Resume Tips, Samples & Templates
Create your Resume - Co-op Prep Guide
Step 1 - Content
Sit down in a quiet place, and start writing/typing all about yourself, what you have done in your life, what you have learned, etc... At this stage, don’t worry about how it looks, spelling, grammar, etc...this is a time for free-thinking and writing. List all your skills, traits, experiences, successes and more...
Organize your thoughts. Once you have the information down on paper (which can be as long as you like at this stage, 2, 3, 4 pages and so on that you will later scale down to a 1-page resume... Next, organize those thoughts into categories, the categories you will use to tell about yourself and organize your resume. You can then begin to assign what you have written down into those categories. Some sample categories could be: Education, objective and career goals, experience, work history, related course work, awards, personal achievements, scholarships, honors, professional and student organization affiliations, skills, activities, qualifications, interests, technical skills, software skills, volunteer work, community involvement, keep going; don’t limit yourself to these categories!
Step 2 - Design and Format
Now that you have your life on paper, organized into categories, it’s time to make it attractive to your reader.
- Make sure your resume is visually appealing easy to review and free from errors.
- Use resume styles appropriate for your field. Some fields expect to see a design element, while others expect simpler styles. Don’t make your resume too busy that it takes away from its most important feature, your content. Research your industry to determine if a resume with a design element is appropriate.
- View example resumes for your industry online and consult with faculty or co-op office for advice.
What are the Different Parts of a Resume?
The resume suggestions and edits below come from actual employer feedback compiled from many years. The different sections of a resume are outlined below, each with specific advice to offer. Pay careful attention to this advice and use it well, but at the same time, be sure to put your own mark and personal tastes into your text and design as well since, after all, your resume is all about YOU on paper.
This is an optional section of your resume and should tell the person reading your resume, very specifically, why they are reading it. If it is general and simply states that you are looking for a great career, etc.. then you should leave it off.
It should simply state what your career objective is, nothing more. One or two sentences. Some employers feel this is necessary, others do not. You need to make a personal decision whether or not you wish to include this statement on your resume. If it does not add any real value to your resume, leave it off, it will detract from your resume more than add to it.
As a student pursuing an internship/co-op Include general information such as name of school, location, major, at the top of your resume.
Farther down, below relevant skills and experience include:
- Activities participated in
- Honors received
- Groups involved with
- Events/Workshops attended
- Extracurricular activities
- Anything showing you did more than simply take classes
List everything. When listing your previous work experience (formal or informal) the most important details are describing your job duties. These tell the employer what talents, skills and abilities you have that can now be used for their advantage and financial/productivity gains. Take some time to think about what you did, go through your typical day and write a list of job duties and tasks completed, include EVERYTHING. For example, if you spoke to customers in any manner, you could list this as "customer service", if you were responsible for any financial tracking or transactions, you could list this as "financial management", as so on.
Don’t limit yourself. At present, you may have too little listed describing your position duties. This is common but should not occur. Many employers want to see ALL of the skills you have to offer them, not only what might be related to the specific industry you are studying or seeking employment in. In limiting what skills you list, you are selling yourself too short and need to tell the employer more about what you did in that position. Again, even if you do not think it is relevant or important, contact our office and we can help you decide. Just remember though, any piece of information you put on your resume can act as a catalyst for that employer to read and notice you. The more you leave off, the greater you increase your chances of NOT making a connection with that employer.
Keep it simple. When listing schools and employers, it is not necessary to include the actual mailing address, phone #, etc... Listing city and state only is appropriate. Additional information uses valuable space on your resume that could be used to showcase more of your skills. An employer does not necessarily want to see the detailed contact information on your resume, if they have an expressed need for it, they can find this or contact you for more information if necessary.
This section is where you could list all of the organizations, groups, professional development networks, etc. where a connection might be made with an employer. Some examples include:
- Volunteer experiences
- Church affiliations
- Student and professional organizations
- Volunteer organizations
Industry Specific Skills
(could also be titled: “INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE” or “PROFESSIONAL KNOWLEDGE”)
When listing BGSU courses you have completed, listing only the call letters and #’s of the course (E.g. “ENG 1001”, etc.) or only the course title ("Intro to Architecture", etc.) provides no real information to the employer. Rather, list the course knowledge and concepts you have learned in a given course in practical, common sense terms. For example, use terms such as…
- “circuit board manipulation”
- “blueprint reading”
- “photography lighting and composition”
- “CAD detailing and engineering”
- “print layout and design”
…taking some elements or phrases from the course description or content itself and putting them into tangible terms (“industry terms”) an employer can understand. The main point is to put this in terms that make sense to the employer, otherwise, what you have created has no positive impact and could negatively impact your chances of obtaining an interview.
This section can be used as a utility section, meaning a place to highlight yourself and the skills you have acquired throughout your life. These skills are NOT limited to those learned only in the classroom or from previous jobs you have had. They might include a skill you’ve taught yourself, something you’ve learned from your grandfather, mother, father, brother, friend, etc.
You may also list skills acquired through religious activities, community service, volunteering, activism, etc. Do not leave something off this list because you feel it does not apply to the position you are applying for, you never know what might make a connection with an employer so list it all and let them decide. Some examples include:
- “Machinery operation”
- “Helped coordinate community event”
- “Farm operations”
- “Photography skills”
- “Can speak multiple languages”
Don’t limit yourself by telling an employer how much you feel you know about a certain program, etc. (using terms like: “Limited knowledge of” or “Some experience with…”) It is the employer’s responsibility to determine how much knowledge you have on a given subject or skill-set. If you tell them how much you think you have, they make mistakenly assume your words for something different than you are intending and could disregard those skills altogether. Do not create that opportunity, simply list the knowledge you have in basic, general terms.
It is important to list your references on a separate sheet of paper, not on your resume. It is wise to use the space on your resume to list your attributes and skills you can offer an employer, not your references. Your references should be given to an employer only after they have expressed an initial interest, not before.
Now is the time to brag about yourself. Don't undersell yourself.
- Professional Appearance: If providing a printed resume use high quality paper, professional paper color choice, highlight important information and headings, avoid using too many printing styles and italicizing and use consistent margins.
- Clear and concise: Eliminate unnecessary words and phrases, avoid listing personal attributes, jargon, short paragraphs, bullets and sentences. Make every word count.
- Important Information First: This can help the reader to remember the most important details about you.
- Be Thorough: Ensure all relative information is included, watch for time gaps if done chronologically (can explain in cover letter), use action verbs (listed below), try to cover all important transferable skills and talk about accomplishments.
- Error Free: Edit, proofread, edit and proofread again. Have somebody else review your resume as well.
- Balanced and Consistent: Be sure your use of white space, margins, indentations, highlighting and headings are uniform and balanced. Each page must be filled with text.
- Be Honest: You must honestly represent yourself in your resume. Employers can check on information that you have included in your resume.
- Verb Tense: Be sure all job description information is consistent. For past tense activities use past tense verbs and for activities you are currently involved in use present tense verbs. Do not use personal pronouns (e.g. I, me, he, she).
- Abbreviations/Acronyms: Always spell out abbreviations and acronyms. You may know what they stand for, but the reader might not. Instead, write out each acronym like the following:
E.g.: Bowling Green State University (BGSU)
- Length of Resume: Your resume should best represent you. Typically most college students have enough academic and work experience information to make their resume one solid page. There are some students who may have more experience, which could increase the length of their resume to more than one page. Make sure that you follow the requirements of the employer on the type of information to include. It is important to be clear and concise.
- Include Numbers! For example: If you have saved your company/organization $5,000 over a certain amount of time, or you have completed a project leading a team of 13 people, if you have earned a $10,000 scholarship, if you have supervised 5 people, if you have earned $15,000 on your own putting yourself through college, put these numbers on your resume. Numbers stand out to your reader and can be very impressive.
- Electronic Resumes: Save and send resumes in a "pdf" (Portable Document Format) format. We recommend that you use this format because, quite frankly, the rest of the world does. Saving your resume in this format allows any potential employer to successfully open your attached resume. For more information, please see: About Adobe PDF
- Cover letter: Include a cover letter as a formal introduction of who you are, why you are contacting them...Use the cover letter content in the email, then attach your resume.
- References: The majority of employers prefer to receive your references AFTER they decide to interview you, not before. Sending your resume is the first step to the interview. Don’t get ahead of yourself by unnecessarily including your references. Many employers would rather you use that space to tell them more about yourself and how you can be an asset to their company. Attach a separate sheet to your resume that includes your contact information and the information of the references: name, title, employer, address, phone and email of each reference.
Consider organizing your lists of skills, activities, etc. on your resume as bulleted lists. This format is easier for the employer to understand, offering quick-and-easy points to read, keeping their interest. This also shows the employer that you can easily organize and state information in a professional efficient manner.
Thoughts on using pre-designed templates from Microsoft Word, etc... While this is a nice feature, it is used by many others and potential employees across the U.S.. Given this, employers see this format used many times, and your resume will not stand-out. To address this, I altered the design of your resume to resemble a more individualized look. Please let me know what you think. (You can also view the multiple samples we have on our website at the link I mentioned later in this message)
** IMPORTANT **
Your resume serves as a writing example, an example of how you organize and interpret information and an example of how effectively you can communicate to an employer. When an employer is reading your resume, you will not be there to explain all of the information included, therefore, it is very important that you view your resume as objectively as possible.
This means that you should write your resume so that any employer who reads it, completely understands the information and points you are attempting to make with the information you have provided. Look at your resume as if you were an employer who knows nothing about you. Would you understand what was being conveyed on the resume? That is why it is so important to have a professional resume completed to the best of your ability.