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Effective Resume Writing
Your CV is an important part of your job search, your opportunity to make a good impression on employers. For this reason, the information on your CV should be relevant, easy to read and attractive.
Your resume should provide the reader with an overview of your background. Don’t clutter your resume with frivolous details. Some critical areas to include are: identification of information, education, work experience, and student/community activities.
Identification of data: Your name, address and telephone number are mandatory. An email address can also be entered. Do not include information such as height, weight, and race, as these are not job requirements. Information such as willingness to travel or history of availability can be included in the “Additional Information” category at the end of the CV.
Objective: While there are differing opinions on whether or not to include a career objective, this information gives the reader a quick idea of your career interests. Objective rules: too specific can be restrictive, too broad is meaningless. If you include an objective, consider writing 2-3 versions of your resume, each with a different objective. If you choose to set a goal, it should be no longer than two lines. You can also leave out the objective and include it in the cover letter.
“Seeking an entry-level position as an accountant at a public accounting firm.”
“Getting a position as a financial and investment analyst at a large investment bank or large corporation.”
Education: This information should appear in reverse chronological order, with your most recent education first. Include the institution, degree title, major(s) and any honors awarded. Enter GPA only if enabled. If you have questions about including your GPA on your resume, talk to a Career Services officer. Any publications, professional licenses or special training can be seen in this section. High school information should not be included at all. Finally, the degree to which you are funding your own education can also be included here (e.g. 80%)
Work experience: Usually listed in reverse chronological order (present-past), information includes the name of the organization, location, position held, dates of employment, and a description of your accomplishments. Focus on areas relevant to the position you are seeking and demonstrate your ability to take on responsibility, persist and work hard. If you have multiple part-time jobs, highlight the most relevant experiences. Military experience can be included in this section or in its own category.
Student Organization/Community Activities: This is your opportunity to show your commitment to your major and leadership roles outside of the classroom. This can include community organizations such as sororities, student clubs, and volunteers. Additional categories can be included to highlight specific achievements, such as “Honors” or “Activities”.
References: Do not list references on your resume. Instead, state on your resume that your references are “Available Upon Request.” Prepare a separate list (3-5) of professional references, including the name, address, and business phone number of each person who agrees to be a reference for you. Don’t forget to mention your name at the top of the page. Take your Reference List with you during the interview.
A CV with a purpose
“Targeting your resume means that you have customized your resume for a specific position, company, different goals or career field. For example, you may be interested in both financial banking and accounting, but the same for both fields You don’t want to use a CV. It’s useful when you’re targeting your CV. You can tailor your CV to each sector, narrow your CV’s focus. If you upload your CV to Microsoft Word, you can create and save different targets here.
The look of your resume is critical.
Margins: Keep the margins even by using a space balance that matches the printed word.
Style: Sentences do not have to be complete. Do not write in the first person, singular (do not use “I”). Use conservatively colored 8.5″ x 11″ bond CV paper.
Length: Try not to exceed three pages unless you have significant and relevant experience.
There are two most commonly used formats:
Chronological: Provides education, experience, extracurricular activities, skills, and achievements in each category in reverse chronological order. Advantages of this style:
Employers are comfortable with this style because it is used so often
It is the easiest way to write
Achievements can be shown as a direct result of work experiences
Functional: Divides skills and accomplishments into functional groups that support your job objective, which should be articulated. Advantages:
It draws attention to your achievements
Allows greater flexibility in introducing skills acquired through low-wage work or personal experience
Useful when you have a short or scattered work record or when changing career fields
Choosing a format: If your skills and accomplishments overlap with your most significant work experiences, go for a chronological format. If you need to combine certain skills and accomplishments from different experiences to showcase your strengths, a functional format may work best for you.
No two resumes will be alike; the choice of format is a personal choice. There are two main questions to answer:
Do I communicate the skills I have acquired in a way that meets the employer’s needs?
Is the plan I have chosen the best way to introduce these skills?
Use as persuasive and descriptive language as possible. Using action words will help you create a concise and businesslike CV
Many employers today use computerized scanning systems to review resumes. When sending your CV to a company, it’s a good idea to send two versions: a regular CV and one with the ‘Scannable’ icon at the top. If you’re unsure or hesitant about sending two resumes, most companies’ human resources or college admissions departments should be able to tell you if they use resume scanning programs. Below are some ideas to consider when designing your “scannable” resume:
Use only plain, white paper, letter size (8.5″ x 11″)
Keep your resume to one side only
Laser printed resumes are best scanned (not dot matrix printers)
Do not use underlines or italics as these do not scan well
Try to keep a 12 pitch font
Send your CV in a large envelope: do not fold it, as the words in the folds will not scan correctly.
Limit the use of bullets and do not use graphics
Scanning systems often scan for keywords or descriptors, so review your resume to make sure you’re using the right keywords for your field.
“Electronic resume” can mean several things, but generally refers to a resume that is sent to an employer electronically – via the Internet or email. Some companies will have a form on their homepage that you can fill out and submit online, which is a type of electronic resume. Some websites focused on job search assistance also include these types of resume services. Many students also put together a personal home page that includes a link to their resume. More ideas about using technology with your resume can be found in The Electronic Resume Revolution by Joyce Lain Kennedy.
Arrange to write a CV
Step 1 – Write a rough draft and set it aside for a day or two
Step 2 – Edit rough draft, get feedback from Career Services staff
Step 3 – Make changes to the final project
Step 4 – Have two people check for spelling
Step 5 – Take the laser-printed copy to the printer for making copies. Get extra paper and matching envelopes for cover letters
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