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Resume Writing Guide

1. What is a Resume?

A resume is a primary job-hunting tool designed to get the attention of readers so that they will want to meet and interview you.  Information should be carefully selected and  highlight your qualifications in the most effective way.  With a well-written resume, you can sell yourself and demonstrate your achievements or performance.

2. How to Write an Effective Resume

You have to highlight your most relevant qualifications in an effective way.  Keep in mind the needs of the employer who will be reading it.  Consider what the employer is looking for in a candidate.  You may need to have several different resumes to highlight different strengths as they relate to the job. You can start writing out an extensive rough draft of your background, identifying your skills and abilities, experiences, knowledge, and accomplishments.  Don’t worry about the length of the first draft.  You can construct all the information about your background in logical groupings and select the most pertinent information.  Your final resume will be one or two pages.  An effective resume must provide enough information to compare your qualifications with the needs of the job and be organized so that the readers can readily read the most important information at a glance.   

3. Resume Contents

Contact Information

  • This includes name, address, telephone numbers, and e-mail.  Your name and the page number should be placed at the top of additional pages when a resume has more than one page.

Objective (optional)

  • An objective helps you organize the supporting information in the resume and reassures the employer of your direction.  You write your objective on the resume or in your cover letter.  Objectives might hurt your candidacy when they are too general or too specific, so if you include an objective on your resume, write a strong and targeted statement.
    • Example 1:  Human resources administrative position requiring excellent analytical, communication, and interpersonal skills.  Special interest in managing employee information systems.
    • Example 2:  To find a position as an electrical technician that builds upon demonstrated abilities in design, analysis, and testing.

Qualification Highlights or Summary of Qualifications (optional) 

  • As an alternative to using an objective, you can summarize qualifications.  It lists the skills, experiences, and personal traits that are most applicable to your objective.
    • Example 1:  Childcare provider with 10 years of experience.  Have cared for a variety of children ranging in age from newborns to elementary school.  Certified by the Red Cross in CPR and basic life saving techniques.  Adept at conflict resolution and problem-solving.  Patient and even-tempered.
    • Example 2:  Senior accountant with more than 8 years of experience in the public and private sector.  Expertise in corporate profit and loss and management of balance sheets.  Supervisory experience, including directing a department staff member of 5.  Fluent in English, Spanish, and French.


  • Start with your most recent education.  Include the name and location of school, degree, major, area of specialization, minor, and date of graduation.  Other academic information could be listed if it is relevant and supportive of your objectives.
  • For example:
    • Scholarships, honors, awards
    • GPA if 3.0 or better
    • Study abroad
    • Training programs or certifications
    • Relevant course work
    • Field experience associated with your program
    • High school is rarely included unless you are a recent high school graduate.