Resume Help

(Click Image to Zoom, Posted 10/9/2012)


Resume Do’s, Don’ts & Dilemmas

1. What is a resume?

A carefully written concise summary of relevant information about your education, experience, skills,

qualifications and knowledge as it relates to the position for which you are applying.

2. What’s the reason for having a resume?

It’s a marketing tool whose primary purpose is to get you an interview!

It summarizes your related background and helps to structure the interview.

In addition, it provides a sample of your organizational and communication skills.

3. What components are essential?

Identifying Information Education

Objective Experience

4. Are there optional elements?

If it applies:

Research Conference Presentations Computer Skills

Publications Honors Language Skills

Certifications Community Service Professional Memberships


Identifying Information

Name in 14-16 point font

Address, phone, email address (10 point)

Avoid funky out going voice messages and email addresses. This is business.


Ideally has 3 parts: Position, Field/Environment, Skills or Characteristics

Example: To obtain a position as a Case Manager working with a minority population requiring experience in

counseling, assessment, detailed documentation and outstanding interpersonal skills.

For additional assistance


Put degrees in reverse chronological order


degree with major i.e. Master of Public Health with a concentration in …

Full name of University: University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Date of degree (not yrs attended): May 2009

Work Experience

Position Title, Employer, City, ST mm/yy – mm/yy 

Action Verb with accomplishment/result/benefit & quantify if possible

Present tense verbs for current positions, past tense for previous ones

 List from most to least significant to show the range of skills

 Use the strongest verb that is accurate for these 3 – 5 phrases

 Keep to one liners if possible so language must be concise but not so short that you fail to convey to the

reader what you did

 No end punctuation


Formatting Tips


1-2 pages (2 pages is appropriate for Masters with good experience)

Be sure your name and page number is on the second page

Ease of reading and logical flow is important

Use white space to make text stand out, at least 1 inch margins

Use ONE serif font: Times New Roman/Ariel

Consider putting headings in 12 point font, all CAPS, perhaps BOLD as well

Centering Headings can help with space efficiency

Keep info in chronological order within each heading

Use key words relevant to the position/field

Quantify accomplishments/results if possible

Remaining text could be 10 point

Use underlining with discretion

Be consistent in formatting i.e. the abbreviation for Florida as FL not Fl, fla

Tailor the objective for each position and modify info to better fit the objective if necessary

 Use integers for dates (mm/yy) w/o leading zeros

Check and recheck spelling and grammar

 Maintain punctuation and capitalization standards

Use good quality, neutral color paper and matching envelopes

Use a laser printer



Unusual email addresses and funky out going messages on your phone

Crowding the page

Italics unless it is customary i.e. Scientific flora & fauna



Colors and different style fonts unless this is a marketing position 

Horizontal lines

“I” statements by using phrases 

Information that does not support KSA’s for the position 

Characters that are busy (wing dings)

Exaggerate job titles, accomplishments or anything else! Everything should be verifiable or you lose




Deciding the order of headings

 Affiliations/memberships that identify religious, ethnic or political groups 

Justifying text may or may not be helpful




These go on a separate page set up with your identifying info at the top

Put in descending order of strength


Resumes for Federal Government Positions:

Special considerations abound

The Student’s Federal Career Guide: 10 Steps to Find and Win Top Government Jobs and Internships

by Kathryn Troutman & Emily K Troutman, includes CD rom

Making the Difference website at


Useful tidbits from the experts on writing that standout resume and cover letter to land you the job.

Avoid the Top 10 Resume Mistakes

By Peter Vogt, Monster Senior Contributing Writer It’s deceptively easy to make mistakes on your resume and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. So prevention is critical, whether you’re writing your first resume or revising it for a mid-career job search. Check out this resume guide to the most common pitfalls and how you can avoid them.

1. Typos and Grammatical Errors

Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn’t, employers will read between the lines and draw not-so-flattering conclusions about you, like: “This person can’t write,” or “This person obviously doesn’t care.”

2. Lack of Specifics

Employers need to understand what you’ve done and accomplished. For example:

A. Worked with employees in a restaurant setting.
B. Recruited, hired, trained and supervised more than 20 employees in a restaurant with $2 million in annual sales.

Both of these phrases could describe the same person, but the details and specifics in example B will more likely grab an employer’s attention.

3. Attempting One Size Fits All

Whenever you try to develop a one-size-fits-all resume to send to all employers, you almost always end up with something employers will toss in the recycle bin. Employers want you to write a resume specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.

4. Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments

It’s easy to slip into a mode where you simply start listing job duties on your resume. For example:

  • Attended group meetings and recorded minutes.
  • Worked with children in a day-care setting.
  • Updated departmental files.

Employers, however, don’t care so much about what you’ve done as what you’ve accomplished in your various activities. They’re looking for statements more like these:

  • Used laptop computer to record weekly meeting minutes and compiled them in a Microsoft Word-based file for future organizational reference.
  • Developed three daily activities for preschool-age children and prepared them for a 10-minute holiday program performance.
  • Reorganized 10 years worth of unwieldy files, making them easily accessible to department members.

5. Going on Too Long or Cutting Things Too Short

Despite what you may read or hear, there are no real rules governing resume length. Why? Because human beings, who have different preferences and expectations where resumes are concerned, will be reading it.

That doesn’t mean you should start sending out five-page resumes, of course. Generally speaking, you usually need to limit yourself to a maximum of two pages. But don’t feel you have to use two pages if one will do. Conversely, don’t cut the meat out of your resume simply to make it conform to an arbitrary one-page standard.

6. A Bad Objective

Employers do read your resume objective, but too often they plow through vague pufferies like, “Seeking a challenging position that offers professional growth.” Give employers something specific and, more importantly, something that focuses on their needs as well as your own. Example: “A challenging entry-level marketing position that allows me to contribute my skills and experience in fund-raising for nonprofits.”

7. No Action Verbs

Avoid using phrases like “responsible for.” Instead, use action verbs: “Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk serving 4,000 students and staff.”

8. Leaving Off Important Information

You may be tempted, for example, to eliminate mention of the jobs you’ve taken to earn extra money for school. Typically, however, the soft skills you’ve gained from these experiences (e.g., work ethic, time management) are more important to employers than you might think.

9. Visually Too Busy

If your resume is wall-to-wall text featuring five different fonts, it will most likely give the employer a headache. So show your resume to several other people before sending it out. Do they find it visually attractive? If what you have is hard on the eyes, revise.

10. Incorrect Contact Information

I once worked with a student whose resume seemed incredibly strong, but he wasn’t getting any bites from employers. So one day, I jokingly asked him if the phone number he’d listed on his resume was correct. It wasn’t. Once he changed it, he started getting the calls he’d been expecting. Moral of the story: Double-check even the most minute, taken-for-granted details — sooner rather than later.


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