A resume is a marketing tool. It should portray your unique qualifications, help you stand out from other candidates, and make an employer want to meet you in person. It is your advertisement to help you obtain an interview
Organize your education and experience in such a way that it is quickly accessible and enables the reader to draw clear conclusions. It should be arranged logically and attractively and be absolutely free of misspellings. A chronological format is usually favored unless you are changing fields, in which case a functional format may be more appropriate.
Students should limit their resume to one page. Design it for skimmers, not readers. The most important items should be at the top. Be concise, but complete, and make statements parallel. If you have so much information that it will not fit on one page, cut it down or consider making an addendum. An addendum can provide greater detail, giving employers the option to read more details if they are interested.
The objective should add to the resume information. If it doesn’t help to clarify or enhance, it should not be used. This statement may include the type of work desired, strengths and skills you want to use, and long-term expectations. It may also specify a type of business (such as multinational, technical, etc.). State your objective in terms of how you would like to contribute to the success of the company.
To determine which aspects of your experience to include, take time to brainstorm. Think about the following questions:
- What are key skills needed in the industry?
- What attributes does the company seek?
- How can you best articulate skills that you possess?
Begin bulleted accomplishments with action verbs. Use all past tense verbs (preferred) or all present tense verbs, making sure all statements are parallel. Be positive. Stress transferable skills and capabilities. Quantify as often as possible. List tasks in order of importance. Only include those qualifications which are relevant to, and consistent with, the known requirements and circumstances of a specific employer.
If you are short on experience in the area of your chosen occupation, list key classes you have taken, participation in group projects which apply, and comment on specific desires to further that which you have learned.
Write out The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mission experience may be included in work experience and can be identified as “volunteer representative” or “missionary.” Express your accomplishments in business terms. Specify number of people trained or supervised and the length of time of the leadership experience.
Elements of a Good Resume
Once you have clearly and concisely articulated your experience, organize your resume in a way that employers can easily follow. An employer’s first impression of a resume is based on appearance. Print on high quality white or neutral-tone bond paper.
Use a variety of font sizes and features to enhance important parts. Italics, bolding, CAPITALIZATION, Small Caps and bullets draw the reader’s eye to areas of significance and add to the resume’s overall appearance. Bullet size should be appropriate for the type size. Underlining is discouraged because it obscures readability. Type size should be 11 or 12 point.
“Lead with your ace.” Put the most important or pertinent information at the beginning of your resume–if the recruiters don’t see it right away, they may not bother to read the rest.
Avoid using the pronoun “I” and any unnecessary articles, prepositions, conjunctions, or punctuation. Save the editorializing for the interview. Spelling and grammatical errors in a resume can be fatal to employment chances. When in doubt, use the dictionary. Accuracy and neatness are viewed as a projection of a job candidate’s qualities on paper. A sloppy, careless resume indicates a sloppy, careless employee. Have someone else proofread for you.
Common Errors to Avoid on Your Resume
- Do not use periods
- No “hanging” commas (at end of line, leave comma if series continues on next line)
- No Courier font. It makes your resume look like it was typed on a typewriter
- Numbers one through ten spelled out; numbers 11 and larger take numerals (one, two but 11 to 100)
- Millions or billions of dollars can be expressed as $20 million or $1 billion
- If you used UT in heading, use two-letter state abbreviations; if Utah in heading, spell out states’ names
- Master of _____ (no ‘s) or MBA and BS (not M.S. or B.S.)
- Marriott School
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- cum/ magna cum/ summa cum laude (italics, lower case)
BASIC FORTRAN COBOL (all caps) / PageMaker (capital M, no space) DataDesk (capital D, no space) / Pascal (upper/lower case) / Novell (two l’s) PowerPoint (capital P, no space) / iThink (small i, capital T) / WordPerfect (capital P, no space) / NetWare (capital W, no space) / Quattro Pro (two t’s, two words) / QuarkXPress (no spaces)
Do you have little experience?
Many of you may be wondering how you can entice prospective employers to look at your resume when you don’t have significant work experience or when you have experience in a field not related to your desired job preference. Take a look at some of the following suggestions. Maybe one or two will be helpful.
Make your objective statement tell what you have to offer. For instance, if you do not have work experience in finance, or another desired occupation, include in your objective statement that you want a career where the state-of-the-art finance skills you have obtained, along with other skills, such as leadership, etc., can be utilized to build a lasting career with the company. Tell them what you have to offer, particularly if it isn’t shown elsewhere on the resume.
If your resume does not show work experience in the area of your chosen occupation, do something to make it visible. Include transferable skills that you gained in previous jobs. You can list relevant classes you have taken and significant group projects which apply.
Work hard to get an internship in the functional area of your choice, even if you have to volunteer and work for free during the summer or the coming school year. These efforts will pay worthwhile dividends. Tell the company how you will contribute to its success. Companies appreciate students who take the time to understand their market and its future.