Career Countdown: Prepared or Scared?
KUC 316 | 11a.m. to 12 p.m.
Do you know how to keep your resume out of the trash can and in the loop?
Well Bill Fletcher does. Come hear the Director of the Career Development
Center discuss what recruiters and software programs look for on resumes.
Bill Fletcher, Director
Career Development Center
CDC Resume Writing Guide:
Purpose of the Resume
One (or two) page summary of your education, experiences, and skills for a
Requires hours of work and several revisions to develop to its most
Should highlight your qualifications for a particular position or career field
Focuses attention on your qualifications and achievements and on the
contributions you can make to the employer.
Is not the only tool in your job search, but is a primary one.
Do not get you jobs - but help get you interviews.
Is NOT a biographical summary of your life - only selected parts.
Chronological -Data is organized in reverse time sequence; most recent
education and work experience first moving to oldest. Action skill statements
are listed for each position. This format is used most often
Functional - Data is organized according to groups of skills. Uses major skill
headings and omits the dates, employers, and positions. This format is rarely
Combination or Hybrid - is a combination of chronological and functional
formats. Data is organized according to groups of skills and a brief
employment history is included with employers, positions and dates listed.
This can be helpful for people who already have some experience and/or are
making a career change.
Typical Sections Used
(in a chronological resume)
• Experience (Related, Additional, Intern,
• Activities (Campus or Community)
• Reference Statement
(in a chronological resume)
• Related Courses
• Research/Senior Thesis
• Honors and Awards
• Skills or Qualifications Summary
• Professional Affiliations
• Special Skills or Training
Chronological = chrono meaning time and logical meaning the order or
way in which the information is presented.
Using the “FAT” Formula
When writing your resume, it should be:
Focused - a focused resume delivers a strong and consistent
message about an individual’s skills, strengths and potential.
Accomplishment-oriented - communicates success and
achievement, then ties those in with that individual’s current
Tidy - is distinguished by a well-organized and easy-to-read
presentation that delivers essential information in a quick 20-
~Louise Kursmark, CPRW
To Object or Not?
Resume writers often get mixed messages over whether to
have an objective or not.
What are some Pros and Cons?
• Wastes space • Can direct reader’s attention
• Vague, Fluffy • Tie following info together
• Doesn’t add anything • Focus
• Poorly written • Better relate transferable skills
• General “Give me a job”
How To Write a GOOD Objective?
An Objective can focus on any three areas or a combination:
[Degree or skill area] candidate with experience in [job strength], [job
strength], and [job strength], seeks career in [industry/job
NEVER use a resume to apply for a position when the Objective
doesn’t match! (see previous Cons section)
Can/should a job searcher have more than one resume?
• Opportunity to fully utilize industrial engineering and process engineering while working for a midsize
• A position in the actuarial field where analytical and quantitative skills will be utilized
• Education candidate with proven experience in the classroom and creating lesson plans seeks position teaching
Biology and/or other life science at the secondary level.
• Seek a position as a sales representative with a consumer products organization which will lead to sales
• To enter the field of computer applications with emphasis in designing and developing computer programs
• Seek a position as a design engineer with advancement to planning and project administration
• A position in electrical engineering concentrating on the design and development of electronic systems
implementing integrated circuits and microprocessor control
• Concrete Industry Management degreed candidate with experience working in a ready‐mixed operation as well
as proficiency conducting materials testing and troubleshooting problems and excellent communication and
computer skills seeks Quality Control Manager position with Concrete Supply of Topeka.
• Recording Industry candidate with Spanish minor and customer service experience seeks career in record
• Public Relations candidate with experience writing news releases and computer proficiencies in Quark and
Adobe Photoshop seeks position in Graphic Design.
• Electronic Media degreed candidate with experience in television writing, editing and production seeks career in
Using the “FAT” Formula, how do you focus?
Well written Objective
Decide which sections to use & how (relevant courses, senior
thesis, activities). Which courses do you list, how do they
match rest of resume? Are activities listed or do they describe
skills important to field?
Choose language - a resume written for a mgmt. position in HR
may use different language than one for a purchasing mgr.
Types of Skills
Work Content Skills Self Management Skills (or Transferable Skills (or
Personality Attributes) functional)
Adjectives & Adverbs; Verbs; Ask “What” or
Describe yourself and your “Who” after; answer will
actions; Ask “how” be a noun or work content
• Clearly • Coordinated…
• SPSS software
• Helpful • Analyzed…
• Writing Press Releases
• Concisely • Developed…
• Taking Blood Pressures
• Energetically • Implemented…
• Conducting counseling
• Friendly • Wrote…
• Utilizing sales
How do you referee soccer Implemented what?
games? Fairly. Energetically.
How to make your resume Accomplishment Oriented?
Experience, employment, internship, and activities (if explained)
sections should be described in the following way:
• Well written Action Skill statements
• Action verbs (developed, implemented, coordinated…)
• Present tense if currently doing it; past tense otherwise
• Quantify as well as qualify
• Write specifically, not generally
• Use language similar to the field targeted
• Bullets preferred
Effective Use of Keywords
Employers are inundated with resumes from job seekers. They have to rely on technology to
help them store and then locate resumes. They use software that stores resumes in databases
that use key word searches to locate potential candidates. Most Fortune 1000 companies use
Don’t Forget the Nouns
• Vast majority of keywords are nouns.
• Action Skill statements begin with an action verb and should answer the question, “What?”
• Nouns should be the skills and experience the employer is looking for in a candidate.
• More specifically, keywords can be precise quot;hardquot; skills or work-content skills.
In the following examples, the underlined nouns are the keywords that relate to the action
indicated by the verbs:
• Conducted cross-functional management for initial and follow-up contact.
• Coordinated marketing campaigns and special events.
• Managed customer database, product updates, and upgrades.
• Functioned in project-management role.
• Oversaw procurement, allocation, distribution control, stock levels, and cost
compilation/analysis. Source: Quint Careers.com - Resume and CV Resources for Job-
• Industry buzzwords/jargon
• Job-specific skills
• Types of degrees
• Profession specific skills
• Names of colleges
• Industry-specific skills
• Company names
• Technological terms
• Terms that tend to impress
• Technical expertise
(hardware ,software )
• Even area codes, for narrowing
down searches geographically
• Job titles
• Names of professional
• Names of products/services
Source: Quint Careers.com - Resume and CV Resources for Job-
Action Skill Statements
Consider the following vague example. Pretty
BURGER-IN-A-BAG Nashville, TN
Crew Chief January 2007 - February 2008
• Worked fast food.
• Waited on customers.
What are the work-content skills?
What are the transferable skills?
What are the self-management skills?
BURGER-IN-A-BAG Nashville, TN
Crew Chief January 2003 - February 2004
• Worked in fast-paced environment.
• Cross-trained in various areas from preparations to customer service.
• Demonstrated flexibility by accepting changing work assignments at a
• Worked in a team oriented environment with a focus on customer
• Utilized interpersonal and problem solving skills in handling customer
• Supervised front line staff of approximately 4-7 employees.
• Trained new staff in various functional areas.
Why Extra-Curricular Activities?
Consider this from an employer:
• “We're looking for individuals who have developed their skills
not only in the classroom or on the job but also in the
community - on a club or team, by themselves or as part of an
• Candidates are evaluated in equal measure by their academic
history, work experience and extra-curricular activities.
• Much like the work experience section of your resume, list
your extra-curricular activities from most to least recent, so
that readers can quickly establish what you have done and
how long you have done it.”
• Site Leader, Alternative Spring Break, Led a group of 12 students on a 10
day service trip to rural Appalachia. March 2006.
• President, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), MTSU. Founded campus
chapter, organized meetings, and recruited new members. Member since fall
• Customs Leader, Freshman Orientation, Selected through a competitive
application and interview process to be one of 20 student leaders. Led a
group of 10-12 incoming MTSU freshmen in orientation activities. Facilitated
discussions about transitioning from high school to college. August 2007.
• MTSU Students for Science, Taught science at local elementary schools in
Murfreesboro using creative science experiments. 2007-2008.
• Are the sections well organized?
• Does it make sense? Logical?
• Does the formatting facilitate or complicate reading
of the resume?
• Is grammar & spelling perfect?
• Does it pass the 30 second test?
• Are you making the reader “work” to get the
necessary, specific information from the resume?
• Put yourself in the employer’s shoes,
what would you look for in a resume?
• Brainstorm and write, then edit later.
• Have others review your resume.
• Rely on your research of your chosen
field to guide you in your writing.
Use of the Resume
• Distribute at a career fair?
• Give to an individual when networking?
• Upload into a recruiting system?
• Apply through corporate web site?
• Post on an “open” web site?
Common Mistakes by
Results of resumes uploaded
• No name, email or phone number into LJS on 3/13/09:
18 resumes total
• Pictures and/or graphics; color and/or gray or half tones
• MS Word Templates 1 good
13 need significant
• Personal information (age, birthday, gender, etc.)
• Vague, nondiscript
• Poor organization of content; focus on the irrelevant
• Blank lines that create second blank page when uploaded into system
• Personal pronouns; written as a letter
• Wrong tense for action skill statement or no action skill statements at all
• Fluff objectives
• Multiple pages and/or not balanced on the page; inefficient word-wrapping
• Focus on dates not content
• If legitimately more than one page, no name and page number on second page
• Unnecessary information (type 70 wpm)
• Listing, but not explaining; not using field/industry language
• Putting references on the resume
• Use of non-supported fonts and symbols
Does Your Resume Pass the
Wordle Exercise – a fun way to look at your resume
• The importance of strategic resume writing: Is your professional identity clearly
evident in your resume? Is it clear that you are a teacher, PR specialist, journalist,
• Go to www.wordle.net/ .
• Click on the “create your own”
• Copy and paste your resume into the Wordle window and then click quot;Goquot;.
• The word cloud indicates the essence of their resume, the bolder and larger words
should reflect your professional identity. If you can't tell who you are professionally
from the word cloud, the you need to re-work the resume using more relevant
industry language or more competently highlight relevant experience.
• This will help you to visually see what skills and experiences an employer will see
in your resume at a quick glance.
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