Writing an Effective Resume

Category: Education

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ContentWritings.com offers resume writing services at very affordable prices especially for higher management, career changers and fresh graduates.


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Writing an Effective Resume:

Writing an Effective Resume Contentwritings.com

Road Map:

Road Map Role of the Resume Types of Resumes Resume Formats Resume Sections Additional Documentation Miscellaneous Tips Miscellaneous Tilts Sample Resumes On-line Resources

What is a Resume?:

What is a Resume? A marketing tool Your first tool for building a career The first impression a prospective employer has of you A selling tool that allows you to highlight to an employer how you can contribute to the company Request for an interview Purpose of the resume is to get you an interview Must capture the reader’s interest and attention Must convince the employer that you have the ability to fill their position Your “big picture” A snapshot of what you believe are your most important experiences and qualifications

Types of Resumes:

Types of Resumes A Paper/PDF Resume A printed resume for use at job fairs, conferences, … Should be clean, concise, professional, and pleasing to the eye Use bullets, bolding, and indentation Take this resume with you on job interviews, career breakfasts, … An Electronic Resume A plain text resume for on-line submission Typically must conform to employer specifications Use left-justified and space indented formatting If desired, use “+”, “*”, and “0” to represent bullets An HTML Resume Typically includes links to homepage, images, … Avoid this type of resume Most people don’t want an employer walking around in their homepage

Resume Formats - Chronological:

Resume Formats - Chronological Highlight your work experience in reverse chronological order Be sure to not leave gaps The most widely used format for working professionals Cut off

Resume Formats - Functional:

Resume Formats - Functional Highlight specific skills for which the market has high demand Seldom used by new graduates Frequently used to change jobs or careers Again, cut off

Resume Formats - Combinational:

Resume Formats - Combinational Highlight specific work experience Highlight marketable skills Use reverse chronological order The best resume style for most college students

The Silver Bullet:

The Silver Bullet What Is Your “Story”? What slant can you take on your resume? Do you want to emphasize internship experience? Do you want to emphasize work experience? Do you want to emphasize course work? Do you want to emphasize project experience? Do you want to emphasize research experience? Do you want to emphasize personal traits? What is unique or interesting about your college experience? My Recommendation If you have an interesting internship – emphasize it – if not get one! Most UW-EC graduates have interesting project experience Build on your liberal arts education!!! Demonstrate leadership , communication , cultural awareness

Standard Resume Sections:

Standard Resume Sections Header Objective Education Honors/Activities Work Experience Relevant Courses Skills Projects Move toward bottom I prefer other order

The Header Section:

The Header Section The first line should be your name Larger than the largest font used in body Avoid using decorative fonts Don’t use black or gray shaded backgrounds Exclude titles Mr., Mrs., Ms., … Include contact address Permanent address Current address Include your email address Use your UWEC email address Don’t use “ [email protected]_MAIL.COM ” Include your phone number Change the message machine to be appropriate

The Objective Section:

The Objective Section Considered optional but I strongly suggest including it Make statement clear, concise, and to the point Bad: “I want to get a job ” Weak: “To attain an internship in the computer industry.” Good: “To attain an internship in the computer industry working with database or network security.” Avoid being overly specific to single company “To attain a position at 3M Pharmaceuticals working on …” I prefer objectives from the company’s perspective “To attain a web application programming position where knowledge of Java and the Struts framework will add value the overall development process.”

The Honors/Activities Section:

The Honors/Activities Section Should only contain honors and awards earned during your time in college You can include academic or extracurricular items I prefer only academic or service-related items Include a brief description if not self-evident from title “Award given to top performer on the capstone exam” Don’t include hobbies or activities not related to the job or your story Good to include leadership positions in CS-related organizations Good to list membership in CS-related organizations Don’t include volunteer work unless there is a direct and positive link with the job or your story This section should scream “I am a leader”

The Work Experience Section:

The Work Experience Section Dedicated to most recent and relevant employment Format Employer and location on the first line Don’t need name of supervisor, complete address, or contact information Position and time-span on the second line Use only year, not month and year (avoids time gaps) Each position should have at least two bullets Explain role and contributions Don’t emphasize duties but rather emphasize outcomes “Increased efficiency of … by 20%” “Improved user navigation experience on …” Descriptions should be consistent in wording Watch the tense Current job uses present tense Former jobs use past tense Employers want problem solvers

The Relevant Courses Section:

The Relevant Courses Section The keyword is relevant courses Don’t include Foundations of Computing Don’t include Algorithms and Data Structures Focus on courses the are either unique or would normally be considered elective Computer Security Computer Graphics Artificial Intelligence Computer Networks Database Systems Data Mining Employers will assume you have had the rest

The Skills Section:

The Skills Section This is where you emphasize your technical skills Programming Languages Put in order of familiarity Can use “Exposure to:” as the only modifier if you wish Platforms Nice to list Windows and Linux Packages Eclipse, Oracle 9i, MS SQL Server, ClearCase, Rational Rose, … We make a concerted effort to use “real” products so make a concerted effort to list them Development Methodologies Rational Unified Process, Extreme Programming, Agile Development

The Projects Section:

The Projects Section Used correctly, this section can set you apart from other new graduates Most new grads don’t get the opportunity to use this section Show any lengthy, impressive, or relevant projects to which you have made real contribution Each project should have at least two bullets (focus on outcomes) “Market Basket Analysis System Designed and implemented a Java application for predicting future purchases based on a probabilistic analysis of past purchase records Deployed system as a web service using XML and SOAP and an Oracle database on the backend Used synchronized threads to increase overall throughput of the system to handle up to 50 client requests per second”

Supporting Documentation – Cover Letter (1):

Supporting Documentation – Cover Letter (1) Why do I need to write a cover letter? Use the cover letter to focus attention on elements of your background that are particularly relevant to the company Letter acts as your verbal introduction to the employer Send it to a person, not a place Avoid “To Whom It May Concern,” Worst case “Dear Recruiter:” First sentence should tell why you are writing “I am writing in regard to your posting listed on …” “Dr. Wagner at UW – Eau Claire suggested that I …” “As you may recall, I spoke with you briefly at …” If unsolicited, indicate why you are interested in the company

Supporting Documentation – Cover Letter (2):

Supporting Documentation – Cover Letter (2) Highlight your skills Use two to three paragraphs to given in-depth description of your selling points Each paragraph should be stand alone (could be moved to different location in text) Close with a promise of action If possible, indicating that you will be contacting them in the near future to set up a mutually acceptable meeting time or to further discuss your qualifications Nice if you can say “during my Winter Break, between December 28 and January 12, I will be in your Minneapolis. I will contact your office when I arrive to arrange a possible meeting time”

Supporting Documentation – Cover Letter (3):

Supporting Documentation – Cover Letter (3)

Supporting Documentation – References:

Supporting Documentation – References Prepare a separate reference sheet Use same paper as the resume itself Bring reference sheet (and resume) with you to any interviews, job fairs, career breakfasts, … Do not mail reference sheet with resume and cover letter Reference sheet is a stand-alone document Should include your Header from the resume Try to arrange contact information in pleasing fashion Use professional references only Pick individuals that think highly of you Pick individuals that are familiar with your work Always ask your references before using their names Be prepared to give supporting materials – courses, projects, … Ask again if it has been a while

Scan able Resumes:

Scan able Resumes Most large employers will scan your resume into a central database Tips to assist the scanning process Don’t use italics, underlining, or graphics Use bold only for headers Use “scanner-friendly” fonts (Serif or Sans Serif fonts) Times New Roman, Courier, Helvetica, or Arial are good examples Font sizes of between 9 and 12 Use black ink on white background Tips to assist the retrieval process Most lookup is keyword-based Samples: Unix, C++, Java, hardware, networking, trouble-shooting, testing, security, data mining, …

Tips on Delivery of Your Resume:

Tips on Delivery of Your Resume Posting Online “rules” are still emerging Common mistake – formatting that doesn’t make the trip Convert to text only Use PDF if allowed Proofread carefully after conversion If they ask about salary, leave it empty If they force salary, be honest but don’t shoot for the moon Emailing your resume Attach resume as a PDF document (or Word document) 75 – 80% of companies are running Windows Also include text version in the email message Attachments can get dropped or filtered Test before deploy Send to at least three friends, ask them to print it and send it back to you

Miscellaneous Tips (1):

Miscellaneous Tips (1) Use action words in your descriptions

Miscellaneous Tips (2):

Miscellaneous Tips (2) Act like a professional Avoid cutesy or inappropriate graphics, images, formats, … One page only You are a fresh graduate, don’t assume that the one-page rule doesn’t apply to you! Stick to the truth Don’t sprinkle buzzwords in that you really don’t understand It speaks volumes about your character when you can’t explain your own resume Focus on achievements and results Laundry lists of duties are not impressive

Miscellaneous Tips (3):

Miscellaneous Tips (3) Use easy-to-read language Winston Churchill - “Use short, old words.” Get the words and punctuation correct Errors and “broken English” are the kiss of death Follow the instructions If the company asks for specific information, then give it to them Follow up If you said you would call, then call Maintain a consistent writing style Avoid “To apply …” then “Applying …” Avoid the use of “I” or “my”

Miscellaneous Tilts (1):

Miscellaneous Tilts (1) USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS Much harder to read Avoidwhitespace Use white space (not borders) to break sections apart Include a picture of yourself You’re not THAT good looking! Use several fonts to catch their attention Creates a “ransom note” effect Print your resume on “day glow” paper Be professional Illogical Order Use Resume is a story – put most interesting parts at the beginning Print your resume on “day glow” paper

Miscellaneous Tilts (2):

Miscellaneous Tilts (2) Focus on you and your needs Employers have better things to do than hear about you They want to know “what can you do for me” Use templates to construct your resume Give cookie-cutter look Lacks flexibility to your “silver bullet” Use superlatives to emphasis your work Great performance as … Stick to the facts and figures – not an evaluation of yourself Use long flowing sentences Short and to the point Sentence fragments are fine if they are understandable – BUT NOT IN THE COVER LETTER!!!!!

Don’t Make These Famous Mistakes:

Don’t Make These Famous Mistakes “Education: Curses in liberal arts, curses in computer science, curses in accounting” “Personal: Married, 1992 Chevrolet” “Proven ability to track down and correct erors.” “Disposed of $2.5 billion in assets” “Accomplishments: Oversight of entire department” Cover Letter: “Thank you for your consideration. I hope to hear from you shortly!”

Good Examples (1):

Good Examples (1)

Good Examples (2):

Good Examples (2)

Bad Examples (1):

Bad Examples (1)

Bad Examples (2):

Bad Examples (2)

On-Line Resources:

On-Line Resources http://www.contentwritings.com http://www.contentwritings.com/services/resume-writing http://www.contentwritings.com/services/entry-level-resume-writing-service http://www.contentwritings.com/services/professional-resume-writing http://www.contentwritings.com/services/executive-resume-writing-service http://www.contentwritings.com/services/career-change-resume-writing-service

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