Introduction to Resumes & Letter Writing
An Effective resume succinctly describes your education and
experience in relation to the job you are applying for. You will often
make your first impressions on employers through your writing, and
you’ll want those impressions to be outstanding. Your resume is a
written snapshot that should clearly support your career goal and be
tailored to that position. Information on the resume should be presented
in order of relevance to the position
Developing a Resume
- Analyze the job description for skills and abilities
descriptions for the skills and abilities that employers are
seeking. Read through the descriptions and highlight the required
skills, attributes and qualifications. Use these words in your
- Create a list of accomplishments
Take some time to think about
your accomplishments: things that you did well, enjoyed doing, and
were proud of. Include education, training, internships, volunteer
opportunities, jobs, projects, school assignments, travel. Describe
in detail what you did, who you did it with, what equipment you used
and what happened. Quantify your results, if possible, and use
commonly understood terminology. Identify the personal strengths and
skills that you used to achieve your accomplishments. Don’t be
humble; this is your chance to promote your skills and abilities.
- Analyze experiences for relevant skill areas
experiences to identify your skill areas.
- Write descriptive phrases
Using action verbs, write short
phrases to describe what you did that illustrates each skill. Be
concise and specific. Arrange the descriptive phrases in order of
relevance to the position for which you are applying.
- Choose the appropriate format
There are several resume formats
to choose from so be sure to choose the format that best presents
your background and qualifications. Samples of each resume format
can be found in the Sample Resumes section.
The resume lists your background in a reverse
chronological sequence, starting with the most recent. You may
arrange you’re heading in various ways, depending upon what
aspects of your background you wish to stress. This format works
best when your work, volunteer and academic experiences relate
directly to the type of job for which you are applying. It
is preferred by most on-campus recruiters and business
This resume highlights your most important
skills or functions. Headings are built around these areas. Job
titles, employers and dates of employment are listed in a brief
section at the bottom of the page. This format allows you
highlight skills, knowledge and abilities relevant to the
position regardless of where and when you obtained them. It
works well when your work experience is not directly related to
your career goal. You are entering the job market for the first
time, or you are making a career change.
Use a Resume to:
- Respond to an advertised job vacancy.
- Send to employers that interest you after you have researched an
- Accompany government or other formal application forms.
- Present to a potential employer at the time of an interview.
- Reinforce a personal contact you have already established with
- Submit to employers before on-campus interviews.
- Accompany a request that someone write a letter of
recommendation for employment for you.
- Present to a professional association employment committee or
conference placement service.
Sending Resumes and Letters Electronically
- When submitting a resume via an organization’s website, use the
formatting and display style recommended by the website. To send
your resume via email, find out the employer’s format preference
when possible. Although some recruiters accept attachments, others
prefer your resume be included in the text of the employer’s
preference, send it both ways in one message. Unless you are told
otherwise, include a cover letter. Send both the resume and cover
letter in one email message.
Tips for sending your resume as an attachment
- Create your resume using a common word processing program. Give
the document a name the recruiter will associate with you, such as
"MillerJennifer.doc". This will enable a recruiter or employer to
find your resume once it is saved on a computer. Don’t name the
document "Resume.doc". Be absolutely sure your document is free of
viruses. Send it electronically to a friend to make sure it is easy
to open, the formatting stays correct, and the document is
Key Components That Attract Attention To Resumes
You will note that we recommend a simple, straightforward,
eye-catching format with dynamic headings. This emphasizes the most
important factors first.
Therefore, we begin with the Profile, Skills, and Accomplishments.
Even if you are just out of college, you have skills and accomplishments
from college that will generate the employer’s interest.
It is true that employers like to see a career objective. But
remember, this may limit your being considered for various positions,
because a Profile covers a broader range. You can add the objective to
the Profile such as in the example below.
We continue to stress the importance of a Profile followed by Skills
and Accomplishments to enhance your value to the employer.
Accomplishments impress people, and this is your opportunity to sell
yourself. Use action words to your best advantage.
Remember, you must make a good impression in Twenty Seconds. If you
have special qualifications, by all means show them, especially if you
cannot show accomplishments.
Remember: You only get one chance for a
first good impression!!
Format for College Students or New Graduates
You can still use the basic format, but it will have to be structured
to emphasize your education and training, and any work experience of
activities during college. For example, your Profile could read like
Motivated college graduate with training in
computer technology Pursuing a career in systems analysis.
Do not embellish how much value you can be to the company right out
of college with no experience. Do not antagonize the employer or insult
his or her intelligence.