Strengthening Your Resume
The strongest resumes are crafted with care and include a "Summary of Qualifications" section which is customized for each position for which you are applying.
Summary of Qualifications
At the top of your resume, under your name and contact information, the first section should be titled "Summary of Qualifications" or "Professional Summary." Under this heading, craft a summary of your relevant skills, experience, knowledge, and education that directly addresses the job responsibilities and qualifications as outlined in the job posting. In most cases this can be accomplished in one or two short paragraphs.
This section should establish not only that you meet the minimum qualifications specified in the job posting, but that you have highly relevant experience and knowledge – that you are a strong "fit!" Crafting a strong Summary of Qualifications takes a bit of work. Start by carefully reading the Job Posting. What are the key responsibilities of the job? Minimum qualifications? Preferred qualifications?
Now assess your employment history, educational background, knowledge, and skills. Include in your Summary of Qualifications everything that you "bring to the table" that directly addresses the hiring department’s needs for the position. The focus should be on how you can step in and quickly meet the pressing needs of the hiring department, and not on yourself or how the position fits in with your career goals. Be honest, concise, and direct.
The Employment History section provides an opportunity to expand on your relevant work experience. List your jobs in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. Beyond basic details such as Job Title, Company Name, and Dates of Employment, take care to include any duties and responsibilities that directly relate to the position for which you are applying. Emphasize those activities and responsibilities that relate, and downplay or omit any that do not relate.
Summarize your educational background, including any post-High School degrees attained, major(s), and the names of educational institutions attended. Including your graduation date(s) and GPA is discretionary. When listing educational degree(s), list only those for which you have been awarded the credential. If the credential is pending, you may state "expected graduation, (date)."
Computer or Technical Skills
This section is optional, depending on the requirements of the position. If a particular position requires a strong background in a number of computer software programs, for example, it may be advantageous to list them in a separate "Computer Skills" section.
Do not include personal information such as date of birth, marital status, number of children, etc. As a general rule, personal information that does not relate to the position requirements should not be included on your resume. Do not include a picture of yourself.
Unless requested in the Job Posting, do not include references, or the statement "References Available upon Request" on your resume. Reference information should be submitted with your online Job Application.
When formatting your resume, use graphic design elements sparingly if at all, as they can sometimes be distracting. A simple format is best.
Use a standard type font, such as Ariel or Times New Roman. The body of the resume text should be in a 10-12 point type font.
For most staff positions, a 1-2 page resume is most effective.
Cover letters are optional. If you wish to submit a cover letter, include it as part of your resume. A strong Summary of Qualifications may effectively serve the same purpose as a cover letter.
Be sure to run spell check and have at least one other person proofread your resume to identify any grammatical or typographical errors.