An Introduction to Writing Your Résumé
Imagine that you are the recruiter for XYZ Company. During the course of a year, you probably look at stacks of paper and e-mails containing a summary of the work experience and education of job seeking college students. Your job is to decide which of these summaries best describe people that will perform effectively in the jobs that your organization may staff. You are the hiring professional for the company! You are the person that examines a piece of paper or an electronic transmission and determines whether the individual should be given further consideration or be screened out of the process. You may use your scanning system to look for keywords that match the job the organization has open or simply use your eyes to scan the letter and résumé for a potential match for the position. The "bottom line" is that you want to screen these résumé and cover letters to a reasonable number of solid candidates that you can interview for the position.
Let's reverse roles. You are now the job seeking college student. Your goal is to produce a résumé and cover letter that will get you an interview with the company because you meet a number of the qualifications for the position. Therefore, you need to be sure that you prepare your résumé and cover letter so that it is compelling to the both human and electronic eyes. You want to be screened into the interviewing process. Everything you know about yourself and want others to learn about you must be initially packaged and marketed so that your product - YOU - will have as much appeal as possible to an employer. This package is called your résumé and cover letter; and putting together a good, solid résumé, and cover letter is one of the most important activities that you can do for yourself.
The résumé is a summary of your background and your qualifications while the cover letter is your opportunity to indicate what position you seek and why you believe that you are a fit for this position. These documents are your "paper picture," a positive representation of yourself to someone who has probably never met you; therefore, these should be visually attractive, focused and easy to read. Remember your goal is usually to obtain an interview for a potential position.
This guide is designed to provide you with some helpful hints and guidelines that should assist you as you develop your résumé and cover letter. It will provide some instructions on content and format along with some other resources that you may use. Sample résumé and cover letters are to serve as examples for you to follow.
Types of Resumes
A chronological résumé arranges your experience and education in chronological order with the most recent dates first. It is important to list accomplishments, skills, and qualifications and not just job duties. Potential employers want to know what you can do for them. Use action words at the beginning of each sentence and avoid personal pronouns. You don't have to list every single position you ever held. The trick is to pick and choose the ones that are relevant to your objective. You can also eliminate low-level positions and positions that duplicate later experience.
A functional résumé organizes your work experience by the functions you performed regardless of date. The functional résumé highlights your skills instead of your work history. For example: if you are reentering the job market after raising a family, this type of résumé also allows you to list volunteer experience and community or school activities. List your functional paragraphs in order of importance, with the bulleted items listed first that will help you get the particular job you are targeting. At the bottom of the résumé, you should still list a brief synopsis of your actual work experience with your title, employer, and dates worked.
Skills or Targeted:
A skills or targeted résumé highlights all the skills an individual has which are related to the position they are applying for. While used less frequently than any other résumé style, the targeted résumé is designed to focus on one single career or occupational objective. In this type of résumé, you include information from your past history which is only appropriate to the career or job objective that you wish to obtain. The main emphasis of the résumé is on your skills, not your work or volunteer experience. All skills are listed near the top of the résumé, after the objective or education section of your résumé.
As the name implies, a combination résumé combines elements of all résumés into one format. A combination résumé includes both the listing of your functional skills and a listing of your work history. Such a résumé format is appropriate when you wish to emphasize both your skill set and your work history.
Curriculum Vitae (C.V.):
A C.V. is a special type of résumé traditionally used within the academic community. Earned degrees, teaching and research experience, publications, presentations, and related activities are featured. In short, a C.V. is an academic version of a résumé.