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Revising Your Resume

Read the job descriptions and think about where your education, skills, and abilities match what the employer wants. The strongest resumes match your skills with what the employer also wants.

So… Where to begin?

First, determine your focus. Know what the employer wants. Read job descriptions and make sure your skills match those required. What do you most want to convey to the employer? Your work experience? Your academic achievements? Technical expertise? After deciding your focus, then begin revising your resume.

1) Old Information:

Correct any old information: address, name, phone numbers, dates of experience, dates of graduation, etc.

2) Objective:
Avoid objectives that are too general. You can use the title of the position you are applying for.
Consider using “keywords” as an alternative to an objective. For example, “Marketing or Promotion or Public Relations.”

3) Education:
Your degree and major have priority.
EXAMPLES:
Master of Arts, Rehabilitation Counseling, Gallaudet University, Washington DC, May 1995 Bachelor of Arts/Science, Chemistry, Gallaudet University, Washington DC, May 1999
Omit High School Information Add cumulative GPA if over 3.0
Omit the “Related Courses” section. Because of this, with a BA or MA degree, employers assume you have taken these.

4) Experience:
Describe your work experience (current/former jobs, internships, and volunteer positions) in ways that show you have some or all of the skills required for the position you are seeking. Use action verbs!
Use phrases instead of sentences to reduce wordiness.
Consider including a summary section to highlight your key skills and abilities.
Omit old work experience that does not relate to your current objective, or establish a section called “Other Work Experience”.

5) Activities:
Select activities that support your objective, and that show a well-rounded background.
Include membership in related professional organizations.
Add information on certifications, publications, or professionally related presentations.

6) Format:
Choose a format that emphasizes your skills, abilities, and experience in the best way (collect ideas from resume books).
Your objective, education, and experience sections should complement each other and relate to the position. Avoid large unemployment “gaps” that are not covered by years of education.
Remember “less is more” do not cram a lot of information on one page. Space on the page makes the resume more readable.
Keep your resume to one page unless:

  • you have omitted information or changed format as much as possible, and still cannot keep to one page;
  • after revising, you have a half page or more of information for a second page;
  • your career field accepts longer resumes. (Business areas tend to expect one page, whereas education/social services may accept longer resumes.) Research your career area to be sure.
  • Choose no more than two fonts (typefaces) that are easy to read.
  • Each section should be easy to understand when read quickly.

CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK FOR GRAMMAR, SPELLING, AND TYPING MISTAKES

Developed by the Office for Career Education & Professional Development (Office for Career Success)

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