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5.1: The Foundation of a Résumé

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    The résumé is a direct representation of you – a marketing tool that best highlights your experience, education, and skills as they relate to the position that you are applying for. How you present this is open to interpretation, and the style will vary. Review the sample résumé as a guide for building your own.

    • Header: positioned at the top of the page – should include name, address, email, home/cell phone numbers, and URL for e-portfolio, webpage, or professional network page.
    • Summary of Qualifications: capture your reader’s interest with the most important items listed first. Focus on key strengths, accomplishments, and skills that address employer needs.
    • Education: identify schools you’ve attended, including degrees, and dates. Highlight accomplishments including GPA, academic recognition like dean’s list, honor’s contracts, PTK involvement, etc. Can include multiple institutions including high school (if within a few years of graduation).
    • Experience: include paid and unpaid experience. Create job descriptions based on accomplishments, skills, and abilities. List companies in reverse chronological order with your position title, company name, city, and state as well as employment dates.
    • Additional Sections: other résumé sections may include the following: Organizations and Affiliations, Community Service / Volunteer Experience / Service-Learning, Projects / Computer and Technology Skills, Foreign Language, Leadership, Licensing / Certifications / Awards and Honors.
    Sample Résumé

    Susan A. Student

    450 North Avenue Battle Creek , MI 49015 (269) 965-3931


    Kellogg Community College, Battle Creek, MI September 2010 – May 2013 Associate in Arts, May 2013 Relevant Coursework :

    • Research and Writing Software Application Public Speaking Business Management
    • Creative Writing Multimedia Art General Accounting Macroeconomics Study Abroad : London, England (University of London); 12-­‐week course focused on field research, historical site visits, critical thinking, and Euro-­‐American history

    Academic Accomplishments

    Kellogg Community College – Outstanding Achievement in Communication : recognized for success in public speaking and community outreach Kellogg Community College Gold Key Scholarship Recipient : based upon outstanding academic and personal accomplishments Kellogg Community College Honors Program : completed 12 credit hours of recognized honors coursework Kellogg Community College Dean’s List : recognized for maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or higher, 6-­‐consecutive semesters (current GPA: 3.89/4.00)


    Vice-­‐President : Phi Theta Kappa (Alpha Nu Eta) – International Honor Society for two-­‐year colleges

    • Attained Personal 5-­‐Star / Competitive Edge Status (50 recognized out of 1 million worldwide members)
    • Created scholarship for PTK members to assist with off-­‐setting membership costs
    • Created and participated outreach program to raise funds, awareness, and donations for returning military President : Kampus Activities Board (KAB)
    • Increased student awareness and participation in campus activities and events by 30% All-­‐Michigan Academic Team
    • Selected based on previous leadership positions within the campus and community Service Learning Ann J. Kellogg Elementary , Battle Creek, MI Spring Semester 2013
    • Mentored 4 th grade students and worked one-­‐on-­‐one with goal setting and active listening; assisted with homework and tutoring services; completed over 150 hours Experience Hostess -­‐ Cereal City Brewery, Battle Creek, MI September 2012 – Present
    • Provide outstanding customer service with emphasis on meeting/exceeding customer expectations; address customer questions and assist with menu selection ideas; adapt and adjust to constantly changing customer and business needs Software Skills
    • Word Excel PowerPoint Publisher
    • Access Adobe Photoshop Dreamweaver Outlook

    Note: you can adjust the content of your résumé to emphasize your qualifications for a particular job.

    Quick Résumé Advice

    • Formatting: popular font types include Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Cambria, and Garamond; stay between 10pt. and 12pt. (Header and section titles can be larger). Margins usually range between 0.5” to .75”. Be consistent with format.
    • Experience history: go back as far as you want, but you should make that decision. Include jobs that are relevant, but don’t feel compelled to include every job you’ve ever held.
    • Keywords: populate your résumé with keywords from the job posting/ announcement and with industry specific language. Focus on things that you have accomplished and your strengths.
    • Action Verbs: begin every bullet or sentence with an action verb that articulates the skill/experience: coordinated, managed, facilitated, trained, etc. Avoid being repetitive with the action verbs.
    • Leave Out: References and “references available upon request”; objective statement; personal details including hobbies, interests, political/religious affiliations, and social security number, salary information (except for federal résumés); and company addresses and phone numbers.

    Tips on Sending your Résumé Electronically

    The paper résumé is near extinction. Most if not all companies and recruiters will ask applicants to submit a résumé electronically.

    • When emailing your résumé, it is best to attach it as an Adobe Acrobat file (PDF). Keep in mind Word documents can be emailed as well, but the standard practice is to send it as a PDF.
    • When emailing a cover letter it is acceptable to have the email text serve as the cover letter. Keep cover letter standards and your reader in mind. Remember the purpose of the email: use succinct communication and proper grammar/punctuations. You may also consider attaching both a résumé and a cover letter with a brief introduction in the email.
    • If you are required to upload your résumé to an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or to a company system, it is best to upload a plain text version of your résumé or Word document that is not heavily formatted (bullets, italics, bold, tables, etc.).
    • Never use emojis or slang.
    • You may follow up with the employer within a few days of the position closing or within a week after submitting the application or résumé.

    This page titled 5.1: The Foundation of a Résumé is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Frost & Samra et al..

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