Tips & Other Notes

A good resume is vital. It's your calling card to a prospective employer - one that lays out your qualifications and hopefully gets you a job interview. Remember, most employers will spend less than five minutes reviewing your resume. Follow these guidelines to make sure your resume gets you noticed.

Be sure to include these basics:

  • Contact information: Full name, phone number, school and permanent address, e-mail address.
  • Education: School, degree, date of completion, honors, special course work. If you're still in school, provide your expected date of completion.
  • Experience: In addition to work history, include relevant non-professional experience, such as internships, extracurricular activities and significant volunteer work.
  • Skills: List any computer systems, office equipment and software programs you are experienced with, as well as particular office skills (shorthand, typing speed, etc.).
  • Other categories: If they are relevant, include publications, awards, leadership positions or other notable achievements.

There are many different ways to organize your resume. The most basic formats include:

  • Chronological: To emphasize your work history, list your jobs and activities, beginning with your most recent experiences.
  • Functional: To emphasize your skill sets, group your experiences under categorical headings, such as Leadership or Technology Support.

The key is to pick a format that presents your achievements most effectively - as well as being easy to read and comprehend. See below for samples of a number of resume formats.

Tips for a Winning Resume:

  • Keep it brief. Limit your resume to one page. Instead of paragraphs, use bullet-pointed lists.
  • Provide meaningful descriptions of your experiences. When detailing your job history, use short sentences or fragments to demonstrate your relevant experience.
  • Use strong action words ("developed and implemented a new filing system"; "created two new membership programs").
  • Use formatting to help you out. Capitalize and use boldface, italics or underlining to help organize the information.
  • Proofread. Use spell-check, double-check your contact information, and make sure your formatting is consistent. Ask a friend or family member to proofread it as well. Check for errors that spell-check programs miss (i.e. there vs. their; to, too or two).
  • Custom fit your resume. Revise your resume for each job application to make sure it fits the opportunity at hand.

The final test: Take a look at your resume from arm's distance. Is it confusing and text-heavy? Or is it easy to find the information you need? Do whatever is needed to make your resume "reader-friendly."

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