Resumes: What to Include
Each person's resume will contain different information, depending upon the candidate's background and the types of positions that he/she is applying for. Resist the very natural temptation to copy the content and format of a friend's resume or a resume in the CDO sample resume binders written by someone in your major, even if it looks pretty good to you. Remember that employers hire people, not majors, and that what you are trying to communicate to the reader is your individuality, your unique¬ness! The following types of information are often included in resumes. Consider how each applies to your current situation. If you're unsure about whether to include it, put it in your first draft; then ask about it when you have your draft reviewed in the CDO.
Starting at the top....
Your name, address, telephone number and email address are critical pieces of information to be placed in a prominent position at the top of the page. If you expect to be job searching from two addresses, use a date with one of them ("Address Until May 15, 20xx” and "Permanent Address," for example, or "Current Address" and "Address After May 15, 20xx”). The phone number(s) should be where you can be reached during the day, or at least where an employer can leave a message for you. You may wish to use the label (cell) if it is appropriate. Other personal information such as health, weight, height, birth date and marital status should not be included. In fact, it is illegal for employers to ask for and/or use that information as part of the hiring decision. It is, therefore, not necessary (and could be detrimental) to include it on your resume. Resumes of candidates for performance positions, where appearance is legally considered a "bona fide occupational qualification," are an exception.
PROFESSIONAL GOAL OR OBJECTIVE
Employers have indicated a preference for resumes that state an objective. They do not have the time or the interest to be your career counselor and "find a place" for you in their organization; it is also less of a risk to hire someone who has clearly given some thought to career direction. Many candidates, however, have either not established career goals, have more than one objective, or have a preferred goal but wish to remain flexible in order to pursue other opportunities that are different from that goal. You have several choices. Maybe you will write just one resume with an objective. You may wish to write more than one resume, each with a different objective and with your qualifications organized and labeled differently. Although it's not as effective, you can write a resume without an objective; however, you must then be able to communicate your objective to each organization the first time you contact them, in the cover letter, for example. Or, you may wish to write one resume with an objective and one without. Refer to Career Guide R5, Writing Career Objectives, for information about the different types of objectives and what is contained in each before you make your decision.
Candidates for career fields that require special licensure or certification, such as education, medical technology, speech pathology or music therapy, need to make their certification or licensure status very clear. Create a separate section on the resume for this information. Because it may also tell the reader what type of position you are seeking, it frequently is used instead of an objective for these candidates.
Candidate for New York State Initial Certificate, Childhood Education (Grades 1-6) with
Mathematics (7-9) Extension
Candidate for New York State Initial Certificate, Students with Disabilities (Grades 1-6)
CERTIFICATION New York State Initial Certificate, English Language Arts (7-12)
And after that....
After that, the order of information, how it is grouped, and how it is labeled (what each section is called) will depend on the individual and the relative importance of the information to his/her qualifications. For example, a current student will most likely place "Education" as the next section. An experienced candidate, however, will place the "Education" section in a less prominent position and place an experience section next. After you group your information and name each section, therefore, place the sections in priority order.
Essential information about your education includes the name and date of your degree, the name and location of the university, your major(s), minor(s), specialization(s) or concentrations(s). The proper name of this university is "State University of New York at Fredonia" the first time it is referred to in any document. Subsequent references can be abbreviated by using either "SUNY at Fredonia" or "SUNY Fredonia." Because the location of this university is included in its name, it is not necessary to include the city and state. List your highest degree, usually the most recent, first. If you attended other institutions, list only those from which you earned a degree unless the non-degree work would add to your qualifications or if your resume includes activities from the other school(s).
||Bachelor of Music, May 20__
State University of New York at Fredonia
Major: Music Education
Specialization: Instrumental Music
Major Instrument: Trumpet
Other important but optional information you may include is grade point average, honors and awards, and a list of courses related to your goals. If your GPA is 3.0 or above - in your major, overall, or both - it is appropriate to include. If it is below 3.0, consider what other assets your resume communicates to balance the GPA before deciding to include it. Dean's List, honor societies, citizenship awards, sports achievements, and graduation with honors are typical honors and awards and should be included, in list format where space permits. The courses section should be presented in lists of two or three columns and named by the type of courses ("Finance Courses," "Media Courses," "Writing Courses"). This type of section is especially helpful for the candidate who has little or no career-related experience, the candidate who has completed a broad-based major with a career-related specialization, and the candidate applying for a summer job or internship who needs to show courses completed to date. Advanced degree candidates sometimes list thesis title and description in this section or may include them in an experience section.
Graphic Design I
|Introduction to Marketing
Advertising and Sales Promotion
Notice that courses have been included which are not required for the marketing specialization but are relevant to certain types of positions in the marketing function.
Experiences include not only paid employment (full-time, part-time, summer, academic holidays) but also any other tasks or activities that relate directly to your goals. Be sure to include experiences for which you earned academic credit such as internships, student teaching, research, or performances. Consider any class projects that have provided you with actual experience in a real situation (instead of simulated or theoretical) that is directly related to your goals. Also include volunteer experiences in the community or experience gained as a result of responsibilities assumed in college or community activities, including sports. A psychology major volunteering in an adult living facility, an accounting major participating in VITA, or any major serving as a leader of an organization are some examples.
For each experience, include a position title or role, the name of the organization and its city and state, dates/length of time, and descriptive phrases. Education candidates may also want to include grade level. The number of phrases in your description will vary, depending upon how relevant the experience is to your objective and how recent the experience is. For example, some employment that is unrelated, especially if the job title is self-explanatory, may have no description.
Information about these experiences may be grouped in several sections, depending on what you are applying for. The resume style you choose will affect how you organize and present your experiences. (Refer to Career Guide R4, Resume Styles.) If you have chosen a traditional style organized in priority order, you may have one section with experiences directly related to your objective and titled something like "Teaching Experience," "Performance," or "Social Service Experience." You may even have more than one section with a specific type of experience. You may have an additional section with experiences that are somewhat but not directly related to your objective and titled "Related Experience." Employment that is not at all related but needs to be included can be in a section titled "Employment" or "Other Employment" or "Summer Employment." If you are writing two different resumes, each with a different objective, the names of the sections and what is included in them would usually change. If you choose a functional resume style, your descriptive phrases will be grouped in sections separate from the position title, organization and dates.
For a worksheet to help you describe your experiences, see the end of this Career Guide.
Consider what special expertise (or skill) you have that you wish to call to the attention of the reader by placing that information in a separate section titled according to the type of skill(s) you are describing. The skills may be technical skills specifically required by the field you are applying to, or they may be more general skills that can be applied to several different fields. Examples are laboratory skills, such as testing procedures or equipment, computer skills, or foreign languages. They can be listed either in column format (2 or 3 columns) or as a list of descriptive phrases.
This includes college activities, sports, community activities, and memberships in professional organizations. Simply list the name of the organization and any office(s) you held. Dates are optional, but not necessary. Do not duplicate the activities that you have used in your experiences sections.
Additional sections might include seminars and workshops, training, presentations, publications, professional involvement, or other titles describing experience and qualifications not otherwise communicated.
Most resumes end with this section. There are several ways you can handle this. If you are about to complete a degree program at Fredonia, you can establish a credentials file in the CDO (ask for an information packet) and state that your references (letters of recommendation) are available there.
||Available on request from:
Career Development Office
Fredonia, NY 14063
Phone: (716) 673-3327
Fax: (716) 673-3593
If you have space, list the information in envelope address form. An alternative is to state that references are "Available on Request." You can list the names, titles, and phone numbers of your references directly on the page, but there is often not enough room to do this on a one-page (or even a two-page) resume. If you wish to include names and addresses, prepare a separate "References" page. A final option is to omit the information entirely and include it in your letter or just assume that an interested employer will contact you when he/she wants references.
DESCRIBING YOUR EXPERIENCES
As you begin to write descriptions of your experiences and qualifications, it is helpful to spend some time thinking about the knowledge and skills you developed and can demonstrate, the tasks you performed, how these tasks and skills are related to your objective, and how you can describe them in a way that communicates what you are capable of doing. Select and emphasize those aspects of each experience that most closely relate to the responsibilities of the positions you're applying for. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What were the primary tasks that you carried out in this experience?
- What secondary tasks did you do that are directly related to your objective?
- Can you quantify to demonstrate level of responsibility or experience in a variety of situations? (size of budget, number of people supervised, students in class, hours per week)
- Did you supervise others?
- Did you write reports, letters, manuals, or brochures?
- Did you plan events, activities, or lessons/units?
- Did you conduct research? About what topic? What methods were used? What tools or equipment were used? How were the outcomes presented?
- Did you conduct or make presentations to groups?
- What special tools, equipment, and methods did you use in carrying out your tasks?
- What kinds of decisions or recommendations did you make, and were they implemented?
- Did you work independently or as part of a group? What did you contribute?
- Were you promoted or given increased responsibilities?
- What is there about this particular experience that might be of interest to an employer in your field?
- Did you design or perform? What specific kind of information do you need to communicate?
- If most candidates for the positions you are applying for have had this type of experience, how can you describe it to make it uniquely yours (student teaching, for example)?
- Were you in a leadership role? Were you elected, selected, invited, or chosen?
- What were your specific accomplishments or achievements?
SAMPLE EXPERIENCE WORKSHEET
Position Title or Role
Organization, City, State
to help you remember what to include:
Write in clear, concise, specific terms. Begin your phrases with "
," Career Guide, R6, in either the past tense for previous experience or present tense for current experience.
For information on how to organize and present your qualifications, refer to Career Guide R4,