Resume Writing

Format and design
In addition to posting your résumé in your portfolio as its own Web page, it’s a good idea to have both a traditional print résumé (as a Microsoft Word document) and a scannable résumé (also as a Microsoft Word document) for potential employers. The print résumé should look good and be easy to read. Carefully consider the fonts (style and size), formatting (bold and italics), margin size, and text spacing (single and double) for your résumé. Scannable résumés are best for job databases in which keywords, not design, are vital. Therefore, use one font and don’t format anything in bold, italics, bullets, etc. For your portfolio résumé Web page, a traditional design would look best.

Organization
There are many ways to organize a résumé. For example, you might choose a chronological setup, presenting the most recent information to the earliest. Another option is to arrange your résumé according to function, providing a list of experiences in a non-chronological fashion. Finally, a targeted résumé states a specific goal up front and provides information specific to that goal. Some résumés use a combination of these strategies. To choose the best layout, consider the purpose of and audience for your résumé. Use the following questions and tips, modified from the résumé chapter in the Norton Field Guide to Writing, Third Edition, to organize your portfolio résumé:

  • What is your objective? Are you looking for a particular job for which you should create a targeted résumé? Are you preparing a generic chronological résumé to use in a search for any kind of work?
  • How do you want to present yourself? Think about which form of organization works best for the details you wish to include in your résumé. Standard information includes contact address, phone numbers, and e-mail; educational background; work experience; community service or volunteer activities; and any other relevant activities.
  • Who are your references? References can be included either on the résumé or you can offer to provide them on request. Either way, ask people to be references prior to submitting your résumé.
  • Basic resume outline is:
    • Name and Contact Information on top (E-mail address only for the Web version; address, phone number, and e-mail address for print and scannable résumés)
    • Education experience (Can be transposed with work experience)
    • Work experience (Can be transposed with education experience)
    • Additional information
    • References

Concision
Your portfolio résumé should be no longer than one page. Consider the following points, modified from the résumé chapter in the Norton Field Guide to Writing, Third Edition, to decide the best words to promote your abilities:

  • What kinds of words do you need to use? A print résumé uses action verbs such as “instructed” and “produced” so that emphasis is placed on accomplishments. Scannable résumés use nouns like “instructor” and “producer” so that such phrases can be used as keywords in a database. When possible, use keywords that appear in a job ad.
  • Examples of action verbs, courtesy of Wake Forest University’s Career and Professional Development Center.
  • Edit and proofread your résumé carefully.