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General Resources: Writing a Résumé

The résumé is a critical tool to help you get your foot in the door. First impressions do count! Often your résumé is the first contact the employer will have with you. You want it to look professional, stand out, and highlight your skills and competencies. There are computer programs that can help you set up your résumé and often classes are offered in the career center. You can also look at a sample résumé for some hints on how to set up your résumé.

Your résumé should:
  • be honest
  • be error free
  • be clear and concise
  • use action words
  • be printed on high quality paper
  • focus on skills, achievements, and accomplishments

Contents

You can use various formats for your résumé. The following are components that you will want to include in the contents of your résumé:


Personal Information

Write your name, address, and telephone number. If you have a temporary or school address, you will want to include a permanent address and phone number as well. Don't include other personal information (marital status, height, weight, health, interests, picture, or hobbies) unless you think it is relevant to the job. Keep it simple. Adding unessential information only clutters up your résumé and detracts from the essential information.


Job Objective

It is not essential that you include a job objective on your résumé. The rule of thumb is to include a job objective if you will only accept a specific job. You may be willing to accept various jobs in a company, especially if you're a new graduate with little experience. If you decide not to list your job objective, you can use the cover letter to relate your résumé to the specific job you are applying for.


Educational Background

List your highest degree first, school attended, dates, and major field of study. Include related educational experience that may be relevant to the job, such as certification, licensure, advanced training, intensive seminars, and summer study programs. Don't list individual classes on your résumé. If you have special classes that relate directly to the job you are applying for, list them in your cover letter.


Awards and Honors

List awards and honors that are related to the job or indicate excellence. In addition, you may want to list special qualifications that relate to the job, such as fluency in a foreign language. Highlight this information prominently, rather than as an afterthought. Pack a persuasive punch by displaying your best qualifications out in front.


Work Experience

List the title of your last job first, dates worked, and a brief description of your duties. Don't clutter your résumé with needless detail or irrelevant jobs. You can elaborate on specific duties in your cover letter and in the interview.


Campus and Community Activities

List activities that show leadership abilities and a willingness to make a contribution.


Professional Memberships and Activities

List professional memberships, speeches or research project connected with your profession. Always be honest. Don't exaggerate your educational background or your work experience. Your integrity is the most important quality you can bring to a job, and you want your résumé to reflect your honesty. Follow up with a phone call in a week or two to make certain that your résumé was received. This is also the time to ask if additional information is needed and when a decision will be made. Call or write in a month if you haven't heard.


References

References can be furnished upon request. However, make sure that you have contacted the individuals you plan to use for references. Include, if possible, former employers and instructors.

Sample Résumé

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