Resume Preparation Guidelines

Resume Preparation Guidelines

Your resume is your sales tool, used to advertise your accomplishments and to demonstrate your potential to an employer.  It should favorably, truthfully and concisely highlight your qualifications.

Although there is really no right or wrong way to write your resume, the most acceptable and popular way is to use the reverse chronological format, listing your most recent accomplishments first.  Remember that most employers review hundreds of resumes for a single job opening, so the key is to keep your resume short and easy to read.  One or two pages, no more.

 It is not uncommon for an individual to have more than one type of resume.  You can change the emphasis depending on the focus of the position.  For example, if you were applying for a job as a personnel director, you would concentrate heavily on your course work and work experiences in the area of personnel.

 Remember that neatness and spelling are important factors --- the appearance of your resume is a reflection of the quality of your work in general.  Someone other than you should read a final draft for clarification and spelling errors.

 Keep in mind that your resume is the key factor in determining whether or not you will be invited for an interview.  It should instill in the prospective employer a desire to interview you.  Your resume should only highlight your qualifications and not go into lengthy explanations or details.  You want to leave some area of question and mystery - a reason for an interview.


 Objectives are not recommended for most resumes.  Only state your objective if you are applying for a specific job.  It is best to state your interests in your cover letter, tailoring it to the position and organization to which you are applying.


Either category can be listed next.  In either case, your most recent accomplishments should be listed first.  If you don't have a great deal of experience, highlight your educational background.

In addition to listing your degree, major, graduation date, and college or university, you may include your G.P.A., if it is exceptionally high (3.5 or higher), or other academic honors such as graduation Cum Laude.  Be certain that you list courses that are applicable and are not implied by your major.

In listing your work experience, indicate your job title, name of agency, and dates of employment.  Highlight your significant contributions to the position and/or the responsibilities you assumed.

Don't overlook internship experience.  Internships and volunteer jobs are often recognized as responsible, administrative experiences comparable to full-time work.  If you are listing a volunteer position, do not describe it as “volunteer” or “unpaid.”  These qualifiers take away from the value of the position.

If you have held numerous part-time jobs to help finance your education, you may want to put a statement at the end of this section, such as, "Held various summer and part-time jobs to finance educational expenses."

When appropriate, use "results" terminology, which include such verbs as:

achieve           coordinate                  develop                      direct              innovate

manage          motivate                     organize                     plan                 solve

Note: A more complete list of action words follows.


This would include university and/or community activities, offices held, scholarships and other related honors. Do not overlook membership and participation in professional organizations.

For clarification, it may be necessary to briefly describe the nature or purpose of some organizations or awards.


Age, marital status, sex, weight and height are all information not required by law.  It is recommended that you OMIT this information from your resume. Photographs should not be attached.

This section of your resume can be used to list outside interests, show diversity and provide additional conversation topics.  Be sure to include any unique skills or talents, such as proficiency in a foreign language that may be relevant.


A skill category is optional but is a good way to list skills not otherwise listed in the resume.  Computer, language and other unique skills can be listed here.


References should not be listed on your resume. It is suggested that you have the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your references listed separately for future use. Do not forget to gain the approval of anyone you would like to use as a reference. This individual should be provided with a copy of your resume.


Pay special attention to the size and color of your paper.  Use standard 8 1/2" x 11" paper --- most resumes are usually duplicated and filed once they reach the prospective employer.  Legal size paper is difficult to xerox and does not fit neatly into a standard file folder.

Although you will want your resume to stand out and hold a lasting impression, avoid colored paper or fancy and overbearing printing.  Choose a basic white, ivory, or buff paper and make sure it is printed on a laser printer.
The resume should be typed on a computer and printed on a laser printer.  Never send a resume that has been xeroxed; always use good bond paper.


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