Information on Technical Communication

 Reader Analysis
 Formal Report
 Analytical Report
 Typograhy Hints
 Instruction Basics
 Memo Format
 Oral Report
 Progress Reports
 Letter of Application
 Simple HTML

Resume Help and Hints

Remember your goal. You create a resume to get an interview, not a job. So you don’t have to tell the company everything about yourself, you just have to show that:

• you meet the job’s basic listed requirements

• you also have something special to offer

When the potential employer reads your resume, you want him/her to be able to summarize it as follows:

This person looks like the fully qualified (EE, ME, CE, accountant, computer scientist) we are looking for, and he/she will also be useful to us because his/her resume shows evidence of some other skill that we can use (speaking Spanish, being a proven leader, communicating well, being able to use a software package we use). So we should interview him/her, get transcripts, contact the people on his/her list of references.

2. Even if you live on campus, include a home address. Readers like to know where you are from.

3. Never include a nickname (i.e., Joseph E. "Bud" James)

4. Opinion is mixed on the need for a "Job Objective" section.

Many people argue that the writer either wastes several lines saying the obvious:

( i.e., "Objective: to obtain a position that uses my engineering skills to contribute to profitability of manufacturing") or unnecessarily limits the job prospects: (i.e., "Objective: a challenging position in international audit")

Everyone agrees that if you do list a job objective, focus it on the potential employer’s needs, not your own. (i.e., Never say "Objective: to gain a position that provides me with significant training in CAD.")

5. In most cases, the "Education" section should focus on college education.

But there are exceptions; if your high school experience includes the only illustration of some truly outstanding quality that might make you a better job candidate (National Merit Scholar, president of the student body, etc.), list the high school and the achievement.

6. To expand the "Education," section, list courses, certificates, or minors that differentiate you from others in your major, (i.e., : a graduate course in your major, an accounting course if you are an engineer or scientist, a sequence of technical communications courses, a sequence of language courses, a semester of course work in another country, etc.).

Do not list the courses that your reader assumes you that took. (If you are an EE, everybody will know that you took Circuits. All college graduates have taken English and history.)

7. As a general rule, list your GPA only if it is 3.0 or above. As an alternative, you might list "GPA in major" if it is 3.0 or above.

8. The "Work Experience" section lists each job you have had during college, including co-op, summer, and part time. Unless you’re careful, this section will fill with large amounts of irrelevant information. Remember that potential employers read it looking for just three factors. Include data that addresses these factors; omit everything that doesn’t. The factors are:

• relevant experience

If you have had any that used either skills in your major or indicates general business skills (supervising, scheduling, purchasing, writing, public speaking, selling) describe it.

• how you spent your time

How many hours did you work during the school year? Did you work in the summer? Did you work on weekends?

• indications that you performed well

Did you stay with the same company and get ever more responsible jobs? Did you move from one company to another, always to positions that paid more money, offered more opportunity to use your education, carried more responsibility?

9. The "Other Relevant Information" section contains information that does not fit anywhere else but shows you to be a good job candidate. Such information includes:

• clubs or activities that you have been part of for a number of years and/or you have held office in. (Employers want to know if you get along with and are respected by your peers) So "French Club" tells an employer nothing, but "French Club 2,3,4, Vice President 4" tells a great deal.

• travel, living experiences, or activities that show that you can function in a multi-cultural environment. "lived in Costa Rica 1994-96, fluent Spanish"

• computer skills, especially when there is evidence to support them "volunteer computer lab tutor for UNIX, C++ 1998-99"

Do not include:

• physical description (height, weight, health, etc.)

• religious or political affiliation ( a sign that you confuse your private and work lives)

• hobbies and interests (unless they have immediate relevance to the job)

10. Sometimes it is useful to have multiple resumes, each with different content or phrasing that matches a particular situation. The most common situations are as follows:

• the on-campus interview.

In this case, your resume should show that you meet the job requirements but offer something in addition. Ideally, it introduces a number of things you can talk about.

• the response to an ad.

In some cases these ads only ask for resume and not a letter of application. In these cases your resume should echo the categories and key terms from the ad.

• the resume and letter to a company without advertised openings.

In these cases, you research the company and refine your resume to speak to the company’s immediate needs. The library reference librarians will show you how to check out the company. Try to find out what the ideal new employee would look like. Are they working on processes and products that you understand from courses or job experience? Do they appear to need employees with language skills, unusual computer skills, who are comfortable in multi-cultural environments, have unusual communications skills? Look for places where your unique abilities match what seem to be their needs. When making a cold approach, attach a letter of application to your resume. Devote a paragraph of the letter to each of two points you most want to emphasize.

• the resume to a search firm.

These firms generally scan resumes into a data base, then use key words to search the database to find suitable applicants for a particular job. In this case, make sure that your resume contains all of the key terms appropriate for the job you are looking for.