Resume Writing Tips
We offer a number of resume workshops and critiquing opportunities to students throughout the year. See Workshops and Events for current listing. Seniors wishing to participate in the Recruiting Programs must attend a resume workshop, have your resume critiqued and submit copies of your resume at the time you register for the Career Services programs. See Registration Information.
Keep in mind the purpose of a resume: to get you an interview. Employers will interview people who appear to have the qualities and/or experience that will benefit their organization. So, think of your resume as a marketing tool and yourself as the "product." You must describe yourself in a way that creates enough interest on the part of the employer to want to invite you, the "product," in for an interview. Your resume, therefore, should focus attention on your qualifications and accomplishments as it relates to the needs of the employer.
An employer will look for the answer to these questions on your resume:
What do you want? (your OBJECTIVE)
What qualifies you to do it? (the SUMMARY and EDUCATION sections)
Where have you done it? (your EXPERIENCE)
How well have you done it? (include ACHIEVEMENTS, HONORS, LEADERSHIP)
A resume format might look like this:
FIRST NAME, LAST NAME
Current Address and/or Permanent Address
OBJECTIVE: If you know exactly what position you want, list it here. Otherwise, save it for your Cover Letter. If you are interested in more than one type of position, prepare an alternate resume with the appropriate objective stated. (Remember to revise the rest of your resume - experience, qualifications, achievements, etc. - to highlight what is most relevant to each objective.)
SUMMARY: The Profile Summary, Special Skills or Qualifications section (call it either) is a synopsis of 3 to 5 key strengths and accomplishments most related to the type of position or field you are seeking. This section satisfies the reader that the rest of your resume is worth reading. It should be supported by information you provide below.
EXPERIENCE: Lead with your most impressive credentials. If you have a strong work history related to the job you are seeking, start with that. If your Education section will impress the prospective employer more, put that before Experience.
ORGANIZATION NAME, City, State/years
Title of Position: Succinctly state your job responsibilities here. Use action verbs to describe role/function, areas of assumed responsibility, projects or programs and special achievements/promotions. You can bullet impressive and particularly related achievements and responsibilities.
Was promoted to...
Assigned special project...
EDUCATION: INSTITUTION, City, State
Degree, Year of Graduation
GPA: (if 3.0 or higher)
Projects List awards and/or scholarships, if any.
If you are going after a job in which you've had no experience, you can emphasize course projects that are related to the job you'd like.
Leadership/Activities List pertinent activities in order of significance:
Title, Organization. Description/details, if relevant.
REFERENCES: Do not list individually. Simply state they are available upon request.
Other headings you can include if applicable or relevant:
"Based on Getting the Job You Want!" by David Roper, Warner Books, Inc., 1993
A Final Note
Remember, you will be selected for an interview based solely on your resume. Students with poorly prepared resumes will most likely not get selected for interviews. Keep refining your resume until you are sure it properly reflects your qualifications, educational background and work experience. Resumes should be continually updated as you acquire new skills.
A resume preparation booklet with sample resumes is available from the Career Services Office, Sakowich Campus Center, Room 370. Information on having your finished resume printed at the Merrimack College Printing Center is also available in Career Services.