Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014
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A resume is a marketing tool to "sell" your skills and abilities to a prospective employer, organization or graduate school. Your ultimate goal should be to hold the reader's attention long enough to explain your qualifications. The appearance and format of your resume as well as the content will convey your message. Customize your resume to fit your skills and reach your audience.
The top section of your resume should contain all of your contact information. This includes your full name; address; city, state and zip code; your phone number including area code; and your e-mail address. Include both a permanent and a campus address and phone number if needed. Commonly used abbreviations in your resume (e.g. "St." for Street or "VA" and other state abbreviations) are acceptable as long as you are consistent in presenting the information. The ideal resume is one page in length. Two-page resumes are acceptable if experience is extensive and relevant to the type of work you are seeking.
Do not include negative items on your resume that would reflect badly on your candidacy for a desired position.
Give focus and direction to your resume. This is a one- or two-sentence statement of what you are seeking. Phrase your objective in terms of what you can do for the reader.
Mention all degrees earned and all colleges attended in reverse chronological order. Mention any honors, awards, GPA (if 3.0 or higher), Dean's List (number of semesters) or certifications received. Note any course work taken that may be relevant to your desired position.
Include paid and non-paid experiences such as part-time or summer jobs, volunteer work, leadership positions, study abroad, internships, externships, community service, and extracurricular activities. List dates associated with each experience. Start each statement with an action verb - i.e. planned, organized, prepared, wrote. Use the present tense for currently-held positions and past tense for all previously held positions. Use a simple, logical format for all descriptions and list your highest levels of responsibility or most important duties first. Quantify your results whenever possible listing the number of employees, percentage of improvement or dollar savings. Keep responsibilities listed in clear, simple and concise language and include the skills used and major accomplishments. Be 100% honest. Employers want to see a demonstration of skills such as communication (both oral and written), presentation of new ideas, problem-solving, critical thinking, organization, teamwork, research, and a desire to learn and succeed.
Do not include your age, race, religion, health, marital status or any other personal information on your resume. Memberships in professional organizations, committees or associations are appropriate.
These should be listed on a separate sheet of paper and contain name, title, address, e-mail address, and telephone number.
Use a word processing program or desktop publishing to produce a resume with a professional appearance. Select a readable font in a 12-point size. Use graphical highlighting like boldface, italics, bullets and spacing to add emphasis to your resume. Leave the right-hand margin unjustified. Headings should be consistent (e.g. all caps, all centered, etc.). Unnecessary or overused graphics can make a resume too busy and uninviting to the reader.
Pay special attention to spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style. A typing error can result in your resume being excluded from the selection process. Don't rely on spell checking from your word processor alone. Have Career Services review your resume before you send it out.
Use good quality bond paper to print your resume. White or an ivory-toned paper is acceptable. Do not use colored paper.
(For further information or assistance, contact the CSC Staff
or come to the Career Services Center in the Batten Student Center, Suite 220.)