Career/Graduate School Tip of the Month: Develop a High-Quality Resume or Vita

Want a job as the PF‘s new Senior Investigative Reporter of MAC Hall Flamingo Sightings? Well, first you’ll have to submit an eye-catching resume. In fact, one of the keys to getting your foot in the door when applying for jobs and to making yourself stand out as a graduate school candidate is having a dynamic, polished resume or vita. (Note: A vita or “CV” is similar to a resume, but it is usually longer and focuses on academic-related qualifications. For more, see: CV Information. Realize, however, that for most undergraduates, a resume is going to be the most appropriate document – whether you are applying for a job or for graduate school. Consult with Career Services and/or your advisor if you have questions.)

Our tips for creating and maintaining a great resume or vita include:

  • Do some reading and research! The Career Services site provides great information about how to develop these documents and even provide samples.

  • But…don’t rely too heavily on on-line samples. Your resume or vita should be just that – yours! You do not want employers or schools to view your resume as just another one using a computer program’s template or UWGB’s on-line functional resume sample.

  • Keep a folder of training certificates, honors or accomplishments, major projects for school or work, and other information you might want to include on a resume or vita. Maintain a record of your past employment and volunteer work (e.g., dates, supervisors, responsibilities). Having good records will make the process of developing a resume easier.

  • Don’t be afraid to highlight your accomplishments, but be honest as you represent them.

  • Don’t forget about your skills! A resume should highlight your computer, foreign language, communication, supervisory, research, and other skills.

  • Use action words (e.g., supervised, organized, lead, promoted, implemented) when discussing your qualifications and abilities.

  • Remember that paid employment is not the only way you acquire experience and skills. The transferable skills obtained through volunteer work, internships, and research or teaching assistantships are also valued by employers and graduate schools. These types of experiences can be included with employment information in a “Relevant Experience” category on your resume. They are likely to be a separate category or categories on a vita.

  • Tailor your resume or vita to the specific type of job or graduate program to which you are applying. You may need to have more than one version of this document if, for example, you are applying for human resource positions and jobs in day care centers.

  • Make sure your document is easy to read and visually appealing.

  • Proofread, proofread, proofread!!! Get as many people as possible to look at your resume or vita, and make sure it is perfect. Even one grammatical or spelling error can eliminate you from consideration.

  • Want to learn even more? Attend a “Creating Dynamic Resumes and Cover Letters” workshop (Link to the Career Services Workshop Schedule)!