A Student’s Guide to Writing a Resume | 05.22.13
In today’s economy, students need to submit their resumes to employers early to land a job after graduation. Resume and application forms provide employers with written evidence of a prospective employees’ qualifications and skills. Generally, a resume contains all of the information acquired on an application form, except that it usually fits onto one page with various templates. Some employers prefer a resume over an application form while others require an applicant to fill out both. Not every job requires a resume; therefore, inquire with the employer about their requirements before submitting anything. A resume represents the applicant, which means it should be presented in the utmost fashion.
Follow the basic guide below to gain a clearer perspective on how to write an effective resume to prospective employers.
Most employers find it easier to consider applicants who send them a resume with an attached cover letter. A cover letter tells the employer which position the applicant desires and why he or she qualifies for the position. It should cover between one third to two thirds of an 8 and 1/2-inch by 11-inch sheet of paper. In addition, the cover letter should match the size, color, and grade of the resume. The cover letter may contain information presented in the resume. Be sure that the cover letter does not contain grammatical errors. Have a family member or friend proofread the cover letter before mailing it.
- Resume Writing: A Basic Guide
- The CaPs Guide to Writing a Cover Letter (PDF)
- Writing an Effective Cover Letter (PDF)
- Cover Letter: Types and Samples
- Writing a Cover Letter
- Resume and Cover Letter Writing (PDF)
- Writing an Effective Resume and Cover Letter
Applicants need to consider the type of resume style before they start to write it. Employers prefer to have an easy-to-read resume that draws attention and cuts to the chase. For instance, many employers have become accustomed to the chronological presentation of information in a resume. A chronological style presents an applicant’s education, extracurricular activities, work history, skills, and achievements starting from the earliest to the most recent employer. Most applicants use the chronological style of resume writing.
Others organize their resumes based on their skills and accomplishments into functional groupings that support the objective stated at the beginning of the resume. A functional resume draws attention to what the applicant has done, rather than when and where he or she accomplished it. It also allows greater flexibility in presenting the skills gained through their personal experience. It is especially useful for entry-level employees. A targeted resume focuses on a specific position or job market. Targeted resumes present the information in a powerful light, because it shows that the applicant crafted the resume specifically for the position. Some applicants may prefer to combine one or several of these styles to create a unique and creative resume.
- Résumé Styles
- Resume Styles: Traditional, Functional, Combination, Electronic
- Resume Styles: Links and Resources
- Types of Resumes (PDF)
- Types of Resumes and Samples (PDF)
- Two Basic Types of Resumes (PDF)
Resume templates can help applicants write or rewrite their resume. Inexperienced resume writers may find it helpful to review templates and samples to ensure that they impart the right information into their own. Use a resume template or sample as a starting point for creating a resume. Add all personal information into their respective fields and then tweak it until it meets perfection. Applicants should alter the template to highlight the resume with their skills and abilities. Use the following resources for templates and samples to improve a lackluster resume.
- Resume Samples
- Templates and Samples: Chronological, Functional, and Combination Resume
- Resume Templates (PDF)
- Writing an Effective Resume: Samples & Templates
Other Resume Resources
Resume writing involves more than selecting writing a cover letter, organizing information, and selecting the right template. Experienced resume writers know tricks that separate cookie-cutter resumes from dynamic works of art. In today’s job market, applicants need to incorporate every tip they find to outdo their competitors. This may include suggestions on writing an effective resume, organizing the information to capture the employer’s attention, and using pictures to put a face to the applicant. Use the following resources to help create a dynamic resume.
- Purdue OWL: Résumé Design
- Résumé Tips (PDF)
- Tips for Success: The Resume
- Can Your Resume Pass the 10 Second Scan? (PDF)
- Top 5 Resume Writing Rules (PDF)
- TAP: Creating an Effective Resume (PDF)
- Tips for Building an Effective Resume (PDF)
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