The Resume That Will Get You In The Door

The American Job market is one of the most exciting market places in the world.  It’s a place where you try to market your skills and abilities.  It is also a place where careers are launched, where dreams become reality and fortunes have a higher potential rate to be made.  You might ask yourself exactly how large is the American job market?  According to the Job Hunting Handbook 1999, it is huge!!!! There are approximately 6.5 million employers in the United States.  These employers have nearly 137 million people on their payroll.  This says two things, first, you, the college grad, have a lot of competition and second, you must be prepared for THE BATTLE.

Creating a Resume that Employers Will Read

THE PURPOSE OF THE RESUME IS TO GET AN INTERVIEW.  Therefore, you have to grab the readers’ or potential employers’ interest in 10 seconds or less.   Tips:

  • Keep it short and simple but eye-catching.
  • Make it unique and a representation of you.
  • Draw a positive image that indicates you are a doer, a people relater and an energetic ambitious self-starter.  EMPHASIZE ACHIEVEMENTS.
  • Highlight assets while minimizing your limitations.
  • Do not try to prepare an ALL PURPOSE RESUME, be specific, and target each position by highlighting and matching your qualifications to what the employers’ needs are.  Although your “master” resume may be longer, two (2) pages is the maximum for any resume that you submit to an employer. 
  • Be honest and don’t exaggerate.
  • Use standard RESUME paper.  Keep the colors neutral and professional.
  • Be specific by giving examples.  Do not assume the reader’s thoughts.
  • Make it easy to read and organized by using bullet form, bold, underline or capitalizing section headings.  Be consistent with whatever you use.
  • Your resume should be written by you, do not use a professional service.  It is a sales devise and if you develop your own resume, it will help you become more confident and aware of the skills and experience you possess.
  • PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD AND PROOFREAD.  This is something that you cannot do too much.  Incorrect spelling and grammar is unacceptable.  This will

prevent you from being a strong candidate for the job as well as leaving a long lasting negative impression with employers.  Feel free to come to the Office of Career Service for assistance and examples.
The Nuts and Bolts of a Resume

  • Name – Who are you?
  • How does an employer contact you – Addresses – current and permanent
  • Current telephone number - Remember if an employer calls, there should not be any background noise.
  • Correct email address.

Career Objective

  • Type of work you are seeking
  • Be specific without limiting your options.
  • Avoid general statements.


  • Your academic experiences should be listed in reverse chronological order with your most recent degree or experience first and working backward in time. 
  • Include your cumulative grade point average and your average in your major if it is a 3.0 or above.
  • Academic achievements
  • A list of courses that you have taken which relate to your career goal.

Skills and Abilities

  • This section highlights any expertise you may have in foreign languages, computer operation and programming, technical writing or other areas of excellence that have not been mentioned elshere.  Example of skills list:  Supervising, managing, coordinating, planning, and directing, conducting workshops and seminars, developing and implementing programs, conducting investigations, preparing recommendations, organizing and interpreting information/data, developing proposals, investigating, analyzing and solving problems, and preparing reports and correspondence.

Work Experience

  • Your experience should indicate not only paid full-time positions but also part-time, volunteer, internship and any cooperative education experience.  For each experience, be sure to list the company for which you worked, the location (city & state), job title, and dates (month/year) of employment.  Give a brief description of each of the skills and responsibilities for each position.

Additional Sections

  • Qualifications Summary
  • Honors/Activities
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Additional Training
  • Research Publications
  • Military Experience

Action Words Examples for Experience

  • Achieved
  • Administered,
  • Advised,
  • Allocated,
  • Approved, Arranged,
  • Assisted,
  • Calculated,
  • Classified,
  • Communicated,
  • Conducted,
  • Facilitated,
  • Financed,
  • Founded,
  • Generated
  • Handled, Planned,
  • Prepared, Presided,
  • Screened
  • Solved
  • Programmed
  • Trained
  • Wrote


  • As you apply for jobs, you will often need to provide information about the persons who have agreed to serve as your references for employment.  On the very bottom of your resume, state “References Available Upon Request”.  Make a list of references with name, title, address, phone number, and email. 
  • Always ask the person’s permission to use him/her as a reference.
  • Give the person a copy of your current resume.
  • Share descriptions of the specific positions for which you are being considered.
  • The persons who write your references should be able to share information about your skills and abilities relevant to the type of positions for which you will be applying.

Adapted by Grambling State University Office of Career Services.