Career Development CenterCareer Development CenterDivision of Student AffairsUniversity of Cincinnati

Career Development Center

Tips for an Effective Resume

A set of quick tips from the pros at CDC!

  • Top quality appearance is important.  It showcases your qualifications and worth as a potential employee. 
    Imperfections (misspelled words, typos, etc.) can be used as reasons to screen you out as an applicant.

  • Plan to spend considerable time preparing the resume.  Work over several days to allow consideration of
    information not immediately recalled.

                Start with a rough draft; revise and refine several times

                Seek competent advice and critique from professionals who can
                suggest improvements (e.g. counselors, employers, professors)

  • If you have interest in more than one career field, tailor a resume for each one with an career objective and
    qualifications appropriate for each.

  •   Have consistent writing style

                 Use short phrases with attention to clarity of meaning and
                 consistent style

               No personal pronouns (me, my, I, myself, etc)

                Present tense refers to current activities; past tense for past

  • Convey accomplishments and problem solving skills, not duties or merely information.  Emphasize leadership
    potential, organizational ability, communication skills, ingenuity, teamwork, etc.

                Don’t drown out pertinent information with trivia

                Do not include information that could be detrimental or negative
                (e.g., reference to race, religion, political preference, handicap,
                etc.) unless such information has direct bearing on career

                Do not include salary requirements, test results, or photographs

  • Use action words to clearly describe accomplishments and convey exactly what you intend.

                Do not try to impress with the use of complicated, confusing

                Avoid use of slang and trite expressions (e.g., “working with
                people,” “eager, hard-working individual”)

  • Be honest and accurate

  • Limit resume to one or, at the most, two pages.

                Use spacing and arrangement to place emphasis on specific data

                Use of all capital letters, bold print, and underlining will draw
                attention to entries of importance.

  • Have resume printed on good quality 8 ½  x 11 resume paper – white, buff, ivory, light tan, or light gray are
    recommended colors.  Type cover letters on matching paper and use matching business envelopes to
    complete a professional-looking package.

  • Resumes should always be accompanied by a personalized, well-written cover letter.

                These should be perfect in appearance and content, organized,
                and concise (one page)

                Cover letter is an example of your written communication skills
                (an important qualification for almost all careers)

                Include exact information about your qualifications for that
                specific job and how you can potentially benefit the employer

                Don’t forget to sign the letter