|There is no “perfect” or “right” resume format. The format you choose will depend upon the job you hope to find and your past experiences. This section shows resume formats. Look them over and determine what format or combination of formats will present you in the best possible light. Remember, the purpose of a resume is to get you a job interview. The interview gets you the job.
General Resume Guidlines
The following guidelines are just that—guidelines for what to include in a good resume. Remember, your résume's function is to obtain a job interview for you. Use your common sense and imagination to highlight your background and experience in a well-focused resume.
A one-page resume works well for the recent graduate. If you have an extensive work history, two pages are reasonable. Remember, individuals with extensive work history should limit information to what is pertinent to their current job objective. If you do go to two pages, make sure the most important information is stated on the first page.
- An organized, readable layout determines whether a resume is
read. Direct the reader's eye with the format. Make sure it is well-organized
and concise. Avoid dense text appearance, which is difficult to read.
- Consider using high-quality white of off white paper.
- Always type or word-process your resume and have it professionally copied.
- Make sure there are no typographical, spelling or grammatical errors.
- Information that has been crossed out or handwritten is unacceptable.
- Make sure that your resume will copy well. Do a photocopy test.
- Design your resume with a particular objective in mind. Present information
important to the objective first. Edit.
- List information in descending order of importance.
- Be selective in what you include in your resume, but never falsify or exaggerate
- Sell yourself - attract attention to your special abilities.
- Concentrate on the positive and use action verbs to describe your background.
The following categories are usually found in a resume. These are suggestions. You should adopt those which best serve your needs.
- Personal Data - Make sure your name is the most obvious piece of
information on your resume. Also include your address and phone number, with
ZIP and area codes. List a message phone number if you do not have an answering
machine, and give an e-mail address if you have one. It is unnecessary to
include personal information such as age, marital status or health.
- Objective or Career Summary - An objective or career summary gives
your resume a focus. It also gives credibility and direction to your resume
and suggests commitment on your part. It should be specific enough to tell
the employer the kind of work you seek, yet general enough to include the
full range of jobs you will consider. This will take some thought! If the
statement is so specific that it would eliminate you from consideration for
other jobs in which you have interest, you might consider having a resume
for each type of job (not necessarily each job). Some disciplines require
objectives; others discourage their use.
- Education - List your educational background in reverse chronological
order, starting with your highest degree and working your way backwards. Do
not go back to your high school degree. Listing your grade point average (GPA)
is optional. Dissertation and thesis topics are also included in this section
as are honors bestowed at graduation time.
- Experience - This category includes volunteer or intern
experience as well as employment. Include job titles, employers, responsibilities
and dates. Remember to list the city and state of each place of work. Concentrate
on the positive and use action words. (See Action Word List.) A statement
of the percentage of college expenses earned can be included if you were self-supporting
or nearly so. You may include paid work experience, academic assignments of
significance and extracurricular assignments relative to your desired field
of employment. If your experience has not been relevant to your field of desired
employment, you should still include a description of your responsibilities.
Strive to show growth or contributions you made while in each assignment.
- Additional Information - Skills, activities, honors, awards,
membership on committees or in honorary societies, public service, or even
language ability can be placed under this, or a more specific category.
- References - It is acceptable to use the phrase, “Available
upon request. ” Be prepared with a typed list when requested. Generally, a
reference sheet will consist of the name, title, business mailing address,
and phone number of three to five academic or business references. Do not
use relatives, friends or other students as references. Be sure to obtain
permission from each person you plan to list.
- Qualifications or Technical Skills Statement - Qualifications,
or skills, may be established from any prior employment, educational achievement,
internship, volunteer experience, hobby or community service. For your qualifications
statement, list your past in terms of the skills you have acquired that are
relevant to your resume’s objective. This section is particularly helpful
to those who are making a career change or for students whose major is not
obviously related to the job objective.
- Language Ability - You can list this section separately,
as a part of the qualifications statement, or in the additional information
section if there is a likelihood that this ability will be used by employers.
Specify the language(s) you read, write, and/or speak and your facility in
- Military - In the functional resume your military experience
can be included in the “Experience” category. A chronological resume would
list military either under a separate heading or in chronological order under
- Publications - List articles you have published and those
which have been accepted for publication.
- Research - Give the employer insight into your professional
abilities and training by listing research projects in your field on which
you have participated.
- Extracurricular Activities - Employers often look to extracurricular
activities to indicate how you developed your interests and leadership abilities
during college. The extracurricular activities you list should include organizations
in which you are a member and offices you have held. You may also wish to
include awards, honors, hobbies, and interests in this category. Avoid listing
controversial activities, particularly those that are political or religious
Active Word List
Examples of active words that describe your functional skills:
Examples of adaptive skill words that describe your personal traits:
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