How To

Writing a resume can be one of the most daunting parts of your job search. The key is to take it step by step and stay organized. Here are a few ways to do that:

  1. Optimal Resume – Use the U of M’s online system (available to current students) that provides guidance as you create resumes and cover letters and prepare for interviews OR
    Pick out a sample resume you like and model yours after it.
  2. Resume Checklist – Download this checklist to ensure that you have included all of the necessary components of a resume. Remember: these are only guidelines, so if you’re applying for a position that focuses on creativity or non-traditional approaches, feel free to bend the rules.
  3. Action Verbs List – Use this list to liven up your resume with words that describe your duties and responsibilities.
  4. Create a cover letter.
  5. E-mail your resume and cover letter to the Placement Officer for editing and proofreading.
  6. Tailor your resume and cover letter to each position you apply for. This is one of the most important – and most frequently skipped – steps in finding a job or internship. Companies recognize the extra effort it takes for you to explain exactly why you are a good fit for their organization, and they take that into account when deciding who to call in for interviews.
  7. Update your resume frequently. It is much easier to update your resume (at least) once every year than it is to completely overhaul it when you decide to look for another position. Also, your resume will be more accurate if you add awards, promotions, projects and skills as they become appropriate rather than trying to remember them later on.
  8. Consider making an online portfolio. Many professionals believe resumes will soon give way to online portfolios. Choose a free platform and create your own. Here’s a tutorial for WordPress portfolios, but you can use whatever website you feel most comfortable with.
  9. Apply. Submit your resume and cover letter for specific job openings and to HR (human resources) representatives. Be sure to respond in a timely manner when someone responds, and save their contact information for future reference.
  10. Follow up. Once you’ve submitted your resume to a company, make sure to follow up with the appropriate person in a timely manner (usually one week after they receive it).
  11. Write thank you notes. If you are called in for an interview with a company, make sure to write a thank you note to each person who interviews you, regardless of whether or not they offer you a position. These people took the time to see you, and you never know when they could be valuable assets in the future.

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