  

Example:  

University Junior majoring in English possessing relevant editing skills in both an academic and business setting.  Candidate for Media and Marketing Intern at ABC Company with experience writing press releases, interviewing and reporting, and blogging.  

Education

This section should include degree, major, date of graduation, GPA, and study abroad programs if applicable.  Job seekers may also list merit-based scholarships and honors earned during college. Other bullet points might include leadership titles and/or membership status with the associated student organizations and a short list of coursework that is directly related to the position sought. 

A note about GPA: Do not include a GPA if under 3.0.  Include a major-specific GPA if it is stronger than the overall GPA.  Always include a GPA if it is a requirement of the employer. 

Example: 

University of Dallas,  Irving, TX 

Bachelor of Arts, History with a concentration in Spanish

GPA: 3.6, Recipient of Provost's and Rotary Scholarships

Study Abroad:  Rome, Italy with educational travel through Eastern Europe

President:  Student Foundation

Relevant Coursework: Reporting, Introduction to Marketing

Skills

This section typically includes computer, language, and science/laboratory skills when applicable. If a professional summary is used (see above), the job seeker's skills can be listed in columns at the end of the summary.  The candidate should be able to clearly discuss how they have used and developed their skills.  

Examples of skills and aptitudes: 

Research and analysis, Writing and editing, Social media analytics (reporting and evaluating), Technical writing, Microsoft Excel / PowerPoint / Word, Presentation, Negotiation, Leadership, Problem solving, Bilingual (list of languages)...  The list is determined by your experience! 

Experience

This section includes employer, city/state, job title, and dates of employment (month/year to month/year or season like - "Fall 2015").  Beneath each experience, the job seeker should bullet the primary contributions he/she made, starting each bullet with a strong action verb.  This section should not be a list of job duties. Instead, the job seeker should detail process-thinking and problem solving.  

Example: 

ABC Company, Dallas, TX              05/2015 to Present

Research Intern 

  • Research topics assigned by organizational leadership using resources from the ABC archives and from external resources such as xxx, xxx, xxx
  • Identified a topic with approval from ABC mentor, engaged in a 12 week research cycle, and presented findings to organizational leadership. 
  • Proposed a modification to the record keeping process  which would increase ease of information retrieval.  Proposal was accepted and changes were adopted by the ABC archivist. 

Service

In this section record volunteer work and community services you have done

Example: 

Habitat for Humanity, Volunteer, 2013 to Present

Some tips...

Use Phrases

The resume should not include full sentences of first-person pronouns.  

Use Action Verbs

When creating statements for your resume it is recommended that you use action-packed verbs to begin each description. The link below will give you a wide variety of verbs to consider. One way to help you create these statements is to review what you did, then put it into a strong statement to sell your skills and abilities.

Consider the impact you receive from the second statement versus the first:

Example 1:

Helped the company consolidate debt from customers

Example 2 (Improved):

Customized an online system identifying customer debt and consolidating multiple records

Sample List of Action Verbs to begin statements regarding your experiences.

Finally...

  • Keep it to one page by including brief but sufficient information. Can be longer if an academic setting, if job experience exceeds 10 years, or in other instances. 
  • Write with consistency and clarity 
  • Tailor your resume to each position to which you apply
  • Emphasize your unique skills
  • Include results and accomplishments
  • Save the resume as a PDF before emailing to preserve formatting
  • Save each copy of your resume with an easily identifiable title.  Example:  Lastname_Firstname_Company
  • Print your resume on high-quality paper 
  • Keep your resume up-to-date
  • Have your resume reviewed by a career advisor

 

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