RESUME GUIDELINES. Writing a Resume

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1 RESUME GUIDELINES Writing a Resume A resume is a brief sketch of your abilities, goals and experiences which aids a potential employer in determining whether you are qualified for a particular position. It helps you to get an interview and then to be remembered after the interview. It creates a first impression and can either open or close a door of opportunity for you. Guidelines for Writing a Resume There is no one perfect or correct form for a resume. It helps to be creative and to adjust the style and format to suit your purposes. While there are variations in style, there are general guidelines that usually are followed. Some of these are listed below. Your resume should be pleasing to the eye and error free. Use, white, off-white or ivory, quality bond, standard size 8 ½" x 11" paper. Twenty pound or heavier stock is desirable. Purchase extra sheets of paper and matching envelopes for correspondence. There must be no misspelled words, incorrect grammar or noticeable corrections. It should appear uncluttered, balanced and evenly spaced. Allow for a sufficient amount of visible white space. Keep it brief. The longer it is the less chance of it being read or comprehended. As a general rule a business-related resume should not exceed two pages. For ministry positions, length is less of an issue. Three and four page resumes are common since churches desire additional sections or elements such as testimony and references. Should the length of your resume exceed one page do not print on both sides. Rather, use separate sheets for each page and neatly staple them together in the top left-hand corner. Your name and the appropriate page number should be on each subsequent page. Guide the reader. Since most employers have many resumes to read and usually skim the resumes for salient qualifications and features, it is essential to use headings, margins, titles, logical arrangement and graphic features (bold type, bullets, capitalization, underlining, etc.) to guide the reader. Be consistent and conservative with the graphic features you choose. Place the most relevant information first. Have separate sections for objective, education, work or ministry experience, etc. Use concise, vivid statements. Describe skills and experience with the terminology that is used in the job being sought. Start phrases with action verbs. It is best not to use personal pronouns. Use present and past tenses correctly. Avoid using introductory phrases such as responsibilities included... or duties were.... Do not abbreviate except when it can be easily understood, and try not to use jargon and trite expressions. Be positive, honest and accurate. The tone should be one of modest confidence! Have someone proofread and critique your resume before giving it to potential employers.

2 Resume Don ts Do not use dark colored or marbleized paper because it is hard to photocopy or scan. Do not use long rows of capital letters. Items to be left out of your resume: Maiden name, age, gender, race, height, weight, place of birth, social security number. Personal or family photo. Names of children. College fraternities. Non-work related accomplishments (e.g., blue ribbon won in baking contest). Negative statements about previous employer. Explanation or reason for leaving an employment. Negative information about yourself (e.g., criminal record, medical problems, fired from previous employment). Salary information or requirements. Geographical restrictions. The words Resume of at the top of the page. Date of availability. Content of a Resume Identification/Contact Information Name Your name should be the first item in your resume. It should be the largest item in your resume. Complete mailing address Be sure to include apartment numbers, etc. The state should be abbreviated to two capitalized letters. If you plan to move, be sure to include an address and phone number where you can be reached at your new location (see example below). Telephone number Always include the area code. Make sure that you have a professional sounding message on your answering machine. address Your personal address is an important part of your contact information. Carefully choose the username you will use on your resume. Do not use your address from your place of employment. 2

3 Example: Current Address 123 Apple Lane Somewhere, SC (803) John Smith As of June 1, Maple Drive Anywhere, NC (704) Objective The objective is a carefully worded, concise statement of the position you are seeking. It may also include what you can contribute to the company. Do not use an objective that is so vague it appears you are unsure of what you want or so specific that you exclude yourself from valid options. If applying for several different types of positions write a separate resume for each. Example: Career Objective To pastor a church that has a vision for world evangelization. Desire to use proven skills in various methods of evangelism and discipleship for promoting outreach in the community. Skills, Competencies or Areas of Effectiveness This optional section allows you to capture the reader s attention by summarizing a few skills and attributes you have developed throughout your career. You may choose to arrange your qualifications and strengths under five or six appropriate titles or headings, backing them up with actual experiences (see example below). The summaries should not only represent your greatest areas of strength, but also the primary qualities needed for the job being sought. If you do not include this section, it is essential that your relevant traits and experiences be apparent in the other sections. Examples: Competencies Innovator: Designed new choir loft and worked to see project completed. Organizer: Developed a filing and record-keeping system for the church musicians. Teacher: Led Bible studies for all ages of youth, trained teachers for missions trip. OR Summary of Qualifications Team player with excellent interpersonal, organizational and multitasking skills. Proven ability to design, develop and implement programs to meet specific goals. Excellent presentation and facilitation skills. 3

4 Education If you are a recent graduate with little work experience, your education may be your strongest selling point and should be listed near the beginning of your resume. As a recent graduate you may want to include some of the following: courses particularly relevant to the job, special honors, certificates earned, GPA (if above 3.5), etc. Once you have several years of work experience the Education section may be placed after the Experience section. List your most recent education first (reverse chronological order). Specify degrees, the names of the institutions, city and state where the institutions are located, and dates the degrees were received. High school is usually not necessary if you have a completed a college degree. You may wish to use a subheading or a separate section for professional improvement seminars and non-formal educational experiences. Example: Education Master of Arts - Teaching English as a Foreign Language/Intercultural Studies Columbia International University - Columbia, SC 2005 GPA 3.9 Bachelor of Arts - Communications University of South Carolina - Columbia, SC 2003 GPA 3.8 Experience List your most recent experience first (reverse chronological order). You may wish to use section headings such as Related Experience or Ministry Experience and Other Experience. Using such headings allows you to list first your experiences most related to the position for which you are applying. Give job title, company name, location (city and state) and dates you were employed. It is not necessary to include street address, phone number of supervisors names. Use bulleted phrases with action verbs to describe your duties, responsibilities, results and accomplishments, emphasizing the elements that are directly related to the desired position. Employers generally are most interested in your last ten years. Summarize summer, part-time and temporary employments that have little relevance to the position you are seeking. 4

5 Example: Ministry Experience Associate Pastor of Evangelism and Outreach Hope Community Church (attendance 500+) - Hudson, SC Designed and directed all evangelist outreach, conducted training program for lay evangelism, launched quarterly evangelistic endeavors. Supervised the discipleship program, trained 25 small group discipleship leaders. Coordinated visitation and counseling, assigned member visitation teams. Other Experience Instrument Mechanic Jones Nuclear Power Plant - Santee, SC Tested and calibrated gauges that monitor the critical functions of power system. Promoted to Shift Supervisor after six months on the job. Optional sections that may be used in your resume include the following. Accreditation and Licenses List any licenses or accreditations you have that are required or desired in the position you are seeking. Specify date and the issuing organization. Professional Affiliations Membership in professional associations demonstrates a commitment to your career. Such memberships are also helpful in networking with others in your chosen profession. Honors, Awards and Achievements List academic scholarships and honors or awards received in school or work. Describe your achievements using actual numbers and percentages (if significant). Foreign Languages/Cross-cultural Experiences State foreign languages skills and fluency (e.g., Spanish - fluent, French - conversational). List experiences of living and/or studying abroad. Personal Interests/Hobbies Use this section to highlight interests or hobbies that are related to your career objective. List items that strengthen your marketability and emphasize special skills and abilities. References Generally, references are not listed on business-related resumes, but you need to have a list prepared in advance for when they are requested. If space allows, simply use the phrase references available upon request. You may choose to list your references on a separate page. Follow these guidelines when listing references: # Select references who know you well and are capable of articulating your qualities to a potential employers. Do not use family members! 5

6 # It is wise to select individuals with high professional standing and who are employed in the career field you plan to enter. # Obtain the consent of the individuals before using them as references. # Ask your references how and where they want to be contacted. # Besides listing the name, address, phone number and address of your references, state how they are related to you (e.g., professor, supervisor, pastor). # Give your references a copy of your resume in order to assist them in responding to inquiries. Testimony (For ministry- related resumes only) If you are applying for a ministry position, you may wish to include a brief testimony. It should not be more than a half-page. Your testimony should include your conversion experience and major growth experiences. It should emphasize the positive elements of your Christian experience, not negative details about your life before your conversion. If you are seeking a ministry position, you may also want to carefully prepare the following documents and have them ready for when they are requested. Statement of Faith State your beliefs concerning the basic doctrines of evangelical Christianity. Keep it between one and two pages in length. If you are a member of a particular denomination and plan to seek employment only in that denomination, then you may simply affirm that you are in full agreement with their doctrinal position and government. Philosophy of Ministry Present Biblical principles for your approach to ministry. Describe your ministry style (special emphases you have based on particular gifts, skills, training, experience, etc.). Give a basic strategy or short and long range plans backed by some activities for accomplishing the plans. Keep the length to three-quarters of a page. Be careful to avoid two extremes: appearing too vague, uncertain and aimless, or appearing too specialized, narrow and inflexible. 6

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