Resumes

Note the plural: resumes. These days you cannot have just one all-purpose resume. An effective resume focuses on the specific job for which you are applying. So for each job tailor your resume by selecting details that match your particular skills and achievements with the job description.

When you are applying for positions in different companies or for different jobs in the same company, you must alter your resume to fit each case. Because reviewers take only a short time to read or scan your resume, the information relevant for them must be accessible easily and quickly. They won't search for your strong points. You must spotlight them.

Regardless of the resume type or template (see thread #1 on "Make This Your First Stop") you use, there is a set of resume characteristics that most recruiters will look for. Following these can get you past that crucial "first cut."


Basic Resume Guidelines
   0   Provide a visually appealing format
   0   Reduce information to prevent overload and clutter
   0   Use parallel headings and bullets for emphasis and clarity.
   0   Limit to one page if requested.

    
0   Make it unique. Find a way (see below) to highlight your special abilities
          in relation to the specific job you're applying for.


Action Verbs for Your Resume

One of the best ways to set your resume off is to make it one of the best written. When it comes to this special genre called resume writing, a defining is the use of specific, muscular verbs to begin each description of your skills and accomplishments. The use of these verbs also builds your persona as a strong, active employee: 

Strong Verbs
acted
adapted
administered
advised
analyzed
assessed
began
built
calculated
cataloged
compiled
completed
conducted
coordinated
created
decided
defined
demonstrated
designed
developed
directed
distributed
edited
established
evaluated
examined
extended
forecast
generated
governed
guided
handled
headed
hired
implemented
improved
increased
initiated
installed
integrated
led
maintained
managed
marketed
modified
negotiated
obtained
operated
ordered
organized
oversaw
performed
persuaded
planned
prepared
presented
processed
produced
programmed
promoted
provided
raised
recommended
recruited
reorganized
represented
revised
scheduled
selected
sent
spoke
spearheaded
supervised
surveyed
trained
transmitted
updated
wrote

Resume Sections
Be sure to vary the order of your resume's sections according to the job you are seeking. Ditto for the names of those sections: Vary what you called the section ("Experience" vs. "Career Background") depending upon the job you are applying for and your personal information. For example, a section entitled "Experience" would allow you to bring in non-career activities such as volunteer experience. Also keep in mind that many company specific job boards require you to use the section names provided to you.

Name
Use your full name, not a nickname or initials, unless you have a good reason not to.

Address

If you need to include two addresses to insure someone can make contact with you, do so. Include dates, if necessary, and all possible contact information: phones, email, and fax numbers if you have them. If you have a web page, make sure that it looks professional and fits the standards expected in your field. Do not include a present work address. Doing so can be potentially embarrassing for you, your present and potential employers--as well as possibly cost you a job you are otherwise qualified for.

Email Address
The popularity of this form of communication requires some special attention to it. Now is a good time to take advantage of the many free email services available today and set up an account dedicated to your job search. Also, find an email service that will allow you to use your name in a recognizable way without a puzzle of numbers or other characters attached to it. You want plain and professional. This is also the time to ditch clever, descriptive handles such as: "SweetLover127" or "MatrixFan0101."

Madeline Denise Kane

College Address
521 Cary Quadrangle
Savannah, GA 31409
(912) 555-1211
cell: (912) 398-0000
mdkane@gmail.com
(Until May 15, 2008)

Permanent Address
1523 Elmwood Parkway
Nobleton, IN 46623
tel: (765) 555-8789
cell: (765) 427-1111
mdkane@gmail.com
(After May 15, 2008)


Career Objective

The statement of a career objective is not required on all resumes. If one is required, be sure that you label it "Career Objective" if you can and place it immediately below your name and address section. Limit the objective to one to three lines that describes the position you are applying for and summarizes your qualifications for that position. Again, this is a section of your resume that should change according to the job you are applying for.  Whether you choose to write the objective in sentence or phrase format, follow these guidelines:

Guidelines for Statement of Career Objective
   0   Word the objective according to the job you are applying for with this resume.
   0   Mention only the experience, skills and education that address the requirements of this particular position.
   0   Include the exact job title as found in the job listing.
   0   Do not say what you want ("to learn" or "to gain experience"). Emphasize what you can do for the company.
   0   Be specific:
Too General: A position using my skills and experience in communication.
More Specific: An assistant editor position allowing me to use my skills and experience as award-winning researcher,
copyeditor and feature writer.


Education

As someone preparing to receive the bachelors degree, this is an important section for you. But don't limit this section to your bachelors work. For any degree or certification that you have, include:

Options for Education Section
University of Maryland University College
Bachelor of Arts, May 2008
Major: Communications
GPA: 3.7/4.0

Bachelor of Arts in Communications, May 2006, University of Maryland University College, GPA: 3.7/4.0


Depending on the position you are apply for, you may want to list some upper-level courses you've taken that are particularly relevant, or you might list special courses that are different from those everyone in your major must take, especially capstone seminars, senior theses, or honors courses in which you completed special projects. If appropriate, indicate computer programming languages you know and computer applications you can use.

Experience or Work Experience
Time to toot your own horn. Don't be dishonest, but don't be shy. You have to be willing to sell yourself as a dynamic, engaged, proactive worker who can handle responsibility and carries out tasks in a professional way. This is also the time to use the list of strong verbs:

Research Intern
Savannah Magazine, Savannah, GA, Summer 2007
  • Gathered all necessary information on cultural events
  • Researched performers & celebrities
  • Fact-checked stories for accuracy

Skills
A skills section can be especially useful for job applicants whose list of career experience is  limited. This section allows you to list legitimately acquired skills that were acquired in a variety of ways, e.g., volunteer activities, organizational offices held, part-time jobs that otherwise would not be included on a list of professional experiences:

Management
  • Chaired a committee to prepare and institute new election procedures for Student Government
  • Evaluated employees' (work study students) for monthly reports to administration
Communication
  • Wrote weekly advertisements for school-related entertainment events
  • Represented Communication majors in negotiations with university administrators
  • Spoke to potential funding groups at charity events
Programming
  • Designed a program to record and average student grades
  • Designed and implemented an accounting program to record and track PTO's annual $900,000 budget

Resume Styles

The two basic approaches to constructing the sections of your resume are by date (Reverse Chronological Resume) or by skills (Functional or Skills Resume). Generally, the older and more experienced you are, the more that the Reverse Chronological style would best present you. And the reserve logic applies for those just graduating: you might be better served by the Functional or Skills style.

Reverse Chronological Resume
This organization highlights your current job and responsibilities, so if you use this style make sure your current position is directly relevant to the one you are applying for. Beginning with your current or most recent job, list your employers and their addresses (city and state only). Each employer should be followed by the dates of employment and a bullet list of your duties, responsibilities, skills and accomplishments. Each item on the bullet list should begin with a strong, descriptive verb. See examples attached.

Functional (Skills) Resume
This resume style emphasizes all of the skills and abilities you've gained through jobs, life experiences, and organizational activities. The Skills Resume allows you to pick and choose skills and relate each one to the job description you are applying to. Arrange the skills from the most to the least relevant. This approach is particularly appropriate when the skills you've acquired are more impressive than the jobs you've had. See examples attached.

Assignment
After reviewing the attached models, revise your current resume for a real or fictional job and post your revised resume here.

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