Your resume is your marketing tool for the employer and is your ticket to the interview. Without a good, strong resume you'll have a hard time getting in front of an employer to talk about your qualifications for the job.
Resumes come in different styles and formats. And there are many right ways and many wrong ways to write a resume. The Texas State Technical College (TSTC) Career Services offices recommend the following for building a strong resume.
Your contact information should be at the very top of your resume so that employers will know whose resume they're looking at and how to contact you.
- Make your name larger across the top of your resume so that it stands out from everything else (18 - 24 pitch).
- Use current address information and phone numbers.
- Do you have an email that has your name in it? If not, we recommend you get one. It looks more professional and the employer will always know who they're getting an email from.
Summary of Qualifications (Professional Summary)
Much like a synopsis for a book, your Summary of Qualifications or Professional Summary is a brief introduction about what is on the rest of your resume. Your summary will combine what position you are seeking with an overview of your qualifications. Your summary should be three to five sentences long highlighting your best qualities.
- Be sure to include that you are/will be a recent graduate of TSTC.
- Highlight any work experience related to the job you're seeking.
- Talk about one of your recent accomplishments related to work or school.
- Are you bilingual? Today, knowing a second language is a valuable quality.
- List any special memberships or honors related to work or school.
At TSTC we are all about skills, and you need to show them off! Your strong list of skills is what makes you stand out from other jobseekers out there.
- List skills related to the field of work your interested in.
- Stick to using keywords rather than long phrases.
- Include names of classes that are related to your program.
- Don't include general education courses.
- Include names of equipment and software you've used.
- List any certifications you've earned.
- Try to use current terminology related to the industry.
You have the skills to do the job and your degree is proof of it. Your education section should only list colleges you're currently attending or colleges where you've actually earned a degree. If you can't provide a graduation year or expected graduation year then you don't need to include it. You're a college graduate or soon to be a graduate, so your high school information isn't necessary.
- When listing your education, include: your degree, your program or major, the year or expected year of graduation, the college name, city and state
- If your overall GPA (grade point average) or major GPA is a 3.5 or higher, be sure to let employers know underneath your college information.
Your work history, whether it's related to the job you're seeking or not, is important to the employer. When they're reading through your work history, they're looking for any related skills or transferable skills (skills that are relevant in an job like organization, time management, communication, etc.).
- Your work history should include your position, years worked (not specific dates), the company name, city and state.
- List three to four responsibilities and/or accomplishments for each job you list.
- Be sure to give details about what you did at previous jobs.
- If you have notable accomplishments, highlight those as well! Employers like to see what you've done to make you stand out as an employee at any job.
- Work from your most recent job back and only list jobs over the last three to five years.
- If you've only had one job in that time, list the last two to three jobs you've had. Employers generally want to know what you've done in the last few years. In the interview you can go into further detail about previous jobs.
If you still have room left on your resume, include any community service or leadership activities you're involved in. You can also highlight any honors or awards you've received. These are important in telling employers more about your character. If you don't have room:
- List the name of the activity/membership and position you held even if it’s just “Member” or "Participant"
- If you have run out of room, try incorporating these in other related areas in your resume (Work History, Education, Summary)