Resumes & Cover Letters

Bethany offers Optimal Resume services to create your resume and cover letter, which will be printable and downloadable. You can even create a personal website.

A resume is a summary of your educational background, employment, internship, student teaching and volunteer experience and special skills. The resume is often the primary tool you use to obtain an interview.

Getting Started

1. Think about the three Es: employment, education and experience.

  • What are your skills and assets?
  • What is your education?
  • What were your responsibilities?
  • What have you accomplished?
  • How have you contributed?
  • Why have you been effective?
  • What special training do you have which sets you apart?

2. Then, make a list.

  • Work History: Write down all paid and volunteer work experiences. List all responsibilities you had within each experience.
  • Education & Training: Start with college. Include the name of the school, dates attended, major course of study, gpa if it will help you to find a job, internships, awards, and scholarships if they are relevant.
  • Special Work-related Skills: Include skills which set you apart such as computer skills, foreign languages, supervision, etc.
  • Accomplishments & Special Projects For example, helping increase sales or income, meeting team sales quotas, fully financing your education, etc.

Writing the Resume

1. Basic Guidelines

  • Place the most important information first.
  • Use clear, crisp type and uncrowded format.
  • Create a neat, easy-to-read document. Be conservatively professional. You never know who your audience may be.
  • Emphasize your strengths and achievements.
  • Always include a cover letter with your resume.
  • Always do a spell and grammar check.
  • Use action verbs for each job responsibility listed.
  • Print only on one side of paper.
  • Undergraduates should try to limit to one page, since employers will typically only take 8-30 seconds to review your resume.
  • If you go to two pages, staple your resume and list your name on both pages of resume.

2. There are three types of resumes:

  • Chronological resume highlights your work history by date (most recent first)
  • Functional resume highlights your skills.
  • Combination resume combines a section that highlights skills and a section on your work history. This style is especially helpful if you are changing careers or re-entering the job market.

3. Resume Contents

A. Identification

  • Full name
  • Complete mailing address (do not abbreviate). If you are enrolled in college but are soon to leave for the summer, list both your college and summer addresses.
  • Phone number where you can be reached.
  • Email address

B. Job Objective

  • Tailor it to the position. Use the job title and the company name. Job titles often involve different things at different organizations Instead of “Secretary” you could say “Responsible Office Management or clerical position.”
  • Include your most important skills. Since the job objective is one of the first things the employer will read, it is a great opportunity to briefly showcase your skills.
  • Be specific and brief. Objectives which are vague will not tell an employer what kind of job you seek.
  • Avoid “entry level.” In some organizations, entry level positions may be at a lower level than you wish to work.

C. Education

  • List school name, city and state.
  • List degree received, month, and year of graduation, then any areas of concentration.
  • Then list GPA if it is 3.0 or above.
  • List most recent school attended then work back chronologically.
  • Study abroad experiences may be listed here or in a separate section to highlight them.
  • Certification: List all current certifications with dates and areas of certification.
  • May list relevant course work here or as a separate category.

D. Work Experience

  • This section can be titled “Professional Experience” “Relevant Experience” or “Work Experience.”
  • Introduce each position with the job title, name of organization, city, state, and dates of employment.
  • You may want to list all positions from which you have gained meaningful experience, even positions such as waitress or bartender. Often it is significant to an employer that you have gained work experience.
  • Describe your skills and responsibilities with action verbs. When applicable, use adverbs such as effectively, successfully, consistently.

E. Professional Activities

  • Include memberships, speeches, publications, and other involvement related to your profession.
  • List any contributions you have made to professional organizations.

F. Extracurricular Activities

  • List offices, committees, responsibilities, and results of projects and activities.
  • Significant offices should be listed first.

G. References

  • Should be listed on a separate page from your resume.
  • Always ask people if you can list them as references before listing them. Also, ask them if they will give you a positive recommendation. If they say they cannot recommend you positively, think of another reference.
  • List titles, business, names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.
  • Always provide a current copy of your resume to your references.

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