Choosing a Career/Major
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Resumes/Cover Letters
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CDC Services

The Career Development Center is dedicated to helping students fulfill the lifelong pursuit of purpose by providing services, access to information, resources, and experiences that address individual career needs.

The Resume

An effective resume:
  • Supports and strengthens your job objective
  • Attracts attention to your special abilities and qualities
  • Demonstrates your future value to an employer
  • Reflects your uniqueness as much as possible
  • Creates a favorable impression
  • Is concise, well-organized, and attractive
On average, employers spend 10-15 seconds reading your resume to determine if they want to call you for an interview.

Resume Contents

IDENTIFYING DATA:
  • Name, address, phone number (include area code). Make sure you have a suitable message on your answering machine. If you are residing at a temporary address, it is appropriate to include both current and permanent addresses. Include also the date on which you expect to leave the temporary address.
  • The inclusion of an e-mail address is also appropriate as it demonstrates you have adequate computer skills and some employers will prefer to communicate in this manner. Your email address should be professional, rather than personal. For example: LJackson@aol.com is more appropriate than FunGirl2@aol.com!
JOB OBJECTIVE:
  • This brief description of the type of position desired should follow your name, address, and telephone number. A job objective helps you and the employer focus on a specific position or career goal. Including it in your cover letter is not the recommended option, as employers prefer to see an objective directly on the resume. Your resume should be able to support your objective.
  • Education majors applying for teaching positions do not need to include an objective but should use a certification category instead.
  • For further information, see "Writing Job Objectives".
EDUCATION:
  • Name of school, city and state of school, major, degree and the date (month and year) received. The official name of this institution is: State University of New York College at Buffalo.
  • Including honors and grade point average information is optional, although recommended when it will enhance your image. Above a 3.0 is recommended for inclusion. If you are including your GPA or Major GPA, be sure to list the grade scale used, for example, 3.7/4.0.
  • If you graduated from more than one school, list the most recent first. It is not always necessary to list all the schools you have attended. Do not list high school, unless you need to emphasize some important aspect of it that is related to your career goal, e.g. listing a technical high school because you are entering the engineering field.
  • Additional training you have received may either go under Education or a separate heading.
EXPERIENCE/WORK HISTORY:
  • Paid employment, internships, field work, volunteer, service-learning, and military. Describe your experience in that position emphasizing accomplishments, skills, and abilities appropriate to the position for which you are applying. Note the employing organization, city and state, dates of employment, and job title. Internships and field work may be described under Education, Experience, or in its own category titled Internships. New graduates can list part-time and summer jobs whether or not they relate to the career goal.
  • If you have had many unrelated jobs, you may briefly summarize your duties and responsibilities, in a few sentences, under one heading.
  • For further information, see "Writing Action Verb Statements".

It is not always necessary to include all the schools you have attended under education.

Employers prefer to see an objective directly on the resume.

Resume Formats

When selecting a format, it is important to choose one that allows you to best emphasize your particular strengths. There is no "right" format for a resume. Remember that with any format you choose, the unique and creative manner in which you write headings, sequence sections, and design layout should serve to further enhance your image. While there are many different formats for resumes, the most widely used is the REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL. This format lists your background with the most recent experience first. You may arrange or subdivide your headings in various ways depending upon which aspects of your background you want to emphasize or want to have noticed first. An exception to the "reverse rule" (most recent first) might occur when your past experience is more related to your goals than your recent experience, in which case you would list past experience first. You may view samples of other resume formats (e.g. functional, targeted) in the CDC.

Optional Contents

The following optional information may also be included in your resume.

COURSES: If your degree included courses in areas relevant to the position for which you are applying, you may indicate six to eight of these course titles. For example: Personnel Administration or Machine Design, not the course number and credit hours. They should be upper level courses only. You might want to include any significant coursework concentrations you have also had. For example: Marketing or Energy Systems.

SPECIAL PROJECTS: This is a good way to demonstrate accomplishments/experience gained through class projects, internships, and volunteer or other extracurricular activities. Select projects that can demonstrate relevant skills or accomplishments.

SPECIAL SKILLS: These should be marketable skills in your career area, e.g. foreign languages and computer skills, not communication skills or working with people.

CAMPUS ACTIVITIES: Clubs, intramurals, student organizations. List any offices or leadership roles held. A brief description of your duties can be included if it relates to your career objective.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Many important skills are developed through community, volunteer, and service-learning work. Significant projects and offices held should be mentioned as they relate to your career goal.

LICENSES AND CERTIFICATIONS: Health-related, CPR, First Aid, computer, etc.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS: Membership in professional organizations. If applicable, list any offices held.

RESEARCH, PUBLICATIONS, AND PRESENTATIONS: Include title, name of periodical, publisher, place of publication or presentation, and date.

INTERESTS: May be included to reflect a wider range of information about you as a person and are particularly helpful if they relate to your job objective or goals.

REFERENCES: It is acceptable but optional to use the phrases "Available Upon Request" or "Furnished Upon Request." If appropriate, you may use "Writing Samples Available Upon Request." For example: English or Journalism students. Also, "Portfolio Available Upon Request" is appropriate for Education, Design or Art majors.

PLEASE NOTE: Personal data (e.g. height, weight, age, etc.) should not be listed on a resume, cannot be required by potential employers under federal regulations, and, in fact, may provide the employer with a basis for discrimination. There are some career fields where personal data is relevant and required, e.g. acting.

Targeting your resume for specific jobs and/or employers can be accomplished through the creative use of different category headings that reflect and emphasize your unique background.

Additional Resume Headings:

EDUCATION/TRAINING
Academic Background
Academic Training
Education Background
Certification
Special Training
Academic Preparation
Course Highlights
Coursework
Related Courses
Relevant Coursework
Technical Courses
Professional Licensure
Military Training
Study Abroad
Conferences Attended

EXPERIENCE
Career Achievements
Additional Experience
Employment
Experience Summary
Professional Background
Professional Work
Professional Experience
Related Experience
Work Experience
Work History
OTHER TYPES OF EXPERIENCE
Teaching Experience
Student Teaching Experience
Junior Participation
Substitute Teaching
Coaching Experience
Practicum Experience
Research Experience
Civic Activities
Military Experience
Internships
Part-Time Experience
Summer & Seasonal Experience
Volunteer Experience
Service-Learning Experience
Community Service
Volunteerism
HONORS/AFFILIATIONS
Activities & Distinctions
College Activities
Honors & Distinctions
Honors & Awards
Campus Leadership
Professional Membership
Professional Organizations
Student Organizations

SPECIAL SKILLS
Computer Skills
Language Competencies
Studio Skills
Technical Skills

Alternative Resume Formats:

For job seekers pursuing online, digital media, and/or creative professions, alternative types of resumes may be appropriate to enhance and demonstrate skills related to the job and potential fit within an organizations’ culture; however, before determining if an alternative resume is appropriate, it is imperative to research the organization. Organizations whose overall brand tends to be more casual and creative will likely be a better fit for this type of unconventional approach. Using alternative formats, which may include the use of infographics (a visual representation of skills, experience, etc.) and video (a 30 second commercial), can also allow a candidate to show passion for his or her craft, as well as highlight skills and future value. Similar to a traditional resume, alternative resumes should be tailored to the position and/or the organization and be professional. Click here for examples of alternative resumes.

Updated: 09/29/2014