Career Services Center
Holthusen Hall, First Floor
1324 W. Wisconsin Avenue
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-7423
Fax: (414) 288-5302
E-mail | Staff Directory
Learn Resume Basics
The suggestions that follow are based on several years of experience with the recruiting process and employer feedback. Be aware that most rules for a good resume are not set in stone, but are strong guidelines. There is no one “right” way to write a resume. Employers have different opinions on what they prefer; therefore, it is important for your resume to best highlight your skills and interests. Our suggestion is to listen to the themes and use common sense, and your resume will be great.
Contact Information including:
Objective OR Summary of Qualifications/Personal Profile Section:
Depending on your level of experience or clarity of your Occupational Target, you might consider two options for beginning your resume. This is used to help “set the stage” for employers. This section helps people know WHY they are reading your resume. If you need help developing a career goal refer to the Occupational Target webpage.
A clear objective helps focus and select information. Although you may wish to make your objective broad, do not make it so broad that it says nothing. If you are pursuing employment in more than one field, simply create different objectives for each field.
Your career objective should answer this question: “What do I want to do?” Is it for graduate school, a part-time job, an internship, a professional position after graduation, or a scholarship? Make sure your objective is clear.
Some sample objectives:
Summary of Qualifications/Personal Profile
If your career goal is obvious and the intent of your resume is clear you may consider using a “summary of qualifications” or “personal profile,” depending on what’s most appropriate for you.
A summary of qualifications should summarize your resume and accomplishments much like an introduction might summarize a book. You could also think of this as a “tagline” for yourself and the rest of the resume will have the supporting information for your “advertisement.” You can use this space to match your accomplishments to the qualifications of the job to which you are applying.
These should be written in the third person, not using “I” or “me” throughout, and they should provide a highlight of the top items that set you apart as a candidate. Think of the top three or four things that highlight you as a candidate and differentiate you from the other candidates in the pool.
If you don’t have these skills, don’t say this in your profile!
If you worked full or part time to defray your college costs that might be something to highlight since it shows
that you have great time-management and multi-tasking skills.
If you speak other languages, that should be highlighted here. Additionally, if you are from abroad, your work-authorization status should probably be mentioned in order to reduce confusion with prospective employers.
A sample profile:
Personable and motivated entry-level marketing professional with experience in both nonprofit and for profit environments. Skilled in marketing plan design and implementation. Efficient presentation and communication skills acquired through student leadership positions.
You could also do this as a summary of qualifications, using bullet points:
List for each degree-conferring institution beyond high school:
Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology, May 2014
This part of your resume may include several sections such as:
Briefly describe for each position:
Front Desk Assistant, Marquette University Career Services Center,
Milwaukee, WI August 2011 – May 2012
- Greeted and assisted all clients, students and visitors of the Career Services Center
- Provided administrative support to all functions of the Career Services Center
Honors, Activities, Leadership, or Special Skills Section
Front load these with those most important or most pertinent to your objective (career goal). You may want to use specific headings such as professional organizations, computer skills, and leadership positions. Include any honors, scholarships or recognition awards that you have received. If you were actively involved in any clubs, teams or committees while in college, those may be included also. The key to this section is keeping it brief. If you feel you need more detail, use the guidelines for Experience and make it a complete section.
The trend is to keep away from any extraneous information that does not clearly connect to your career goal. However, if you are applying for a position in which you have experience through a hobby or leisure activity, you may want to consider adding it to your resume. For example, if you are applying for a forest ranger position and you enjoy hiking in the wilderness, include it by stating: “Skilled in all-terrain hiking, camping and navigating.” What you need to ask yourself is: “Will this information help the potential employer learn more about how well I can do the job?” If your answer is yes, then be sure to include the information.
Technology/Computer Skills Section
More employers are asking about these skills, and many assume that college students today are very tech savvy. Many of you don’t have industry-specific tech skills, but if you do, then those need to be highlighted. It may be that you don’t have space for a separate “technology” section, in which case a “Computer skills include...“ line could be added to your profile or you could address the skills in the description of the job in which you used them. Don’t waste space listing every MS Office program you use since it’s generally agreed that if you can’t use MS Office you’re in BIG trouble in the workplace.
Tabs and Bullets
Grammar, Spelling, Typos
The key to a search is to communicate with the person who has the ability to hire or admit. Therefore, your cover letter is extremely important. Effective cover letters convey a sense of purpose, project enthusiasm for the position or program, and demonstrate your knowledge of the employer or graduate program’s goals and needs.
Many times individuals will spend hours writing a “perfect” resume and very little time writing a quality cover letter. Remember that your cover letter not only accompanies your resume, it is usually on top of your resume when the envelope is opened. A positive first impression requires that your cover letter be neat and concise, and have no errors in spelling or grammar. Each cover letter should be customized to fit the position for which you are applying.
You will want to customize your cover letter depending on its purpose. Some reasons for sending a cover letter may be:
No matter what your reason for sending a cover letter, be sure it contains the following information:
HAVE PROFESSIONAL DOCUMENTS CRITIQUED
There are three ways to have your resume critiqued: