RIGHTING A RÉSUMÉ Williamson County Public Library
1. What is a r é sum é? 2. Why write a résumé? 3. Tailoring your résumé? 4. Developing your content 5. Organizing your sections 7. Cover letters/Business letters 6. Designing your page 8. Quick tips and common mistakes
R E S U M E Creative Job Search is a service of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development eview of qualifications ssential Information Only kills-Based nique-- What Makes You Special arketing a Product– You ffective-- Gets You Noticed
Your Professional Identity Online Presence Work Presence Community Involvement Professional Associations Articles, essays, Blogs and other writings R é sumé
Why Write a R é sum é ?
The purpose of a résumé (along with your cover letter) is to get an interview by:
persuading your readers you are the best person for the job
constructing a professional image of yourself and establish your credibility
providing a sample of your written communication skills
convincing prospective employers you deserve an interview
What Kind of Résumé Should You Use? Combination Functional Chronological
The functional r ésumé is a r ésumé in which the information is organized by skill sets.
The functional r ésumé is used by individuals whose education and experiences do not obviously match their career objective or when there are noticeable gaps in work experience.
Functional Résumé Example Here is what I can do for you! HIRE ME!
The chronological résumé is organized by job titles with the most recent position listed first.
The chronological r ésumé is most effective for job seekers with solid experience and a logical job history.
Chronological Résumé Example Hire me Hire me Hire me Hire me Hire me
The combination r é sum é merges the chronological and functional styles. It presents the knowledge, skills, and abilities gained from work in a reverse-chronological order.
The combination r é sum é highlights skills and experiences.
Combination Résumé Example This is ME- in two pages or less
Tailoring for Your Audience
A tailored résumé highlights the
qualifications a particular employer
most wants to see. Tailored résumés
are most likely to get you an interview.
To tailor your résumé you'll need to do
Some research into specific
companies and positions.
Use the ONET descriptions to see what a job is looking for
Ref USA and the company website for company information
The key is to use the ad and the company’s website to create specific responses to their requests and needs based on your experience and abilities using their words. Why customize? Because it demonstrates to an employer that you're applying for this job, not any job.
Regardless of the approach you take to writing
your résumé, if you are creating a traditional
print résumé, you should write with two kinds of
readers in mind:
Skimmers: Busy readers will scan for desired information. Try to make such information easy to find "at a glance." Give your résumé the 15-second test: What information stands out? What information gets lost in the rush
Skeptics: Your résumé may leave a good first impression on readers, but how will it look on closer inspection? Do you provide evidence and details for the careful reader?
Me The Company
Leadership Microsoft Office Suite
Computer skills Decision making skills
People skills Bachelor’s Degree preferred
B.A. Marketing Dependable
Effective Supervision experience
Ability to multitask
Effective communication skills- written and verbal
WHO - position titles, names of your supervisors, leaders, etc.
WHAT - responsibilities and duties, special projects, etc.; describe the nature of your experience (volunteer, intern, academic, work, etc.)
WHERE - indicate place where you acquired experience (the organization, program, department, division, etc.)
WHEN - important dates (starting date, ending date, dates of promotion, etc.)
WHY - goals--personal, professional, or organizational--you were trying to achieve
HOW - procedures, techniques, technologies, etc. you used to achieve goals
Job Skills Checklist
The purpose of this skills inventory is to help you to be able to come up with different skills that you may be having a hard time thinking of yourself.
To use the Skills Inventory list go to http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/626/01/
Use Keywords to define your skills, experience, education, professional affiliations, etc.
Consider inserting a Summary or Keywords paragraph
Use concrete words rather than vague descriptions.
Be concise and truthful.
Use jargon and acronyms specific to your industry.
Increase your list of key words by including specifics.
Use common headings.
UT’s Career Services site
Content Tips for Maximizing "Hits"
Can't Think of Keywords?
Ask a friend to help. Friends can frequently see things in you that you can't. They might also have some good ideas and interesting options for you to consider.
Ask a Librarian. Librarians are usually very good at this kind of exercise, but try to ask for some help when the reference desk isn't busy so he or she can concentrate better on your project.
Scan Some Online Job Banks. Search some of the major job banks for jobs that interest you. Read the job descriptions, note the skills and kinds of experience the employers are seeking, and then use these words in your search.
Check ONET and OOH for job descriptions
Read a Good Book. We have resources specifically for building strong résumés that provide keyword lists.
What is the business function in which you would be working
What synonyms would be used by employers for alternative title for these functions
What are the major area of accountability
For a management position what word best describe the organization environment and management style sought
What specific skills are sought
“ the résumé kit” Richard Beatty
Use verbs to describe your skills and
accomplishments when writing your résumé and
Selecting R ésumé Headings
Select Headings that will allow you organize your information.
Think about what you want the employer to know and what they NEED to know about you.
A common approach to organizing sections is to use the following scheme:
Your Professional Image Objective Education Work Experience Honors and Activities
Alternative Headings Include the sections that best feature your abilities and will help you win an interview.
Honors and awards
Language proficiency/ foreign languages
Volunteer work / Community Involvement
Academic/ Service Awards
Advanced career training
Familiar computer applications
Licenses and certification
Papers and Research
Continuing Education Courses
Seminars and Workshops Conferences in-house seminars
Study Abroad/ travel
Clubs and Organizations
Higher Education : List, in reverse chronological order, all college, university, and
professional degrees that you hold. You do not need to list your high school graduation date
unless that is your highest level of education and you graduated less than five years ago.
Information you might include:
- Degree awarded
- Name of school, city and state
- Major and minor area of concentration
- Graduation date (month and year)
- Awards and scholarships
- If you are a recent graduate, include your cumulative or major GPA only if it is 3.5 or higher
-If you're over 50 years of age you may delete the year you graduated from university (and
some older work history) to fight back against age discrimination
What is an experience section?
An experience section emphasizes your past and present employment and/or your participation in
Relevant activities. Sometimes this section goes under other names such as the following:
Work Experience /Professional Experience / Work History /Field Work /
Volunteer Work /Relevant Experience
Feel free to customize your headings for this section, especially if you are writing a tailored résumé.
For example, if the job ad calls for someone with editorial experience, you may want to create a
section with the heading "Editorial Experience." Even the busiest reader will notice. Usually, résumé
experience sections move from most recent to oldest experience. But with a tailored résumé, you
may want to note important and applicable experience first.
You may need more than one section to organize your experiences. experience. The usual content
For an experience section includes:
company or organization, location, position title
dates of employment or involvement
descriptions of responsibilities and duties
Where should you place the experience section?
Questions to ask
How to Write a Good Summary Section First rule -avoid fluff language. Back it up with proof Write the Summary Section to match the Classified Ad The Summary Format There is not one summary format that works for everyone. Your summary section can be a brief paragraph consisting of a sentence or two, or it could be lengthy and consist of your major selling points organized under 3, 4, or 5 different functional headings with bulleted sentence fragments under each of these headings. How lengthy it is depends on the following factors: (1) Are you trying to enter a new field? (2) Do you lack a work history? (3) Do you seek a promotion in the same field you've successfully worked in for years? (4) Have you been working in the same field for years without a promotion? (5) Does your résumé reveal something negative, like employment gaps or no clear career path? A general rule of thumb to follow: If you have a very powerful work history section and are seeking employment in the same field, you probably don't need an expanded summary section. http://www.resumagic.com/résumés5.html Summary Section
The following is an example of how an extended summary section of a résumé might be written:
Highlights of Qualifications
Expanded Summary Section
What Not To Include
Age, race, marital status, religion, health, or any physical/mental disabilities
Hobbies -unless relevant
Social Security number
References to your physical appearance
Obtaining the correct spelling of the recipient's name, along with the company's name, is important; double-check spelling. For example, is it Allan, Allen, Alan, Alen, or Allyn?
It is also critical to confirm the recipient's gender, so you can address the envelope and cover letter to Mr. or Ms. (insert last name). Refrain from making gender assumptions.
Likewise, refrain from using Miss or Mrs . Always use Ms. for women unless otherwise specified.
Best tool for this- reference USA or a phone call
Determining Section Order
Your next step is to determine the right order for your
sections. Order will be determined by two things
the most important or impressive sections go closer to the top of the page . The type of résumé The information that the employer most needs to see
Page Design Strategies use the whole page Maximizing Your résumé consistent format a visual hierarchy the right paper Tip: By force of habit, most readers begin reading in the top left c orner of a page
Create a Visual Hierarchy
Apply headings and subheadings to make it easier for readers to find desired information
Customize headings if possible
Ensure headings match section content
Utilize subsections and subheadings, if necessary (for example, if you held two jobs at the same place, create a subsection listing each position beneath)
Make use of bullets to break up dense prose passages. Play with margins or tabs to indent more or less than the standard 5 spaces
Limit to 2-5 bullets if possible (6 or more reduces effectiveness)
Employ descriptive phrases rather than complete sentences (periods, caps, etc. unnecessary)
Experiment with other kinds of bullets
Use indents and line breaks to indicate your organizational scheme
Minimize punctuation when using line breaks and indents (white space "punctuates" instead)
Vary fonts- font choice (Times Roman, Geneva, Arial, Helvetica, etc.) font size (12 pt., 10 pt., etc.) and font style (bold, italics, underline, caps, etc.)
TEXT TEXT TEXT Ré sum é Appearance No smaller than 10 pts but no larger than 14 pts 1 page preferably but no more than 2 pages San Serif & Serif FONT TEXT SIZE PRINTING Professional quality or the best quality that you can afford LENGTH Tip: Try the quadrant test and the 20-second Test
R ésumé Design Hints
Use font size 10 to 12 points
Avoid fancy font styles such as Italics, underline and shadows
Boldface and capital letters are acceptable as long as the letters don’t touch each other.
Provide white space between words
Don’t use parentheses between area code and tel #
Using Columns TIP: Employers will usually take, at most, only thirty-five seconds at this one-page representation of yourself before deciding whether to keep or discard it . Remember that the first place your reader looks at will be located in quadrants 1 and 2, so the most important information should go here. You should use no more than three columns on your résumé. Columns are the easiest way to visually distinguish information and sections in your résumé and create hierarchy To create columns of text , you can use the table function in Microsoft Word to create vertical and horizontal placements for your information. Although you might want to use columns to create a balanced page, you don’t want your reader to make too many stops and miss important information. The reader’s eye will stop when it reaches the end of the column.
What is a Scannable R ésumé ?
A scannable résumé allows
employers to store résumés in
databases and search through
many applicants electronically.
Employers do this by using the
latest document imaging
technology, optical character recognition, or OCR.
Tip: The two most important elements of a scannable résumé are keywords and formatting .
Scannable Résumé Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Open your MS Word formatted résumé (the traditional version). Make any changes, such as adding a category devoted to keywords . Change the margins for the entire document to 1 inch on the left and 2.5 inches on the right. (This will shorten the line length and enable most email programs to view the document without scrolling repeatedly to the right and left.) Change the font to Courier 10 pt for the entire document.
Scannable R ésumé Continued Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Save the file, using a DIFFERENT file name, such as résumé 4email. Click File, Save As. Choose Text Only with Line Breaks, then click Save. Open the windows text editor program, Notepad, to clean up the new file. Make sure that bullets converted properly, add space between paragraphs to improve readability, and eliminate gaps within lines caused by tabs or indents . Save the changes in Notepad by clicking File, Save. Before emailing the résumé; check it. Open Notepad, then copy and paste the file into an email message. To get an idea of how the résumé will look once delivered, send the file to both yourself and a friend who uses a different email program .
How can I learn what will impress prospective employers?
In order to impress prospective employers when writing a cover letter, you must first know what they are looking for in candidates. Learning more about the company itself—and what they value—can help you do this.
Here are some suggestions:
Read the job advertisement carefully
Research the corporate website, read and try to understand their mission statement (sometimes an organization's mission may not be overtly stated)
Call "insiders" (people that work with the company)
Use Reference USA and other library databases to uncover information about the company
Where to do Research
Reference USA (Database- home access)
Company’s Web Site (Internet)
Company’s Annual Report (Internet)
“ The purpose of a cover letter is to create sufficient interest on the part of the reader to warrant further reading of the employment résumé. If it written well it can also convey a sense of value to the employer” Beatty, 260.
Cover Letters and R ésumé
Your résumé and Cover Letter should work together
when writing a cover letter to accompany your
résumé, try to have it match your résumé in
appearance and content. For example, always use
the same paper, fonts, and formats when creating
both documents. Use coordinating envelopes, too.
Introduce yourself to a potential employer, state the job
for which you are applying, explain some of the
reasons your résumé is worth reading and request
action to be taken by the reader, such as inviting you in
for an interview
What Is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter introduces you and your résumé to potential employers or organizations you seek to join
It is the first document an employer sees, so it is often the first impression you will make. Take advantage of this important first impression and prepare the reader for your application, stating why you are writing, why you are a good match for the job and the organization, and when you will contact him or her.
Cover letters do more than introduce your résumé, though. A cover letter's importance also includes its ability to:
Explain your experiences in a story-like format that works with the information provided in your résumé
Allow you to go in-depth about important experiences/skills and relate them to job requirements
Show the employer that you are individualizing (tailoring) this job application
Provide a sample of your written communication skills
Cover Letter Myths
R é sum é ’s and cover letters are two separate documents that have little relation to each other
You can use the same cover letter for each reader of your r é sum é
It doesn’t take long to write a cover letter
You can proofread your own cover letter
Page 7-8 gallery of best cover letters
Four Types of Cover Letters General Specific Beatty (260-278) Broadcast to Employer Personal Referral Letter Response to Employer Advertising Broadcast to Search Firms Cover Letter
Cover Letter Sections
Statement of purpose
Brief summary of qualification
Reason for making change
Request for response
Broadcast to search firms- Same components but also
Statement of willingness to provide additional information
Acknowledge that you don’t want to work for the firm, that you know what they do
Responses to advertisement-
Reference to advertisement
Expression of interest in position
Comparison of position requirements with own qualification
Statement of additional reasons for serious consideration (optional)
Name of person making referral
Relationship to applicant
Something of a personal nature
How referral came about
Reason for job change
Direct reference to existing opening
Refer to enclosed résumé
Action to initiate personal meeting
Cover Letter Contents
When crafting a cover letter, it's always important to match your qualifications to the job and/or employer. qualifications.
State the date and your name and address at the top of the letter.
Below your name and address, write the name and address of the person to whom you're writing. Always address the letter to a specific person by name and title. State your interest in the job for which you're applying.
Mention your skills, education, special training and work experience that qualify you for the job.
Provide a phone number and a time you will be available so the employer can reach you.
Thank the person for taking the time to read your letter.
Use the appropriate closing, such as "Sincerely."
Ask someone to proofread your letter to check content, grammar and spelling.
State that you'll call the employer to follow-up. (and do so)
Sign the letter in blue ink. It implies the letter is original and may get more attention. The only other ink color to use is black. Never use any other color on the cover letter.
Structure the letter to reflect your individuality, but avoid appearing too familiar, overbearing, humorous or cute.
Keep sentences short and to the point.
Keep it brief, usually no more than one page with three to five paragraphs.
Use the same paper stock for both your cover letter and résumé.
Avoid starting sentences with the same word such as "I."
Cover Letter Body
What do I include in my argument/body?
In the body of your cover letter (the argument), you should describe the most important qualifications to show why you are a good match for the job and the company.
You should focus your cover letter's body around the two-three qualifications you mention in the introduction. In each paragraph you can concentrate on one quality, seeking to answer the following two questions:
1. How can I show I am qualified for this position and that I am a good match for the organization?
You do not want to only mention the skills that you possess; you also have to show that you possess them! When writing about your skills, you can think of it as telling a story. You should describe the experiences of how you received and grew your skills, mentioning specific places you worked and positions you held. For example:
My communication skills in the workplace have grown because of my internships. When I was an intern at Newberry & Jones, I wrote memos and letters to customers and colleagues on a daily basis. This experience taught me to write professionally and to-the-point.
2. What have I done that illustrates these qualifications?
Along with explaining your skills, you want to describe how your experience with that skill is unique. Many people may have communication skills, but have you won an award or scholarship for technical writing? Be specific and match this information to your résumé
Here are some ideas about what might set you apart:
Cover Letter Closing
A closing sums up your qualifications and reveals what you plan to do after your readers have receive your application packet (résumé, cover letter, etc.)
Close with a strong reminder of why you are a good match for the job position and the organization.
Request an interview in some way.
Provide contact information.
Sign your name and print it underneath.
If you say you will call- do so.
Cover Letter and R é sum é Inquiry
The position for which you are applying.
Why you are qualified for the position along with examples.
Any new information about your qualifications or education.
Your contact information and when you are available to be contacted.
A list of people who can verify and elaborate on your professional experience for a potential employer.
Past employers, professors, and advisors are the best to have as professional references.
Important to have a list of references because potential employers will often ask for a list of references they can contact.
Provide a summary of your most recent qualifications and experience.
List your year in school, your field of study or current career, and possibly your career aspirations.
Formally ask to use the person as a reference and state how the reference will be used.
Be sure that the reference understands that if you do not hear from them you will assume they do not mind being used as a reference.
Include a copy of your résumé.
The inquiry letter is similar to a cover letter.
The potential employer has not advertised a job opening.
Attach a copy of your r é sum é.
Sample Inquiry Letter
1314 Columbia Avenue
Franklin, TN 37064
May 18, 2009
3324 S. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, Fl 34233
Dear Mr. Ghamandi:
Perhaps you are seeking an addition to your marketing team. A new person can provide
Innovative approaches to the challenges of marketing. I am an innovator of new ideas, an
excellent communicator with buyers, and have a demonstrated history of marketing success.
Presently, I am marketing computer products for a major supplier using television, radio and
news advertising. I have a reputation for putting forth the effort required to make a project
Enclosed is my résumé for your review and consideration. EFTG Industries has a reputation
for excellence. I would like to use my talents to market your quality line of technical
products. I will call you to further discuss my talents and how I can benefit your company. If
you prefer, you may reach me in the evenings at (555) 555-5555. Thank you for your time. I
look forward to meeting you.
( Your Signature in blue or black ink )
Following an interview, promptly (within 2 business days) write the interviewer a letter expressing appreciation and thanks for the interview.
The purpose of this letter is to:
• Show appreciation for the employer's interest in you.
• Reiterate your interest in the position and in the organization.
• Review or remind the employer about your qualifications for the position. If you thought of something you forgot to mention in the interview, mention it in your follow-up / thank-you letter.
• Demonstrate that you have good manners and know to write a thank-you letter.
• Follow up with any information the employer may have asked you to provide after the interview.
Hard copy, handwritten or email?
Hard copy (typed) - most formal and are
appropriate after an interview.
Handwritten - more personal and can be
appropriate for brief notes to a variety of
individuals you may have met during on on-site
E-mail - appropriate when that has been your
means of contact with the person you want to
thank, or if your contact has expressed a
preference for e-mail.
Thank the employer for the offer.
Make a direct request for further negotiations or write a conditional statement.
List the points of the contract that require negotiation and state the reasons for the negotiation.
Suggest that the employer contact you with their opinions about your points of negotiation.
The acceptance letter is a professional way to respond to an organization that offers an open position.
The acceptance letter should state the intention to accept the position and also reiterate different aspects of the job offer, such as: salary amount, benefits, work schedule, and the day you
will begin working for the
Tip: Get everything in writing before you agree to anything and keep everything!
Sample Acceptance Letter
Company ABC 3324 S. Tamiami Trail Sarasota, Fl 34233 1-800-555-5555 Dear Mr. Ghamandi, I am very happy to hear that you have chosen me for your management position at Company ABC. Please consider this letter my official acceptance. I am very pleased to accept your salary offer of $60,000 annually. As we agreed, I will begin work on September 4, 2009 after I fulfill my obligations to my current place of employment . I understand that I will receive full insurance benefits as of September 4, 2009. I look forward to providing my managerial experience, skills, and training to your company. Thank you again, Mr. Doe, for having confidence in me and offering me this wonderful position at Company ABC. If there is any additional paperwork you need me to complete, please let me know and I will get it done as soon as possible. I am very excited to be working with you and Company ABC. Sincerely, Jane Franklin 941-555-5555 [email_address]
Rejection Letter of Job Offered
Thank the company for the offer.
Be polite, but firmly reject the offer.
Give reasons why you turned the offer down. Doing this will improve the experience for future applicants.
Leave the door open in case you wish to apply for another position at the company in the future.
Use pronouns correctly
Use verb forms correctly
Use active verbs rather than passive verbs
Be sure that present past participles are grammatically parallel in a list
Use split infinitive only when to split them would be awkward
Use punctuation correctly
Don’t use “as well as” for “and”
Put a comma after the year when it appears after a month and day and city
Put a comma after a non dependant clause
Use semicolons when they are needed
Avoid putting a colon after a verb or proposition to introduce information