The most important thing to remember when creating your résumé and cover letter is this; you only have about fifteen to twenty seconds to create a positive first impression with your cover letter and résumé. Employers often receive hundreds of résumé s for any position and because of this volume, they may take only fifteen to twenty seconds to accept or reject your résumé. You cover letter must catch the prospective employer’s attention and your résumé must keep it.
We are not going to cover all of the different types of résumé s in this section. Instead we are going to talk in general terms about the contents of the résumé and look at general formats. For help with a specific type of résumé (chronological, functional, etc.) please make an appointment with to visit the career resources center. A sample resume is available for you to look at while compiling your resume.
Every résumé, no matter what type you are using, begins with your vital information: Your name, your complete address, your telephone number (make sure to distinguish home phone number from cell phone number) and your email address. To see what is appropriate and what is not regarding email addresses click to go to the email guidelines section.
The next section is a job objective. A job objective is a one or two sentences describing the job or position you are seeking. There are some career professionals who recommend leaving out the objective all together since that information tends to be clear in your cover letter. You will have to make that judgment call.
Next is probably the most important section; the experience section. As a college student with very little experience you will need to emphasize your personal characteristics and talents to make up for your lack of experience. When talking about yourself always use action verbs and action sentences since employers like to see that you have accomplished something. Stress things you have achieved during summer jobs, internships and an especially notable project in college. You should never ramble on your resume and especially not in this section.
Since you are most likely just graduating from college you may want to include skills as the next section of your resume. In the skills section you identify unique skills you possess and/or unique things you can do such as computer programming or stage design or other unique skills.
Education is the next section. Here you list you major and graduation/anticipated graduation date and specific degree.
Finally you should list volunteer work, extracurricular activities and committees or organizations you were involved with in college.
Remember your resume should not go over two pages ever so if you find your resume to be lengthy you need to trim it so it will fit onto two pages.
You should have or need to collect the correct names, addresses and contact information from at least five people who can serve as references during your job hunt. You should select faculty members who are very familiar with your work and know you very well but they should not be your only references. You should also select people who have a good knowledge of your work habits and personal characteristics such as internship supervisors, past employment supervisors, clergy members, leaders of civic organizations and so on. Under no circumstances should you ever use family members or immediate relatives as your references.
You should not include your references when you apply for a job unless the advertisement specifically asks you to include them. Instead you should be prepared to provide them at the interview in the event that the prospective employer wants to follow up on your information.
You references page should be labeled “References for….” To make sure the interviewer can match it to your resume and cover letter. Your references should be printed in alphabetical order by last name of the reference on the same type of paper that your resume and cover letter are printed on. All of the references should include an address, telephone number and valid email address where your references can be contacted.