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  • How to Build a Résumé



  • Four simple rules of résumés

    • 1. There are NO ABSOLUTES in résumé writing

    o Discard old rigid rules of format & content

    o Follow general guidelines with individual modifications

    o Design to showcase your talents & achievements

    o Different employers may want different things Career Center can help tailor a resume to specific

    employers they work with


  • Four simple rules of résumés

    • 2. Market yourself !! o Convince prospective employer that you are a

    valuable commodity they want to spend money on

    o Identify the traits/skills they are seeking for that specific job and match yourself up

    Just like market research

    Red Frog Events


  • Four simple rules of résumés

    • 3. Do not hold back o No place for modesty

    Let them see how good you are

    If you can do it and do it well, let them know

    o But, don’t “embellish” achievements


  • Four simple rules of résumés

    • 4. DO NOT tell a lie o Note – this is the exception to rule #1 (above)

    o Generally grounds for dismissal if discovered – even years later – regardless of accomplishments

    MIT Dean resignation


    //datastore01/taparme/ITK191/MIT Dean Resigns/MIT dean resigns in lying scandal - CNN_com.htm

  • Goals of a résumé

    What do we want to accomplish with

    our resume?


  • Goals of a résumé

    • What do we want to accomplish with our resume?

    Get a first interview


  • Goals of a résumé

    • What do we want to accomplish with our resume?

    • Get a first interview

    How does our resume do that?


  • Goals of a résumé

    • Get a first interview • How does our resume do that?

    oDistinguish yourself from the rest as a good fit for this position Stand out from the herd!

    Red Frog – how many resumes?

    Need to make the right impression


  • Goals of a résumé

    • Get a first interview • How does our resume do that?

    oResumes are reviewed briefly, so you want your best points to jump out Your selling points that match what they are

    looking to buy

    Assignment #1!


  • Why aren’t there more goals?

    • The proverbial “foot in the door” o Only a few may get in the door for an interview

    50, 75 or More resumes = 5 – 6 interviews

    • Once the interview process starts, you can expound or explain issues o Opportunity to dazzle them with your face-to-face

    presence, personality, communication skills, etc


  • Why aren’t there more goals?

    • Without that first interview, there won’t be an opportunity to dazzle them, and there won’t be a job offer


  • Résumés- a question of style

    • Two primary style formats – different strategies o Chronological - we will focus on this one now.

    o Functional – you may want this one at some point.

    • Which style to use depends on the author’s background and history

    o We will concentrate on Chronological style


  • Chronological

    • List most recent items first within sections o Actually reverse chronological o Reader sees most current info first o Most recent info generally considered most relevant

    • Most common style o Generally used unless resume writer has specific


    o For our purposes chronological is our choice


  • Chronological

    • Advantages o Easy to organize

    o Focus is on job history

    o Show a pattern of growth or improvement

    • “Reverse-chronological” structure shows most

    recent info first

    o Most recent = most relevant

    • Disadvantages o Highlights job “gaps” in

    your employment history

    My resume – “student”

    o Multiple “lateral” moves become emphasized in


    Why is it perceived as a


    • Chronological


  • Functional

    • Focuses on professional achievements and skills • More suitable after you have accumulated some

    experience in the field o May be more suitable later in career when you are applying

    for upper level positions

    o Employers are looking for different qualities for experienced vs entry level positions

    Job experience and achievements in field vs minimum qualifications and aptitude


  • Functional

    • Advantages o Allows the author to focus

    on their skills and achievements - later in career vs entry

    o Focuses the reader’s attention on your selling points

    o Provides a method to obscure employment history


     Dismissal

     Lateral moves

     Fresh start

    • Disadvantages o Some readers like to be

    able to “re-construct” a person’s career

    Pattern of advancement?

    o Reception is based on the reader’s interpretation

    • Functional


  • Life expectancy of a résumé

    • How much time do we have? o What is the life expectancy of a resume when it

    hits the hiring manager’s desk?


  • Life expectancy of a résumé

    • EXTREMELY SHORT o 30 to 45 seconds for first review

    Keep for review or trash

    Points have to jump out to get to next review

    o Maybe two to five minutes for next review More detailed read

    Probably start to select interviewees


  • Attributes of effective résumés

    • Ease of digestion for the reader o Well organized - logical

    Info grouped – education, work, activities, etc.

    Reader can find what he’s looking for

    Related items reinforce your message, not disjointed

    o Clear and concise wording – not verbose prose “Resume & Narrative Statement of Key Qualifications,

    Life Work – It’s Cumulative Personal Result”

    May take some minor liberties with English

    o Avoid overly ornate fonts 20

  • Attributes of effective résumés

    • Control the eye of the reader (scanner). o Use your formatting choices to guide the reader to

    what you wish to emphasize


     Similar to outline with major points followed by supporting


     Bolding & italics of headers and sub-headers

     Make major points stand out on initial scan

     Supporting info follows for second review


  • Attributes of effective résumés

    • Control the eye of the reader (scanner). o Use lists, bullets to your benefit

    Can get lots of info in little space – tech skills, certifications

    Be mindful of document scanning issues

     Will discuss specifics later


  • How to survive the cut

    • Need to make a good first impression o What are my most desirable qualifications


     GPA, relevant course work (technical skills)


     Student/campus organizations, public service


     Summer jobs, campus jobs, internships

    Personal skills?

     Group projects – plays well with others

     Accomplishments, awards

    o Make them stand out! 23

  • How to start a résumé

    • Evaluate job description o Identify key elements of job description

    Assignment 1

    o What are they looking for Identify all key elements

    Look in all sections of listing for clues

    • Job/Intership Fair – no specific job o What you think are key elements for type of job

    you would like to have 24

  • How to start a résumé

    • Evaluate yourself o Identify your skills / education / experience that

    match up with identified key elements

    o If you don’t have a direct match for a key element, try to identify something you do have that

    demonstrates the aptitude to learn/perform

    Demonstrate it, don’t just say it

     Projects, activities, student organizations, work experience


  • How to start a résumé

    • Construct a résumé to showcase your education/skills/experience that match up

    o Prioritize items Education, activities, experience, skills, etc.

    Organize your resume to present the items you feel are

    most important to prospective employer or that present

    you in the best light

    For our purposes – Education always first section


  • How to start a résumé

    • Remember – the need for a résumé begins with a specific position that needs filled

    o Showcase your attributes that make you a good fit for that specific position

    o Yo