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Résumé Workshop

Media File: Résumé Workshop

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This résumé workshop provides detailed explanations, as well step-by-step processes, for creating an effective résumé. The Purdue OWL also maintains résumé quick tips resources and a résumé PowerPoint slide presentation. Please visit those resources for shorter discussions of the resume.

What is a résumé?

A résumé (also spelled resume) is a brief document that summarizes your education, employment history, and experiences that are relevant to your qualifications for a particular job for which you are applying. The purpose of a résumé (along with your cover letter) is to get an interview. Research has shown that it takes an average of ten (10) interviews to receive one (1) job offer, so your résumé needs to be persuasive and perfect. Given this, your résumé must be user-centered and persuasive.

The general purpose résumé usually contains four sections:

Writing the contact section of your résumé

This section of your résumé is definitely the easiest to write, but you do have a few options for design and content.

What is a contact information section?

Unlike other sections of your résumé, this section does not have a special heading like "Contact Information." Instead it simply lists the information below at the top of the page:

Of course, as with the rest of your résumé, you'll want to double-check that all the information you include is current and accurate. Mistyping your phone number could easily cost you an interview! Also, if you list an e-mail address, be sure to check your e-mail regularly or you may miss an important message.

If you live on campus, you should provide your campus address. But you may also want to provide your home address.

Designing your contact information section

Employers will probably look first and last at your contact information section, so it's well worth your time to make this section easy-to-read and appealing to the eye. Whatever design choices you make, try to coordinate them with the rest of your résumé. Here are some specific design options:

  1. Use page design strategies to present information in a usable format. For example, to help readers find desired information, you might place your name in a larger font size, center it, boldface it, or anything to make it stand out. If you have a permanent and local address, you might want to play with columns.
  2. You may want to add a graphic element such as a horizontal line to help section off your contact information. Make sure the visual does not distract from your textual information.
  3. Coordinate with your cover letter. One way to make your application documents a professional package is to match your cover letter and your résumé. You might do this by creating stationery or a letterhead for both documents. For instance, if you use two columns for your addresses and a double line on your résumé header, you might adapt it for the top of your cover letter as well. Make sure to use the same fonts (size also) for both documents.

Questions to ask

About you

About the company or organization

Job seekers at Purdue University may find value in the Purdue career Wiki here.

For more information about how to develop a résumé, visit these OWL resources:

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