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
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
“ 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.
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
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."
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:
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]