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Resume Prep

Helpful Hints


Write it yourself!

  • You will be better prepared for the interviews.

Be Relevant!

  • Everything must directly relate to your job objective.

Be Positive!

  • Emphasize your accomplishments and skills.

Be Specific!

  • Document your education, abilities, experience, etc. Present data in reverse chronological order (most recent first).

Be Accurate!

  • You will be expected to perform as described. Make certain all information is correct and verifiable.

Be Brief!

  • Use short sentences. Use action words to define duties. One page only. Clearly typed, (do not use a font smaller than 10-point), use good margins, and highlight important information.

Make it Error-Free!

  • Have someone check your spelling and grammar.

Have it Look Good!

  • Keep resume formal and businesslike (Professional). Keep it clear, concise, logical flow of information, consistent style and form, and easy to read. Use uppercase and lowercase letters. Have consistent spacing and use consistent verb tenses.

The Bottom Line!

  • Does the resume arouse the interest of the employer? Does it get the applicant invited for an interview?


Resume Writing


There are two resume formats that are widely used today. These formats are: chronological and functional. Each format has its own purpose and advantages. Which format should you choose? It depends on several factors.


The chronological format presents your education, work experience and activities with each section described in reverse chronological order with the most recent at the top of each section. This type of resume is the traditional. If your skills and accomplishments coincide with your most significant work experience and if these are in line with your career goals, this is the format to use.


On the other hand, the functional format organizes your skills and accomplishments into job task groupings that support your stated career objective. If you must pull together certain skills and accomplishments from a variety of past experiences to show your preparation for what you want to do in the future, then the functional format is for you. People who have been out of the workplace for several years-for example, those people who choose to stay at home to raise a family while the children are young-benefit greatly from this format. It draws attention to what you did rather than when you did it.


Your resume should be a brief highlight of your experiences and education. The goal of your resume is to effectively market yourself to potential employers, and to obtain an interview. Your resume is about you, the job hunter, not just about the jobs you've held.


  • Starting from scratch: BRAINSTORM all experiences you have had, such as: volunteer, internship, employment, etc. You may not list everything on each resume, but if you keep a master list, it will help you in the future.

  • Targeting your resume: If you are applying for more than one job, you will need several versions of your resume. Each resume should be tailored for each type of position. Always emphasize the experiences you had that most directly relate to the position for which you are applying.

  • Catch the Reader's Eye: Most readers will spend 20 to 30 seconds initially reviewing your resume. Using bullets, bolding and indentations will make it easier for the reader to follow and read relevant information. Use action words when describing skills and experience.

  • Length of Your Resume: One-page, unless you have years of experience and education.

  • Accentuate The Positive: Highlight accomplishments, not just the mere duties you performed. Do not use negative statements or anything that would be questionable.
  • Leave it Off: Personal information, such as marital status, age, race, gender, religion, and birthplace is not appropriate. Many times high school information should not be included.

  • Appearance of Resume: The format of your resume should be professional and eye-catching. Do not use bright colors or graphics.

The heading of your resume should contain information that employers can use to contact you easily. Make certain that your address, phone number, and e-mail address are current before you send out your resume.

The impact of technology on resumes needs to be covered. More and more companies allow you to submit electronic resumes on their websites and other companies are scanning resumes into their computer systems to let the computer do a keyboard search to find suitable candidates for them.


Additional Pointers


What if I have had lots of short term jobs?

  • Combine several similar jobs into one "Chunk"
    Example: 1998-2005 -- Waiter/Busboy; Olive Garden, McDonald's, Shoney's

What is the best way to impress an employer?

  • Use "PAR" statements. Problem-Action-Result statements include the problem, your solution and beneficial results.

How can I avoid age discrimination?

  • Do not present your entire work history. Label that section of your resume "Recent Work History" or "Relevant Work History."

How far back should I go in Work History?

  • About 10 - 15 years should be enough, unless you need experience for your resume.

What if I do not quite have my degree or credential yet?

  • Diploma anticipated in September, 2007
  • Associate Degree anticipated in March, 2008

What if I have not narrowed down my job objective?

  • Do not use a generic resume. Write a different resume for each job.

What about paper?

  • Use plain white or ivory. Do not use bright colors.

 The Deadly Dozen


There are certain items you as a job seeker should virtually always leave off your resume. Besides allowing the potential employer to discriminate against you (either intentionally or unintentionally) before he/she even meets you, including any of The Deadly Dozen will date your resume about 30 years.

Be sure to omit The Deadly Dozen from your resume:

    1. Height: Even if you're of average height, the potential employer may not be.

    2. Weight: Too thin, too fat, too perfect; any one of these might be a strike against you in the eyes of a potential employer.

    3. Health: Would you put anything besides "Excellent" on your resume? It is not likely.

    4. Sex: Though they may be able to guess this because of your name, don't mention it anyway. You want to be hired on the basis of your qualifications, not because you are filling a quote, right?

  1. Marital status: Depending on the company, being married can be an asset or a liability (and the same would go for being single). Putting your marital status on your resume may make the potential employer wonder if a married man is right for the job, rather than if you are right for the job.

  2. Number of children: Some employers may assume that if you have children, you will miss work more often than an employee who has no children.

  3. Religion: Whose business is it anyway? Yours and only yours. However, if you are applying for a job with a religious organization, you might want to indicate your religion somewhere on your resume, perhaps in the community activities section.

  4. Ethnic origin: You should avoid mentioning your ethnic origin or heritage, unless your goal is to fill a quote for the company.

  5. Date of birth: You do not want to be ruled out as too young or too old for a job before the employer even gets to meet you, so leave this off as well. The employer is only allowed to ask if you are between the ages of 18 and 65 (for most jobs).

  6. Photographs: Even if you are the most drop-dead gorgeous person on the face of the planet, do not include a photograph. What if you look just like the potential employer's ex-husband? Again, you should be hired because of who you are, not what you look like. Only a few occupations, such as modeling, actually require good looks.

  7. Reasons for leaving previous jobs: If the employer really wants to know, he/she can ask you in the interview. Do not give any fuel for the fire too early.

  8. Salary history: Though many employers will ask that you provide this information, address it in your cover letter if you feel that you must comply with the request. If you mention salary too high, you might knock yourself out of contention before you even get your foot in the door. If you mention a salary too low, you may severely under price yourself. Wait to discuss salary until the interview, if possible.

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