RESUME WRITING TIPS Topics Resume Objectives Elements of an Effective Resume Resume Types Resume Do’s and Don’ts Resume Myths Why is a Resume So Important? “In today’s job market, your resume has only about eight seconds to catch an employer’s attention. Make your resume look inviting and quick to read.” Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume, 2nd Edition – Susan Ireland Resume Objectives To get you an interview. To market skills, abilities, and competencies. To provide a factual representation of your background. Should be written for the employer, not for you. Resume Red Flags Unorganized Structure Lack of Qualifications or Applicable Skills No Relevant or Progressive Work History Outdated Resume Information Gaps in Job History Inconsistencies between Applications & Resumes Spelling/Grammar Errors Lack of requested documents Inappropriate personal information Elements of a Good Resume Contact Information Summary of Qualifications Education Professional Experience Optional Sections – Volunteer Activities, Professional Associations, Professional Development / Training Computer Skills Listing of References (separate page) Contact Information Full Name Correct Address Phone Number – Cell / Home / Work Review all of your voicemail messages for professional appropriateness Email Address Make sure your email address is professional Summary of Qualifications Replaces the Objective statement. List of 3-5 bullet points summarizing qualifications. Emphasize skills you possess that aren’t obvious from your past work experiences. Education Emphasizes your educational background and formal training. What to include: Schools you have attended, including universities, community colleges, technical schools, etc. Date of graduation, actual or anticipated Degree(s) earned or pursued Grade Point Average (GPA) if recent Extra information about your degree (major or minor, funding sources, honors, etc.). Placement of the Education Section Depends on what you consider to be your strongest asset – your education or professional experience? The strongest, most relevant section should be placed towards the top of the page. Professional Experience Emphasize your past and present employment and/or your participation in relevant activities. Provide information and details necessary to persuade prospective employers that your experiences qualify you for the position. Address gaps in work history (if able). Include both paid and unpaid experience if relevant to job. Use action verbs and try to quantify information when possible. Use Action Verbs Before: Distributed publications. After: Independently streamlined distribution of publications for this fast paced department that generates annual, quarterly, and monthly publications with individual circulation of up to 120,000. Example Before: Facilitated the electronic network process. After: Devised electronic network that facilitates immediate written communication with over 200 remote locations. Example Before: Answered phone. Wiped tables. After: Acted as liaison between clients and legal staff by answering telephones and directing inquiries. Created healthy environment for customers and maintained positive public image by ensuring cleanliness of facility. Highlighting Job Responsibilities Select content that supports your qualifications and matches job description. Consider organizing by order of importance. Use professional wording, integrating jobspecific terms. Example PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE GENERAL ELECTRIC, INC., St. Louis, MO 1988-Present Administrative Secretary to Director, Corporate Communications, 1993-Present Independently streamlined this fast paced department that generates annual, quarterly, and monthly publications with individual circulation of up to 120,000. Devised electronic network that facilitates immediate written communication with over 200 remote locations. Managed budgets totaling $1 million. Prepared estimates and proposals for new publications. Secretary to Vice President, Merchandising, Office Products, 1991-1993 Set up and managed office procedures for the Merchandising Department, which produced a national wholesale office products catalog. Provided office support for 13 managers. Additional Sections To Consider Emphasize your participation in relevant activities, honors received, or special skills acquired. Highlight Professional Development / Training. Other Considerations: Awards, Memberships, Volunteer Activities, Special Honors, Military Accomplishments, Professional Associations. Computer Skills - Highly Recommended! Additional Sections Provides additional evidence of your qualifications & commitment to your profession. Gives employers a sense of who you are outside of school and work. Shows support to the overall mission of Notre Dame. References In general, do not include the names and addresses of your references on your resume. Create a separate reference page to bring with you to the interview. Do include both professional and personal references. Trend: Writing “References Available Upon Request” at the bottom of the resume is unnecessary. Organization / Formatting Organize your resume to highlight your unique skills and strengths. Tailor your information to the specific position you want, emphasizing accomplishments that fit. Use whatever combination of organizational styles you think best highlights your individual qualifications. Designing Layout for the Reader Consider using the following for emphasis: o o o o o o Subheadings Indenting Bold Face Type CAPITALIZATION (Parentheses) Bulleted lists Be consistent from section to section. Include name on second page. Resume Types Chronological – Highlights dates of employment, places of employment, & job titles. Functional – Presents accomplishments under skill headings. Hybrid – mix of functional and chronological styles. Chronological vs. Functional Format PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Chronological 1988-Present Company Title – Independently streamlined this fast paced department that generates annual, Devised electronic network that facilitates immediate written. – Managed budgets totaling $1 million. Prepared estimates and proposals. Title – Set up and managed office procedures for the Merchandising Department. – Provided office support for 13 managers. PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE Functional Major Skill Independently streamlined this fast paced department that generates annual, Devised electronic network that facilitates immediate written. Managed budgets totaling $1 million. Prepared estimates and proposals for the department. Major Skill Set up and managed office procedures for the Merchandising Department. Provided office support for 13 managers. WORK HISTORY 1988 – Present Job Title Company Name Which Resume Format is Best for You? Chronological Anyone who is on a long-term career path and shows a logical progression from one job to the next, and wants to stay on it. No major gaps in work history. Most preferred type of resume. Functional Career changers. Someone with a work history that includes a variety of jobs/skills. Parents reentering the workforce or those with gaps. Students just out of school. Resume Do’s Use short phrases, not long and complex sentences. Write in the active voice and avoid using “I,” “me,” “my,” or “we.” Use strong action verbs and words. (See Action Verbs handout) Use a visually appealing format; white space is important. Avoid cluttered, overcrowded appearance. Be consistent in all matters of style, punctuation, grammar, and format. Use bullets, underlining, bold face, capitalization, etc., to create visual interest. Edit, proofread; edit, proofread; edit, proofread, etc. Do it yourself and get others to help. Show verifiable accomplishments in terms of numbers, percentages, or dollars. Use facts and figures. Be absolutely accurate. Keep in mind the reader of your resume; is it “skimmable,” readable, and interesting? Include an e-mail address - it makes communication faster. Use key words, “Microsoft Word” instead of “word processing.” This is beneficial for businesses that utilize scanning software. Resume Don’ts Include personal information such as; height, weight, eyes, hair color, health, etc. Include discriminatory information such as; race, religion, married, children, disabled, etc. Include any misrepresentations or any statements that cannot be proven. Use flowery language or self-congratulatory puffery. Use odd size or brightly colored paper. Attach photograph. Use fancy binders or folders. Mention salary information. Show gaps in employment history. Use months; instead, use years only. Use abbreviations, acronyms, or buzz-words where misunderstanding may result. Include anything not considered absolutely essential. Overcrowd the page; leave white space. Resume Myths Myth #1 - Your resume must be only one page. Myth #2 - Employers don’t read cover letters. Myth #3 - Resumes should include and describe your entire work history. Myth #4 - It’s okay to fib on your resume. Myth #5 - Including “References available upon request” is standard resume protocol.