Writing an Effective Résumé
Writing an effective résumé can be one of the most difficult parts of your job search, but you don’t have to go it alone! Schedule an appointment with a Career Services staff member. We can help you prepare your first résumé or revise your current résumé. Scroll down to see a sample résumé and cover letter to help you get started.
Before you even think about writing your résumé … Start with a huge list. Remember. This isn’t a résumé; it’s the inspiration for a résumé. It’s the paper you’ll look back to when you’re trying to figure out how to start your résumé.
Writing a huge list can be tough. It’s a lot of information in one place. So what you should do is organize your list into the following sections:
Education: Where you went to school, what your GPA was (especially if it was very good!), a list of classes you took, what your major/minor was. If you’re still in school, then your most up-to-date information is fine.
Skills: Speak any languages? What are all of your computer knowledge, especially of complicated software? Do you know how to operate heavy machinery? All that stuff goes into the “skills” category. This is the catch-all category of things you know how to do because you never know what the employer may be looking for. But remember: skills are not the same as personal attributes (organized, good with people, fast learner – these are personal attributes).
Work Experience: All the jobs you’ve ever had, and the dates that you had them.
Volunteering/Community Service: What have you done for the community, church? What skills have you learned?
Honors: These are academic, athletic, or community awards or scholarships.
Activities at home and at school: What have you done in your life that demonstrates responsibility, initiative, competence, teamwork, or other personal skills and qualities? Have you raised children? Been a caregiver? Managed your band? Participated in contests or competitions? Sung in your choir? Taught Sunday School? If you held any leadership positions in any of these activities, throw that in too. Some of these will not appear on your resume as such, but still can help to craft other parts of your resume (e.g. the Objective)
– from Monster.com
What’s Next? Edit Your List
Remember, your résumé is your professional commercial and not an autobiography! The content you include must speak to the employer to show how you are ready to be a strong, contributing member of the team. What should be included? That depends on what you have (education, particular courses, experience, skills, volunteer work, academic honors or – most often – some combination of those) that aligns with what the employers seeking someone to do the work you want to do are looking for.