Résumés are what people use to get jobs, right? Actually, that isn't exactly true. The purpose of a résumé is to market yourself to potential employers - to get your foot in the door. A résumé is a one or two page summary of your education, skills, accomplishments, and experience. A résumé does its job successfully if it demonstrates how you are an exceptionally well qualified candidate and does not exclude you from consideration.
To prepare a successful résumé, you need to know how to review, summarize, and present your experiences and achievements on one page. Unless you have considerable experience, you don't need two pages. Outline your achievements briefly and concisely. A concise résumé is your ticket to an interview where you can sell yourself and hopefully get the job.
Additional assistance with résumé creation is available in our Online Tutorials!
Before you write, take time to do a self-assessment on paper. Outline your skills and abilities as well as your work experience and extracurricular activities. This will make it easier to prepare a thorough résumé. Include:
Your title, employer, dates of employment, and basic responsibilities for all your past and current jobs, co-ops, and internships.
The degree, major, minor, actual or anticipated graduation date, and institution you attended for any formal educational endeavor.
The certification or program title, training company/organization, and date of any continuing education or training you have received.
All awards or recognition of accomplishments you have received.
Your role or level of participation in any community service, social organization, or athletics.
Any computer or technology competencies you possess.
When and where you developed all special skills or talents (e.g., leadership, teamwork, creativity, initiative, etc.)
The next step is to organize the information from your self-assessment in a visually pleasing, easy to read format. Emphasize information that supports your claim that you are qualified for the position to which you're applying.
Remember that most employers spend between15 and 20 secondsreading a résumé for the first time, so it is vital that important information catches their attention.
Once you have written your résumé, have it reviewed and critiqued by a career advisor. You can also take the following steps to ensure quality:
Use 8 1/2" by 11" white or off-white cotton fiber paper.
Print on one side of the paper.
Use a font size of 10 to 14 points; one that is basic, easy to read and professional (Arial, Times New Roman, etc.)
Useboldvery judiciously (i.e., your name, section titles, very important information). If you highlight too much, it is as bad as not highlighting at all.
Use bullets to organize listed items. They look more professional than asterisks.
Avoid italics, script, and underlined words.
Do not use horizontal or vertical lines, graphics, or shading.
Do not fold your resume - if you must mail it, use an envelope large enough to accommodate it unfolded.
Be sure to proofread and spell check your document. Grammatical errors or incorrect word usage are sure to hinder any chance of receiving an interview invitation. A resume is also a documentation of your written communication. Make sure that it is error-free.
After you have eliminated basic spelling and grammatical errors, ask several people to critique your résumé for you. Be sure to ask people knowledgeable in regard to résumé writing and you trust to give you honest opinions. Do not ask them leading questions such as: "Isn't this a good résumé?" Give them a good basis for comments by asking "Could you look for any errors in this?" or "Does this look well organized and is it easy to follow?" If they offer criticism or comments take them in stride and, if appropriate, use them to improve the document.
Once you are pleased with your document, hand it to a friend who has never seen it. Take it from them after 20 seconds. If they didn't notice your strong points, you will want to reformat.
The final step is to determine your distribution method. How you submit your document may alter the format. If you will be submitting it electronically or to a company that scans résumés into a database, please visit the Office of Career Services in Wickes 270 for special instructions on how to effectively write and format it. Check with employers to determine acceptable formatting for their specific résumé system. You will want to include a well written cover letter when you submit your résumé for consideration.
Employers say that job candidates who have excellent communication skills, good grooming habits, and relevant work experience impress them. They want trustworthy new hires who can move right in, get along with their co-workers, and get the job done without having to have their hand held.
Top 7 Qualities Employers Seek in New Hires
Interpersonal skills - gets along well with others, listens
Teamwork verbal communication - including presentations
Acceptance into Graduate School will, many times, require the submission of a Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose. While the University you are applying to may give you general guidelines in terms of content they want to see, it is important that your writing is engaging while also staying concise. The office of Career Services at SVSU has put together a helpful guide for helping you compose an essay for Graduate School that will enhance your choices of getting that highly sought-after acceptance letter.