LAVC Writing Center
CREATING A RESUME
A resume is a positive listing of your education, experience, and accomplishments. Resumes should highlight skills and accomplishments that meet employer qualifications, excluding irrelevant information and experiences. A resume is often the first communication with prospective employers. Its purpose is to demonstrate the value you can add to the company and to convince them to invite you for an interview.
A well-designed resume should be written in an organized format that presents the most important information first. It should list briefly all your best and most relevant qualifications that relate to the job you are applying for. One page resumes are preferred for most entry-level positions.
The categories of information on your resume should include:
- Contact Section- Present who you are and how you can be reached.
- Objective Section- Inform the employer of your career goal and targeted interests.
- Education Section- Start with the most recent degree or relevant education. If your education doesn’t relate to the work objective, it should be after the experience section.
- Experience Section- Provide an accomplishment-oriented overview of your work experience.
- Employment Section- Describe your last three to five positions in detail, and summarize earlier positions unless they are relevant to your objective. Do not repeat skills that are common to several positions.
There are three general types of resumes to present information related to skills and experiences.
A chronological resume organizes job history chronologically with the most recent job listed first.
A chronological resume is advantageous when:
- Your recent employers and/or job titles are impressive
- You are staying in the same career field
- Your job history shows progress
A chronological resume is not advantageous when:
- You are changing career fields
- You have changed employers frequently
- You want to de-emphasize age
- You have been recently absent from the job market or have gaps in employment
See example on the last page.
A functional resume highlights skills and accomplishments developed through work, academic, and community experiences. Here your skills and potentials can be stressed and lack of experience or possible gaps in work-history de-emphasized.
A functional resume should be used when:
- You want to focus on skills and accomplishments rather than a lengthy employment history
- You are changing careers
- Your career growth in the past has not been continuous and progressive
- You have worked in several unrelated fields
- Your work has been free-lance or temporary in nature
A functional resume is not advantageous when:
- You have little work experience
- You want to emphasize promotions and career grow
See example on the last page.
This kind of resume combines elements of the chronological and functional resume.
It includes the traditional experience section of a chronological resume as well as the skills and accomplishments section of a functional resume. This format is advantageous for those who wish to apply for a job in a related career field or want to promote their marketable skills.
- A Resume should always be written in the third person without the use of “I” or “me.”
- Try to use proper keywords, especially for the companies who scan resumes.
- Determine appropriate keywords by reading job descriptions.
- Only include personal information where it demonstrates an important personal quality or qualification.
- Avoid using adjective clichés like “self-motivated” or “dynamic." Instead, demonstrate these qualities through powerful Action-Benefit statements (showing that your action had a positive benefit). For example: Designed and implemented employee evaluation protocols.
- Never use the same action verb repeatedly, try to use its synonyms (ex. Instead of repeating the word “ directed,” you may say controlled, guided, supervised, managed, etc).
- Avoid italics and underlining especially for the resumes that will be scanned, as they may cause problems for scanners to read. Use boldface or ALL CAPITAL LETTERS if you want to emphasize something.
- Avoid graphics, shadowing, and double spacing within sections.
- Print your (especially scannable) resume in black ink only, using a standard font and letter size, on white or cream paper (size 8.5x11).
- When mailing use a large envelope that accommodates the resume without having to fold it.
- KEEP IT SIMPLE!
Key resume phrases and words
To make your resume more readable and effective use the following phrases and words:
- Assisted with
- Successful in/at
- Knowledge of/experienced as
- Initially employed
- Proficient /competent at
- Sales quote accountability
- Experience involved / included
- Expertise and demonstrated skills
- Extensive training / involvement
- Specialize in
- Temporarily assigned to
- In charge
This handout is based on the following sources:
Cooperative Education Dep. of LAVC. A Handout on Resume Writing. Valley Glen:
Los Angeles Valley College, 2005.
Himstreet, C. William; Baty and Murlin Wayne. Business Communications. 9thed.
Boston: PWS-KENT Publishing Co, 1990.*
Kramer, R. Mark. Resume Maker Professional. CA: Individual Software Inc.
National Resume Writers Association. A Guide To Writing Resumes That Make an Impression www.nrwa.com.
*This book is available in The Writing Center.
For further reference, see the following website which is available online at The Writing Center:
How to Write a MasterPiece of a Resume. Rockport Institute. 18 April 2006.
SAMPLE CHRONOLOGICAL RESUME, SIZE 12 FONT, VERDANA
12345 Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90045
(818) 555 2300 Home
(818) 555 3322 Cell
School Age Program Director
BA degree in Child Development May2003
California State University of Northridge (CSUN)
May 2002 to Present
Program Specialist, Latchkey Division
Los Angeles unified School District
- Supervisor of 16 site directors and their assistants
- Trained supervisors for all new employees and provided in-service workshops
- Interviewed and hired prospective employees
- Responsible for monthly State reimbursement
- Oversaw student matriculation
- Developed a curriculum guide for teachers of school-age children
- Co-authored a comprehensive parent handbook
January 2000 to May 2002
CSUN Preschool laboratory Northridge
- Planned and supervised a variety of activities for preschool children
- Participated in weekly staff meetings
- Completed child assessments
- Assisted school director
May 1998 to December 1999
After School Counselor / Coordinator
Canyon Kids School and Camp Woodland Hills
- Developed and conducted a new after school program which increased enrollment from 15 to 32 plus a waiting list
- Planned and coordinated extracurricular activities for 5 to 12 years olds
- Created and implemented a full-time summer camp program
- Organized fund raisers field trips and guest speakers
References and transcripts available upon request
SAMPLE FUNCTIONAL RESUME, SIZE 10 FONT, VERDANA
2345 Nordhoff Street
Van Nuys, CA 91432
(818) 764 4321 Home
(818) 521 4358 Cell
QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS
Special Projects Assistant
COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
- Assisted Community Development Director in grant activities toward commercial and industrial growth
- Developed direct mail and print media marketing packages for Community Development Agency
- Represented Chamber of Commerce and Community Development Agency at economic development workshops
- Researched and wrote reports for Director Community Development
- Developed and implemented survey of over 30 cities for Joint Senate Assembly Hearings on Local Long Term Financing
- Edited staff reports and government contracts
- Wrote extensive correspondence for public agencies and businesses
BUSINESS AND FINANCE
- Provided staff assistance to City Budget and Finance Director
- Served on select committee responsible for development of $900,000 budget University Associated Students
- Administrative Assistance City Manager’s office Community Development,
Budget and Finance Government Affairs city of Valley Vista
- Director of Community Services Associated Students California State University of Northridge
- Sales Liaison Electro data Inc. Oxford California
BA Degree in Urban Studies Public Administration May 2003
California State University of Northridge (CSUN)