Your Resume, Made Easy

My Perfect Resume takes the hassle out of resume writing. Easy prompts help you create the perfect job-worthy resume effortlessly!

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How to Prepare an Effective Resume

Before you write, take time to do a self-assessment on paper. Outline your skills and abilities as well as your work experience and extracurricular activities. This will make it easier to prepare a thorough resume.

Name, address, telephone, e-mail address, web site address

All your contact information should go at the top of your resume. * Avoid nicknames. * Use a permanent address. Use your parents' address, a friend's address, or the address you plan to use after graduation. * Use a permanent telephone number and include the area code. If you have an answering machine, record a neutral greeting. * Add your e-mail address. Many employers will find it useful. (Note: Choose an e-mail address that sounds professional.) * Include your web site address only if the web page reflects your professional ambitions.

Objective or Summary

An objective tells potential employers the sort of work you're hoping to do. * Be specific about the job you want. For example: To obtain an entry-level position within a financial institution requiring strong analytical and organizational skills. * Tailor your objective to each employer you target/every job you seek.

Education

New graduates without a lot of work experience should list their educational information first. * Your most recent educational information is listed first. * Include your degree (B.A., B. S., etc.), major, institution attended, minor/concentration. * Add your grade point average (GPA) if it is higher than 3.0. * Mention academic honors. * List relevant coursework. * Describe your Independent Study. * If you studied away from campus, add it to this section.

Experience

Briefly give the employer an overview of work and any other experiences (volunteer, committee membership, etc.) that has taught you skills. Use action words to describe what you did. Include your experience in reverse chronological order—that is, put your last experience first and work backward to your first, relevant job. Include:

* Title of position.

* Name of organization.

* Location of work (town, state.)

* Dates of employment.

* Describe your responsibilities with emphasis on specific skills and achievements.

Other Information

A staff member at your career services office can advise you on other information to add to your resume. You may want to add:

* Key or special skills or competencies.

* Leadership experience in volunteer organizations.

* Participation in sports.

References

Ask people if they are willing to serve as references before you give their names to a potential employer. Do not include your reference information on your resume. You may note at the bottom of your resume: "References furnished on request."

You've written your resume. It's time to have it reviewed and critiqued by a career advisor. You can also take the following steps to ensure quality:

Content

* Run a spell check on your computer before anyone sees your resume.

* Get a friend (an English major would do nicely) to do a grammar review.

* Ask another friend to proofread. The more people who see your resume, the more likely that misspelled words and awkward phrases will be seen (and corrected).

Design:

These tips will make your resume easier to read and/or scan:

* Use white or off-white paper.

* Use 8-1/2- x 11-inch paper.

* Print on one side of the paper.

* Use a font size of 10 to 14 points.

* Use non-decorative typefaces.

* Choose one typeface and stick to it.

* Avoid italics, script, and underlined words.

* Do not use horizontal or vertical lines, graphics, or shading.

* Do not fold or staple your resume.

* If you must mail your resume, put it in a large envelope.

What do Employers Look For?

What do employers want to see when they begin evaluating college candidates for employment? The entire package! Extracted from responses to the question, “What are the five most important skills or competencies that a candidate needs to possess in order to be considered for employment?”, the “total package” includes these skills:

Candidates need to be academically prepared in their discipline as it pertains to their employment – this is considered a given by employers. Plus,

1. Communication skills (228 comments) that demonstrate solid verbal, written and listening abilities. The capstone is presentation skills that include the ability to respond to questions and serious critique of the presentation material.

2. Computer/technical aptitudes (124 comments) based on the level required for the position being filled. Computer ability is now perceived as a given core skill, right up there with reading, writing and mathematics. The ability levels (expectations) for computer knowledge and application continue to rise.

3. Leadership (82 comments) – the ability to take charge or relinquish control (followership) according to the needs of the organization; closely aligned with possessing management abilities. 4. Teamwork (70 comments) – working cooperatively and collaboratively with different people while maintaining autonomous control over some assignments.

5. Interpersonal abilities (80 comments) that allow a person to relate to others, inspire others to participate or mitigate conflict between coworkers.

6. Personal traits. The shape of the above competencies are molded by a combination of personal traits, specifically demonstrate initiative and motivation; flexible/adaptable to handle change and ambiguity; hard-working (work ethic) and reliability; honesty and integrity; and ability to plan and organize multiple tasks. Emerging as a key personal trait is an individual’s ability to provide “customer service” – anticipating customer needs and the demeanor to respond positively to customer concerns.

Several skills or experiences bind the package and are essential to holding it together. Without these skills, a candidate may not b able to deliver the package.

1. Critical thinking/problem solving – the ability to identify problems and their solutions by integrating information from a variety of sources and effectively weigh alternatives.

2. Intelligence and common sense.

3. Willingness to learn quickly and continuously.

4. Work-related experiences that provide an understanding of the workplace and serve to apply classroom learning.

This list should be no surprise to anyone – these skills and competencies have been bantered about since the new economy began to emerge in the late 1980s. Why this section needs our attention is the context in which many employers expressed their qualifications. Because the economy is moving so quickly, candidates must enter their position already demonstrating their command of these competencies. There is neither time nor the luxury of training a highly qualified academic candidate in these skills. Employers demand that the “total package” be delivered at graduation.