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Resume Tips

A resume is one of the most important documents you will write when looking for a job and is in most cases the first communication a potential employer has with you. Since we always want our first impression to be great it is a good idea to polish your resume and make sure it is a well crafted representation of you that will differentiate you from other candidates.

An effective resume will tell the employer about yourself - who you are, where you have been, and most importantly what you can do for them. Here is the basic structure you resume should adhere to:

  1. Heading/Contact Information - This is where you will have your name, phone number and email address. You can but do not need to include an address. You want to ensure that the font is readable and big.
  2. Education - This is where you can summarize your educational achievements. Write down the college you go to (High School is not necessary at this point) and your expected (or actual) graduation date. Be sure to include your GPA if it is higher than 3.5 and also include your Major(s) and Minor(s). Finally, include any honors and relevant coursework as it applies (and space permits)
  3. Skills - This is where you should list your skills. Remember to include only technical skills (Microsoft Office, SQL, Programming Languages, Softwares, Computer Skills, CPR Training, Financial Analysis, Tax Preparation, etc.), you do not need to include any non-technical skills (Hardworker, Team Player, Communication Skills, etc.)
  4. Experience - In reverese chronological order list your past work experiences, making sure to include: the company, the dates of employment, city, state and job title. You should also include 2-4 bullet points on your accomplishments & responsibilities in that role.
  5. Volunteer Work & Other - If space permits you can use that space to highlight other activities, extra-curriculars, volunteer work and hobbys you may have. The more relevant the activity to the job at hand, the better. Remember even things like playing on a sports team says a lot about you (good team work, hard worker) and may even spark a conversation at your interview.

Now that you have an idea of what your resume should look like, here are some tips to help you stand out from other candidates:

  • Use Power Verbs - Be sure to start every bulletpoint with a "Power" verb like: Developed, Collected, Simplified, Monitored, Introduced, Analyzed and Synthesized. Here is a collection of Power Verbs For Your Resume.
  • Use The Right Tenses - Be sure to use the present tense (Ex. Developing) for current jobs and past tense (Ex. Developed) for all previous jobs
  • Quantify when possible - it is always better to use numbers when you can. Instead of saying you saved money for the firm it may be better to say you saved $XXXX for the firm or you cut costs by XX%.
  • Make it Look Good - Just like you would dress for an interview you want to make sure your resume looks good as well. It should be easy to read, under 1 page, a nice clean font and properly spaced.

As a final piece of advice, you should always make sure to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Consider that in most cases a computer software will "look" at your resume before a human. That computer program is looking for words and skills that are outlined in the job description in your resume and so you should do your best to make sure your resume is a perfect fit for the job.

Sample Resumes

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