Creating effective resumes
Do you need a resume to get a summer job? No matter what type of job you're applying for, a professional looking resume will help you make a good impression on a potential employer-whether it's delivered in person, by e-mail, or by regular mail. Here's what you need to include to create an effective resume:
List where and how you can be reached most easily. That may be your cell phone. If you have a humorous or inappropriate e-mail address or phone message, consider changing it to something more neutral during your job search.
Education, school, and major
List college details first, then high school if you graduated within the past two years.
Work history, responsibilities, and contributions
Start with your most recent job. Use action verbs to describe your responsibilities-analyzed, assisted, collaborated, created, maintained, performed, reported, researched.
Skills and personal strengths
Some skills and qualities employers look for are verbal and written communication, teamwork, interpersonal, computer, organizational, and analytical skills, integrity and flexibility.
Awards and accomplishments
List activities and honors that illustrate who you are and how you can be a valuable employee. These can include working to put yourself through school, receiving scholarships, participating in sports, and volunteering.
Finally, review any ad postings you're responding to. Make sure your resume includes all the information requested. Take a look at this sample resume for inspiration.
Tips for effective resumes
Follow these tips to write a resume that a prospective employer will notice.
• Keep it short. One page if possible. Use bulleted points and short sentences. You can add more details when you get an interview. Choose a font and size (12 point or larger) that's easy to read.
• Use a quality printer with a clean ink cartridge. Print your resume on good quality white or light-colored paper. Never submit a photocopy of your resume.
• Omit negative details. You do not have to list why you left a job-even if you got fired.
• Do not include personal information such as marital status and number of children.
• Proofread, proofread, proofread. Nothing turns off potential employers faster than sloppy resumes with spelling errors, bad grammar, or typos. Ask at least one friend to give your resume a final proof before you send it to anyone.
• Write a cover letter. Mailed resumes should have a short cover letter addressed to the hiring manager (call or check the company's Web site for names). Use "Dear Sir or Madam" only as a last resort. E-mailed resumes should be "covered" by a message that is more formal-and error free-than your typical e-mails to friends. Use "[Your Name] Resume" as your subject line. Sell yourself in your letter. Explain what you have to offer, such as a strong work ethic, dependability, and previous experience.
• Offer to provide references. You don't have to name references on your resume, but do offer to provide them on request. Be sure to secure permission from former employers, teachers, and other references in advance so you can provide names quickly when a prospective employer asks for them.
Resumes can be written effectively in a variety of formats, so don't take this simple example as the only way to do yours. Use it as a starting point-and look for free examples online (search "sample resume") or at your school's career services office.
Some jobs you are applying for may not require a resume, but have a job application that you need to complete. Check out our tips on completing a job application.