Identify your core job qualifications
To identify your qualifications, you should first do a self-assessment exercise. Assemble an inventory of your strengths, skills, talents and experiences because your resume must show that you have the knowledge and skills to perform a job.
These skills are most often developed in your academics and work experiences. They allow you to perform specific functions such as computer programs, machinery operations, drafting, using tools and machines to produce something, etc. Your academic discipline has taught you many of these technical skills and work experience and internships have given you an opportunity to apply these skills on the job.
These skills describe personal attributes and affect how you perform your work. Examples include: teamwork, communication, leadership, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, etc.
Compile Evidence of Your Technical and Soft/Performance Skills
Once you have assembled your skills, think about how you can show evidence that you have these skills. Consider your education, work experiences, involvement in extracurricular activities, volunteer service, travel, military, special projects and pick situations that describe how you developed or used each skill.
If you are applying for a specific position, carefully review the position description and list what qualifications are required and preferred for that position. Match your skills with the qualifications for the job. Be sure to include these on your resume and in your letter of application because that is how the reader of your resume will know you have the qualifications for that position.
- Chronological – this is the standard format used by most job seekers. Education and Work Experience are presented with the most recent experience first and subsequent experiences in reverse chronological order.
- Functional – this format highlights skills and experiences specific to a position. It focuses on strengths and downplays employment gaps.
- Combination – this format describes core competencies for each employment experience listed in a reverse chronological sequence.
Assemble your resume
Your information must be presented in a well-organized, eye-pleasing format.
General resume structure includes the following categories:
- Contact Information – Your name and contact information where you want an employer to call or email you.
- Skills Summary/Profile/Highlights – This section bring immediate focus to your skills and strengths for a specific position or employer. It must summarize what you have that the employer is looking for.
- Education - Include the institution, your degree, major, minor, GPA (optional), year in school, graduation date. Awards and honors and activities can be included under this heading.
- Work Experience – Details of your employment include employer, location, dates of employment, job title, duties and responsibilities, skills developed and accomplishments. Showcase a relevant/related experience like an internship or summer job by assigning a category like Related Experience.
- Other categories - Include military, credentials, volunteer service, leadership, and other information that could be useful to the reader in assessing your qualifications.
- An effective resume MUST be customized for each position or employer it is intended. The purpose of this document is to encourage the reader to want to learn more about you – to invite you to interview.
- Be concise. Divide long lists or text into shorter, small segments or groups.
- As a business document, use a 10 to 12 point font size. Times Roman, Arial and Tahoma are widely accepted fonts. Margins should be between half to one inch.
- Students and recent grads should write a one page resume – two pages maximum.
- Chronological resumes are favored by most employers.
- Use phrases only – not complete sentences.
- Punctuation should be consistent throughout the resume.
- Use “upgrades” to emphasize – bold, all caps, italics, underline.
- Use white/off white resume paper (20-30 pound weight) and black ink.
- Leave enough white space to please the eye.
- Don’t include personal information – age, gender, a picture, etc.
- Don’t print on both sides of paper.
- ABSOLUTELY NO ERRORS. Proof-read and proof-read again. Do not rely on spell check!
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
CV Writing Guide
CVs are typically used by master’s and doctoral students who are seeking academic or research positions. The format of the CV is different from a resume in terms of length, content, and use. Its length may be extended (2-6 pages) and the categories of information are likely to differ. Its format will vary from discipline to discipline and will contain more detail than a resume. Consult with faculty in your academic department as you prepare an appropriate CV for your field.
Select and prioritize categories that best present your credentials.