How To Prepare A Resume

Preparing a Resume

A resume is a summary of your skills, accomplishments, experiences, and education designed to capture a prospective employers interest. The purpose of a resume is to secure an interview. It is the primary tool of your job search and may take several drafts to prepare effectively.

Building an Effective Resume

I. Self-Assessment
You must first be able to identify your skills and abilities as well as your special needs relating to the work environment, salary, geographic location, and people environment. This step will help you to develop a career objective.

II. Career Exploration

Collecting information regarding the required skills and qualifications of occupations which interest you is an extremely important step. This will help you decide if and how these requirements relate to your own skills and needs.

III. Writing the Resume

Keep in mind the needs of the employer who will be reading it. Consider what s/he is looking for in a candidate and make it easy for the reader to pick out those skills by selecting appropriate categories, using underlining, bold facing or capitalizing and presenting relevant experience and skill areas higher on the page. Keep in mind the following suggestions as you begin developing your resume:

(1) Sell yourself :- Create a good first impression by highlighting skills and abilities appropriate to the position.
(2) Use active language :- Use action words to spice up your resume. Articulate marketable skills acquired through your positions.
(3) Be consistent :- Choose a pattern of spacing, an order of information presentation or a format of highlighting and be consistent throughout.
(4) Present information in reverse chronological order within categories :- List education and work experiences starting with the most recent first.
(5) Check for grammar :- Misspellings and poorly constructed sentences communicate negative impressions about a candidate.
(6) Ensure that your resume is neat and visually appealing :- Choose high quality paper in white, off-white or other conservative colors. Have the final version professionally reproduced.

IV. Resume Content

The following categories can be used as guideline to assist you in organizing a resume. There is no absolute correct way to organize your resume. Creativity is encouraged. The following are descriptions of the basic categories of the standard resume:

1. Name, Address and Telephone

Present yourself with the name you use in your personal and business life (nicknames should be avoided). If you have a campus address that does not apply during vacations or after graduation, you should present both a college and permanent address. Use your parents home address, a post office box, or someone who will know where to contact you at all times. Also, always include phone numbers with area codes. If you have an e-mail address, you might want to include that as well.

2. Objective

The objective is one of the most important parts of a resume and should not be overlooked. It informs potential employers that you are moving in a certain direction, relates your work preference(s), and serves as a focal point from which to review and analyze your resume. It should be brief, clearly stated, and consistent with the accomplishments and demonstrated skills as documented on your resume.
In writing the major areas of your resume, it is important to emphasize your abilities and accomplishments. You may also want to indicate how well you performed. This will help infuse personal qualities such as character and personality into your resume.

3. Education

This category is particularly important if you have not had a great deal of work experience. Remember, your most recent educational experience should be listed first. Include your degree (B.A., etc.), major, institution(s) attended, date of graduation, any special workshops, seminars, related coursework or senior projects.

4. Work Experience

The important point to the employer is what your skills are and what you can do on the job. Be sure to include all significant work experience in reverse chronological order.

You should include: (1) the title of your position, (2) name of organization, (3) location of work (town, state), and (4) dates (ex. Summer 1994; 1994-95 academic year) You should describe your work responsibilities with an emphasis on achievements using action words to communicate your skills. List the most important and related responsibilities first. Identify the most relevant work experiences and describe them fully. It is sometimes useful to divide your work experience into two categories: Relevant Experience and Other Experience.

5. Additional Information

This category is useful for displaying information that doesnt fit in any other category.

6. Interests

This is sometimes used to understand your personality type include social or civic activities, health and fitness or sports activities, or hobbies which indicate how you spend your leisure time.

7. Computer Knowledge

If using computers is a necessary skill for the job you are seeking, be sure to highlight your knowledge in this section.

8. Activities and Honors

The employer is interested in the skills you have developed whether through volunteer or paid experiences. If you were elected to offices or committees, mention it. Recognition and demonstration of leadership roles are valuable.

9. References

Be sure to ask individuals if they would be willing to be a reference for you prior to mentioning their names to prospective employers. You should prepare a typed list of three references to provide at the interview.