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The Basics of Resume Writing

Berry College Career Center

I. Purpose   

The purpose of the resume is to convince employers of what you have to offer, and how your skills match the skills he/she is seeking for the opening.

II. How to start

Brainstorm by making a list of qualifications with the following headings: Education, Experience, Activities, and Special Skills/Recognitions. At this point, don’t worry about format--- just focus on putting the information down on paper.

III. Contents

Your every resume should include five basic blocks of information.    

A. Identification: Include your name, address (both campus and permanent), and phone numbers. Since you will be leaving campus after graduation, you might want to say until what date you will be at the campus address.
For example: Campus Address (until 5/8/12)

B. Objective: Research shows that employers like objectives and that they enhance the resume. An objective makes a resume look more focused. This statement should be concise and specific and should focus on what you have to offer an employer.
       1. position-oriented: ex: A position as a video journalist.
       2. field/skill-oriented: ex: An entry-level position in sales using my communication and marketing skills.

C. Education: Here is where you state: your degree (Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science); name of school; city; state; your major(s); and date of graduation. Other optional sections under this heading might include: relevant courses; course projects; honors/ scholarships; GPA (if it is a 3.0 or better); or % of your education that you financed.

If you transferred, you need to list the name of your other school(s), city and state, and dates you attended.

D. Experience: Employers prefer the reverse chronological format. List the most recent job first, the next most recent and so on. It is easy to read and identifies your work experience clearly. Include summer, part-time, full-time, volunteer, and campus work as well as co-ops, internships, and externships. Include only the jobs you had while you were in college unless they are particularly relevant to the job you are seeking.

You need to include all the important information: Job title, name of employer, city, state, and dates of employment. Highlight achievements/accomplishments and skills developed.

Use the Action Verbs and Transferable Skills sheets included in this handout to restate tasks with action verbs and powerful, concise statements.

E. References: If you have room, state that they are available upon request. Always make a separate reference page. Three to five references are appropriate. Include names, titles, addresses, and phone numbers. ASK PERMISSION BEFORE USING INDIVIDUALS AS REFERENCES. See sample reference sheet included in this handout.

F. Optional Sections:
1. Activities: List any campus or community activities you've been involved with while in college. List the name of the organization, positions held (if any), dates of involvement, and any achievements. You may include a brief description if necessary.
2. Special skills: List any relevant skills for the position to which you are applying (i.e. computer or foreign language skills)
3. Honors/ Awards/Scholarships: Focus on any special achievements or recognitions. If listing scholarships, describe their nature (i.e. academic, leadership based, etc.)

IV. Final Notes

A. PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! PROOFREAD! (in other words, edit very carefully!).

B. Keep it to one page if at all possible.

C. Use italics, bold, underlining, etc. to emphasize and highlight, but don't over do it.

D. You must have different resumes for each type of position you are seeking.
E. Print on a laser printer. Use good quality resume paper...white or ivory are the most acceptable colors. You can print on plain paper and have it copied (professionally) onto resume paper.

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