Los Angeles Valley College

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How to Write a Resumé

 

· a brief summary of your carefully selected qualifications and experience

· purpose is to convince prospective employers to contact you and obtain a job interview

· a job-hunting as well as a selling tool that outlines skills and experiences

· not an autobiography or a laundry list of facts

Resumes must do their work quickly. On average, employers may look through hundreds of applications and may spend only a few seconds of their attention reviewing your resume. To get someone to look at it longer, it must quickly convey capability and competency to be worth interviewing as well as be highly readable. The more thoroughly it is prepared the more likely someone is to read it.

Target your resume. Focus on a specific job title and address stated requirements for the position. The more known about the employer, duties and skills required the better it can be tailored to fit the job.

Organize the resume

  • Personal contact information at the top of the page. Try to achieve a balanced heading.

  • your formal name (no title) (should be at least 18-point font); should be at the top of each page

  • address(es)

  • phone number(s) with the area code

  • e-mail address if appropriate and/or fax (optional)

  • best assets, whether education, experience, or skills, are listed first

NOTE: A potential employer does not have a legal right to request personal information about age, sex, race, religion, marital status, health, physical appearance, or personal habits. Don't include such information on your resume. Such factors are irrelevant and cannot legally be considered in employment decisions.

 

There are two distinct types of resumes:

Chronological

  • organized by job titles with most recent position listed first

  • most employers prefer this type and it is appropriate for the majority of new college graduates or for others whose background is directly supportive and consistent with their career objective.

  • Works Best For: job seekers with solid experience and logical job history

Functional

  • emphasizes skills, talents, and accomplishments

  • helpful if have little relevant job experience

  • Some employers dislike functional resumes IF they find it difficult to match up skills with actual job titles, level of responsibility and dates of experience. You can, and SHOULD, avoid or minimize this objection by including the company name in the "bullet" describing each accomplishment.

  • make it easy for employers to visualize overall chronological work history and link  accomplishment statements to it. Never omit a bare-bones chronological listing of work experience.

  • Works Best For:

    • have "mixed bag" work history: no clear thread uniting positions held

    • a new graduate or entering the workforce

    • making a career change-- changing industry or changing occupation

Education

  • often comes first in student resumes, especially if it is a strong asset

  • list school from which you have or will graduate

  • include degree(s), major(s), date of graduation, minors or course concentrations, foreign language proficiency, computer languages, publications, research projects, awards, scholarships, offices held, and academic honors. Can include special seminars, summer school, or night school. If just starting college, can include high school as well. Grade point average is optional.

  • activities which imply competitiveness, leadership abilities and team-work should be included

Experience

  • present paid and volunteer experience in reverse chronological order if a chronological resume

  • list the most important responsibilities or successes first; list similar tasks together if a functional resume

  • need full names, in some cases full addresses, correct and consistent dates, and correct spellings

  • emphasize collaborative or group-related tasks

  • simple verb phrases summarize your main activities on the job (see action verb list). If a position did not have a specific title, make up one that best describes your activities.

  • List internships, academic research projects, volunteer, extracurricular activities and military experience if applicable. Note leadership experience. Describe accomplishments, duties, responsibilities, and skills at each position. When ever possible quantify and qualify data with specific details and statistics that illustrate your potential.

Language and Writing

  • be concise; use telegram rather than narrative style; phrase-paragraph or sentence fragment form.

  • use action words, often omitting the subjects of sentences

  • avoid use of pronouns including "I" and flowery language

  • consider word choice carefully

  • cite numbers to make a point (e.g. number of people supervised; size of event).

  • include "buzz" words only if you are sure of their meaning.

  • tailor separate resumes to fit each career field in which you are job searching.

  • sound positive and confident: neither too aggressive, nor overly modest.

Skills

  • list computer languages and software, research, laboratory, teaching or tutoring, communication, leadership, or athletics

  • list foreign languages in which you have more than just some basic ability (indicate level of ability: basic conversational ability, proficiency, near-fluency, fluent) or the number of years of college-level study.

  • Laboratory skills: create a list of lab skills. Sub-categories and skills mentioned should be relevant to the particular job.

Accomplishments: Awards/Honors/Activities

  • Use reverse chronological order; include titles, places, dates. List any academic awards (scholarships, fellowships, honors list), professional awards or recognition, or community awards (i.e. for athletic skills) that are relevant to career objective.

  • List academic, professional, or community organizations in which you hold office or are currently a member; list professional and community activities, including volunteer work. Listing extra-curricular activities or hobbies is optional.

Personal

This section should include only a few lines. Useful for displaying information that doesn't fit in any other category. Although interests, languages spoken, computer knowledge, and activities can be separate categories, especially if they are very strong, they can be also be grouped here.

 

Objective (optional)

a short, succinct, singular sentence expressing the specific type of employment you are seeking and/or the principal skills you want to use on the job. Some people prepare two or more resumes with different objectives. Once you formulate a clear objective, you can use it almost as a thesis for the remainder of your resume. Emphasize the data relevant to your career objective.

If you are not clear on your career goals, you probably should not include an objective on your resume.

Evaluation

  • make it visually presentable

  • no more than two typestyles appear; typestyles are conservative

  • bold, italics, and capitalization are used minimally and consistently; use bold face to highlight job titles or company names

  • margins and line spacing keep the page from looking too crowded

  • printing is on one side of the sheet only, on high-quality bond--white or off-white (i.e. beige or ivory)

  • reproduction is good, with no blurring, stray marks, or faint letters

  • right side of the page is in ragged format not right-justified, (creates awkward white spaces)

  • design your resume for easy skimming

  • proof read carefully (make sure there are NO typos or spelling errors; some employers will refuse to consider candidates who submit resumes with spelling or typographical errors); have someone else critique and review final draft

  • descriptions use active verbs, and verb tense is consistent; current job is in present tense; past jobs are in past tense

  • repetition of words or phrases kept to a minimum

  • punctuation and date formats are consistent; dates of employment are easy to find

  • page can be easily reviewed: categories are clear, text is indented

  • Length: for many resumes, two pages is the maximum length (NOTE: academic resume or curriculum vita can be five pages long).

Bullets

Some resumes use bullets instead of paragraphs. Each bullet draws attention to the information. Start each bulleted statement with an action verb. It is OK NOT to use bullets, to use them in one section and not another, or to mix and match throughout the resume - as long as you are careful that it does not appear "busy."

 

References

state that references (and portfolio, if applicable) are available on request

 

ACTION VERBS:  This list of verbs is a handy reference for describing and categorizing your work experience: 

accelerated

coach

draft

initiated

prepare

sell

accomplished

collaborate

edit

innovated

present

serve as

achieved

collect

educate

inspect

presided

serve on

acquire

communicate

eliminate

install

prioritized

serviced

act

compare

enable

instruct

processed

set

adapt

compile

encourage

insured

produce

set up

address

complete

engineer

integrated

program

shaped

adjust

compose

enlisted

interpreted

projected

simplified

administer

computerized

ensure

interview

promoted

skilled

advance

conceive

establish

introduce

proposed

sold

advise

conceptualize

estimate

invent

proved

solidified

allocate

conclude

evaluate

investigated

provided

solved

analyze

contract

examine

kept

publicized

specified

applied

contribute

execute

launched

publish

stimulated

appraise

controlled

expand

lead

purchased

streamlined

approve

coordinate

expedite

lectured

raise

strengthened

arrange

corrected

extract

led

recommend

structured

assemble

correspond

fabricate

made

reconcile

suggest

assess

counsel

facilitate

maintain

record

summarized

assign

create

formulate

manage

recruited

supervise

assist

critique

founded

manufactured

reduced

surveyed

assume responsibility

cut

function as

market

refer

systemized

attain

dealt with

gather

maximized

regulated

tabulated

audit

decide

gathered

mediate

rehabilitated

taught

author

decrease

generated

meet with

related

teach

automate

defined 

graded

operate

remodeled

test

balance

delegate

guided

optimized

reorganize

train

began

delivered

handle

orchestrate

repaired

translated

brought

demonstrate

handled

order

reported

traveled

budget

design

headed up

ordered

represent

trimmed

build

determine

hire

organize

researched

type

built

develop

identified

originated

review

updated

calculate

devise

illustrated

outsold

revise

upgraded

canceled

diagnose

implement

overhauled

revitalized

validated

carry out

direct

implemented

oversaw

save

was promoted

catalogue

dispatch

improve

oversee

scan

work (effectively, with others)

chair

distinguish

increased

participated

schedule

write

change

distribute

indoctrinated

perform

schooled

 

channel

diversify

influenced

persuaded

screen

 

clarified

document

informed

plan

selected

 

Choose self-descriptive words, ADJECTIVES and NOUNS, that describe yourself positively and accurately:

a negotiator

capacity

disciplined

forceful

objective

responsible

a supervisor

collaborative

discrete

global

optimistic

self-reliant

ability

communication skills

diversified

handle stress

other cultures

sense of humor

able to listen

competence

economical

imaginative

perceptive

sincere

actively

competent

effective

independent

personable

sophisticated

adaptable

competent

efficient

in-depth

pertinent

substantially

administrative

complete

energetic

innovative

pleasant

systematic

aggressive

conscientious

enterprising

integrated

positive

tactful

alert

consistent

enthusiastic

intensive

practical

talented

ambitious

constructive

exceptional

logical

productive

teamwork

analytical

creative

experienced

loyal

proficient

technical

attentive

dedicated

extensive

mature

qualified

traveler

broad scope

dependable

extroverted

methodical

realistic

versatile

broad-minded

determined

fair

motivated

reliable

vigorous

capable

diplomatic

flexible

multi-disciplinary

resourceful

well- traveled

   

(fluently) bilingual

multilingual

respective

work well with…

Bibliography

Books

The damn good resume guide: a crash course in resume writing. Parker, Yana.HF5383 .P35 2002.

Developing a professional vita or resume. Carl McDaniels. HF5383 .M18 1999

High impact resumes & letters. Ronald L. Krannich. HF5383 .K7 1990

Just Resumes : 200 powerful and proven successful resumes to get that job. Kim Marino. HF5383 .M285 1997

The quick resume and cover letter book. J. Michael Farr. HF5383 .F32 1994

The resume makeover. Jeffrey G. Allen.HF5383 .A5633 1995

Resumes that get jobs. Jean Reed. HF5383 .G725 1990

What Color Is Your Parachute? Richard N. Bolles; HF5383 .B56. 1997

Winning resumes. Robin Ryan. REFERENCE HF5383 .R934 1997

WOW! : resumes for creative jobs. Matthew J. DeLuca. HF5383 .D43 1997

 

Websites

Damn Good Resume - http://www.damngood.com/

JobHuntersBible - http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/

JobStar: California Job Search Guide - http://jobstar.org/

The Riley Guide: Employment Opportunities and Job Resources on the Internet - http://www.rileyguide.com/

WorkSearch - http://www.garywill.com/worksearch/