RESUME WRITING TIPS
What is a resume and what is its purpose?
A resume is a snapshot of your employment and educational experiences. Its purpose is to get you an interview (while the interview’s objective is to get you the job). Your resume functions much like a personal sales brochure, advertising what you can offer a potential employer.
Should I target my resume for each position I am applying for?
Targeting your resume for each opportunity is most effective. Analyze job postings to determine what type of candidate the employer is looking for. Then tailor your resume so it relates as closely as possible to the position and its job description.
General Resume Guidelines
Include your name, mailing address, email addresses and voice/fax numbers at the top middle or upper-right corner of the first page of your resume.
Make sure your resume is attractive, clean and pleasing to the eye with enough white space surrounding the text.
Your Resume Should Not Include…
Social Security#/Drivers License
Reasons for Leaving Previous Employers
A chronological resume focuses on your work history and lists it in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent employment. This resume type works best if:
The job you are applying for is a natural progression in your career
You have few/no gaps in employment
You have a stable work history
You want to highlight your current or most recent job
Most employers prefer chronological resumes as they can easily see where you worked and what you did.
The functional or skills-based resume highlights responsibilities, skills and achievements rather than work history. This style is sometime used by those wishing to change careers.
Combines features from both the functional and chronological formats.
Functional elements include highlighting and grouping relevant skills and accomplishments at the beginning of the resume to grab reader attention. Then the work history is listed in reverse chronological format with a few bullets under each job to expand on skills and accomplishments while linking them to the job. This format is a good alternative to the functional format, as employers like to see employment information and dates.
Typical Resume Headings:
While resumes can have many sections, the following are often included:
OBJECTIVE or SUMMARY
HIGHLIGHTS (or HIGHLIGHTS OF QUALIFICATIONS)
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY (also can be described as EMPLOYMENT HISTORY , WORK EXPERIENCE or PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE)
More information on each of these resume sections follows below:
OBJECTIVE (or SUMMARY)
While the Objective statement is still used quite extensively, the SUMMARY statement is gaining favour for its ability to convey relevant information more quickly to an employer. If you have extensive experience or relevant skills, you may wish to use a SUMMARY statement:
Objective:“To utilize my extensive skills and experience as a computer programmer for ABC Data Services.”
“Computer Programmer with over 25 years experience operating and maintaining legacy computer systems. Able to read schematic diagrams. Strong information systems aptitude and attention to detail.”
HIGHLIGHTS (or HIGHLIGHTS of QUALIFICATIONS)
Provides a snapshot of important information
Refers to select information in your work experience (shown later in your resume)
Bulleted points are useful here (maximum of 6)
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY (also can be described as WORK HISTORY, WORK EXPERIENCE or PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE)
Remember to transform duties / responsibilities into Accomplishment Statements using Action – Benefit statements.
“Responsible for delivery and pickups for the office.” Transform to:
“Performed deliveries and pickups for the office resulting in timely business transactions.”
When describing your work experience on your resume, keep in mind that employers are looking for their needs to be met in an effective and definable way.
Using numbers helps employers understand in concrete terms how you benefited your last employer.
Example: Note these two statements:
“Created an incentive program to reduce absenteeism.”
“Created and implemented an employee incentive program that reduced absenteeism by 25% in less than 4 months.”
Note how the second statement has greater impact. Quantifying as many aspects of your previous jobs as possible is a good approach as it lets employers know more clearly how you can benefit them.
This section can include:
Awarded degrees, diploma and certifications, along with educational institutes
Civic Activities or Community Involvement
Awards and Honors
Professional Development Training
Affiliations or Associations