Resume Tips

The resume is one of the most important aspects of a successful job search campaign and will many times determine whether or not you will receive an interview. It is an outline or summary of your background addressing your qualifications, skills, education, experience and activities. Its purpose is to stimulate the interest of an employer and show the value you would add to their organization if hired.

A general resume can be submitted for any position, but it is strongly suggested that you arrange the information on your resume so that it is targeted to a particular job, company, or industry. This means you will need a different resume for each job you apply to.

BEST PRACTICE: It is helpful to RESEARCH the position/job you are applying for and the company or industry before you begin writing a resume. RESEARCH can be a critical component in separating yourself from others who have applied for the same position.

Career Services Manager

Iowa Central a web-based service called Career Services Manager, which provides a variety of Resume formats, options and features if you need to develop a resume quickly or if this is your first resume. PLEASE NOTE: We recommend that you create your resume starting with a blank Word document. Resume templates can make it very difficult to make any changes and they also typically have formatting options that may not be best for your style.  Use these templates to get your information down and chose a style you like and replicate it in a Word document.

Resume Order

There is no universal way to order your resume, meaning that each person’s resume will vary depending on the individual. There are many different sections that could be included on one’s resume. Below is a list of some typically sections.

Click to view some resume tips: Resume Tips

Heading
The heading on your resume must include all of the following, your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email

Notes:

  • The heading on your resume should be the same resume on your cover letter your references page.
  • Make sure your name is bold and has a larger font than anything else on the resume.
  • Use a professional email address (incorporating your name into the email address works well. Ex. Smith.john@gmail.com).

Objective (Optional)
An objective is  a strong statement that describes what you can do for the employer. Objectives are optional and are typically becoming unnecessary, especially if a Cover Letter is present.  An objective should include specific details on the position title or career goal and the company. It could also include the main qualifications and skills you possess. Be as specific and to the point as possible.

Examples:
1. To obtain an RN position in the Critical Care Unit at ABC Medical Center.

Or incorporate research: (below is an objective example where the company’s Vision statement was included)

2. To obtain an RN position in the Critical Care Unit at ABC Medical Center where the values of compassion, Community, Reverence for Life, Charity, and Courage are practiced and expected.

Summary of Qualifications (Optional)
A Summary of Qualifications is a teaser that encourages the reader to learn more about you by reading the rest of your resume. It should be brief and focused, and incorporate phrases that pique the reader’s attention.

When writing your qualifications summary, be sure to:

  • Summarize your abilities in 3-5 categories or functional skill sets.
  • Include only the skills you wish to emphasize for the position you are seeking.
  • Include key words (usually nouns) that can be incorporated in a search.

Education
More than likely, this section will be listed at the top of your resume. List your education in reverse chronological order (most recent degree first) and include any honors or highlights that would support the position you are applying for. Items that need to be included are School Name, City & State, and dates of attendance (Month/Year) or date of graduation. *NOTE: Do not list or include high school or HSED/GED.
Other items that can be added are:

  • GPA if greater than or equal to 3.0
  • Academic honors or awards
  • Certifications or Licenses
  • Other highlights that show your academic character.

Related Coursework or Special Projects (Optional)
This is an optional section that can be included with or under the education section. If you do not have much work experience, this can be an effective way to demonstrate accomplishments and experience. It can also be beneficial to list beneficial classes taken outside your normal program classes. Be specific and use concrete examples.

Relevant Experience
This section describes any internship, practicum or clinical experience. This is a critical section because the internship, practicum or clinical is typically the only work experience in the field of study. Information should include Company Name, City & State, and dates (Month/Year) or hours completed. It would also be beneficial to list any accomplishments or tasks performed during this experience.

Professional Experience
This section describes any full-time, part-time or temporary positions starting with the most recent. Remember to emphasize duties, responsibilities, skills, and abilities as related to the open position. These can be obtained using the job description for the position.  Information should include Company Name, City & State, and dates (Month/Year) (some people may chose not to include dates depending on the resume format or other reasons, but this could raise a red flag to employers).

BEST PRACTICE: This section offers a great way to stand out from other candidates if you can list the accomplishments you performed or were recognized for during your previous employment or during you internship. Use Action Verbs OR Power Verbs and be specific with your examples to showcase accomplishments and outcomes that make you an excellent candidate for the position you are applying for.

A great resource to obtain job tasks for many occupations is O*NET. Type in the job position/occupation you had and search. Then select the best option from the search list and browse below to the tasks section. O*NET has gathered information on all occupation from skills, abilities, wages & salaries, tasks, responsibilities, demand...etc.

Skills / Abilities
List skills and abilities that support your objective and are relevant to the job you are applying. Critical thinking, detail oriented, troubleshooting, active communication are some examples of skills. Computer proficient, language, specialized training, and experience with specific equipment such as forklift are some examples of abilities.

Activities or Volunteer Experience (Optional)
Include any information on professional clubs, organizations, campus government, volunteer work, or community involvement that you are or were active in. For each activity, list the name of the organization, title held, and/or years of service or membership. It may also be beneficial to describe what the organization was or what task you performed.

Honors and Awards or Achievements (Optional)
If you have more than one of these, you can create a section to highlight them. Include name of award and date received.

When Completed
When your resume is completed, have multiple people proofread it to make sure there is no grammar or spelling errors.

Helpful Documents and Examples

Action Verbs for Resumes
Power Verbs for Your Resume
Resume Worksheet
Resume Example 1
Resume Example 2
Resume Example 3
Resume Example 4
Resume Example 5
Resume Example 6