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Hints for Making a Resume

Getting Started on a Resume

A Resume is a document that markets your skills, abilities, and qualifications. Remember there is no "golden rule" for resume writing. However, here are some helpful tips to get started:

  • Make a list of your skills, strengths and qualifications. By simply starting a list, you will be able to frame your resume around the qualities that make you stand out above the rest.
  • Make a list of all past jobs and work related experiences. This includes volunteer work and unpaid jobs. You may not use all the jobs that you have on your list, but is simply a way of providing yourself with a list to choose from. 
  • Remember that the content of your resume is the first aspect to focus on, and the formatting is second. Get your thoughts down on paper with the resume worksheet.

Resume Writing Hints

Although writing a resume is intimidating at first glance, following these hints will get you started in the right direction:

  • Keep the reader of the resume in mind. If you have the position description, try to match your skills and qualifications with the attributes the employer is looking for.
  • Do some employer research. By knowing what skills and qualities a potential employer values, you will be able to tailor your resume to meet the needs of the prospective employer. Career Associates in the Career Discovery Center can help you get started. 
  • It is OK to have a two page resume. Remember to put your name and "Page 2" on the second page, just in case it gets separated from the first page.

Some Useful Tips For A Good Resume

  • There is no one optimal style or format
  • Match the resume style to the company/position you want:

    Conservative company…conservative resume

  • Presentation and clarity are very important
  • Be concise
  • Include relevant and positive information only
  • Be honest, be able to explain/prove everything on your resume. Remember your resume is often used as the basis of questions in an interview
  • Layout should be consistent and reader friendly
  • Use clear type styles
  • Use a reasonable font size for the text (~ size 12)
  • Avoid "font mania" - the excessive use of different fonts, italics, bold, underlined, ETC!
  • Not cluttered – lots of white space
  • Use bullet points and relevant subheadings
  • Use short statements in point form rather than lengthy sentences or paragraphs
  • Only use abbreviations that are widely understood (Beware of technical jargon)
  • Eliminate excessive punctuation
  • Check for spelling and grammatical errors
  • Have all indents in alignment
  • Use a laser printer
  • Page breaks should not split lists, paragraphs, etc.
  • Use A4 good quality paper and usually pick subtle colors; white, buff, pastel
  • Print on one side of the paper
  • Use an A4 envelope for posting
  • Binders and fancy covers are seldom worthwhile

10 Steps in Creating A Damn Good Resume

  1. Choose a target job (also called a "job objective"). An actual job title works best.
  2. Find out what skills, knowledge, and experience are needed to do that target job.
  3. Make a list of your 2, 3, or 4 strongest skills or abilities or knowledge that make you a good candidate for the target job.
  4. For each key skill, think of several accomplishments from your past work history that illustrate that skill.
  5. Describe each accomplishment in a simple, powerful, action statement that emphasizes the results that benefited your employer.
  6. Make a list of the primary jobs you've held, in chronological order. Include any unpaid work that fills a gap or that shows you have the skills for the job.
  7. Make a list of your training and education that's related to the new job you want.
  8. Choose a resume format that fits your situation--either chronological or functional. [Functional works best if you're changing fields; chronological works well if you're moving up in the same field.]
  • Arrange your action statements according to the format you choose.
  • Summarize your key points at the top of your resume.


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