Writing a Resume

Researching

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.

Generating Ideas

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.

Formatting

Templates for resume development are available on the Web and in Word. Two broad categories of resumes typically appear on employers’ desks:

  • Chronological Resume: Entries listed beginning with most recent. Education or work history comes first, followed by organizations, skills, and honors. The chronological resume is often used by professionals who have been in the workforce for a long time.
  • Skills and Education Resume: Qualities other than work experience are emphasized. Useful for students without much work experience, this resume highlights strengths and communicates that the applicant possesses the skills qualifying him or her for consideration.

Sections

Successful resumes contain most or all of the following sections:

  • Name and Contact Information: Full name, address, phone number, and email
  • Objective: An optional section, Objective describes professional aim. Some applicants tailor this brief statement to the position (e.g., “To contribute my skills and experience to the dynamic marketing team at Wal-Mart”), while others avoid reference to the company or job (e.g., “To contribute my skills and experience in copy-writing and design to a dynamic marketing team”).
  • 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.
  • References: : If the employer wants to contact your previous supervisors, they will notify you. You can attach a page with professional and personal references, or include a note at the bottom of the resume: “References available upon request.”

Language

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.

Style

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.

Resources