Your resume is your marketing tool that provides an overview of your qualifications for a potential position. It summarizes your education, employment experiences and accomplishments. Employers use resumes to screen applicants to determine which candidates meet the requirements for the position and have conveyed the greatest potential for success within their organization.
Where do I begin?
The First Step: Self Assessment
Your resume is a reflection of your experiences and professionalism. Start by compiling a list of your experiences including internships, part-time and full-time jobs, volunteer work, significant course work, research, activities and projects. Assess each experience and note accomplishments and skills.
Tip: Start by reviewing past resumes, files, certificates, date books and transcripts.
The Second Step: Writing
Once you have completed the first step, it is time to put all of your experience together on paper. An effective strategy follows three steps:
- Start with everything: Despite the length, include each position, organization, location, employment dates and accomplishment/skills statements. Save this draft as a “running resume” so you may refer to it when trying to remember all of your experiences.
- Pare down to the essentials: Create a draft that only includes information that is specific to the position in which you are applying.
- Final edit: Proofread your resume for grammar and structure.
The Third Step: Critique & Revise
Always have your resume reviewed by trusted advisors, professors, professionals and/or the Career Services Center staff. They typically provide very helpful feedback. Remember, if you ask ten people, you might get ten opinions. You will need to determine what advice is best for you in your specific situation. Every draft should be proofed for grammar, style, content and structure.
A cover letter is a professional business letter which accompanies your resume any time you apply for a position with a potential employer. The only time a cover letter does not accompany a resume is when you attend a job fair or you are bringing your resume to an interview. A cover letter introduces you to an employer and includes your qualifications for a position.
The cover letter serves several important functions:
- Explains why you are submitting the resume.
- Introduces you to the employer.
- Serves as a vehicle for you to “sell yourself” more effectively to the employer. It is a key factor in creating interest in you as a candidate.
- Resume Writing Guides and Cover Letter Guides prepared by the CSC are available for the benefit of current students in myAU (Handbooks & Guides page) and available to alumni in the AU Career Connect Resource Library (log in, then click "Resource Library" in the far left-hand column).
- Books in Resource Room Library