Resume Tips

The Resume

Preparing To Write Resume Tips Resume Types Cover Letter Action Words Internet Sources

A resume is a brief, written summary of your skills and experience. It is an overview of who you are and a tool to present yourself to employers. The goal of a well-written resume is to gain a job interview. Job interviews may lead to employment!

Employers and personnel managers are very busy and tend to rapidly review resumes. Therefore, your resume must quickly catch the employer’s attention. Writing a brief, to the point description of your experience and skills can do this. Tell the truth on your resume. Write your resume to describe how your skills will meet the employer’s needs.

When applying for a job, read the job advertisement or announcement very carefully. Then customize your resume by writing up your skills to describe and match what the employer is looking for. It is helpful to describe your experience and skills by using some of the same words the employer used in the job advertisement.

*Read each of the resume sections for helpful suggestions, before getting started on writing your resume.

Preparing to Write Your Resume

Writing a resume requires a little time and planning. However, it is well worth the effort. It is a good idea to begin by writing a master resume. Having an attractive resume on hand that stresses your strongest skills, better prepares you to attend job fairs and respond to a large number of jobs advertised in newspapers and on the Internet.

Get organized! Before beginning to write your resume:

  1. Gather information on your past employment: employer names and addresses, and dates of employment.
  2. Gather information for personal references: names and addresses.
  3. Research information on the employer. (See “Research the Employer”)
  4. Select a quiet area to gather your thoughts and begin working on your resume.
  5. Decide what type of resume suits you best: chronological, functional, or automated. (See “Resume Types” below.)

Resume Tips

  1. Make your resume short (one page, if possible, two pages at most).
  2. Use white or ivory paper.
  3. Type your resume on a computer, when possible. (If you do not have access to a computer visit your local Job Service office, One-Stop Career Center, or local public library for help.)
  4. Use action words to describe your work skills. (See “Action Words” below.)
  5. Stress skills, knowledge, and abilities that fulfill the job requirements.
  6. Be specific about accomplishments, but do not stretch the truth.
  7. Provide information about career goals.
  8. Make it attractive.
  9. Emphasize most recent jobs.
  10. Proofread it for grammar, punctuation and spelling errors.
  11. If possible, have someone else check your resume for errors.
  12. Save references and personal data for the interview.
  13. Avoid date of birth.
  14. Avoid salaries or the reason for leaving the last job.
  15. Ask yourself “Would I interview this person?”
  16. Keep your resume current.

Finally, prepare a cover letter to introduce your resume. (See “Cover Letter” below.)

Resume Types

When preparing to write your resume, it is very important to select the type of resume that best suits your past work history, and presents your experience and skills in the best light.
Review the resume types listed below to choose the resume type that will work the best for you.

Chronological Resume

A chronological resume lists your most recent job duties and employment dates first. This type of resume tends to be fact-based and may be easily skimmed. It works for those with experience and a steady job history. It is difficult for career changers and those who lack on-the-job experience.

Employers tend to prefer a chronological resume because it is easier to read and review the work history dates and work experience. However, this resume type displays flaws more easily, such as employment gaps.

For specific instructions, go to: Writing the Chronological Resume

Functional Resume

A functional resume focuses on skills, experience, and accomplishments. A functional resume works best for the following conditions:

In a functional resume you are advertising your specific qualifications, not the order in which you obtained them. Functional resumes let you emphasize volunteer or civic experience, training, or education.

The functional resume is not usually the favorite resume type among employers, as it is a little more difficult to read. The work history and career paths are not as clear. However, it is important to select the resume type that displays your special qualities to the best advantage.

For specific instructions, go to: Writing the Functional Resume

Automated Resume (Keyword, or Scannable)

An automated, keyword, or scannable resume is formatted to read well when scanned by a computer system. The resume is scanned and entered in a database that can then be searched by keywords so that the applicant’s qualifications are matched with the employer’s needs. (Keywords describe skills that are commonly used in the career field.) Generally, it is the larger employers (with 100 or more employees) who scan resumes to retain information in databases for future use.

For specific instructions, go to: Writing the Automated Resume

Cover Letter

A cover letter is a short introduction letter that accompanies your resume. The cover letter should persuade the employer to read your resume. It is especially important to use a cover letter when mailing a resume to an employer.

For specific instructions, go to: Writing the Cover Letter

Resume Action Words

When writing a resume it is a good idea to describe your skills and responsibilities with action words. Write up your skills in brief bulleted lists that begin with action words that emphasize your strong points.
The following list provides a small sampling of common action words to get you started:

Various Skills

Communication Skills

Helping Skills

Additional Resume Resources on the Internet

Refer to the Internet sites below for additional information on writing a resume. These links are provided for the convenience of our members. The SDBEA is not responsible for content of these sites and no endorsement is implied.

Writing the Functional Resume

While there is no one correct resume style, there are some general guidelines to follow to prepare a high quality resume. Plan to group information under category titles that employers will easily recognize, such as objective, work experience, and education. Follow the step-by-step outline below to write and layout your resume into a functional resume style.

  1. Provide your full name, address and telephone number with area code.
  2. Objective
  3. Write only one objective statement per resume. The objective should state what position you are applying for, and include a couple of reasons why you should be considered for the job. It is a good idea to write the objective to aim toward the employer’s job duties and needs.

  4. Experience and Accomplishments
  5. A functional resume centers on your skills and accomplishments, rather than your work history. With a functional resume you may leave out employment or volunteer experience that does not relate to the job. It is also acceptable to list skills in order of their importance to the job opening rather than by their completion date.

    Begin by listing your most important skill first — the skill that best matches the job requirements:

    • Continue listing your skills in the order of their importance to the job.
    • Try to list three to four skills.
    • Write a short bulleted list (two to three bullets) for each skill that explains your achievements and accomplishments.
    • Remember to show growth and progress with responsibilities. Provide more information for your most important skill, less information for the less important skills.
  6. Employment History
  7. List your employment history, beginning with your most recent employer and working backward.


    • 2000 – Present Job Title Employers’s Name and Address
    • 1998 – 2000 Job Title Employers’s Name and Address
    • 1995 – 1998 Job Title Employers’s Name and Address
  8. Education
    • Under Education, start with your highest degree.
    • Avoid using dates.
    • Include academic honors.
    • Leave out high school information if you have college education.
  9. Licenses or Certificates
    • List job-related special licenses or certificates that you may have, such as special class drivers license, guard card, or certified nurse assistant certificate.
    • Sample Functional Resume
    • (Remember the sample is provided only as a tool to get you started.
    • Thoughtfully plan out your resume to show off your special skills.)