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Student Portfolio: Resume Writing Guide
What is a Resume?
A resume is a one-page document that highlights your skills, experience, and education. The resume is the initial introduction an employer will receive from you. The purpose of submitting a resume is to obtain an interview to further discuss your qualifications.
What should the resume content be about?
The resume should highlight how you performed during your past employment and what you accomplished. Also, include accomplishments that pertain to the position you’re applying to.
Most importantly your resume and cover letter may lead to a job interview. Try not to add to much information. Remember to leave details to discuss during the interview. A well-prepared resume will be an indicator of your performance in a future job and will increase the chances of an employer contacting you.
Prepare an Effective Resume
[Click here for sample Resume]
Before you begin your resume, take the time to do a self-assessment. Create a draft of your work, internship, and/or volunteer experience. Also, create a list your skills, training, certificates and awards you may have received. Remember, be sure to edit your work and verify dates of employment.
a) The Content of Your Resume
- At the top of your resume include your name, address, telephone, and e-mail address
- Use a permanent address. (Do not include P.O. Box)
- Use a permanent telephone number and include the area code.
- If you have an answering machine, record a professional greeting, without background music or noises.
- Add your e-mail address. (Use a professional email.)
Objectives are mostly used when you are applying within a specific career field or for a specific position, such as a Radiology Technology Major will apply for a Radiologic Technology position. We advise that you not use objectives if you’re only seeking part-time employment. An objective may limit the chances of having your resume reviewed for other positions within a company.
If you choose to use an Objective: Be specific about the job you want. Examples:
- To obtain a full-time position in management information systems that involves consulting, testing, or programming.
- To obtain an administrative position in the area of rehabilitation/geriatric healthcare utilizing my knowledge of clinical, community, and patient services.
- To obtain a teacher's assistant position with a commitment to providing dynamic instruction that fosters child development.
Tailor your objective to each position you apply to. If you’re applying to various positions, you should also format your resume to showcase the experience and skills that apply to each job.
You should list your education after your work experience. Your most recent educational information is listed first. Include your degree (A.S., A.A., A.A.S., etc.), major, college/university, and city/state.
Add your grade point average (GPA) if it is higher than 3.0. Mention academic honors/awards/affiliations.
d) Work Experience
List the positions that highlight your skills and area of specialty. Use action words for your job descriptions. Include your work experience in reverse chronological order - that is, list your present job first, and then list your past jobs.
- Name of company, organization, or school
- Title of position, (specify for internship, volunteer, or per-diem positions)
Location of work (city, state)
- Start date and end date (month/year) Describe your work responsibilities in detail.
You may choose to list your skills at the bottom or top of your resume.
- Computer knowledge of software (MS OFFICE)
- Typing skills (25+ wpm)
- Strengths (Excellent communication, organizational, or interpersonal skills)
How can I make sure that my resume gets noticed?
Getting noticed in the professional world does not mean flashy and fancy. Chances are, this will actually count against you. Keeping your documents clean, simple and error free is your best bet! You can be noticed by adhering to the employer’s professional expectations.
- Print it on white or crème colored bond paper.
- Emphasize your related experience and include volunteer and community involvement.
- Use Ariel or Times New Roman font with point size 10-12.
- Keep your resume to ONE page!
- Make sure your resume is error free and without inconsistencies. If you have mistakes on a document representing YOU, you will look sloppy. You should have it reviewed by others and have it proofread at least five times.
- Do not fold or staple your resume.
- If you must mail your resume, put it in a large envelope.
… And most important, save your resume on a disc or flash drive.
If you have drafted your resume, but need assistance in formatting, you may visit CSO. Our staff will assist you in writing your resume.
Use action words to describe your experience and accomplishments. Here are some actions words that you can use when describing your specific job duties: Action Words
JOB SEARCH LETTERS
What is a Cover Letter?
[Click here for sample Cover Letter]
A cover letter does more than complement your resume, it helps you achieve your goals and expand your potential. A cover letter in one page will tell an employer, who you are, what position you are applying for and the specific skills you have for that job, will prompt him or her to contact you and most importantly, show the employer that you are the person the right candidate for the position. Your cover letter should enhance your resume, not emulate it. Your cover letter should broadly highlight your skills while the job of the resume is to define those skills.
Try to avoid providing a salary history. If an employer insists on one then, salary histories or requirements should be discussed in you cover letter, not your resume. If an employer specifically wants one, you can state that your salary requirements are flexible or give a salary history from all the jobs you've had. For example, if you are a graduate with very little work experience, you can say, “I've been making $24,000 yearly, but I expect to be making more upon graduation.” The best way to handle salary requirements is to state that you will discuss it during your interview.
[Click here for sample Reference List]
References are very important when applying for a new job. You should always first ask people if they are willing to serve as a reference before you give their name(s) to a potential employer. Past employers and supervisors are the best references. You can also use a counselor or a professor if necessary.
Do not include your reference information on your resume. You may note at the bottom of your resume: "References available upon request."
When going on a job interview, bring with you at least two copies on resume paper of at least three (3) PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES.
Sometimes a prospective employer will ask you for reference letters. These are different from a reference list. In a reference letter a previous employer, professor or counselor will go into detail as to the length of time and their experience with you. Click here for sample Reference Letter
THANK YOU LETTER
[Click here for sample Thank You Letter]
The Thank You Letter is mailed to an employer after the interview. You must include the date and position of the interview. You may also personalize the letter by including an interesting topic during your discussion or something new learned about the company.
Additional Sample Letters:
JOB ACCEPTANCE LETTER
[Click here for sample ACCEPTANCE LETTER]
The purpose of the Job Acceptance Letter is to confirm the details of employment and to formally accept the job offer. The letter is sent to the employer who offered the position. Even if you have accepted a job over the phone, it's appropriate to send a job acceptance letter.
Your letter should include the following:
- Thanks and appreciation for the opportunity
- Written acceptance of the job offer
- The terms and conditions of employment (salary, benefits)
- Starting date of employment
[Click here for sample REJECTION LETTER]
If you have decided to reject a job, it is important to inform the employer in writing that you are declining the offer. Your letter should be respectful and get straight to the point. You don’t need to get into any specifics as to why you’re declining the offer. Also, you don't want to burn any bridges, because this employer may have an opening of interest in the future.
You should include the following:
- Thanks and appreciation for the offer
- Written rejection of the job offer
- Address the letter to the person who offered you the position.
- Include your contact information and phone number, even though it is on file with the employer
[Click here for sample WITHDRAWAL LETTER]
The withdrawal letter is used to let other employers know that you have accepted a job offer with another company. Once you have accepted a position, there is an ethical duty to notify the other employers to whom you’ve sent applications. In this letter, you let them know about your decision and the reason for it. In addition, it gives you a chance to thank them for their interest in you as a job candidate.
[Click here for sample APOLOGY LETTER]
An apology letter is a concise, personalized note apologizing for a last minute interview cancellation/interview no-show. The letter is an attempt to remain in good standing with the company.
[Click here for sample RESIGNATION LETTER]
The letter of resignation is given to the employer when you are resigning from your current position. It is of best interest to submit your resignation two or more weeks before your planned resignation date. And you should submit the letter to your direct supervisor, with a copy to your human resources office.
You should include the following:
- Date your resignation is effective from
- The role you are resigning from and the date of your last day
- Positive things about the company, your co-workers, and your experience
- Express gratitude for your opportunity to work at the company as well as for skills and knowledge gained
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