The purpose of a resume is to motivate an employer to contact you to schedule an interview. To make that happen your resume must reflect how your education and experiences fit, and exceed, the requirements for the position. Another way to think of the resume is as a marketing tool that communicates on paper the value you will bring to the employer. Resumes do not secure the job, they secure the interview.
Resumes are an opportunity to promote yourself as a good fit for the position. It should not detail your life story. However, it should not be so short or vague that an employer has no idea about who you are. It needs to highlight your skills and experiences which are relevant to the position. It is a good idea to make several versions of your resume to tailor them to the positions which you apply. With resumes, one size does not fit all but there are certainly guidelines we all should consider.
If you haven't written a resume before Optimal Resume
is great place to start. You can login using your KU online ID and password. If you have a resume and just need a critique, you can schedule a resume review with a UCC staff member by calling 785-864-3624. You can also submit your resume online through the Resume Dropbox
for an electronic review; a UCC staff member will email you feedback within 1-2 business days.
The “3 C’s of Resumes”
Make sure your resume addresses the qualifications required for the position you seek. It is very important that you tailor your resume for each position you pursue.
Standard length is typically one page for recent graduates or sales professionals but there are exceptions for professionals with an abundance of experience or in fields such as teaching.
Make sure your resume is neat and easy to read. For instance:
- Stick to traditional fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, Georgia
- Use an 11 or 12pt font, certainly nothing smaller than 10pt
- Highlight achievements and skill sets with bulleted statements beginning with action verbs
- Set headings, position titles, locations, etc., apart by consistently using bolding/italics throughout your resume
- Avoid abbreviations
Employers spend 30 seconds or less on their initial scan of your resume. Consequently, you need to catch their attention quickly. Be sure to put the most important, most appealing information toward the top of your resume. Also make sure that you quantify wherever possible. Stating you were treasurer with responsibility for a $500,000 budget is much more impressive than stating that you were treasurer without explanation.
Your resume is a reflection of you and what you want to become. Spend time developing an exceptional resume. Your preparations will not only result in an amazing resume but a clearer career direction, a targeted and strategic job search and improved interviewing skill.
For more detailed information about resumes, download the “Resumes, References, and Cover Letters” guide or take advantage of the videos on resumes from the UCC staff and Career TV. In addition, you can utilize the online tool Optimal Resume
, a self-directed resume development tool or meet in person with a Career Coach by scheduling an appointment at the University Career Center.