Writing a Resume
To maximize your chances of landing an interview, you should tailor your resume to each job listing. Research the company where you will apply:
- Search the website, annual report, or other publications for keywords the company uses to describe its mission and goals.
- Contact the company's human resources department to pose specific questions about the position.
- Find more tips on researching a company on the UA Career Development Center website.
Brainstorming our full range of skills is an important step in shaping an attention-grabbing resume.
- Read the job listing carefully; highlight all keywords describing responsibilities, skills, and traits.
- List all accomplishments and awards you have attained; then pick those relevant to the position.
- List projects you have participated in or completed (research studies, volunteer work etc.), and then pick those most relevant to the position.
- List qualities the company is looking for; then list ways you have demonstrated those qualities.
- Review your academic and job history; list experiences that match the company's values and needs.
The UA Career Development Center offers templates for resume development. The format of your resume can vary and depends on a number of factors such as the field of study and the number of experiences you have had.
Successful resumes contain most or all of the following sections:
- Name and Contact Information: Full name, address, phone number, and email
- Summary of Qualifications: An optional section, a summary of qualifications is a brief section that appears at the beginning of a resume. It should briefly describe your experience and focus on the strengths you possess that match the position description.
- Education: List post-secondary institutions, degrees, and academic accomplishments (high GPA, scholarships, honors, publications). If still attending, write “Expected graduation June 2018.”
- Work Experience: Where you worked and when (month and year). Include your title. List in bullet points your key responsibilities. Begin with active verbs. List any key accomplishments or awards.
- Skills and Qualifications: List skills relevant to the position and company; describe them in ways that satisfy the company’s agenda and concerns.
- Activities and Honors: List any important public recognitions or awards.
A Note About References: If the employer wants to contact your previous supervisors, they will notify you. References do not need to be included on a resume. References should be in a separate document from your resume.
As you begin drafting and revising, make sure your language reflects the company’s ethics and priorities. If the company cares about “creativity” and “innovation,” those words should appear somewhere in your document. If the company “puts family and ethics first,” emphasize aspects of your background that reveal your commitment to those priorities.
Employers have limited time to review application documents. They form a first impression after scanning a resume for just a few seconds, so you need to present a polished, flawless document. Write clear and concise statements that communicate the essential background information relevant to the advertised position.
- The University of Arkansas Career Development Center helps students throughout the job search process and can help you improve your resume and cover letter.
- Purdue University’s OWL Resume Workshop provides useful suggestions.