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Developing a Resume

Your resume is the tool by which you influence an employer’s hiring decision. Its major purpose is to peak an employer’s interest and get you an interview. The following steps and approaches to resume writing will prepare you to write a resume that gets noticed.

Remember your resume must include information that convinces the employer that you have what it takes to do the job well. Employers look for someone who has the best qualifications and will add value to the organization. Employers will be especially interested in a candidate’s training and education, skills, experience, personal attributes (the kind of person you are), results attained from previous work and your accomplishments.

As such, it’s important that your first step of resume writing include a brainstorming session to take stock of and reflect on your attributes. Jot down your work history, achievements, values, education, competencies, personal qualities and other potentially relevant information. Next sort out the information that best meets the employer’s needs. You now have a foundation to draw from when developing your resume.

Sections of a Resume

  • Personal Data
    • Name, local address and/or permanent address, phone number, e-mail address, web page (if relevant).
  • Objective
    • Usually placed under the heading. It is a brief description of the job you are seeking. Examples: *Desire a buyer position with a furniture retail company. *Staff nurse position, preferably in cardiology or respiratory unit. *Position within a financial institution requiring analytical and numerical skills
  • Summary of Qualifications
    • Optional section. Provides an opportunity to highlight and summarize your best qualifications and attributes. Examples: *5 years experience working with public in sales and in financial advisement. *Promoted from receptionist to administrative assistance to office manager within 18 months of employment.
  • Education
    • Include recent education first; degree or certificate attained (A.S., B.A), minors or concentration, related subjects, GPA if 3.0 or higher, internships and field experience can also be mentioned here, as well as clubs, organizations, notable projects and awards received.
  • Work Experience
    • Again, most recent experience first (reverse chronological order). Include the company name, city and state, dates employed and your title. In addition to listing responsibilities of the job, also include your skills and accomplishments. Indicate the kind of worker you are by showing results and achievements. Use action verbs to describe your experience (e.g., organized, maintained, managed, coordinated, initiated).
  • Other Experience
    • Volunteer experience (indicate personal qualities and skills you demonstrated). Intern experience could also be mentioned here.
  • Other Categories
    • You may choose to include Honors, Awards and Recognitions, Special Projects, Leadership Roles, Committees, Professional Associations.
  • Reference Available Upon Request
    • Have names of references on a separate sheet of paper (quality paper same as resume). Do not submit your references until requested, usually at the end of an interview. Be certain to get permission from the person you’re interested in using as a reference.

Developing the Work History Section of Resume

Perhaps the most important part of a resume is the work history/experience section. This section affords the greatest opportunity for displaying your skills, abilities, responsibilities and accomplishments.

In describing responsibilities held on the job, use action verbs. By starting your phrases with an action verb, you are not only showing that you have a skill, but that you’ve put it to work in a professional capacity (e.g., processed telephone orders).

When describing your work experiences remember to stress your results, promotions, and accomplishments! Indicate that you not only have specific skills, but also show how you have used them successfully. Volunteer and military experience count as well.

Sample Descriptions: The following examples demonstrate the various approaches to describing your work experience.

J.C. PENNEY CO. Arlington, Texas 2006-Present
Waited on customers in Junior Apparel Department, processed telephone orders, kept accurate records of all sales transactions, and maintained running inventory of departmental stock. Completed a six-week training period within three weeks.

July 2005-2010 Spock Computer Company Houston, Texas
COMPUTER PROGRAMMER/OPERATOR. Converted Computer Center from a small to a large computer system. Filtered, debugged, and tested programs for the converted system. Designed programs requested by Systems Analysts and Computer Manager.

Kelly’s Landing Pawtucket, RI 2006-2008

  • Developed employee selling skills
  • Evaluated personnel performance
  • Designed merchandising floor layout
  • Budgeted payroll expenses
  • Coordinated inventory control

2007-2009 CASHIER/CLERK (part-time)
Loan Department

Federal Savings Bank

Manderly, MA 09999

Answered customer calls and directed them appropriately.

Prepared monthly statements and recorded payments received: on own initiative reorganized internal mail routing system and wrote up suggestions for improvements in filing system.

Links to Resources

The following sites include templates to get you started on developing your own resume. You'll also find examples of well written resumes, the how-to of web based resumes and resume writing tips.

This page developed and maintained by Career Development. Send comments and suggestions to

Last Updated: 11/23/16