Components of a Resume

Contact Information

Activities

Job Objective

Special Skills

Education

Personal Interests

Honors/Awards

References

Experience

 

Contact Information
Every resume must include your name, address, and a phone number where you can be reached. It is also recommended that you include an email address and even a URL (if you have your own web page and it is related to the job you are seeking). It is helpful to include two addresses if you are in transition between school and a more permanent address, such as your parents home. Make it as easy as possible for a potential employer to reach you!

Examples:
Heather L. Hartwick
Current Address: Hartwick College, Box 123, Oneonta, NY 13820, 607-431-7900
Permanent Address: 833 Baldwin Road, Williamstown, MA 01267, 413-123-1234
Email: hartwickh@hartwick.edu

or

Harry Hartwick
833 Baldwin Road - Williamstown, MA 01267 - (413) 458-9654 - hartwickh@hartwick.edu

Job Objective (Optional)
The objective is a short sentence telling an employer the kind of work you are looking for. It should be clear, focused, and yet, not limiting. Unless a job objective gives an employer a clear impression of the type of position you are seeking, it may be best to explain your objective in a cover letter. In doing this, you can target the objective to the position you are applying for. However, there is little doubt that most employers prefer a carefully worded, targeted job objective. Examples:

To secure a position as a computer programmer, analyzer, or designer.

A management training position in a business environment which will utilize my analytical skills and economics background.

Seeking an entry level position in public relations.

Education
It is common practice for recent college graduates to start their resumes with an education section. Like many other resume writing rules, there is nothing set in concrete which dictates that education must come first. It just works out best for many students to highlight academic accomplishments at the outset to catch an employer's eye. Include college(s) attended, degrees and dates awarded, major(s), minor(s), and academic accomplishments. Examples of items that can be included in the education section:

  • GPA (although there is no magic cut-off point, you may not want to emphasize anything under a 3.0; consider highlighting your GPA in your major if that is higher than your overall)
  • Senior Thesis Title
  • Study Abroad (can have its own section)
  • Honors/Awards (can have its own section)
  • Coursework (only if they are relevant to the position you are applying for)
  • High School (generally, you won't include high school information, unless you had a major or unique accomplishment that is relevant).

Examples:
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, May 2001
Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY
GPA (in Major): 3.6/4.0
Minor in French
Off-Campus Study Quebec City: Exposed to computer, cartography, surveying; Conversed in French

or

Bachelor of Science, Biology, May 2001
Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY
GPA (overall): 3.0/4.0
Senior Thesis: "Embryonic Developmental Differences of Precocial and Altrical Birds"

or

Bachelor of Arts in Management, May 2001
Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY
GPA (major): 3.4/4.0, GPA (overall): 3.2/4.0
Relevant Coursework: Accounting I & II; Team-based computer simulations in the following areas--Management & Organization, Marketing, Strategy, Production & Operation, Human Resource Management, Finance, and Multinational Business

Honors and Awards
Students who have received numerous honors and awards tend to list everything on their resume. It is better, however, to select honors and awards which present a composite picture of your strengths than to list all of your triumphs.

Experience
Experience sections will vary considerably from resume to resume, however, some key elements that should be included are: position title, employer, city, state, dates, and description of responsibilities, skills gained and/or accomplishments.

Here are some common questions student have regarding the experience section...

  1. How far back should I go in terms of listing past jobs?
    Usually listing 3 or 4 jobs should suffice. If you did something back in high school which has a bearing on your future aspirations for employment, list the job. For the most part, though, high school jobs can be eliminated in place of college employment.
  2. Should I differentiate between paid and non-paid employment?
    Most employers are not as concerned about what you were paid as they are about how much responsibility you held and what you accomplished, so it is quite appropriate to place your internship(s) under this section. You could also place college activities under this section, particularly if you had a leadership or a management role.
  3. What should I do about all of those odd jobs which indicate my willingness to work hard?
    Again, assess the skills that you gained in those jobs and how they might relate to the position for which you are applying. It may not be necessary to list all jobs. Some students elect to lump together a variety of jobs in a summary statement that suggests that you have worked steadily throughout college. For example:

    Jobs that helped finance my college education:
    - Construction Worker, B.C. Builders, Sidney, New York
    - Bus Boy, Tug Boat Inn; Boothbay Harbor, Maine
  4. Should the Experience section always follow Education section on the resume?
    Lead with your strengths! If your past work closely relates to the employment you now seek, by all means push the experience section to the top of your resume. Similarly, if you are weak on the academic side but have a surplus of good work experiences, consider reversing the order of your presentation to lead with work.
  5. How should I present my accomplishments or work-related responsibilities?
    Be sure to convey any information that can give an employer a better understanding of the depth of your involvement at work. Did you supervise others? How many? Were you responsible for certain projects? Did you gain skills that are appropriate to the employer? Were you promoted? Did you work there for several years? Did you work two jobs at once? Where appropriate, quantify and don't be concerned with complete sentences. Write your statements in quick phrases that begin with action verbs.
    For example:
    - Designed and wrote a handbook explaining the hospital's volunteer program
    - Recruited student volunteers by visiting junior and senior high schools

Examples:
COUNSELING EXPERIENCE
Counseling Intern, Oneonta Job Corps, Oneonta, NY, Fall 2000
-Worked with inner-city youth to help them establish goals for themselves
-Provided positive problem-solving methods, assistance with schoolwork, moral support
-Observed psychological evaluations in progress and how therapy sessions are conducted

Leadership Experience
Judicial Board Member, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY 1999-present

-Made decisions concerning violations of Hartwick College policy
President, Phi Sigma Phi Sorority, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY, 2001
-Ran Executive Council and Chapter meetings
-Cooperated with advisors, community leaders, and neighbors
-Met and maintained all city, town, and college relations
Representative, Political Science Department, Spring 2000
-Spoke to over 100 prospective students and parents about the Department

Activities
For some, a listing of activities may take precedence over work or education. The placement of this category on your resume depends upon how much you wish to trumpet your extracurricular activities versus your other endeavors. Dates often aren't as vital in this section as they are under the work heading. *Note: Mere membership in an organization is not always noteworthy, so be selective about the memberships you list. Keep asking yourself "What you are trying to convey to a prospective employer? Do the activities in any way stress my strengths in relation to my job target?"

Special Skills
Consider highlighting specific skills (computer, language, laboratory, etc.). A "Special Skills" section is especially good if you know your resume will be scanned--the scanning systems will pick up such expertise and your resume will have a better chance of being selected for a job involving those skills.

Personal Interests/Attributes (Optional)
A personal interests section is just that personal. If you have not found a convenient place to convey your love for backpacking or maybe your many trips abroad, this would be the place to do so. Try to be specific, instead of listing reading or music, consider putting down "enjoy Civil War Novels" or "jazz music." Do not include birth date, health information and marital status. They are considered inappropriate.

References
Do not list any references on your resume--they belong on a separate page. You may however include something like, "References available upon request." This is a standard tag line, which has lost much of its meaning. However, it is important to have references available from internship or employment supervisors or faculty members when requested by employers and graduate schools.