Designing a Résumé
- Write it yourself: It is all right to look at other résumés for ideas, but write yours yourself. It will force you to organize your thoughts and background. DO NOT USE A TEMPLATE! Recruiters tire of seeing the same document form various applicants. Stand out with your own original resume in a Word document. Be sure to save it as a pdf though.
- Make it error free: One spelling or grammar error will create a negative impression. Get someone else to review your final draft for any errors. SPELLCHECK is NOT Proofreading! Utilize the services of the Peer Consultation to assist you in developing a top notch résumé.
- Make it presentable: Poor copy quality, cheap paper, bad type quality, or anything else that creates a poor physical appearance will turn off employers- even to the best résumé. Laser quality printing is acceptable. Use 24 lb. paper in cream, ivory or light gray tones to stand out from typical 20lb. white paper!
- Be brief, be relevant: Many good résumés fit on one page- few justify more than two. Include only the most important points. If it doesn't relate to and support your job objective, cut it. You typically have about 20 seconds to the reader – make it easy for them to find your key information.
- Be honest: Don't overstate your qualifications. Most employers will see right through it and not hire you.
- Be positive: Emphasize your accomplishments and results. This is no place to be too humble or display your faults.
- Be specific: Rather than saying "I am good with people," say, "I supervised four people in the warehouse and increased productivity by 30 percent." Use numbers whenever possible, such as the number of people served, percent of increase, or dollar increase or saved.
- References: ONLY include with your application / résumé if requested. Use a separate document for your references. Contact your references and let them know what type of job you want and why you are qualified. Send them a copy of your résumé and the job description. Make sure you send them a thank you card, as well as let them know the outcome of your job search.
What a Résumé Should Contain
- Identifying Information: This should include your name, present address, telephone number (including area code), as well as a permanent address where you can be reached. Please note that your Berea.edu email address will go away, so you will need a professional address that includes your name. firstname.lastname@example.org will not cut it!
- Job Objective: A statement indicating the type of work you are seeking. This is optional and is unnecessary if including a cover letter. If you choose to include it, be specific to each position you are applying for … that means revise in each opportunity.
- Educational Background: List schools attended, identifying the most recent first. Include your degree, major(s), minor(s), date of graduation, and name of school (including city and state). You may emphasize concentrations of course work, grade point averages and other academic honors. If your overall grade point average is 3.0 or better, include this information. If, on the other hand, your major grade point average is better than your overall, you may want to include that as well. Do not list high school unless you are applying for an opportunity with that school system.
- Experience or Work History: A summary of your work experience emphasizing the most recent or most important job relevant to your stated Job Objective. Work backwards and include all types of work experience (in the Students Labor Program at Berea College, volunteer experiences, summer employment, part-time employment, internships, etc.). List the title of your position, name of employer, dates employed, and describe the nature of your work in detail.
- Articulating your Labor Experience may prove difficult. If you have difficulty describing your work experience, view the Berea College's Labor Program position descriptions.
- Extracurricular Activities: Prospective employers are interested in your activities outside the classroom. Identify any organizations you belong to and any offices you hold in those organizations. Also include any honors you have received and committees on which you have served. Highlight activities, which are closely related to your career goals.
- Military Record: If you served in the military you may provide a brief description of your duties and achievements. If you received an honorable discharge, say so; otherwise make no mention of the type of discharge you received. Don’t undersell your skills gained in the military. Veterans are one of the largest unemployed populations for several reasons. One of those is that they are humble and wish not to discuss their duties as they usually just see it as part of their job. DON’T do this – sell yourself and be proud of your service!
- References: Usually what this area should state is "References are available upon request." This is entirely up to you to use, but is really superfluous. It does, however, let the reader know that it is the end of your document.
- Curriculum Vitaes: These are usually reserved for higher education, research and more scientific-type positions. Used more internationally, they are typically much longer than a résumé.