Building a Resume

Building a Résumé

Why do I need a résumé?

“Your résumé is a summary of your experiences in work and in school. Employers match your résumé against their job openings to evaluate if you’d be a good fit. As such, it’s important to make your résumé a good representation of yourself. It’s your first impression on a future employer, and if done properly, will help you get a foot in the door.” – myfuture.com

Using sample résumés as the building blocks of your résumé can be immensely beneficial when starting a brand new résumé. Check out these example and templates, used by the Department of Animal Sciences as references.

Résumé: Content and Structure

Your first task is to determine which type of résumé format you are going to use. There are three common types of résumés: chronological, functional and a combination chronological-functional.

Chronological: A chronological, experienced-based résumé is the most common and most recommended type of résumé. This format concentrates on your work history by listing experiences in reverse chronological order. You may want to use a chronological résumé format if your most recent experiences support your career objective. This format also works well for individuals whose experiences have increased in responsibility levels. For examples of a chronological résumé, see below:

Functional: A functional skill-based résumé focuses on one’s acquired skills, rather than their places of employment. This format works best for individuals who have little experience in their field of interest, but who possess many transferable skills. A functional format allows an individual to group skills under functional categories and emphasize accomplishments. People often use functional format when attempting to change careers or when just starting out their careers, due to lack of experience in the areas they hope to enter. For examples of a functional résumé,  click here.

Combination Chronological-Functional: A combination format incorporates the best aspects of both a chronological and functional format into one résumé. The strength of this format is that it allows you to provide descriptive information on your work history as well as provide descriptive information of your specific skills. For examples of a combination résumé, click here.

The strength of a good résumé rests on its selection and presentation of basic content. As you organize your résumé, keep in mind the needs of the employer who will be reading it. Consider what he or she is looking for in a candidate and make it easy for the reader to pick out those skills by selecting appropriate categories, using underlining, boldfacing or capitalizing, and presenting relevant experience and skill areas higher on the page.

Descriptive action verbs are especially important in demonstrating the different skills you possess without making a repetitive list. In general, verbs should not be used more than once on your résumé. If you are having trouble coming up with verbs to use to describe your experiences, try this list. There is no absolute correct way to organize your résumé. Professional creativity is encouraged. To find categories for a résumé that can be used as guidelines to assist you in organizing your own résumé, check out this reference. When using the templates, keep in mind that you can delete categories that are not relevant or reorder categories in order of importance for the job that you are applying.

While no “right” or “proper” design for résumé content exists, a few guidelines for résumé format are commonly accepted practices. Following these structural rules for your résumé will help you present a professional impression to prospective employers.

Adding Career Objective to Résumé

Including a career objective on your résumé can serve three functions:

1. Provide you with a reference point in constructing your résumé so that you select only the most important and relevant information about yourself to include in the résumé.

2. Indicate a connection between the type of position you are seeking and the type of position an employer is offering.

3. Assure a prospective employer that you have career goals and direction.

When including an objective statement to your resume, be specific about your goals while tailoring the objective to the job you are applying for. Make sure that you are focused on how you intend to help the organization, not how they will help you.


 [DL1]Make “these examples” a link to templates page

 [DL2]Make “click here” a link to: “Chronological-Resume-Ex.pdf”

 [DL3]Make “click here” a link to: “Functional-Resume-Ex.pdf”

 [DL4]Make “click here” a link to: “Combination-Resume-Ex.pdf”

 [DL5]Make “this list” a link to: “Descriptive-Use-of-Words.pdf”

 [DL6]Make “this reference” a link to: “Resume-Content.pdf”

 [DL7]Make “these structural rules” a link to: “Resume-Guidelines.pdf”