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Resumes:  Techniques

Beginning the Resume

Decide whether you should use a standard style or a creative style. If the target job is in theatre arts, graphic design, or advertising, an employer may use the resume as an example of your creative abilities. We have few words of advice about how to prepare creative style resumes. Your best bet is to get advice from veterans of these industries or to buy a specialized book on the subject. The standard style resume is focused on content, not appearance.

Begin with an outline that depends on your situation:

in the workforce
    ¤ contact information - give name, address, telephone, email
    ¤ summary - highlight capabilities
    ¤ experience - describe accomplishments and skills
    ¤ education - list degrees and further training
    ¤ activities - list affiliations, publications, licenses
in college
    ¤ contact information - give name, address, telephone, email
    ¤ objective - describe job
    ¤ education - list degrees and majors
    ¤ experience - describe diligence and maturity
    ¤ activities - list extracurricular and volunteer activities

Start filling in content for each part of the outline, using an example resume as a reference.

Some Writing Guidelines

  • In the resume it is acceptable and customary to use incomplete sentences. The subject, you, is almost always implied.
  • When a verb is used, the sentence usually requires a period. If there is no verb, it is referred to as a resume listing, and no period is used. When a bullet or dash is used to introduce a sentence or listing, you do not need to use capital letters at the beginning or punctuation at the end.
  • Use active rather than passive language, especially with verbs:
      passive: training seminars were organized for clear writing
      active: organized seminars to train people to write clearly
  • Spelling and grammar must be free of errors.
  • Use reverse chronological order in the education section and in the experience section.
  • Avoid the use of long paragraphs (more than 5 sentences). Separate paragraphs with blank lines. Use bullets to make it easier to read.
  • If you did not have a formal title for a job, construct one that you think your supervisor would approve.

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