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  • Rationale: The Developing Your Resume workshop offers in-depth advice and strategies for each of the most common resume sections: contact information, objective statement, education, experience, and honors & activities. This workshop last approximately 75 to 90 minutes and allows students a hands-on opportunity to draft, develop, and revise their resumes. Each module contains information relevant to one resume section, including advice about what to include, why to do so, and how to get started. Students who are in the early stages of writing their resumes will gain the most from this workshop, but those in later stages, especially those who are struggling to develop particular sections, will also profit. By the end of the workshop, students should have learned some strategies and begun to apply them. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click, unless otherwise noted in bold at the bottom of each notes page. Writer and Designer: Bryan Kopp Editor: Jennifer Liethen Kunka Contributor: Muriel Harris Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000. 2007 Update by: Andrew Rosner, Elizabeth Below, Tammy Koerte
  • Rationale: This slide explains the different sections that make up the PowerPoint. Each section can stand alone or be used to make full presentation on how to create a resume.
  • Rationale: This module is designed to help students draft and evaluate objective statements. After defining what an objective statement is, this workshop asks students to think about what makes a good objective statement and why it should be tailored for particular employers. Next, the workshop gives students a chance to brainstorm ideas for developing their own objective statements. Participants will be asked to take out a piece of paper, answer questions, and then draft some possible objective statements. By the end of the workshop, students should have learned some strategies and begun to apply them. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click, unless otherwise noted in bold at the bottom of each notes page. Writer and Designer: Bryan Kopp Design Contributor: Jennifer Liethen Kunka Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000. 2007 Update by: Andrew Rosner, Elizabeth Below, Tammy Koerte
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Rationale: Many students will probably already know what an objective statement is, but to help everyone get on the same track, this slide presents a quick definition. The next slides use this definition implicitly. Though often quite different, “Resume Capsules” are treated as being similar to objective statements here because they perform similar functions on a resume and because space does not permit detailed discussion of all variations.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: Initiate discussion about the objective statement by asking the following: Has anyone heard the advice that one should not include an objective statement? If so, what reasons were given? Key Concept: Though occasionally it may be necessary to omit this section because of space requirements, most resumes are improved with an objective statement. Why? Most resume readers are busy and need to find desired information quickly. An objective statement located at the top of the page not only makes it easy for readers to see the “big picture” but also allows writers to emphasize key qualifications and goals. More generally, including an objective statement 1) shows that the applicant is a professional with a purpose, 2) helps to construct an image of the applicant, and 3) makes a good first impression. 4) allows the applicant to display their knowledge and research of the company in a brief statement that individualizes the resume to a particular organization. NOTE: Some companies have stated that an objective statement is pointless unless it directly applies to their company. This said, individualizing an objective statement toward a company is becoming more important.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: Have participants review the example on the slide and answer the following questions: Do you feel this sample objective statement is effective? Would you consider writing one like it? Why or why not? Key Concept: The main weakness of this sample objective, as some students may notice, is its vagueness. The “moral of the story” is to be specific in writing objective statements. Subsequent slides help students work away from the generic approach used in this sample. Those who have heard that objective statements are either unnecessary or a waste of valuable space would find evidence for why not to include them in this sample. Indeed, if this sample were the typical approach, objectives would be rather pointless. Fortunately, most objectives are much more specific and do more than just fill space. Example: Present the following scenario before advancing to the next slide: Imagine yourself a human resources manager or on a hiring committee. You have an enormous stack of resumes to go through in a short time. What information would you most want to see? What questions would you have about each applicant’s resume? Rationale: This slide shifts quickly from definition to evaluation, getting students actively involved in thinking about objective statements right from the start. The first bulleted item, the sample objective, should be presented by itself before the other two. Click mouse to reveal each bulleted item.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Key Concepts: Objective statements should provide answers to these questions “in a nutshell,” helping resume readers find what they need quickly. The facilitator might call students’ attention to the repetition of the word “you” and “your” in these questions. Each student writing a resume needs to answer these questions as an individual although everyone benefits from critical feedback from others. One sign of a weak objective statement is that it may be placed on anybody’s resume. Some objective statements, it should be noted, do not answer all these questions, but the most effective objectives answer at least one or two. One question that employers now want to know is how “ you” will fit into their company and help it succeed. Researching a companies mission statement and core values and including these key words in your objective statement can benefit a resume drastically. Rationale: This slide establishes the importance of answering these questions on an individual basis. The next slide stresses the need to tailor objective statements for readers.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: Ask students to imagine this scenario: two different companies are hiring in your field. Company X is small and emphasizes its small-town, family atmosphere and its commitment to growth. Company Y, by contrast, is large, corporate and emphasizes excellence and relevant work experience. Pose the following questions about this scenario: Would both companies be equally impressed by the same objective statement? How might they differ? Key Concept: Company X might look for someone who is willing to grow with the company while Company Y might look for someone who already possesses desired skills. An objective statement for Company X might emphasize your professional goals while the objective statement for Company Y might summarize your experience or skills. If you wanted to apply for jobs at both companies, you should consider writing two different objective statements (or two different versions) to maximize your chances for success. Tailoring for each employer takes time, however, and you may not be able to customize every objective statement. Instead you may consider writing a few different versions, each tailored to a job or company type . If you choose to write only one objective statement, for an event such as a career fair or round table, you should be sure to tailor it to your particular discipline or field. Rationale: This slide introduces the idea of tailoring. The next three slides outline strategies for tailoring objective statements.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Key Concept: In some ways, writing a resume is like writing an essay. An objective statement is similar to a thesis statement—it presents a summary version of your main qualifications or goals. However, before you write a thesis statement, it helps to do some pre-writing or brainstorming . The same is true for writing objective statements. In order to tailor your objective statement, you will need to think through some questions first. The first questions require self-reflection, with students sitting in front of a mirror literally or figuratively. The process of writing an objective statement is closely connected to the process of finding the right career. To write an effective objective statement, one has to “know thyself” as well as know how one is like or unlike others. If students are well-along in their majors, they should be able to venture answers to the second set of questions on the slide even without elaborate research. If students have not researched the types of employers hiring (by looking at job ads and company profiles, talking to professors, reading trade journals, etc.), they should make sure do so when revising their objective statements. For students currently on the job market, asking these questions about themselves and prospective employers may prove to be the hardest part of writing objective statements. Time spent exploring answers, however, will greatly improve their objective statements, their resumes--and their chances for getting an interview. Activity: Invite students to do some brainstorming and write a paragraph or so on each of the above questions. Rationale: This slide presents general questions that are broken down in the next two slides.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: Have participants draw a line down the middle of piece of paper, making two columns. In the left column write “Me” and in the right “Employers.” Begin answering the above questions in the “Me” column. Answering these questions completely takes a great deal of time--sometimes a whole lifetime!--but students can gain much from jotting some preliminary answers during the workshop. Rationale: This slide encourages students to begin taking notes in the “Me” column. The next slide will present questions for the “Employers” column. Drawing two columns will make it easier for students to make comparisons between their career interests and the job market, thus helping them discover ways to tailor their objective statements.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: Ask students to discuss the following: Should you include everything you have just listed in the “Me” column in your objective statement? How do you decide what is most relevant? Key Concept: The answer for the first question, of course, is definitely do not include everything and, for the second, determine relevance by researching what employers want. Since resumes are written for employers ultimately, students will need to do some audience analysis to tailor their objective statements. Activity: Have students begin answering the questions on this slide in the “Employers” column. After doing so, ask students to circle all items that appear in both columns. Rationale: As indicated previously, most students will need to conduct some outside research into specific companies and organizations in order to answer these questions. The key point here is that such research is worth doing . During the workshop, students may make some educated guesses or, if only a couple students know answers, they may share theirs with the whole group.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Key Concept: Once students have answered some questions about themselves and their prospective employers, they may start experimenting with specific formats. This slide presents four common approaches to writing objective statements. It is very important that students understand these approaches are meant to be modified in structure, content, and wording --or discarded altogether if they are unhelpful. For practice, though, students will benefit from using these generic models to create a couple possible objective statements. Activity: Using information listed in the previous columns (especially circled information), have students fill in the blanks of at least two of the above generic models. Rationale: Generating “instant objective statements,” should boost students’ confidence by letting them discover just how easy writing an objective statement can be (that is, after they have worked through some of the earlier questions). Before seeing the next and final slide in this workshop, students will ideally have at least two “practice” objective statements.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: Have students answer the question posed in the title of this slide and share their responses. Activity: As a final exercise, you may want students to write a paragraph in which they reflect upon how well their “practice” objective statements work to achieve their purposes, what their ideal objective statements will be like, and what their next steps will be. Rationale: So that students may begin answering the question in the title for themselves, it should be presented by itself before each of the bulleted items. This final slide recaps the main points from the workshop and asks students to evaluate their own objective statement drafts in light of these principles.
  • Rationale: Welcome to “Developing Your Resume: The Contact Information Section.” This module is designed to help students draft and design the contact information section of their resumes. Since developing the content of this section is relatively easy, this workshop focuses on layout and design options that carry over to other resume sections. After thinking about what may be included in the contact information section, students are encouraged to explore how basic word-processing and desktop publishing decisions may improve the usability and appearance of their resume. The visual design strategies discussed include fonts (size, style, highlighting), page layout (alignment, centering and columns), and graphic elements (horizontal lines). Students are then invited to create a mock-up plan for this section. The workshop concludes with advice on coordinating this section with other application materials and proofreading. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click, unless otherwise noted in bold at the bottom of each notes page. Writer and Designer: Bryan Kopp Design Contributor: Jennifer Liethen Kunka Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000. 2007 Update by: Andrew Rosner, Elizabeth Below, Tammy Koerte
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Rationale: Students may rightfully wonder how a whole workshop could be devoted to such a simple section. Simply list your contact information, right? Actually, as this workshop will demonstrate, there are decisions to be made both about content and design. Although this section is the easiest to write, it is one of the most important of all resume sections. Not only does it help make a good first impression but it also provides the most essential information on the page. Without this section, a resume would be worthless indeed! The name of this section is self-explanatory, so this introductory slide may be passed over fairly quickly. Students will know the purpose of this section is to provide information for contact purposes and will also know it usually appears at the top of the page. Subsequent slides will emphasize layout and design options for this section (many of which carry over to other sections).
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: For future reference, students who are just beginning to write their resumes should consider jotting down some notes on what to include in their contact information sections. Students who have already drafted a resume may either take out their resume drafts or a piece of scratch paper for use throughout the workshop. Key Concept: Listing all of this information is only the first step in the process of developing this section. What are the next steps? You may want to ask students to respond to this question. The next step involves making this information usable and appealing to eye. The next slide presents a sample contact information section for students to critique.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: The facilitator may initiate discussion by posing the following questions: Is this contact information section complete? Why or why not? What can be improved? Key Concepts: Although an email address may be included, this sample does provide essential content; it serves its main function—providing information. In an age of desktop publishing and word-processors, however, many resume readers will expect more with visual layout and design. This sample looks as though it were produced with an old-fashioned typewriter. A person whose resume seems to be written in the “typewriter age” may seem out of date or perhaps not familiar with current technologies. To make a good first impression, students should consider experimenting with the visual component of this and other resume sections. Rationale: The purpose of this slide is to get student actively thinking about how to develop this section with work on visual layout design. The next slide provides an overview of basic ways to get beyond the “typewriter age” resume.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: The facilitator may initiate discussion by asking the following: What can be done with a word-processor but not a typewriter? There are dozens of answers, of course. You may want to follow up with a second question: Would it make sense to use all the design and format features on a word-processor? The answer to this second question is clearly no. Key Concept: Students should strive to apply certain design features to achieve desired effects, but they should avoid the use of visual embellishments “for their own sake.” This slide outlines the most commonly used design strategies, each of which will be discussed in following slides. Before proceeding, the facilitator might want to emphasize the difference between making design decisions strategically (to improve usability and appearance) and making them arbitrarily.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: Invite discussion by posing the following question: What is the single most important piece of information on a resume? Key Concept: Your name is the most important feature on a resume because without it your resume would be useless. Since readers will look for the applicant’s first and last name, you should consider placing it in a larger font size for easy reference. Some students choose font sizes as large or larger than 18-point for their names when the rest of their resumes are in 12 or 10-point fonts. Fonts: For a professional look, students will want to avoid more than two or three different font sizes; otherwise their resumes may seem jumbled and difficult to read. Perhaps the best way to set off names and headings on a resume is to use different kinds of fonts. Again, for visual consistency, it is best to avoid more than a couple different fonts, choosing one for your name and headings and one for the content of each section. Though there are hundreds of different fonts, students should know about the two major kinds used in the publishing world: serif and sans serif. Serif fonts such as Times New Roman and Courier are easy to read and tend to be used for lists and paragraphs. Sans serif fonts such as Arial and Helvetica tend to grab the eye and are commonly used for headings. Text highlighting: Another easy way to improve the readability and design of this section as well as others is to use text highlighting features such as caps, boldface, italics, and underline. An important rule of thumb for text highlighting on resumes is to be selective and consistent. To use caps, boldface, and underlining, for example, would be redundant. Each of these methods of highlighting provides emphasis by itself. NOTE: Remind them that they should only “text highlight” the most important one or two parts of their resume. To overuse these features would cancel out their purpose altogether.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Key Concept: The top of a page can be divided into three areas: left, center, and right. Students may find it helpful to remind themselves of options for presenting their contact information. Resume writers have basically three choices for alignment and two combinations using columns. Activity: Invite discussion by asking the following (trick) question: Where is the best place to put your contact information? Some students think their contact information should always be centered. Although centering may prove a good strategy for certain individuals, those who wish to include both local and permanent addresses will of course need to use at least two columns. Actually three columns may be needed: one for each address and one for the name. If students have only one address, then they have choices to make. The eye is usually drawn first to the top left corner of the page, so flush left is a smart choice. Centering is the most common approach, and flush right catches the eye because it is less commonly used. Columns provide balance and allow writers to present more information. Rationale: Though this slide seems to present “common sense,” even students who are already familiar with page layout strategies may benefit from reminders of possibilities for design. The next slide presents a sample for critique.
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Activity: Ask participants to consider the following: Is this the perfect contact information section? Why or why not? Key Concept: This is not necessarily the perfect example, but it is pretty good because it uses fonts, text alignment and columns to present information. In addition, this sample uses left justification in the left column and right justification in the right for a clean line on each of the margins. Some students get very frustrated trying to create columns on their resumes because they use spaces, tabs or the column feature on their word-processing program. To avoid headaches, resume writers should create columns by inserting a table with two or three columns (and no borders). Doing so allows one to place information exactly where desired. Activity: Before advancing to the next slide, invite discussion by asking the following: Is there anything else we can add to this sample to improve it?
  • Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Developing Resume Sections Purdue University Writing Lab Created by Bryan M. Kopp, 2000 Key Concept: One additional way resume writers can set off this important section of their resume is to add a graphic element such as a horizontal line. Students might want to experiment with inserting different kinds of lines beneath their contact information. Only those in design-oriented fields, should even consider choosing to add some other small image to the top of their resumes such as relevant clipart. Care should be taken, however, in adding lines and images because most resume readers are more interested in content and design than pretty pictures.
  • Activity: Consider posing the following questions to the audience: How may design choices in the contact information section affect the design of other resume sections? How may they carry over to other application documents such as the cover letter? Key Concept: To make their resume and other application materials look like a professional package, students should consider using their contact information section as a basis for setting up the rest of their page(s). If students unnecessarily change fonts or text alignment in their resumes, readers may sense an amateur at work. Rationale: This slide underscores the importance of consistency in layout and design and hints at how design issues may carry over to the cover letter. The next slide discusses a possible trouble spot.
  • Key Concept: It seems impossible but it happens. People in their haste have been known to misspell even their own names! More commonly, students accidentally make typos in their phone numbers or email addresses. One incorrect digit in a phone number, needless to say, may have devastating consequences if employers are trying to contact you. Of course, students need to proofread their whole resume for typos, grammar mistakes, and design glitches.
  • Rationale: This module helps students make informed decisions about the content, organization, and design of the education section of their resumes. After reviewing how this section fits into to the overall resume, this workshop focuses on content possibilities. Comparing two samples, students learn what to include in a “bare bones” version and also what they may include if they wish to develop their education section with additional content. Students are encouraged to brainstorm content, experiment with organization and design, and work toward tailoring their section for their resume readers. The workshop concludes with suggestions for next steps to take. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click, unless otherwise noted in bold at the bottom of each notes page. Writer and Designer: Bryan Kopp Design Contributor: Jennifer Liethen Kunka Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000 2007 Update by: Andrew Rosner, Elizabeth Below, Tammy Koerte
  • Key Concepts: An education section highlights your relevant schooling and formal training. For students who have substantial work experience, this section may be very short, simply listing basic information about schools and degrees. Currently enrolled students and recent graduates, however, will probably want to put extra thought into this section. Activity: Initiate discussion by asking the following questions before advancing to the next slide: Why write a resume? What are your overall purposes? How does the education section help achieve these overall purposes? Rationale: Students will have a good idea of the “default” version of this section, which simply lists degree information. Subsequent slides will underscore how many content, organization, and design choices may be made when presenting educational experiences. The next slide identifies main purposes to consider when developing this section. Click mouse to reveal each item.
  • Key Concept: No matter what one is writing, whether a resume, memo or essay, it helps to know one’s purposes. With resumes and education sections in particular, many have the impression the main idea is simply to report information. Although informing is a major purpose, students should remember they are trying to persuade prospective employers they are the right person for the job. Students may want to think about their resumes as arguments, which present evidence of qualifications rather than just lists of facts. Rationale: Before examining the education section by itself, students are encouraged think about their overall purposes. The next slide discusses placement options.
  • Example: Imagine two different college students. Elizabeth is 19 years old and plans to be a computer programmer. She is applying for an internship in her field, but has no relevant work experience. In contrast, Leonard is a non-traditional student. He is pursuing a degree in aviation technology after working years as a supervisor and mechanic at an airport. Activity: Discuss the example: How may Elizabeth and Leonard’s education sections differ? Should Leonard list his work experience or education first? Why? Key Concept: Education sections, like experience sections, are usually placed in the middle of a resume, somewhere between the objective statement and the honors and activities section. Unless one is following a specific format, an education section may be placed near the top or bottom of the page. Because the eye is usually drawn to the top left part of the page first, students may want to place their strongest qualifications near the top. If the educational background is the applicant’s strongest qualification or may help his or her resume “stand out” (e.g. if the applicant’s degree program has an especially good reputation), then the education section should be placed near the top. This section may be a major focus for recruiters if you are a recent graduate. On the other hand, if the experience section is stronger or more relevant, then the education section may be placed below it.
  • Activity: Ask participants to take out a piece of scratch paper and jot down all they can remember for each bulleted item listed on the slide. We will build on this basic information in the next slides. Alternatively, have students take out a draft of their resumes and put a checkmark next to each item. Key Concept: Generally speaking, high school experience is not listed once one has entered a college degree program. For location, one need not list the school’s full address, only city and state. Dates of graduation may be either actual or expected. For degree and GPA information, it may be necessary to check school records for the exact name of your degree program and your GPA. NOTE ON GPA: Some people choose to withhold their GPAs because they feel it is irrelevant or not high enough. If a company specifically requests your GPA, however, it is probably in your interest to provide it. In such cases, not including your GPA may, ironically, call attention to it. Example: Recalling the scenario on the previous slide, we may reflect on who may most benefit from using the “bare bones” approach. Leonard, the non-traditional student with a lot of experience, may include only this basic information in his education section, saving space on his resume for developing his work experience. For Elizabeth, the student who is applying for an internship to gain relevant experience, this may be only the foundation for building her complete education section. Rationale: The “bare bones” approach is illustrated with an example in the next slide.
  • Activity: Invite discussion with the following: How may this sample be improved with additional content? How may the visual design of this sample be improved? Key Concept: Even those wishing to use the “bare bones” approach may have problems with this sample. Why? Primarily because it seems thin and poorly designed. The rest of the workshop will explore ways to develop this section. Rationale: The next two slides will ask students to brainstorm ways to move beyond this sample. Some may in the end decide to use a minimal approach after all. To make an informed decision about whether or not the “bare bones” approach is best, though, it is necessary to explore other possibilities and then compare approaches.
  • Rationale: This slide presents an overview of other kinds of information that may be included in the education section. The next slide follows up on each of these three options with a set of questions for students to answer.
  • Activity: Ask students to jot down whatever comes to mind for each of the questions that apply to them. Later, they will choose which of this information, if any, may work into their resumes. To answer these questions fully, they will need to do some outside research, checking transcripts and school records, for example. For today’s purposes, please have students make educated guesses when they cannot answer questions accurately. Rationale: The next three slides encourage students to work through the writing process started here. After brainstorming, students should select content, develop an organizational plan, and finally design content on the page, keeping always their resume readers in mind.
  • Key Concepts: On a resume, organization should be apparent to readers at a glance. Resume readers will probably not have time to figure out how information is put together. Thus, when one uses subsections, one should use descriptive subheadings to help readers find desired information. Subheadings are often highlighted or placed in different fonts. Students may also use white space to separate different kinds of information. By indenting and using columns, writers can make their organization visible to readers. For content within subsections, students can use lists and perhaps place stray information in parentheses. If more extended lists or descriptions are necessary, then writers may need to use bullets or even paragraphs of text. Whatever design decisions writers make for the education section(s), they will need to make sure their choices are visually consistent with other sections. Rationale: The next slide gives a sample that uses some of the design and organization strategies discussed.
  • Activity: Invite students to respond the the following: Is this sample better than the previous one? Why or why not? Key Concept: This sample is more informative, better organized, and better designed, but we cannot know whether it is “better” or not without seeing the rest of the resume and learning more about this individual’s career goals. One must evaluate resume sections on a case by case basis. For this reason, students should seek feedback on their resume sections from professionals in their field, from peers, and of course from tutors in the writing lab.
  • Rationale: This module explores strategies for developing content for the experience section of the resume. After discussing what the section is and how it relates to the rest of the resume, the workshop reviews usual content and placement. Participants are then asked to do some brainstorming and planning work and practice describing experiences. Strategies discussed include the following: using action words, answering the journalistic questions, making descriptions parallel, and viewing experiences as a professional would. The workshop concludes with suggestions for how to tailor this section for audiences and follow a formula for success. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click, unless otherwise noted in bold at the bottom of each notes page. Writer and Designer: Bryan Kopp Design Contributor: Jennifer Liethen Kunka Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000 2007 Update by: Andrew Rosner, Elizabeth Below, Tammy Koerte
  • Rationale: The experience section gives more students trouble than any other resume section because frankly it is the hardest to write. Why? Primarily because in addition to listing information about experiences, one has to describe them. Much of this workshop will be devoted to the special challenges of writing descriptions. Activity: Invite discussion by asking the following: Why would someone consider using a special name for the experience section? Key Concept: Some students decide to use more descriptive names or headings to describe their experience section. There are two good reasons for doing so, if necessary: 1) section headings present information about you very quickly, and 2) section headings allow emphasis of certain kinds of experiences. If your experiences can be described with a more detailed heading, consider using one because readers will see your qualifications at a glance. If you have many experiences, you might also consider grouping them into two different experience sections such as “Leadership Experience” or “Management Experience.” Activity: Pose the following question before advancing the the next slide: Why do employers care so much about the experience section?
  • Key Concept: Employers are interested in hiring people not so much as students but as workers, so not surprisingly this section is at the heart of your resume. If you imagine your resume as an argumentative essay in which you are arguing you are the right person for the job, the experience section presents an opportunity for you to support your claim with detailed evidence. Anyone can say an applicant should be hired because he or she has good communication skills, for example, but only some can prove they have the skills with examples drawn from the experiences. Those who make the most of their experience section know they are not just dumping information about their past jobs and duties; they are proving they have the qualifications needed to succeed in the future. Rationale: This section also gives students a chance to construct a professional identity out of their experiences. Click mouse to reveal each item.
  • Key Concept: Writers may choose how to order the first three kinds of information. One may list dates and then add positions and company names—or put positions and company names before dates. (The second is usually preferred because information to the left side of the page is usually seen first.) However, information about companies, positions, and dates is relatively easy to write on a resume. The real challenge emerges with the fourth bulleted item: descriptions. Out of all the words in the English language and all the different ways to put them together—why choose certain words and word orders over others? The remainder of this workshop will be devoted to making the task of describing jobs a little easier and at the same time more effective.
  • Key Concept: Before looking more closely at the experience section, it is worth commenting on placement issues briefly. Many students think their education section should go above their experience section. They should know, however, that if their experiences are strong and potentially impressive to an employer or would help their resume stand out from the crowd, then they may decide to flip-flop the usual order.
  • Activity: Ask students to take out a piece of paper and draw four columns: in column one, write “Position”; in column two, write “Company”; in column three write “Dates”; and in column four write “Descriptions.” Drawing from memory or from resume drafts, ask students to fill in the first three columns. If students are fairly advanced in the resume writing process, they may take out their resumes, reread them, and mark any spots they feel may be improved during this workshop. Students will benefit from five minutes or so spent writing down ideas.
  • Activity: Initiate students’ responses with the following: Should you include all your experiences on your resume? Which ones are especially important to include? How do you decide? Key Concept: Unless students only have one or two experiences, they probably should be selective about what to include. If possible, include only experiences related in some way to the job for which you are applying. What if your experiences do not relate to the job? Then you may either choose to develop other sections of your resume or to work on “packaging” your experiences in the most relevant way possible. Activity: Have students choose their most relevant experience and write a brief description of it in the fourth column. If they have already written a draft of their resumes, invite them to study their descriptions closely. Is there anything they left out? Rationale: This slide sets up the rest of the workshop, which will be devoted to writing effective descriptions of experiences.
  • Activity: Provide students with the Writing Lab handout called the “Skills List,” located at the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Ask students to skim through the list, putting a checkmark next to all those action words they feel apply to them. Then ask students to place another checkmark next to words they think employers in their field would want to see. Words with two checkmarks should definitely be worked into their resumes! Key Concepts: In the English language, information is conveyed more efficiently through verbs than any other part of speech. If you choose the word “collaborated,” for example, in one of your descriptions, you not only help describe that particular experience but you also reveal that you have collaborating skills. Moreover, action words show you in action —as somebody who not only has abilities but also uses them. Because verbs are so important on your resume, students should try to avoid unnecessary repetition and use the maximum variety. Key Concept: One problem many students face in writing descriptions is excessive conciseness . Although it is good to be “clear and concise,” sometimes it is in a resume writer’s interest to use more rather than fewer words, especially if doing so helps her prove to resume readers she is more qualified than other applicants. Be as detailed and specific as possible given the space available. Easy to say, but hard to do? Asking the journalistic questions (the questions reporters often ask when researching a news story) is a useful strategy for making descriptions more detailed. The next slide gives an example of how students might eliminate excessive white space in their experience section.
  • Activity: Have students examine the given samples and answer the following: Why is the “after” example better? Key Concept: The “after” is better because it gives resume readers more information about the experience. Furthermore, the second sample demonstrates that the applicant has a detail-oriented mind and took the specific tasks of the job seriously. If one person sent a resume with the first description on it and another the second, who would seem the better writer? Activity: Ask students to try using the journalistic questions to develop one of their own descriptions. Invite students to share their results.
  • Activity: Ask students to consider the following: What is the difference between the two columns? Which column of descriptions is better? Why? Key Concept: Most would agree that Column B is better because it is written in a parallel fashion. It sets up a pattern and sticks with it. Applicants make a resume reader’s job easier when they structure words and phrases in a consistent manner. For example, in Column B all descriptions begin with past tense verbs; readers can think about meaning without worrying about structure. In Column A, by contrast, readers have to figure out how each item relates to the others in the list, which takes time and may even prove frustrating. Students should know, however, that they may begin each description with a noun phrase or a present tense verb—as long as writers are consistent within each subsection.
  • Key Concept: Another common trouble spot with describing experiences may be called “selling oneself short.” Students often have to take jobs that are not directly related to their career goals. As a result, some resume writers think about job descriptions as sets of things they were forced to do to earn a living. One way to boost descriptions of experiences is to think about how a professional would perceive each job task. Professionals generally see their work as satisfying to some greater organizational need. They see how even the most humble duty fits into the bigger picture. Click mouse to reveal the “understated” and “professional” examples.
  • In some ways, every profession has its own way of speaking. When a resume seems to be spoken in the language of the profession, readers are more likely to listen to what it has to say. How do you “speak” a profession? This workshop has hinted at three different ways: tailor the content, organization, and wording of your resume, especially in your descriptions. However, to tailor effectively, one must do some research into each field, company and position. Read job ads, for example. What words are commonly used? Try to use those words in your descriptions.
  • Key Concept: This slide recaps main strategies discussed in this workshop. As indicated earlier, the experience section is usually one of the hardest parts of a resume to write. Being informed about one’s options is a good first step, but when navigating difficult terrain one should also take advantage of campus resources such as professors, advisors—and, of course, tutors. Activity: Have students write some ideas about what they plan to do next to develop the experience section of their resumes .
  • Rationale: Welcome to “Developing Your Resume: The Honors and Activities Section.” This module discusses the most variable of all resume sections, the honors and activities section. Students will learn different names for this section, reasons for including it, and usual placement on the page. Next, they will do some exploratory work to identify possible content. Workshop participants will then learn some criteria to be used in selecting content and determining how big or small the section should be. After looking at a couple of samples, students review design options and form a plan of attack for this section. Directions: Each slide is activated by a single mouse click. Writer and Designer: Bryan Kopp Design Contributor: Jennifer Liethen Kunka Developed with resources courtesy of the Purdue University Writing Lab Grant funding courtesy of the Multimedia Instructional Development Center at Purdue University © Copyright Purdue University, 2000. 2007 Update by: Andrew Rosner, Elizabeth Below, Tammy Koerte
  • Key Concept: This section is by far the most variable of all sections. Some resume writers list only awards and honors, some list only extracurricular activities or hobbies, others list only professional memberships or volunteer work—and still others mix all of these together in the same section. Some honors and activities sections take up as much of a third of the resume while others are only three lines at the bottom. This workshop will help resume writers identify some possibilities.
  • Key Concept: As most students know, too much white space on a resume is undesirable because it makes applicants look like they don’t have much to offer the employer. However, there are more important reasons to develop your honors and activities section. Just like the experience and education sections, this section should provide evidence that the applicant is the ideal person for the job.
  • Key Concept: Usually this section is placed at the bottom of the resume because it is the least important. However, occasionally students move the section up the page because they have, for instance, earned an especially important or relevant award. Other students find they have no room to list activities because their education and experience sections are well developed, taking up the whole page. Placement depends primarily on relevance, but before one can determine relevance one needs to explore content possibilities.
  • Activity: The facilitator may invite students to take out a piece of paper and draw three columns for some brainstorming work. In column one, write “Title or Position”; in column two, write “Sponsor or Organization”; in column three, write “Dates.” Students who have already drafted their honors and activities section may want to take out their drafts for reference. The next slide will give suggestions for kinds of experiences to list in each column.
  • Rationale: You may want to give a students a few minutes to jot down some ideas for each type of experience. Activity: The facilitator may initiate discussion by asking the following questions before advancing to the next slide: Should you include everything you have just listed? How do you decide what to include and what to leave out?
  • Key Concept: The size of your honors and activities section depends on three factors: potential relevance, potential interest-value to employers, and space available. To determine relevance, students may need to do some outside research into company literature and study job advertisements in their field. Determining interest-value is difficult, but generally speaking applicants may want select experiences they feel best represents them as professionals or as interesting people. It is a good idea to draft the honors and activities section last, after one has written one’s objective, education and experience sections. Why? To see how much room is left for extra information. Students should keep in mind that they do not have to include everything in this or any resume section. Include only enough to spark interest in the eyes of resume readers. One can always fill in any gaps in the cover letter—and in the interview itself. Activity: Have participants write an “R” next to all potentially relevant experiences and an “I” next to ones that most interest them and may most interest employers, regardless of relevance. Later, if they have space, consider developing all marked experiences. Rationale: The next slide illustrates two different approaches for listing items in the honors and activities section.
  • Rationale: These two samples are included, not so much as models but, as options for students to consider for their own resumes.
  • Key Concept: Because this section is so variable, students will need to determine design and layout on an individual basis. Commonly, all that is needed is a simple list, but if students want to include additional information, they may want to use the same design strategies they are using in other resume sections in order to build a consistent presentation.
  • Rationale: During this workshop students have begun brainstorming work and have learned ways to determine content. The two remaining tasks are to coordinate organization and design with the rest of their resumes and to seek out critical feedback from professors, advisors, peers, and tutors.
  • Rationale: Although this workshop has offered general advice, students will probably have additional questions about developing their own resume sections. Purdue students are invited to meet with a tutor to assist with writing challenges on an individual basis. Viewers outside of Purdue may receive assistance through the OWL (Online Writing Lab) and answers to quick questions through the OWL email service.

Transcript

  • 1. Developing Your Resume A workshop series brought to you by the Purdue University Writing Lab
  • 2. Overview of Sections
    • The Objective Statement
    • Contact Information
    • Education
    • Experience
    • Honors and Activities
  • 3. The Objective Statement A workshop brought to you by the Purdue University Writing Lab
  • 4. What is an objective statement?
    • A short section (usually 1-3 lines), often in the form of a sentence fragment, immediately below your contact information
    • An “at a glance” picture of you and your career interests
    • Other names: Professional Objective, Resume Capsule, Career Goals, etc.
  • 5. Why write one?
    • Emphasize key qualifications, skills and/or goals
    • Help your readers find what they need to know quickly
    • Make a good first impression
    • Relate company goals to personal goals
  • 6. Q: Is this a good objective statement?
    • Well-written but raises too many questions
    • For example: What kind of internship?
    • What knowledge?
    • What kinds of expertise?
    • Which areas?
    • How will you contribute to this company?
    An internship allowing me to utilize my knowledge and expertise in different areas
  • 7. A good objective statement answers questions
    • What position(s) are you applying for?
    • What are your main qualifications?
    • What are your career goals?
    • What is your professional identity?
    • How can you help the company?
  • 8. The importance of tailoring
    • Sometimes one size does NOT fit all
    • Each person and employer is unique in certain ways
    • Aim for a custom fit when possible, but how?
  • 9. Getting started...
    • Reflect on your overall qualifications and career goals: In what ways are they typical? Unique?
    • Research individual employers in your field: In what ways are employers alike? Different?
  • 10. Questions about you
    • What are your main qualifications, strengths, skills, and areas of expertise?
    • What position(s)--or type of position--are you seeking?
    • What are some of your professional goals?
    • What type of organization or work setting are you most interested in?
  • 11. Questions about employers
    • What qualifications are most desired by employers in your field?
    • What positions are available on the job market? What are they titled?
    • What are some goals of the organizations that interest you?
    • What kinds of organizations are now hiring?
  • 12. “ Instant” objective statements
    • For practice, fill in the parts in brackets
      • To utilize my [qualifications, strengths, or skills] as a [position title]
      • A position as a [position title] for [company name] allowing me to develop my [qualifications, strengths, or skills]
      • An opportunity to [professional goal] in a [type of organization, work environment, or field]
      • [position title] with emphasis in [areas of expertise]
  • 13. Which of your objective statements is “best”?
    • The one that best…
      • Emphasizes your qualifications and/or goals
      • Appeals to employer expectations
    • A trick question: You’ll probably need to write more than one objective statement.
    • Tailor for each type of position that interests you and, for best results, modify for each particular employer (as necessary)
  • 14. The Contact Information Section A workshop brought to you by the Purdue University Writing Lab
  • 15. What is a contact information section?
    • Easy answer…
    • A section that
      • Provides information to help prospective employers contact you
      • Presents a first impression
      • Is usually located at the top of the page
  • 16. What may you include?
    • Name, of course!
    • Address and phone
      • Campus
      • Permanent
    • Email
    • Web address
    • Fax number
    • Any other means of contact
  • 17. Q: Is this a good sample?
      • Your Name Here
      • 1234 Streetname, #1
      • West Lafayette, IN 47907
      • [email_address]
      • 765-555-5555
  • 18. Moving beyond the typewriter
    • Use design strategies
    • Picking fonts
      • Size
      • Type
      • Highlighting
    • Using layout
      • Alignment
      • Columns
    • Coordinate with rest of resume
  • 19. Using fonts
    • Size: how big is big enough?
    • Two major kinds:
      • Serif
      • Sans serif
    • Text highlighting: bold, italics, caps, underline, special effects
  • 20. Putting it on the page
    • Aligning text
      • Flush left
      • Center
      • Flush right
    • Using columns
      • Both left and right
      • Left, right and center
  • 21. Q: Is this sample better?
    • Campus Address
    • 1234 Streetname, #1
    • West Lafayette, IN 47907
    • [email_address]
    • 765-555-5555
    • Permanent Address
    • 4321 Streetname
    • Anytown, IN 12345
    • http://univ.edu/~login
    • 555-555-1234
    Your Name Here
  • 22. Adding a graphic element
    • May include horizontal line
    • May possibly include a small graphic element
  • 23. Coordinate design strategies
    • Match design with rest of resume
      • Use same font types
      • Use consistent layout
    • Match with cover letter
      • Make stationary template based on contact info
      • Use same paper for all application documents
    • Aim for a professional package
  • 24. Proofread with a magnifying glass
    • Triple-check for accuracy
    • One typo could cost you an interview!
  • 25. The Education Section
  • 26. What is an education section?
    • A section that emphasizes your educational background and formal training, individualizing for an organization.
    • Usually a major section for college students and recent graduates
  • 27. Purposes: to inform and persuade
    • Give information about your schooling and training
    • Persuade employers your educational background is relevant to the job, providing evidence of your qualifications
    • Help your resume stand out from others in the stack
  • 28. Where should you place this section?
    • Above or below your experience section?
    • It depends…
      • Which is stronger, your education or your work experience section?
      • How much relevant work experience do you have?
    • Place strongest, most relevant section closest to top of the page
  • 29. The “bare bones” education section
    • Schools you have attended, including universities, community colleges, technical schools, etc.
    • Location of school(s)
    • Date of graduation, actual or anticipated
    • Degree(s) earned or pursued
    • Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • Courses taken outside of typical major classes that may add to qualifications of job
  • 30. Are we done yet?
    • Education
    • B.A. in English
    • Purdue University
    • West Lafayette, Indiana
    • Anticipated Graduation: December 2007
    • GPA: 3.4/4.0
  • 31. What else may be included?
    • Extra information about your degree (major, minor or selective GPAs, funding sources, honors, etc.)—usually listed or included in parentheses
    • Specializations and special projects— usually listed or described briefly
    • Other relevant skills and training (relevant coursework, computer skills, language proficiency, certifications, licenses, etc.)—may be subsections or separate sections
  • 32. Questions to answer
    • What are my major and minor GPAs?
    • Any honors related to my degree?
    • How is my education funded?
    • What are my major(s) and minor(s)? What are my areas of emphasis, specialization, or concentration?
    • What special course or degree-related projects may be relevant?
    • What courses have I taken that are related to my career goals?
    • With what computer programs am I most familiar?
    • What language proficiencies do I have?
    • Any certifications or licenses?
    • Do I have any on-the-job educational training such as in-house training programs?
  • 33. Designing content for readers
    • Consider using…
          • Subheadings
          • Indenting
          • Columns/tables
          • Parentheses
          • Bulleted lists
          • Paragraphs
    • Match with rest of page
  • 34. Are we done now ?
    • B.A. in Professional Writing , Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana,
    • May 2007 (Funded 100% of Schooling)
    • Concentration : Business and Technical Writing
    • Select Coursework : Computer-aided Publishing, Writing for the Computer Industry, Business Writing, Technical Writing, Advanced Professional Writing
    • Overall GPA : 3.4/4.0 Major GPA : 3.7/4.0
    Education
  • 35. The Experience Section
  • 36. What is an experience section?
    • A section that demonstrates your most relevant experience in work or activities.
    • Other common names: Professional Experience, Work History, Field Work, Volunteer Work, etc.
    • Special names: Technical Experience, Supervisory Experience, Aviation Experience, etc.
  • 37. Informing to persuade
    • Provide information to help persuade prospective employers that your experiences make you qualified for the job and that you align with the organization’s goals
    • Help your resume stand out from others in the stack
    • Construct your professional identity
  • 38. What goes into this section?
    • Company or organization and location (city, state)
    • Position title
    • Dates of employment or involvement
    • Descriptions of responsibilities, duties, achievements, etc.
    • Use action verbs to describe duties!
  • 39. Where should you put this section?
    • Above or below your education section?
    • It depends…
      • How much work experience do you have?
      • Which is stronger, your education or your work experience section?
    • Place strongest, most relevant section closest to top of the page
  • 40. Getting started…
    • List your past and present experiences.
    • Include:
      • jobs
      • volunteer positions
      • appointments
      • assistantships
      • internships
      • any activities that used the same duties or qualifications that may be used in the job you’re applying for
  • 41. Describing experiences
    • To tailor the content of this section, circle each item that is…
      • Related to your career goals
      • Asked for in job ads and descriptions
    • Choose one experience you circled and describe briefly
  • 42. Developing your descriptions
    • Use varied action words to describe experiences
    • Answer the journalistic questions :
      • Who? …With whom did you work?
      • What? …What duties did you perform?
      • Where? …Where did your job fit into the organization?
      • Why? …What goals were you trying to accomplish?
      • When? …What timelines were you working under?
      • How? …What procedures did you follow?
  • 43. Developing your descriptions Example
    • Before:
    • planned activities
    • Questions asked : What kinds?, How?, When?, For Whom?
    • After :
    • planned arts, crafts, activities, and exercises weekly for physically-challenged children
  • 44. Making your descriptions parallel
    • COLUMN A
    • Recording OSHA regulated documents
    • Material purchasing and expediting
    • Prepared weekly field payroll
    • Responsible for charge orders
    • COLUMN B
    • Recorded OSHA regulated documents
    • Conducted material purchasing and expediting
    • Prepared weekly payroll
    • Processed charge orders
  • 45. Try to see your experiences as a professional would
    • UNDERSTATED
      • Answered phone
      • Wiped tables
    • PROFESSIONAL
      • Acted as liaison between clients and legal staff
      • Created healthy environment for customers and maintained positive public image
  • 46. Ways to tailor this section
    • Select content that supports your qualifications and matches job description
    • Consider organizing by order of importance
    • Use professional wording, integrating job-specific terms, verbs are action-oriented
  • 47. A formula for success
    • Tailor for your audience
    • Use appropriate headings
    • Included required content
    • Organize your section strategically
    • Develop your descriptions
    • Make your descriptions parallel
    • See through potential employer’s eyes
  • 48. The Honors and Activities Section
  • 49. What is an honors and activities section?
    • A section that emphasizes your participation in relevant activities and any honors you have received
    • Other names
      • Awards
      • Memberships
      • Volunteer Work
  • 50. Why bother?
    • Fill up white space
    • Provide additional evidence of your qualifications
    • Give employers a sense of who you are outside of school and work
  • 51. Where does this section go?
    • Usually last section on the page
    • Can be moved up if information is especially important or relevant
    • Sometimes omitted if there is a lack of space or relevant information
  • 52. What goes into it?
    • Draw three columns, one for each of the following:
      • Titles or positions
      • Sponsors or affiliated organizations
      • Dates of involvement (M/Y-M/Y or Y- Y)
  • 53. Exploring content possibilities
    • Extracurricular activities
    • Awards, grants, prizes, and special honors
    • Memberships in professional clubs and organization
    • Volunteer activities
  • 54. Big or little? Major or minor?
    • How relevant are your honors and activities to the job you are applying to?
    • Which honors and activities would most interest prospective employers?
    • How much space do you have? Choose and organize your information to emphasize the most relevant activities.
  • 55. Two approaches
    • Minimal approach
      • Photography Club, University of Illinois, January 1999-Present
    • Elaborated approach
      • President , Photography Club, University of Illinois, January 1999-Present
        • Organized campus contest
        • Increased membership with promotional efforts
  • 56. Using visual design
    • Simple list
    • Columns
    • List with bulleted descriptions
    • Coordinate with other sections
  • 57. Plan of attack
    • Brainstorm
    • Decide what to include based on relevance, interest-value, and space considerations
    • Match organization and design with rest of resume
    • Seek critical feedback
  • 58. For More Help Developing Your Resume…
    • Contact the Purdue University Writing Lab
    • Heavilon 226
    • Grammar Hotline: (765) 494-3723
    • Check our web site: http://owl.english.purdue.edu
    • Email brief questions: [email_address]
  • 59. The End