Warning: This page will not be as entertaining as many of the other pages are. Résumés are serious business, no joke.

Résumés are an essential part of life. They pretty much represent the type of person you are - the jobs you hold or have held, how long you've worked there, your experience, your education ... résumés are your entire life on two pages (a résumé should never be more than two pages long).

Be sure to include these things on your résumé

Education- state your most recently completed education. Include the school name (if it's not well known, also name the city and state), your graduation date, your up-to-date GPA, and your major (if applicable).

Work Experience- list it in order from most recent to the least. Include the full name of the company, the city and state of its location, the time period in which you were employed, your most recent title, and a brief description of your job duties.

Affiliations (if applicable)- if you are a recent college graduate who held relevant affiliations or offices, they might be valuable to include in your résumé. For example, if you are applying for an accounting position and you were the Treasurer of a club with a substantial budget, that experience could be helpful in attaining the position.

Accomplishments (if applicable)- Include awards or certificates that you may have received that are relevant to the job application, also any scholarships that you may have been awarded in school.

Skills- List any relevant skills you have acquired. For example, computer skills (Quark, Photoshop, HTML, etc.), AP Style, Design skills, etc.

Volunteer Work- This is relevant if your other information does not fill the résumé, or the job you are applying for would be particularly interested in a certain area you volunteered.


Seven Things to Know Before...

Writing Your First Résumé

Creating your first résumé is a vital step in launching your career. The process may seem daunting. You have to put all your best qualities on paper, make yourself look more attractive than the next person and completely sell yourself, all on an 8 1/2 X 11 –inch sheet of paper.

“You have only a few seconds to snag the employer’s attention,” writes Seattle base career coach Robin Ryan in “Winning Résumés.” “You must sell the employer within 15 seconds of looking at your résumé, or you’ll lose the job.” Here are seven tips to help you catch an employer’s attention.

1. Start with the basics.
It sounds obvious, but your résumé must include your name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Be mindful of the address you include. College students, in particular, tend to move often, so include a permanent address, such as your parent's address. Take care with your e-mail address too. "Make your user ID related to your name, not any nickname attributions," says Ryan. If you want to appear professional to an employer, a user ID like "sexylegs2000" will not work. If your personal e-mail address is not appropriate, set up a new account just for job searches.

2. Include an objective and summary of skills.
These sections come right after your personal information and, for a first-time job seeker, should be concise.

For example:
Objective: Editing Position
Summary of Skills: Excellent writer proficient in copyediting and familiar with AP style. Extremely organized, with ample experience meeting deadlines and working in high-pressure situations.
Your "summary of skills" should highlight experiences and qualifications that the employer is seeking. Remember, says Ryan, "a résumé is not about what you want. It's about what you offer an employer."

3. Choose the right résumé style.
There are three basic types of résumés: chronological, functional and combination. Chronological résumés focus on work experience, and list professional experience in order from most to least recent. Functional résumés concentrate more on skills. A combination style works well for first-time job seekers. You can point out professional experience, but also draw more attention to your skills, since your work experience is probably limited. Ryan suggests that first-time résumé writers divide their résumé into these categories: work experience, academic experience, community service and extracurricular activities.

4. Brainstorm your experience and skills.
While you may be struggling to think of pertinent work experience, Ryan says that you have more than you realize. For example, if you have worked in a retail operation, your skills and qualifications include customer service skills, dependability, accountability, the ability to work as a part of a team, and experience in managing money. Were you a full-time summer babysitter? This means you coordinated schedules, handled finances and were extremely responsible. Many skills learned in part-time positions are quite relevant to the corporate world. Don't underestimate the skills you have gained.

5. Your academic and volunteer experience is relevant.
Don't think that your schooling means nothing to an employer. Your computer skills will be particularly attractive and should be highlighted. You can also demonstrate your aptitude and strengths by project-specific examples of class work you have done. For example, if you were a journalism major in college, tell the employer about major articles you wrote and the legwork you did to complete those projects. Also consider your volunteer and extracurricular experience. If you held an officer position in a club or fraternity/sorority, were an athlete, volunteered or took a leadership role in any other extracurricular organization, you have valuable experience to list.

6. Know the cardinal rules of résumé writing.
First, use strong action verbs and leave out the word "I." Words like "created," "developed," "organized," "motivated," and "produced" all say much more than "did." Next, remember that your résumé should not be more than one page when you first leave college. And, finally, never send a résumé without proper proofreading.

7. Never, ever lie.
So you were just two courses short of your college degree and think the company won't figure out that you didn't actually graduate? Think again. If you lie on your résumé, you will be caught. Don't misrepresent your past – it will come back to haunt you.

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Allison Nugent
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