Drafting Your Resume
Once you have identified your audience and chosen an organizational style, it is time to start putting your information into the resume. The following are some tips for constructing your resume.
What to Include
Objective Statement: While you see objective statements on many sample resumes, they are not required. Objective statements should be clear, precise and succinct. They should make use of specific job titles and specific phrases describing the applicants preferred working environment.
Profile: Many people replace the objective statement with a profile or qualification highlights section that highlights the "soft skills" that do not always make it into resume databases. The profile is a sort of summary of the resume itself, highlighting the applicant's most impressive skills, abilities and accomplishments.
Education: Name and location of institution, dates of attendance, type of degree, area of study, and special awards. You may include GPA information if important to the specific position.
Work Experience: Name and location of company, dates of employment, major accomplishments on the job, major responsibilities, name and contact information of direct supervisor, skills acquired. Include paid and volunteer positions (if necessary).
Additional Training or Workshops: if you've attended specialized training courses, seminars or workshops, be sure to list these as well (depending upon relevancy).
Skills: Things you can actually do (as opposed to generalized skills - better to let an employer know you have leadership skills from reading your work or training history rather than telling them you have "leadership skills"). For example, software you may know well, systems you may understand, etc.
What not to Include
References: There's no need to list references on the resume, as the goal is to get an interview and most employers will not check references until after you've been interviewed. Instead, take a list of references to the interview itself. Personal Information: Marital status, gender, religion, lists of hobbies, etc.
Tips for Appealing Language
- Know the jargon. Every occupational field has it's own set of words, phrases and even verbs to describe what its work. Understanding and using this language shows a familiarity with the field.
- Use keywords - short phrases, nouns and adjectives that describe abilities, experience and education that can be used to find your resume in a database. Find out which keywords are specific for the industry in which you want to work by using The Dictionary of Occupational Titles or the Occupational Outlook Handbook (available in a library or online at http://stats.bls.gov/oco/oco1002.htm.) to research standard occupational descriptions. Other sources for keywords include job advertisements, recruiters, and job counselors.
- Focus on "hard skills." Descriptors like "strong communicator" and "team-oriented" are considered "soft skills" by human resources professionals. They are often not included in resume database keyword searches. Focus instead on specific abilities or knowledge.
- Point of View. Resumes generally avoid using the first person "I." The most traditional way to accomplish this is to start sentences with verbs. Instead of "I managed, organized and planned . . ." use "Managed, organized and planned . . ." Avoid generalities. Use nouns and verbs that are as specific as possible, cite specifics when listing accomplishments. "Reorganized sales floor resulting in fifty-percent increase in store revenues over two years," is more effective than, "Reorganized sales floor resulting in increased sales."
Tips for Appealing Designs
- Make sure your name is legible and set above the rest of the text.
- The address should be set apart from the text but not detract from the other information on the page. Place the address either at the top or bottom of the page.
- In order to make the resume easier to read, keep lines of text under seven inches in length. Limit paragraphs to under seven lines.
- Be consistent with section headings, punctuation and use of italics. There is no "right" style for this, but once you choose a style, stick with it.
- Choose fonts carefully and avoid flashy or wild fonts, even in headers or footers. If you think your resume will be scanned, use an easily readable font like Times New Roman or Arial.