What is a Resume?

A resume is often the first line of communication. It establishes a first impression of a potential job candidate’s skills, background and hiring value. A resume letter, if written well, can be a very positive impression, offering the reader a sense of  ‘fit’ for a particular job career.

Resumes and application forms are two ways to provide employers with written evidence of your qualifications and skills. Generally, the same information appears on both a resume and an application form. The way it is presented differs.

The best way to select information that belongs on your resume is to think like an employer. What information would you want to see from a potential candidate on their skills, accomplishments, knowledge and experience. Give brief, specific, positive information that would be of interest to your next employer.

A resume needs to include information on how to reach you. You should include at the top of your resume, your name, telephone number and a physical address. A physical address gives the employer a greater sense that you belong to the community in which you wish to work. You should also include an email address, and perhaps a website link if it puts the employer in touch with professional information about you.

The resume should also include a quick summary of your education and any degrees or certificates you hold. If you have a college education, listing a high school diploma is unnecessary. You should also not list grade point average GPA unless it is higher than a 3.0. If you have not yet finished college or high school, you can include your expected graduation date, and a GPA if it is impressive. Your resume should also include any classes taken that specifically relate to the field in which you are applying.

First Name
Phone Number

You should also have a one to three sentence job objective, usually directly following your name and contact information. To get additional details and tips on building your resume, visit

If your resume secures an interview, it has done its job. If it sets you ahead of the competition in the mind of your interviewer, then it has given you a distinct advantage, and has gone beyond its job.

Guidelines of a resume

An effective Resume:
• Is concisely written
• Contains relevant information about your:
• Academic background
• Work Experience
• Occupational interest areas
• Activities out side of work
• Honors or recognition received
• Is well organized
• Draws the attention and interest of a busy employer
• Is easily read and with appropriate use of white space on the pages
The Purpose of a Resume is to:
• Represent you on paper
• Be an advertisement for you – a sales presentation
• Convince the employer that you are right for the job and the career area
• Demonstrate your job worth: the skills and abilities related to the work for which you are
General Writing Guidelines:
• Name, address, and phone number (e-mail if applicable) at the top
• The rest of the information should be in a  easy-to-read sequence.
• Education and experience should be listed as most recent or present first
• One page is typical if you are a B.A., B.M., B.S., or B.S.N graduate
• More than one page is appropriate if relevant and important information requires more than one page to best present you to an employer.
• A resume should not be more than two pages.
• Should be clear and concise, as well as consistent in your display techniques
• Avoid using the pronoun “I”, slang, jargon, trite expressions, and abbreviations
• Spelling, grammar, and typography must be perfect
• Use action words (list is provided in this packet)
• Must have eye appeal to present a positive impression of you
• To achieve this, use appropriate separation of the categories of your resume
• Underline, use italics and/or capitalize key headings and titles
• Employment Objective
• Education
• Work Experience or Relevant Experience
• College Activities or Community Involvement
• May add: Honors, Professional Memberships, Publications, Certificates Held, or Military
• References

• Individually typed or professionally duplicated
• No errors (have others proof read your resume to double check any errors)
• Resume should be accompanied by a cover letter
Resume building resources:

  • Resume Tips
  • Cover Letter Tips
  • Resume samples
  • Resume writing techniques
  • Application Form

    A job application form may ask candidates questions geared towards the job they are applying for with that company. The form may also ask applicants to add information that would be included on their resume such as their job history and education.

    Online Application Form

    Many companies seeking employees no longer have job application forms on-hand. Instead, applicants complete an application online. There are thousands of websites where you can post your resume online and complete an online job application. Applicants either apply online via a job board, like, or apply online directly at the company’s web site.

    • In some instances, job seekers are required to register and to build an employment online profile. Once you’ve built your profile, you can log in on the website and apply for jobs online and set up up a page’s agent  to email you when new jobs in a specific area of interest are added to the system.
    • You can then apply online for specific positions at any time. At larger employers, and on many job sites, job seekers can keep track of the positions they have applied for.
    • Some sites let you upload an existing resume with the click of a button. On other sites, you can copy and paste from your resume or use a resume builder that is incorporated into the application system.
    • Once you have uploaded your resume, you will be able to search for jobs that interest you and submit your application or resume

    What You Need to Apply Online

    Online application systems typically ask for your contact information, educational background and employment history. You will need to know when you worked and what you were paid at your previous jobs. You may also be asked what days and hours you are available to work.

    Download a sample job application and complete it before you start your online applications. You will have all the information you need, ready to enter.

    Make sure to go back and double check yourself and your grammar. Look for any errors that you may have typed incorrectly. You do not want to submit a job application with grammatical errors on it. If you are unsure, use Microsoft Word and spell/grammar check, then copy/paste into the online application.

    Job Applications Via Email

    When you are using email to apply for jobs, it’s important that all your communications are as professional as they would be if you were mailing a paper resume and cover letter. Here’s advice on how to submit job applications via email.
    Proofread your email for grammar and spelling (do not trust spell check software). Remember, this is your chance to make a critical first impression; even an emailed note needs to be professional and error-free.

  • Be brief and to the point. Your cover letter should not be any longer than two or three short paragraphs.
  • Make sure you include a signature with your full name, email address and phone number.
  • Include the title of the position you are applying for in the subject line of your message.
  • Be sure that your email address has a professional tone.
  • If the job posting asks you to send an attachment, send your resume as an MSWord or PDF document. Many employers do not accept attachments. In these cases, paste your resume into your email message. Use a simple font and remove the fancy formatting. Send the message to yourself first to test that the formatting works. If everything looks good, resend to the employer.
  • Sample Job Application and Cover Letters
    Review sample job application letters and cover letters to get ideas for your own personalized application letter.

  • Sample Email Cover Letter
  • Email Inquiry Letter
  • For additional tips on Resume writing:

  • Do’s and Don’ts
  • Interview Questions