The purpose of your résumé (and also your cover letter) is to set you apart from the rest of the pack. This doesn’t mean that you should write in flashy colors or submit a music video. It does mean that you should tailor the content to fit the specific job you want, and tailor the appearance to fit your own personality. The résumé and cover letter sell the applicant to the company and are supposed to prove your worthiness for the position.
Avoid the MS-Word resume templates — in each class of 25 students, I typically get 5 who use the exact same default template, which tends to squish the text over to the right. I think it’s probably better to have a plain resume than use a complex template without personalizing it and fixing the design flaw. -DGJ
- Résumés — Top 5 Tips
I regularly ask my students to submit résumés early in the semester. Here are tips to resolve the top 5 problems that typically cause stress for my students (and me) during this assignment.
- Résumés — Content
Employers read résumés in order to find evidence that a particular applicant is well qualified for a particular job. Experience, education, training, and personal qualities relevant to the job are all important. The résumé should describe what has led the applicant to where he or she is now.
- Résumés — Presentation
Many employers look for creativity and imagination when the job calls for it. However, it is best to aim for a professional, neat, and organized look for your résumé. If you are applying for a job that requires radical creativity, you can always include a portfolio of your wildest, most unbusinesslike work!
- Cover Letter — Top 5 Tips
A detailed résumé is only part of the game plan. You can’t simply say “I am a good match” — you have to prove it. Your cover letter should emphasize why your experiences and attributes make you a good match for the job.
Fall, 1999 — first posted by Erin Vanden Wymelenberg
15 Jan 2000 — modified and reorganized (DGJ)
24 Apr 2015 — minor updates