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Résumés

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on July 6, 2011 .

Summary:

These resources will help you write your résumé. These pages will also help you design your résumé so it looks professional.

Introduction

These resources will help you write your résumé. These pages will also help you design your résumé so it looks professional. To use these pages, you may select links in the navigation bar on the left, you may select links from the list below, or you may advance through the pages using the links at the bottom of each page. Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

The résumé pages are organized into the following sections:

Résumé Overview Part 1

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on July 31, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource explains what a résumé is, why you need to write a résumé, and what special steps returning veterans need to take to complete an effective résumé for civilian employment.

What is a résumé?

A résumé is a document that shows your education and job history. A résumé may also include life experiences related to the job you want to get.

Why do I need to do a résumé?

Many employers want workers to write a résumé. Employers use résumés to see who can do a job. Employers also use résumés to read about your past jobs. Your résumé is important because it shows employers what you have done and what you can do. Your résumé should convince an employer to give you an interview.

Even if you do not need a résumé for a certain job, it is good to keep one up to date because it is easier to fill out job applications if you have a résumé to reference.

What should I do if I’m a veteran entering civilian life?

It is important to create your résumé in a way that employers will understand. Creating an effective résumé for your civilian life means you will have to use language people outside the military can understand. For example, in the experience section of your résumé you will need to do some “translating” between military terms and civilian terms:

Military terms: Received and stored bulk and package petroleum, oils, and lubricants products. Issued and dispensed bulk fuels and water from storage and distribution facilities to using units. Selected and submitted samples of petroleum, oils, and lubricants to laboratory for testing. Performed petroleum and water accounting duties (from Army Pamphlet 611-21).

Civilian terms: Coordinated and distributed petroleum products and monitored quality control systems.

If you remember specific details and achievements related to your responsibilities in the military, you should include them:

Coordinated and distributed $1 million in petroleum products per month and monitored quality control systems to ensure a 99.3% average delivery rate
.

Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

Résumé Overview Part 2

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on July 31, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource will explain steps you can take to write a successful résumé if you are transition from the automotive industry. This resource also covers steps you can take to explain time you were not working or time you might have been incarcerated. Lastly, this resource covers what your résumé should look like and what it should include.

What should I do if I am transitioning from the automotive industry?

It is important to create your résumé in a way that employers will understand. Creating an effective résumé for your new job outside the auto industry means you will have to use language people outside the industry can understand. For example, in the experience section of your résumé you will need to “translate” your auto industry terms:

Auto industry terms: Finished, prepared, and applied various materials, sub-finishes and final top coat paints to components, parts and complete vehicles in accordance with engineering drawings and manufacturer’s recommendations.

“Translated” terms: Worked in a team to apply paint to parts and complete vehicles following detailed engineering drawings and manufacturer’s recommendations.

If you remember specific details and achievements related to your responsibilities, you should include them:

Supervised and coordinated ten employees in automotive assembly and reviewed manufacturing processes and products for quality control. Maintained a 96% average delivery rate while focusing on lean manufacturing and continuous improvement.

What should I do about any times I was not working?


Short times in between jobs or work experience should not hurt your chances of getting an interview. But you should be prepared to talk about those breaks when you meet with the employer. If you were not working for pay but volunteered doing something in the community, talk about that experience to show you were busy doing something.

What should I do if I have been incarcerated?

If you were incarcerated, be honest with the employer and talk about what you did while you were serving your sentence that may contribute to your job skills. For example, many prison systems offer General Education Development (GED) programs so inmates can receive the equivalent of a high school diploma. Prison systems also offer vocational training in carpentry, plumbing, electronics, auto mechanics, etc. If you have received vocational training in prison, talk about this in your interview.

Also, people reentering the work force from prison may want to write a skills-based (also called a functional) résumé. Skills-based résumés focus on what you can do now rather than showing a specific work history.
 
What should my résumé look like?

You may design your résumé in a chronological format or a skills-based format. You may also use a combination of both. You should choose the format that best represents your situation. As mentioned above, if you have been incarcerated, you may want to choose the skills-based format. The example résumés available with this resource show all of these formats. Regardless of which format you choose, your résumé should follow some general guidelines.

Your résumé should be one page, and it should look professional. Your résumé should be easy to read and have no errors. Your résumé should not contain full sentences, but instead it should contain statements in bullet lists. Lastly, your résumé should include white space and a balanced format so it is easy to skim. For more information about résumé formatting, visit the Résumé Design pages.

What should my résumé include?

Depending on which résumé format you choose (chronological, skills-based, combination), your résumé could include these sections:


Optional sections include:


You may also do a separate page for your references. References are past employers or people you know who employers can contact to get more information about your job history.

Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

The following pages explain each résumé section in detail.

Résumé Sections Part 1

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on April 5, 2012 .

Summary:

This resource explains how to write the following résumé sections: contact information, objective, and work experience.

Contact Information

The contact information section is at the top of your résumé and includes your name, mailing address, and phone number(s). If you have an email account, provide that address here. Note that your email address should be professional. In other words, an email address that reads hotchick @ yahoo.com is not acceptable. Here is a sample contact information section:

Karl M. Jones
900 N. 7th St. Apt. 6
Lafayette, IN 47904
765-123-4567
kmjones123 @ gmail.com


Objective

The objective should be short and tailored to the company and the job you want. The objective should include the company name and the job title. The objective should also include any job number in the ad. Here is a sample objective:

Objective: To obtain the welder apprentice position (#46) at A & D Industries

Work Experience

Note: You can reverse the work experience and education sections depending on your situation. The work experience section lists your past jobs beginning with the most recent position. The section also includes:


Here is a sample work experience section:

Russell’s Collision Service, Lafayette, IN: July 2007-Present

    Part Time Auto Body Technician, Welder/Fabricator


Village Pantry, Lafayette, IN: June 2006-Present

    Full and Part Time Retail Clerk


Village Pantry, Indianapolis, IN: April 2002-June 2006
   
    Full Time Retail Clerk

The verbs you use in your bullet lists should be active and should be specific. The Purdue OWL maintains a list of action verbs you can use to help pick words to describe what you have done. Click here to read the Purdue OWL’s list of action words for résumés.

Also, the tense of verbs in your bullet lists should be past tense for previous jobs: Ran point of sales register. Verbs should be present tense for jobs you currently hold: Run point of sales register. An exception to this is using a verb for something that happened in the past at your current job (from the example above: Won “Employee of the Month” May 2006, April 2008).

Lastly, make sure you use consistent construction in your bullet lists:

Not consistent


Consistent


Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

Résumé Sections Part 2

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on July 31, 2009 .

Summary:
These pages explain how to write the following sections for your résumé: education, summary of skills, references.

Education

Note: You can reverse the education and work experience sections depending on your situation. The education section lists your highest degree, training, or certificate. The section also includes:


If you did not finish a degree or program, list the dates you went to the school and any credits you earned. Here is a sample education section:

Ivy Tech Community College, Lafayette, IN, August 24, 2006 - May 9, 2008, 18     credits in Industrial Technology – Welding


Emmerich Manual High School, Indianapolis, IN, May 23, 2003, General Studies     and Welding

Summary of Skills and Qualifications

The summary of skills and qualifications lists experience and skills you have. This section could follow your objective section, or it could follow your education section. You may also want to include any languages besides English you speak. Here is a sample summary of qualifications:

Willingness to learn as evidenced by continuing education in welding at Ivy Tech Community College

References

Some employers may not ask for references with your résumé. But it is good to have a references list ready if an employer requires it. Include at least three references. Also, remember to contact your references to double-check their contact information and to ask permission to use them as references. Here is a sample references list:

Russell Clark, Owner of Russell’s Collision Services
1404 State Route 26, Lafayette, IN
765-789-1011

Rebecca Singh, Manager Village Pantry
3630 Greenbush St., Lafayette, IN
765-121-3141

Anthony Taylor, Manager Village Pantry
4004 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN
317-516-1718


Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

Résumé Sections Part 3

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on July 31, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource explains how to write optional sections for your résumé, professional affiliations and other experiences.

These two sections are not required for résumés, but you may want to include them if you think it may help you get a job.

Professional Affiliations

The optional professional affiliations section could include your trade groups or labor organizations. This section could be located under objective. Here is a sample professional affiliation section:

United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada, Local 440, May 2009

American Welding Society, August 2006


Other Experiences

The other experiences section lists experiences other than work and school that relate to the job you want. The section should only be included in your résumé if you have room or if you think it will help you get a job. We have omitted this section in one of the sample résumés. The other experiences section can include volunteer work and hobbies related to your job. Here is a sample other experiences section:

Welded steel art and classic car restoration


Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

Résumé Design Part 1

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on November 7, 2009 .

Summary:
These resources will help you design your résumé so it is easy to read and look professional.

Résumé Design

You might be asking, why is the design of my résumé so important? Or, if I have a lot of experience, why does my résumé have to look so good? The answer to these questions is simple: employers may rate your ability to do a job based on the content of you résumé and the appearance of your résumé.

Your résumé represents you, and if it looks unprofessional, then an employer might think you are unprofessional. In order to have the best chance to get a job, you want to seem as professional as possible. A professional looking résumé will help you do this.

Employers may only take a few seconds to look at your résumé before deciding to give you an interview or not. To make it past that initial review, you should design your résumé so that employers can read it quickly and easily.

One way to do this is to use the most common design for résumés so employers will know where to look for the information they need. Even though you may want to be different from everyone else applying for the job, you should allow the content of your résumé and your interview to set you apart. A good strategy to use to design a résumé is the four-section (or quadrant) method.

The Four-Section (or Quadrant) Method

Most readers of English begin in the top left side of a page and work their way down in a Z pattern. So, you should design your résumé so that the most important information is at the top or top left of the page. Also, you should balance the text and the white space (empty space where there is no text). To ensure this balance, split up your résumé into four-sections, as seen below.

This image shows a resume split into four equal parts.

Each of your page sections should have an equal amount of text and white space. Readers typically begin in section 1 first, so you should put your most important information there. You may also center your name and contact information at the top of your résumé and safely assume that employers will begin there.

Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

Résumé Design Part 2

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on July 31, 2009 .

Summary:
This page will help you effectively use columns, fonts, and other types of emphasis in your résumé.

Using Columns in Your Résumé

Another way to create a balanced résumé is to use columns to format your text. Since you have a limited amount of space on your résumé page, do not use more than three columns. Here is an example of how to use columns to save space in your résumé for the summary of qualifications:

Skills in Ability to Knowledge of
Welding steel, aluminum, stainless steel
Hand and power tools
Physical dexterity and ability to lift over 100 pounds
Diagnose problems and determine appropriate action
Work in high-stress situations
Perform basic mathematics
Read blueprints and work orders
Write materials requests, records
Mechanical systems, fabrications, and welding
Welding theory and principles
Welding tools and welding codes
Safety procedures

To create columns of text, use the Insert Table function in Microsoft Word.

Résumé Fonts

In order to make your résumé easy to read, you should use fonts to separate information. However, you do not want to make your résumé messy or too “busy” by using more than two kinds of fonts and font sizes. Also, you do not want to use fonts that are not professional. A good way to mix fonts is to use serif (which means feet in French) and sans-serif (which means no feet in French) fonts. Serifs are the short stems on the ends of the letters. Times New Roman is a serif font, while Arial is a sans-serif font. You can see the difference between some fonts in the image below:

Sans Serif Fonts Serif Fonts
This image shows sarif fonts Arial, Geneva, Helvetica, and Charcoal This image shows sarif fonts Times New Roman, Garamond, Palatino, and Courier



An effective mix of Times New Roman and Arial is to use Arial in the contact information section of your résumé and as the headings: Objective, Education, etc. Then you can use Times New Roman as the body text. Remember to be consistent, however, with your fonts. The sample résumés included with this resource shows examples of using Arial and Times New Roman together.

Other Types of Emphasis

In addition to using a good balance of text and white space and a good mix of fonts, you can use other types of emphasis in your résumé. You may also bold or italicize your text. Be careful not to mix too many types of emphasis, however. If you bold, and italicize, and ALL CAP, and UNDERLINE WORDS, you make them more difficult to read rather than making them clearer: Work Experience.

Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

Checking Your Résumé

This resource was written by Allen Brizee.
Last edited by Allen Brizee on July 31, 2009 .

Summary:
This resource will help you check your résumé.

The 20-Second Test

As mentioned on the previous page, employers may only spend a few seconds looking at your résumé before deciding whether or not to interview you. You should anticipate this and use the 20-second test to see if your résumé passes.

The 20-second test calls for you to have someone else read your résumé for twenty seconds. Then ask her how much she learned about you. If your reader noticed within twenty seconds what you want employers to learn about you, then most likely you will have designed an effective résumé.

You may also want to look at your résumé from a distance of a 12 inches or so. Turn it upside down or sideways. What do you notice? Are there large blocks of hard-to-read text? Does the résumé seem balanced, or is it “weighted” to one side or another? Is there too much white space in one area? Revise as necessary.

Lastly, always have a few different people read through your résumé in detail. Community centers, state, county, and city employment agencies can help you with this. Remember your résumé needs to be free of errors and designed with a professional appearance. Your résumé speaks for you when you cannot. You want your résumé to say good things to your potential employer so you can get the job you need.

Click here to download the PDF file containing sample résumés and employment letters.

References:
Job Search Tools: Resumes, Applications, and Cover Letters by Ronald C. Mendlin and Marc Polonsky with J. Michael Farr. The Putting the Bars Behind You Series. Indianapolis: JIST, 2000.

Some of this information is also adapted from Jobbankuse.com: http://www.jobbankusa.com.