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Résumé Checkup

Once you have written your résumé, have it reviewed and critiqued by a career advisor. You can also take the following steps to ensure quality:

  • Use 8 1/2" by 11" white or off-white cotton fiber paper.
  • Print on one side of the paper.
  • Use a font size of 10 to 14 points; one that is basic, easy to read and professional (Arial, Times New Roman, etc.)
  • Use bold very judiciously (i.e., your name, section titles, very important information). If you highlight too much, it is as bad as not highlighting at all.
  • Use bullets to organize listed items. They look more professional than asterisks.
  • Avoid italics, script, and underlined words.
  • Do not use horizontal or vertical lines, graphics, or shading.
  • Do not fold your resume - if you must mail it, use an envelope large enough to accommodate it unfolded.
  • Be sure to proofread and spell check your document. Grammatical errors or incorrect word usage are sure to hinder any chance of receiving an interview invitation. A resume is also a documentation of your written communication. Make sure that it is error-free.

After you have eliminated basic spelling and grammatical errors, ask several people to critique your résumé for you. Be sure to ask people knowledgeable in regard to résumé writing and you trust to give you honest opinions. Do not ask them leading questions such as: "Isn't this a good résumé?" Give them a good basis for comments by asking "Could you look for any errors in this?" or "Does this look well organized and is it easy to follow?" If they offer criticism or comments take them in stride and, if appropriate, use them to improve the document.

Once you are pleased with your document, hand it to a friend who has never seen it. Take it from them after 20 seconds. If they didn't notice your strong points, you will want to reformat.

The final step is to determine your distribution method. How you submit your document may alter the format. If you will be submitting it electronically or to a company that scans résumés into a database, please visit the Office of Career Planning and Placement for special instructions on how to effectively write and format it. Check with employers to determine acceptable formatting for their specific résumé system. You will want to include a well written cover letter when you submit your résumé for consideration.

What Employers Want

Employers say that job candidates who have excellent communication skills, good grooming habits, and relevant work experience impress them. They want trustworthy new hires who can move right in, get along with their co-workers, and get the job done without having to have their hand held.

Top 9 Qualities Employers Seek in New Hires:

  1. Interpersonal skills - gets along well with others, listens
  2. Teamwork
  3. Verbal communication - including presentations
  4. Analytical skills
  5. Relevant computer skills
  6. Strong writing skills
  7. Leadership
  8. Work ethic and commitment
  9. Solid understanding of the field

Make connections between these qualities and your skills within your résumé by using Action Words .

Additional assistance with résumé creation is available in our Online Tutorials!