A resume is a one or two page summary of relevant information giving a prospective employer an idea of who you are by outlining what you have done and highlighting your experiences and qualifications as they pertain to the needs of the position and /or organization, In an outline form, you define how your education, skills, and experiences relate to the position(s) you are seeking.
An effective resume, above all else, accurately reflects who you are. Make it work for you. Let your own creativity and the image you wish to present be your ultimate guide. To get the best results from your job search, you have to market yourself effectively. A targeted and well-written resume is an essential component of a directed and an effective job search.
Types of Resumes
The chronological and functional resumes, or some combination of these formats, are the standard types of resumes used by job seekers in today's employment market. To select the type which best supports your need, review the following information.
In this type of resume, you organize job history chronologically with the most recent information first. This type of resume emphasizes job titles and organizations and describes in details the accomplishments and responsibilities associated with each position. A chronological resume is easy to read, since it highlights names of employers and job titles, and emphasizes career growth. It is best suited to those whose career goals are clear and whose job objectives are aligned with their work history. (Sample Resume)
In a functional resume, you highlight skills and accomplishments developed through work, academic, and community experiences. This type of resume benefits candidates looking to enter a field not directly related to their major or those who are changing careers. As a job seeker, you can focus on your skills and minimize your lack of experience or gaps in work history. It is important to note that employers often view functional resumes more critically for just those reasons. (Sample Resume)
When writing a functional resume, be sure to talk about those skills you possess that will transfer over into the profession you are looking to enter.
For some candidates, a blended resume provides the best of both formats. By blending the two formats, you can highlight your important skills and fully explain your work experiences. This format works well for candidates with more that three years of experience.
A resume should be 1-2 pages long. Most students will be able to construct a thorough one-page resume. However, the length of a resume ultimately depends on a person's experiences. If you have a substantial work history, don't sell yourself short! Just make sure that all of the information is strong and relevant.
There are several sections that need to be included on your resume. They are Heading (Your Contact information); Summary of skills, Objective, or Profile; Education; Work/Professional Experience. Additional topics you may include are: Coursework; Honors/Awards; Community Service; Interests; Skills; Leadership; and Continued Professional Development.
Note about Work Experience
Employers review this section closely. They will pay attention to your experience and abilities in relation to their organizational needs. Include the name of the employer, city, state, date of employment and position title with most recent experience first. Write short statements of specific results and accomplishments you had on the job by using action words:
The cover letter is just as important as the resume and should be included with every resume that is sent to a prospective employer. Its purpose is to connect your resume with the needs of the employer. Therefore, it should not be a form letter, but should be individually written to each employer in standard business format.
The Career Planning Center can provide samples of cover letters. The Career Resource Room also has books about writing cover letters.