Employers who contributed to this guide represent large and small companies from diverse industries across the state. Most employers explained that they skim resumes quickly and appreciate only those that are easy to read. An effective resume highlights the qualifications an employer is looking for and makes it easy for the employer to find these qualifications. A resume should sell your skills, experience and accomplishments to the reader with little effort. The employer will be looking for a match between the qualifications and skills needed to do the job and your experience. An effective resume increases the employer's interest enough so that you are called for an interview. A resume can get you the interview, but you must get the job!! Resumes are only the first step. The likelihood of getting a job offer will depend on your interview with the employer and your ability to demonstrate how your skills fit the company's need.

"I don't have a lot of time. Usually, I skim the resume in 10 to 30 seconds looking at your last jobs, position titles and companies. Try to keep the resume to one page, list your jobs in reverse chronological order, don't give me jobs way back in your work history that aren't pertinent to what you are doing now."

David Roemer, Human Resource Manager
Strawberries Records, Inc.

Making a Great First Impression

Effective resumes have the following characteristics:

  • Powerful accomplishment statements, not just a list of job duties and
  • Strongest skills and qualifications listed in the first half of the resume.
  • Position titles and places of employment that stand out (bold or underline).
  • Skills and qualifications that are relevant to that position. Each resume should be tailored to the job for which you are applying. (Generic resumes are not effective.)
  • Listing the most important facts first. (In school, we were taught the way to
    write an interesting story was to list the most important facts first so that the reader's motivation was enhanced. The same rule applies to resumes.)
  • A layout that is clean and professional. No typographical or grammatical errors.

Getting Started

Below is a list of helpful hints for getting started:

  • Attend the Resume Workshop offered at your DUA office or Career Center.
  • Seek out current job search books on the market.
  • Solicit advice from the Job Specialist and/or Employment Counselor at your DUA office or Career Center.
"Remember, if you write your own resume, it will sound like you. It will say what you want to say. You will be more familiar with its contents."

Glenn C. Woodbury, Senior Human Resource Specialist
Boston Edison Company

Begin by asking yourself some questions about your work history, where you want to go from here, and what you have to offer. Some initial questions are:

  • What kind of job do I want?
  • Which industry do I want to work in?
  • What skills are needed for the job I want?

To answer the questions above, it is necessary to research industries and employers. You must understand your audience to market your skills effectively. Researching the company is beneficial because the more you know about a company the more you can emphasize aspects about yourself that will appeal to that employer. If you are successful at this in your resume, your chances of landing an interview increase significantly. For more information on researching companies, attend the Networking Workshop being offered at your local DUA office or Career Center.

Companies are always curious to know more about the person behind the resume. Employers look for specific skills and also cite the ability to communicate and get along well with others as important characteristics. This was mentioned most often by hiring managers in small and growing companies and by managers of product development teams. You can highlight these skills in your resume by tying them into accomplishment statements or you can incorporate them into your cover letter.