How to Write an Effective Résumé

What is a resume? 

  •  It is a professional advertisement about yourself that translates what you have done in the past into what you can accomplish in the future.
  • Your resume should captivate the reader and answer the question, "Why should the employer want to interview me?"
  • Think of your resume as a 30-second personal commercial.

What Makes a Good Resume? 

  •  Your resume should be visually pleasing, attention grabbing, as well as clearly and concisely written.
  • Spelling, grammar, and neatness are of paramount importance. Research shows that spelling or grammatical errors in a resume can be fatal to employment chances.
  • Neatness and organization are a projection of your personality on paper.
  • Remember that potential employers are skimming resumes (a few seconds each!) and sorting through dozens, sometimes hundreds of resumes for one job opening!!

Getting Started with your Resume:

Make a master list of all your experiences:

  • Include activities, courses, all jobs, internships, and volunteer work.
  • Write as: Title, Name of the Organization, city, state, dates.

Identify your accomplishments in these experiences and the skills gained:

  • Refer to the list of action verbs (included on the last page of this handout).
  • Choose action verbs that stand out when skimmed down the page by first word only.
  • If printing a hard copy, use high-quality, light-colored resume paper.

Refine what you have written:

  • Be sure descriptions are very strong and very clear.
  • Do not leave out any relevant skills.
  • Keep the information visually organized and well-spaced over the entire page.

Proofread, proofread, and proofread!

  • Check spelling, word usage, punctuation, address, and phone number.

Prioritize your Resume Content:

  • Target your resume to meet the needs of the employer and/or the industry.
  • Research the position and organization to determine the skills, experience, knowledge and personal attributes required to excel in the positions for which you are applying. (Do they value leadership more than technical experience? How important are communication skills?).
  • Limit your resume to one page.
  • Have more than one version of your resume highlighting the skills, experiences, and strengths for each field to which you will be applying for jobs.

Resume Content Overview:

  • Your name: Make it visible! Center, capitalize, or bold the letters of your name at the top of the page.
  • Your address, phone number & email address: Place your present and permanent contact information (if different) at the top of the page.
  • -Be sure to have a "professional" sounding voicemail greeting ready.
    -Your MHC email account is the most appropriate choice (but be sure your account is in good standing, especially if you have all messages forwarded to a personal account!!)
  • Education: List all institutions you have attended for credit in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Include the name of the institution, the location, degree obtained (or expected), major(s), and GPA.
  • Honors & awards: Identify special fellowships, honors, and awards.
  • Relevant coursework: Present pertinent courses in columns, but be sure they are in fact RELEVANT to the fields in which you are looking for jobs.
  • Experience:
    • Write as: Title, Name of the Organization, city, state (dates) and list acheter du cialis en ligne in reverse chronological order
    • Briefly describe your accomplishments, using phrases that begin with action verbs, e.g., "administered," "coordinated," and "implemented.” Use the strongest verbs possible.  Dynamic Words for Resume & Cover Letter Preparation
    • Identify skills and emphasize results and accomplishments. Use concrete examples or facts and figures to quantify achievements whenever possible.
    • Include summer jobs, internships, volunteer work, work-study, extra/co-curricular activities if relevant, committee responsibilities, and project involvement. Also add in academic projects or research whenever relevant.
    • Do not use the words "I," "me," "my," "also," "feel," "because," “duties included,” and “responsible for.”
  • Co-curricular activities or community service: List these if not already listed with experience (these may be combined or placed in two separate sections). Prioritize activities that highlight leadership, organizational, and interpersonal skills when feasible. Also stress your ability to work well with others across different settings (academic, social, and athletic).
  • Skills: List special abilities such as language proficiency, computer software knowledge, laboratory techniques and equipment usage, other technical skills, etc.
  • Other accomplishments: Categorize and list performances, exhibitions, research completed, and publications (i.e. articles, chapters, photographs), if relevant and not included elsewhere.
  • Interests: This section is optional. Consider the relevancy to the prospective position and how this information might demonstrate your unique qualities.

Other Considerations:

  • Be clear and accurate: Be honest when describing your past experience. Employers realize that most students will not have had vast job experience.
  • Sell the experience and skills you have: Emphasize roles that reveal your values, skills, leadership, etc., even if they were at a beginner-level job. Use facts and figures to quantify your achievements, such as the number of people supervised, research findings published, and dollars saved.
  • Reproduce your resume in a professional way: Before sending your resume, proofread! proofread! Typographical mistakes, misspellings, or even a smudge can negate your job hunt efforts in a hurry! Make sure the layout is clear, consistent, and easy to read.

Create a resume that gets results!

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. As your official introduction, your Resume format should look its professional best. Before resume writing begins, research a few resume examples. The resume tips below demonstrate how to create a resume visually appealing and effective.

  •  Generally, resumes are two pages in length; resume Summaries are one page.
  •  Print your resume in black ink on high quality white paper. That goes for cover letters as well.
  •  Use an easy to read resume format; peruse sample resumes for design ideas
  •  Do not make margins too wide or too narrow
  •  Choose a resume format that allows you to headline key achievements
  •  Information that shows you’re a great fit for the job should be placed toward the top
  •  Use bold type appropriately. Use underlining sparingly, if at all.
  •  Arial and Times New Roman are standard typefaces on most business computers. Avoid unusual typefaces.
  •  Use a font size of 11 points or above
  •  Edit lengthy paragraphs until they are concise and read fluidly
  •  Include detailed contact information on the first page
  •  Start employment history with your current or most recent job and work backwards
  •  Combine long-form copy with logically placed, thoughtfully written bullet points.


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