Important Parts of Resume and Solutions to Frequently Encountered Problems

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Education

This section of your resume should indicate the exact name of the degree you will receive or have received, spelled out completely with no abbreviations. The degree is generally listed after the objective, followed by the institution name and location, and then the month and year of graduation. This section could also include your academic minor, grade point average (GPA), and appearance on the Deans List or Presidents List.

If you have enough space, you might want to include a section listing courses related to the field in which you are seeking work. The best use of a "related courses" section would be to list some course work that is not traditionally associated with the major. Perhaps you took several computer courses outside your degree that will be helpful and related to the job prospects you are entertaining. Several education section examples are shown here:
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, December 2001 Minor: Community Health



  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders, specializing in industrial settings, Tufts University, Medford, MA, May 2001

  • Bachelor of Arts in Health Communications, Columbia University, New York City, NY, May 2001
Experience

The experience section of your resume should be the most substantial part and should take up most of the space on the page. Employers want to see what kind of work history you have. They will look at your range of experiences, longevity in jobs, and specific tasks you are able to complete. This section may also be called "work experience," "related experience," "employment history," or "employment." No matter what you call this section, some important points to remember are the following:

  1. Describe your duties as they relate to the position you are seeking.

  2. Emphasize major responsibilities and indicate increases in responsibility Include all relevant employment experiences: summer, part-time, internships, cooperative education, or self employment.

  3. Emphasize skills, especially those that transfer from one situation to another. The fact that you coordinated a student organization, chaired meetings, supervised others, and managed a budget leads one to suspect that you could coordinate other things as well.

  4. Use descriptive job titles that provide information about what you did. A "Student Intern" should be more specifically stated as, for example, "Magazine Operations Intern." "Volunteer" is also too general; a title such as "Peer Writing Tutor" would be more appropriate.

  5. Create word pictures by using active verbs to start sentences. Describe results you have produced in the work you have done.

A limp description would say something such as the following: "My duties included helping with production, proofreading, and editing. I used a word processing package to alter text." An action statement would be stated as follows: "Coordinated and assisted in the creative marketing of brochures and seminar promotions, becoming proficient in Word."

Remember, an accomplishment is simply a result, a final measurable product that people can relate to. A duty is not a result; it is an obligation every job holder has duties. For an effective resume, list as many results as you can. To make the most of the limited space you have and to give your description impact, carefully select appropriate and accurate descriptors from the list of action words.

Here are some traits that employers tell us they like to see:
  • Teamwork

  • Energy and motivation

  • Learning and using new skills

  • Versatility

  • Critical thinking

  • Understanding how profits are created

  • Organizational acumen

  • Communicating directly and clearly, in both writing and speaking

  • Risk taking

  • Willingness to admit mistakes

  • High personal standards
Solutions to frequently encountered problems:

Repetitive Employment with the Same Employer

EMPLOYMENT: The Foot Locker, Portland, Oregon. Summer 2001,2002, 2003. Initially employed in high school as salesclerk. Due to successful performance, asked to return next two summers at higher pay with added responsibility. Ranked as the #2 salesperson the first summer and #1 the next two summers. Assisted in arranging eye catching retail displays; served as manager of other summer workers during owner s absence.

A Large Number of Jobs

EMPLOYMENT: Recent Hospitality Industry Experience: Affiliated with four upscale hotel/restaurant complexes (September 2001 February 2004), where I worked part and full-time as a waiter, bartender, disc jockey, and bookkeeper to produce income for college.

Several Positions with the Same Employer

EMPLOYMENT: Coca Cola Bottling Co., Burlington, Vermont, 2001-2004. In four years, I received three promotions, each with increased pay and responsibility.

Summer Sales Coordinator: Promoted to hire, train, and direct efforts of add on staff of fifteen college age route salespeople hired to meet summer peak demand for product.

Sales Administrator: Promoted to run home office sales desk, managing accounts and associated delivery schedules for professional sales force of ten people. Intensive phone work, daily interaction with all personnel, and strong knowledge of product line required.

Route Salesperson: Summer employment to travel and tourism industry sites that use Coke products. Met specific schedule demands, used good communication skills with wide variety of customers, and demonstrated strong selling skills. Named salesperson of the month for July and August of that year.
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