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Western Kentucky University


Why Do Resumes Matter?

The way in which we write resumes is starting to evolve. They are less like a professional profile, more like a professional marketing tool – and your expertise is the commodity.

A resume is your education, experience, skills, and accomplishments outlined for a prospective employer. Resumes are normally the first impression you are making on an employer. More so, the information on your resume should support the similarities between yourself and the candidate they are seeking.

Check out this infographic to see what employers recently said.

Here's Some Tips

  • Short and sweet. Resumes are clear, concise, and free of errors. The entries are written in scannable chunks, expressing relevant experience in action phrases alongside resultant skills and substantiating accomplishments
  • Every line should pull some serious weight. Be brief while being descriptive. Use keywords to highlight the essential qualifications you possess. Translate experience into skills and outcomes.
  • Flaunt community service and extracurricular activities. Every college graduate received a diploma. What else did you do in college to set you apart from your competitors? What have you done since college?
  • Customize your resume for each position. Your resume should assert that you are the best candidate for the position. Research the position and the organization. Consider the persona you are projecting. 
  • Exaggerating your abilities tarnishes your integrity. Anything you include on your resume, you should be prepared to elaborate on. Focus on the marketable skills you possess that the employer desires.
  • Provide your online presence. The use of the Internet and social media is now important in almost every profession. First, consider the professionalism of your online presence. Then, include anything that may be relevant and demonstrates your work, as well as your individuality, such as a blog or website.
  • Recognize the modernization of resumes. This is also known as a graphic resume. They are not widespread, but they could be especially beneficial under appropriate circumstances. 

Section Breakdown

  • Objective - a declarative statement informing employer what type of position you are seeking 
  • Education - list university, major, minor, (expected) graduation date, and GPA, if it is above a 3.2
  • Skills – list any technical skills, languages you speak, or systems/programs that you are proficient in
  • Certifications – any kind of professional training or certification that is job related should be listed here
  • Work experience – list previous work experiences. Try and think of unique ways to phrase your experience and add any kind of statistics that you can. EX: Instead of saying "Server at Oliver Garden, bussed tables, took orders, refilled drinks, and served pasta". The employer more than likely knows what servers do at Olive Garden. Try something like this, "Server at Olive Garden, trained new employees, chosen to assist manager 3 months after starting, up-sold beverage sales by 14% in July 2012". 
  • Activities/Community Service – List any activities, organizations or clubs that you are in. Be sure to list if you have any leadership roles and how long you have been in the organization. After your freshman year of college, high school activities are no longer valid. 
  • Honors/Awards – This is where you should list any awards or academic achievements with a brief description if you are not able to tell by the name. EX: "Recipient of Robin S. Lee Scholarship, awarded to students who have a GPA higher than 3.75 and exhibit outstanding leadership." 
  • References – Note "References Available Upon Request" at the bottom of the resume. You should still have a separate word document that has at least 3 references listed with name, phone number, title, relationship, and best time to reach them. Always consult with that individual to confirm that you may provide their information as a reference.


Would You Write a Cover Letter?

To Whom It May Concern: You Should. 

A cover letter can set you apart from all the other applicants, even more so than your resume. In a few brief paragraphs, ask yourself and answer the following questions: 

  • How you heard about this opportunity? This comes from reading a job posting, conversing with an associate, or admiring endeavors of the organization. You could include what about the opportunity interests you. 
  • Why you are the best fit for this position? Now, you get to really sell yourself. Present why you are best for this position. Elaborate on the information provided in your resume. Focus on the outcomes, examples, and details of your experience. 
  • What action do you hope comes from this interaction? The purpose of this process is to acquire further contact. Provide some contact information, and then encourage further interaction by asking for an interview or by maintaining that you will follow-up.


Write a Draft and Let Us Review It

It is a FREE service we offer at our MASH desk for students and alumni. 

  • Walk in appointments are welcome by coming to DSU 2001. 
  • If you'd prefer to make an appointment, you may do so by calling 270-745-3095.  
  • You are welcome to email your resumes to Critiques are usually completed within 48 business hours.

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 Last Modified 9/21/15