Creating a strong, concise resume is very important. A good resume will market your experiences and skills to the employer, and get you noticed for an interview. Tailor each resume specifically for the job you’re applying for by including only your experiences and education relevant to that position.
A few key tips before getting started on your resume:
- Keep your resume to one page (especially if you have less than 2 years in targeted field)
- Do not use personal pronouns (e.g., I, you, she, he)
- Start all phrases with action verbs (e.g., Managed, Developed, Led, Analyzed, etc.)
- Choose a common font (e.g., Arial, Times Roman) and use a 10 pt, 11 pt, or 12 pt font size with 1″ margins
- Use a clean and organized layout for quick review by the employer
The 2 main sections of your resume should be “Education” and “Experience”
- Degree, major, and date awarded or to be awarded
- Institution, City/State
- G.P.A. if it is high (major G.P.A. only if substantially higher)
- Foreign study, if applicable
- List course work if indicating it will substitute for lack of work experience in targeted position.
- DO NOT include high school information.
- Position title, Month Year to Month Year
- Name of employer, City, State of employer
- Description of accomplishments and skills used in position. With the exception of your current position, start each phrase with a past-tense action verb. Avoid beginning descriptions with, “I,” “responsible for,” “assisted,” and “duties included.”
- Include internships, practicum, and volunteer experiences that support your objective.
3 important pieces of information to include:
- Position title and date range (e.g., Marketing Intern, May-Aug 2013)
- Name and location of employer (e.g., Paramount Pictures, Los Angeles, CA)
- Description of the work you accomplished and the skills used in the position (3-5 bullet points, or more bullets if past/current position is especially relevant to position you’re applying for)
- Name (avoid nicknames)
- Address (street address, city, state, zip)
- Telephone (and area code)
- Email Address
6585 Lincoln Ave, Unit 43
La Mirada, CA 90638
562.905.8945 | email@example.com
- Computer skills: hardware, software, programs, Internet
- Language Skills: specify languages and level of fluency
- Additional skills that are relevant to the targeted position
Awards and Honors
- Award title (Do not include need-based scholarships)
- Purpose awarded for, Date awarded
- Organization awarded by
Objective is optional, and we suggest omitting it unless you keep it very simple. In other words, you can mention the specific job and organization you are applying (e.g., Customer Service Representative at Apple). But if you write more than that, you risk being disqualified from consideration based on the employer concluding that they may not be able to satisfy your objective.
Here are a few…
Many job seekers struggle with remembering job accomplishments. LinkedIn.com and Indeed.com are excellent sources to consult for this purpose. Type in the name of a position (e.g., Resident Assistant) and borrow terminology and phraseology of how others describe this work on LinkedIn and Indeed.
To schedule an appointment to review your resume, click here.
Why write a cover letter?
A tailored cover letter accompanies your resume in order to introduce yourself, indicate what job you are applying for, and present how you are uniquely qualified for that position. Cover letters add immense value to resumes by displaying your commitment and eagerness, showcasing your writing and communication skills, addressing unique requirements and qualifications, and articulating why you would be an asset to the organization.
- Use the names of specific hiring personnel whenever possible. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding this information.
- Briefly explain why you are eager to work in this job with this company.
- Recap the nature and duties of the role, then showcase your most desirable and relevant qualifications.
- Request an interview and establish a time when you will follow up with a phone call or visit.
- Sender’s Name (avoid nicknames)
- Sender’s Address (street address, city, state, zip)
- Addressee’s Name (full name, first and last)
- Addressee’s Address (street address, city, state, zip)
- Salutation (Dear Hiring Manager or Name)
- Express Interest (2-3 things about job or company that interests you)
- Related Experiences (what makes you the right fit)
- Additional Information (anything you want the employer to know about you, not communicated in your resume)
- Statement of Gratitude (thank the employer for the opportunity)
- Interest to Connect (offer a time to follow-up)
- Complementary Close (Sincerely, Regards, etc.)
- Sender’s Signature
- Sender’s Printed Name
- “One draft fits all.” A cover letter is less effective if not tailored to each job and company you apply to.
- Too long. Approximately 250 words in total is the ideal length.
- Overly formal tone. Be professional, but give it your voice and personality.
- Irrelevant info. Only communicate skills, interests, and experiences that closely align with the employers expressed needs and desires.
- DO NOT list references on your cover letter. Make the name, title, address, phone number and email of your references available on a SEPARATE sheet of paper entitled “REFERENCES”, and provide it during an interview or upon request. Be sure and ask permission to use someone as a reference before you give a potential employer their name and address
Know the Questions
When preparing for an interview it is important to know what is expected of you. A great way to be ready for anything is to practice answering some of the most popular interview questions. We have gathered the top 50 interview questions that you may come across. Below we have a link to the questions as well as some explanation of appropriate answers.
A few common questions:
1. Tell us about yourself.
2. Why did you leave your last job?
3. What experience do you have in this field?
4. Why are you interested in working at our specific organization?
Know the Company
One of the best things you can do before a job interview is to study the company you are interviewing with. By researching the company and the job opening you will get a better understanding of how you could fit in the position. It is important to know the industry the company operates in and the type of work you will potentially be doing. Research the company’s history, their past projects, and current employees. If you know the name of the person interviewing you then research their work history as well. The company website or LinkedIn are good sources for this. The more informed you are the better prepared you will be and the more interested you will appear.
Potential questions to ask your interviewer:
- 1. How was your experience working on
- 2. What can the right candidate do to help the company progress in ways
A, B, or C
- 3. I loved
- . What future objectives does the company have in that direction?
Know How to Dress
What you wear to an interview is crucial because the interviewer’s first judgment of you will be based on physical appearance. You generally want to overdress than underdress, but it depends on the type of company you are applying for. It’s important to learn the dress code and work environment of every job you interview for. Nevertheless we suggest dressing professionally for every interview, regardless of the work environment. In general, a candidate dressed in a suit and tie will make a much better impression than someone dressed more casually. View dress code tips to learn what to wear for an interview at professional, casual and startup companies.
Last Minute Tips
One of the most important parts of the interviewing process is your comfort level. Here are some tips:
1. Stay calm – keep relaxed and be yourself
2. Generate questions for the interviewer – about the company, position, hiring process
3. Don’t be shy – be friendly, engaged, give thoughtful & concise answers, act like you want to be hired
Interview Prep Videos
You’re encouraged to visit with one of our Peer Advisors for tips on building a resume and interviewing. Online chat and walk-in hours are available. Peer Advisors may recommend you visit with a Career Counselor for more in depth assistance based on your situation. You can also call us at 562.903.4875 or submit this form to make an appointment. We look forward to serving you!