Independent Living

Resume Writing

On this page you will find instructions and tips for writing strong resumes. Scroll down for advice on what to avoid when writing a resume. You will also find a list of resume "basics". Resumes and Curriculum Vitae (or CV, and Latin for "course of life") are not the same thing. What are the similarities and the differences? Generally speaking, they both describe your life and work experiences, but differ in length, content and purpose.

What is a resume? Resume is a self-promotional document that presents you in the best possible light, for the purpose of getting invited to a job interview. It's not an official personnel document. It's not a job application. It's not a "career obituary"! And it's not a confessional. It’s simply an introduction of yourself with an employment history.

Resume Styles
A Chronological Resume is the most common. You list your job experiences by date with the most recent first. Most employers prefer this format because it's simple and clear to read.

A Functional Resume is used to emphasize your accomplishments, skills, and experiences. You don't have to list your previous work by date, and you focus more on the skills that qualify you for a particular job. This is written more in paragraph form.

A Chronofunctional Resume is a mix of both. Chrono-functional resumes focus on your key skill sets and accomplishments, listing your actual employment history at the end of your resume.

Writing Your Resume

Consider the following tips carefully when writing your resume. Also have a look at the 'action verbs' below to make your work, volunteer and related experience appear active.
Necessary Resume Sections
1. Heading
2. Objective
3. Summary of Qualifications
4. Education
5. Experience
Necessary Resume Sections
1. Heading
2. Objective
3. Summary of Qualifications
4. Education
5. Experience

Resume Writing Tips

Following are professional and technical free resume writing tips. 

1. Use Titles or Headings That Match The Jobs You Want. 

2. Use a resume design that grabs attention.

3. Analyze advertisement for job description and identify the key words. Use these keywords in your resume.

4. Identify the employer's hidden needs. Solve these hidden needs in your resume.

5. Create an image of yourself that matches with the salary you are expecting. For example, language used in a resume for a $6 an hour position is much different than the language used for a $16 an hour position. 

6. You can generate many more interviews by tweaking your resume and cover letter so that they address the specific skills each employer requests. 

7. List your technical knowledge first, in an organized way. Your technical strengths must stand out clearly at the beginning of your resume.

8. List your qualifications in order of relevance, from most to least. Only list your degree and educational qualifications first if they are truly relevant to the job for which you are applying. If you've already done what you want to do in a new job, by all means, list it first, even if it wasn't your most recent job. Abandon any strict adherence to a chronological ordering of your experience. 

9. Quantify your experience wherever possible. Cite numerical figures, such as monetary budgets/funds saved, time periods/efficiency improved, lines of code written/debugged, numbers of machines administered/fixed, etc. which demonstrate progress or accomplishments due directly to your work.
10. Begin sentences with action verbs. Portray yourself as someone who is active, uses their brain, and gets things done. 

11. Stick with the past tense, even for descriptions of currently held positions, to avoid confusion. 

12. Don't sell yourself short. Your experiences are worthy for review by hiring managers. Treat your resume as an advertisement for you. 

13. Keep your resume concise. Avoid lengthy descriptions of whole projects of which you were only a part. 

14. Minimize usage of articles (the, an, a) and never use "I" or other pronouns to identify yourself. 

15. Have a trusted friend review your resume.

16. Proofread. Your resume should never go with errors, grammatical weaknesses, unusual punctuation, and inconsistent capitalizations.

17. Sometimes you need to hide your age. If you're over 40 or 50 or 60, remember that you don't have to present your entire work history! You can simply label THAT part of your resume "Recent Work History" or "Relevant Work History"
and then describe only the last 10 or 15 years of your experience.

18. What if you never had any "real" paid jobs? Give yourself credit, and create an accurate, fair job-title for yourself. For example, A&S Hauling & Cleaning (Self-employed) or Household Repairman, Self-employed. 

19. Best way to impress your employer is, fill your resume with "PAR" statements. PAR stands for Problem-Action-Results; in other words, first you state the problem that existed in your workplace, then you describe what you did about it, and finally you point out the beneficial results. 

20. Don't go far back in your work history. About 10 or so years is usually enough - unless your "juiciest" work experience is from farther back. 

21. How can a student list summer jobs? Students can make their resume look neater by listing seasonal jobs very simply, such as "Spring 1996" or "Summer 1996" rather than 6/96 to 9/96. 

22. Name and headings in the resume should be in the font size of 14 to 16. Similarly content information should be in in font size of 10 to 12, depending on the font style chosen.

Choosing Your References

Reference “Dos” - Here are some people to consider:
-Human Resources professionals
-Those in a higher position than you at your workplace
-Partners from affiliated companies
-Clients (if you've had a long business relationship with them)
-Organization leaders (for example, the president of your Marketing Association)
-Community Service leaders (if you've done consistent volunteer work for them)

Reference "Don'ts" - People you should not include:
-Co-workers are not recommended as most tend to be on a "friend" basis. *Use a co-worker if you absolutely cannot think of anyone in the list above.
-Do not list boyfriends/girlfriends, parents, other family members, friends, therapists, personal trainers, or anyone else in your personal life.