Do’s and Don’ts: Writing a Purposeful Resume

As I was brainstorming topics for today’s blog, I ran across a fantastic article on The author of the article discusses how to write a purposeful resume and addresses some misconceptions new college graduates often have about what information they should and should not include on their resume. Many students believe they should describe the work they did in past jobs and the key is to focus on the future! Employers want to know how you will use your experiences to be an effective employee in their company or organization. The potential employer is interested in how you will perform as a member of their team.

Remember: The key is to write with regard to how you can improve your employer’s future.

DO write detailed bullets –

Write detailed bullets that demonstrate your capability to achieve measurable results. This means to include numbers as often as possible. Don’t just say you tutored students; say how many and by how much their grades improved. Don’t say you were successful; tell us exactly what results you achieved. Don’t just say “increased;” tell us by what percentage. New employers will imply that you can produce similar results for them.

DO consider every job you include –

Think about the purpose and priority of each item on your resume. Is putting every job you have ever had really necessary? It is important to ask yourself this question. Does it matter that you worked as a bartender? Maybe it does, especially if you worked 20 hours/week and still maintained a 3.8 GPA, or if you were the highest-tipped bartender at the establishment. Additionally, bartending successfully shows your ability to multitask and interact with a wide variety of people. These are TRANSFERABLE skills you can bring into to your new job. However, it does not need to take up three lines on your resume, just because it’s what you did. Perhaps you can include it as a short bullet under your “Education” section to show you were doing it while in school full time.

DON’T include high school information –

Delete anything that is irrelevant or of minimal importance to your future. This includes activities you did in high school. High school activities are no longer relevant – you have had 4 years of college to become who you are now. Focus on the activities you have done during your years as a college student. This includes holding offices in professional associations, taking a lead in planning events, actively participating in community service projects, and all other student organization activities.

Your resume is your ticket for getting a job interview, so the content is of utmost importance! Generally speaking, most people aren’t comfortable with “tooting their own horn” – but, your resume is the perfect time to brag on yourself. You MUST tell the employer that you can improve the future of his or her organization!

Author: Audra Perry

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