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Your Resume

Career Resource Center

Your Resume

You need to choose a format that best showcases the successes of your career. Language in the resume should generate a sense of action, purpose, success, dynamism, impact, progress, results, and value. It needs to be organized, easy to read, focused, tailored to the job at hand, consistent in style, and relevant. Your goal is to separate yourself from the majority of candidates applying, to stand out and accurately communicate the values and talents you possess. 


  • Chronological is the most commonly used format- see the sidebar for example of order of content. We will review the components of the chronological type resume, as it is most commonly used.
  • Functional format may be used to take the focus away from work history or to focus on specific areas of expertise when an individual is changing functions.
  • A resume differs from a Curriculum Vitale (“CV” or “vitale”), as it is a comprehensive biographical statement emphasizing your professional qualifications and activities. It is not the standard resume but a variation provided only when specifically requested, usually in pursuit of an academic or research position.
  • Online resumes are often different than what you prepare when you are applying for a specific job. Look at multiple jobs that you are interested in and try to find the keywords that they use. Then, incorporate those into your resume. Many times, recruiters use computer filters to narrow down choices before they even look at a resume, so you want to make sure yours gets through.


  • You should think about what message you are communicating- do you want to focus on your depth of experience, your years of experience, etc. Highlight the information on your resume that relates to what you are emphasizing.
  • It should be a brief and focused marketing tool that conveys key credentials for future positions.
  • Write it like a technical memo- don’t use “I” statements and omit the articles such as “the” and “a.”
  • It should contain pertinent information- no more, no less. Try to limit the content to one page unless you have certifications, publications, presentations, etc. to exhibit. You may opt to limit your information to the past ten to fifteen years, unless special circumstances warrant more.
  • You should indicate the type of impact you have on a company by using specific percentages and dollar amounts whenever possible to indicate savings, results, etc.
  • Remember the person will be reading top to bottom and left to right so put the most important information in that order. If you want to focus the reader on the company, put that first in your position summary. If your title was more important, put that first.
  • The reader scans your resume in the first 10-15 seconds. If you have captured their interest, they will invest time to continue reading your resume.

Resume Components

Objective or summary

  • An objective on your resume can be very useful when targeted and concise, but leave it out if you’re afraid it may block you from certain positions. Make sure that it quickly defines what you’re looking for in two or three sentences. Think of your objective as a headline, title, or a branding statement. It tells the reader in as few words as possible what separates you from other candidates.
  • The summary describes in broad terms the unique qualities, talents, abilities that you have utilized throughout your career to create your success and the impact they have had on the companies and departments you have led or been a part of. You will usually find it easier to write this after you have completed the experience section of your resume.

Areas of expertise
This is a bulleted section to draw the reader’s attention to your areas of leadership, knowledge and expertise. Include keywords in this section to increase the likelihood that your resume will be selected when an electronic scan retrieval system is used. Again, you will find it easier to write this section after you have completed the experience section of your resume.

Position Summary

  • Each job summary consists of General Information, Value Statements and Strategic Contributions.
  • Starting with your last job (if doing a chronological format), start with the general information. Write down your employer name, dates of employment, title and duties.
  • Next, for that same job, replace your duties with strategic contributions. Identify your achievements and the underlying drivers. What has made you successful in your career? These accomplishments validate the statements and focus the reader on the impact these successes had. Measure results- think about your performance, and apply numbers where possible, using percentages, dollar signs and time qualifiers. Some questions to help you:
      • What is your most significant achievement?
      • What was your impact on the division, company and group?
      • You can also ask colleagues and vendors for their input. For example, you could say, “We had a great working relationship. What did you like best about working with me?”
      • What would not have happened if you hadn’t been there?
      • Dig through your old annual reviews and take note of what your supervisors praised you for.
      • Describe the challenge or situation you were presented with and define your impact. Quantify with numbers and percentages.
  • Finally, summarize your contributions with a brief value statement describing your areas of success, accomplishments, value, and impact in each company. Here are some examples of value statements.

Education begins with the most advanced degree you have obtained.

  • Additional sections, if applicable
    Advanced credentials
    Professional development and training 
    Licensures / certifications
    Technology summary
    Articles authored
    Association memberships

Resume tips



  • Use high-quality stationary and envelopes matching your cover letter.
  • Use the same font as your cover letter.


  • Put your contact information on the top of both pages of your resume.
  • Write all aspects of the resume in active voice. Here are examples of action words.
  • Write out numbers one through nine. Numbers 10 and up can be written numerically. Avoid the use of abbreviations, industry-related jargon and acronyms. Use an objective tone. Words that are overused, trite and self-congratulatory should not be used.
  • As a rule, keep it brief and simple. Omit references, personal information and interests. Try to present your value, the who, what, where, why, how and when, all within thirty-sixty seconds of reading your resume.
  • Avoid leaving gaps between employment dates. It’s best to list jobs by year rather than by month.
  • Look ahead and stay relevant- use key words reflecting the industry and profession you are targeting rather than from previous experience. Remove any outdated skills.
  • Be factual. Employers have terminated employees for falsifying resume information.
  • Focus on accomplishments, not duties. Instead of writing a list of job duties on your resume, demonstrate how each duty contributed to your company’s bottom line.
  • In your objective statement, write about what you will provide to your employer, not what you want to provide.
  • Avoid repeating information. If you performed the same tasks for more than one employer, you can eliminate it from one of the companies. Focus on your experience from the last 10-15 years.
  • Tailor your resume. Make it your job to know a great deal about the company you intend to send your resume to. Know their needs and history and how you can help them. Highlight relevant skills and experience that address their needs.


  • Proofread twice yourself and then have two other people check for spelling, grammar and facts. You may inadvertently type words that are not picked up by spell check. Check grammar, spelling and facts.
  • Format in a simple way. Avoid over-usage of bolding, italicizing, exclamation marks, underlining, etc. When it gets translated to a simplified format that employers use, it often looks like a broken jigsaw puzzle, so keep your formatting clean and simple.
  • If emailing, use Microsoft Word and send it to yourself first to make sure it looks professional.

POP UP BOXES- Come up when links are clicked on in the text.

  • Some keywords:
    Strategic planning, performance and productivity, improvement, company design, infrastructure development, new media, internet, e-commerce, change management, team-building, leadership, competitive market, product positioning, investor and board relations, oral and written communications, problem-solving, decision-making, project management, customer retention, business development, corporate vision, long-range planning, cost reduction, built consensus, customer attraction and retention, department company, merger/acquisition, procedure redesign, process reengineer, product introduction, project oversight, position creation, relationship building, reallocation of resources, systems development/enhancement
  • Quantifying words:
    Growth, profit, business development, expansion, market share increase, sales/customer increase, revenue generation, increasing productivity, optimization, reduced overhead, and shareholder value
  • Value statements:
    Visionary leader who excels in process improvement, turnaround management, and business development strategies for international business, high tech and manufacturing industries.
    Strong communicator 
    Persuasive negotiator who 
    Innovator of 
    Visionary with special expertise in 
    Respected leader of
    Strategic planning expertise in workflow prioritization, elimination of work redundancies, multi-company unit restructure and integration, maximizing workforce performance excellence, streamlining systems, and revenue generating productivity.”
    Successful execution of 
    Strong entrepreneurial background 
    Dynamic manager 
    Dynamic senior executive with expertise in leading company and downsizing efforts, dramatically improving operations and successfully directing new product development.
    Accomplished executive 
    Critical thinker with a strong commitment to creating profitable systems improvements that exceed company objectives, by relying on business acumen and pioneering industry innovations.
    Extensive record in 
    Tactically proficiency in
    Change agent with decisive leadership strengths in building profitable relationships in global distribution planning, creating rapid execution systems, and protecting revenue and reducing costs.
    Adept negotiator of multimillion dollar new accounts, who has won expanded market share and improved profit margins to drive growth and revenue.
    Spearheaded programs credited with the creation of community-based resources, promoting involvement to produce positive individual outcomes.
  • Action Words
    A- attain, achieved, acquired, adapted, addressed, administered, analyzed, anticipated, assembled, assisted, audited,
    B- budgeted
    C- cause, create, communicate, calculated, centralized, changed, collaborated, composed, condensed, conducted, constructed, contracted, converted, coordinated, created, cultivated,
    D- direct, demonstrated, designed, developed, devised, discovered, doubled, drafted,
    E- execute, edited, eliminated, enforced, established, evaluated, expanded
    F- forge, forecasted, formed, founded
    G- generated, guided
    H- human capital development, hired
    I- implemented, improved, informed, insured, interpreted, interviewed
    L- launch, lead
    M- maintained, managed, marketed, minimized, motivated
    N- negotiated
    O- obtained, operated, organized, originated, oversaw
    P- performed, planned, prevented, produced, programmed, promoted, provided, publicized, published
    R- reconstruct, recruited, reorganized, reported, researched, resolved, reviewed
    S- spearhead, selected, separated, set up, simplified, solved, surveyed, staffed, supervised
    T- turnaround, taught, tested, trained
    U- used
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