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Job Seeking Tips

Resume and Cover Letters

Resume Outline

The following is an outline for writing your resume. Most resumes include this information, but how you arrange some of the information is a personal choice. Remember: a resume should emphasize your strengths abd be concise.

Name, Address, Telephone Number, and E-mail Address
Your address, telephone number, and e-mail address should be current. If possible, you may want to include your work number.

Career Objectives or Career Summary Statements
A career objective statement or a career summary statement is not mandatory, but it does enable you to focus the information in the resume. An objective statement should include the position you are seeking, the skills you wish to use on the job, and the type of environment in which you prefer to work.

You may choose to write a career summary instead. This should be a short summary of your skills and background explaining the qualifications you are offering an employer.

Whether you choose to write a career objective statement or a career summary statement, be brief. Use no more than four short sentences.

Experience
In this section of your resume, list your work experiences in chronological order beginning with your most recent job. State your position or job title. Include any relevant projects you have worked on and any awards you have received. Be concise and factual.

Education
List the universities and degrees received in reverse chronological order. Include your major and minor fields of study, dates of graduation, and any honors/awards you received.

Skills
List your technical skills including computer skills. This should include your knowledge of programs, languages, hardware, software, and applications.

References
References are not normally included in a resume. A simple statement that references are available upon request is sufficient. Be sure to confirm with former employers or coworkers that they agree to be a reference.

Resume Guidelines

Use the following information as a guideline for writing your resume.

  • Limit your resume to one printed page. If you have many years of work experience, you may need two pages.
  • Maintain a consistent writing style.
  • Keep your headings uniform.
  • Complete sentences are preferable, but fragmented sentences are acceptable as long as the meaning is clear.
  • Use present-tense verbs when referring to current activities and past-tense verbs when referring to past activities.
  • Use "I" or "my" only in your career objective/summary statement.
  • When using numbers, write out the numbers between one and nine but use numerals for numbers 10 and above.
  • Do not include personal information such as marital status, age, or Social Security number.
  • Use terms and jargon relevant to the industry, but do not use abbreviations and acronyms unless you define them.
  • Double check to ensure that you have no spelling, grammar, or typing errors. Use spell- check tools but have someone else proof your resume. Spell check tools do not catch everything.
  • Use a font that is easy to read, such as Arial or Times with a point size no smaller than 10 and no larger than 14.
  • Your resume should be printed on quality paper. Use the same paper for your cover letter and envelope.

Cover Letter Outline

The following is a generic outline for a cover letter that should accompany your resume. Address the letter to the name of a company representative. If that is not possible, using "To Whom It May Concern" is acceptable.

Date


Company Representative
Title
Company
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear (name of company representative):

Opening Paragraph: Introduce yourself and state why you are writing this letter. Refer to a specific job opening and state how/where/from whom you learned of it. If you are not applying to a specific job, state why you are applying. This could include a reference to someone who recommended the company and your interest in and knowledge of the company.

Second Paragraph: Briefly describe your professional and academic background. Focus on specific accomplishments, experiences, and skills.

Third Paragraph: Demonstrate why you should be considered for the position. Cite your specific qualifications, experience, and industry knowledge as they relate to the company and to the position you are seeking. Do not reiterate your resume word for word. Once again, be brief.

Closing Paragraph: Ask for an appointment or interview. Suggest that you will call to arrange an appropriate time for the meeting and that you are willing to provide additional information. Thank the reader for his/her time and consideration.

Sincerely,

(Pen, handwritten signature)

(Typewritten name)

Enclosure

Scannable Resumes

Scannable resumes can be submitted in print form or in electronic form. A description of electronic resumes follows this section.

Scannable resumes are used by large companies that receive many resumes. Computers are used to scan for key words that indicate skills, education, and experience. The resume is scanned into a database where the image is sorted into recognizable words, letters, and symbols. If the computer cannot read the resume text, much of the information in the resume will not register in the database.

Use the following guidelines to write the printed form of a scannable resume.

  • Use a laser printer with black ink on white paper.
  • Use simple fonts such as Times Roman, Palatino, or Arial.
  • Use a 12-14 point font size.
  • Do not use italic, underlining, graphics, rules (lines), or boxes. These may not scan accurately.
  • Use boldface or all capital letters for headings and emphasis.
  • Do not use a two-column format. Columns, centering, and indentations may change when scanned.
  • Do not condense spacing between letters or words.
  • Use only one side of a page. The resume should be a maximum of two pages.
  • Your name should be at the top of each page on it's own line. The first page should have address and phone numbers as well.
  • Mail a good quality copy. Check for typos.

Electronic Resumes

Electronic resumes are used extensively in today's technological world. ASCII resumes are the most common. They can be sent via email or online.

ASCII is a clear, simple form of text that is readable by all platforms and programs. There is no formatting mechanism, and it is not application specific. In other words, you cannot use bold or italic, and you cannot format paragraphs. This form of text is designed so that anyone can read it regardless of the type of computer used.

Writing an ASCII resume is very simple. You can use any word-processing application and then save it as a "text-only" document. This option should be located under the "save" or "save as" command.

Here are some tips for writing an ASCII resume.

  • Make sure there are no grammatical errors or typos. Have someone proof read your resume.
  • State specific objectives. Your strengths and skills should be emphasized in a clear, focused objective.
  • Highlight your accomplishments and emphasize your skills. You want the employer to be interested in you.
  • Use effective words. Action verbs such as, designed, implemented, supervised, managed, portray you as capable and accomplished. However, do not use personal pronouns such as, "I" or "me".
  • Summarize information. Use short, succinct phrases instead of complete sentences. List only work experience from the last 10 years. The resume should not exceed 3 pages.
  • Omit: salary information, marital status, race, religion, political party, etc.
  • Be honest. Employers will check your information.

Because ASCII text will not recognize special formatting commands of a word-processing program, there are certain things to be aware of.

  • Use simple fonts such as Times Roman or Arial in 12 or 14 point. Avoid using special characters such as mathematical symbols. They won't transfer accurately. Also, do not use bold or italic. ASCII will not recognize these commands.
  • Do not use tabs. Use the spacebar instead.
  • ASCII will default to left justify. If you want to indent or center a head, use the spacebar. Also, do not use columns. ASCII cannot identify that command.
  • Use the hard return instead of word wrap for line breaks.

Sample Electronic Resume

WILLIAM W. WATER
7711 Heavenly Way
Garden of Eden, CO 80000
(303) 900-0000

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
**1996 - present, Senior Engineer at Garden of Eden Water Department
**Supervised construction of 3 MGD treatment plant
**Implemented new water treatment process
**Reduced customer callback response time by 2 hours

1992 - 1996, Engineer at City of Inferno Water Department
**Designed and constructed a 2 mile 30-inch pipeline
**Developed and implemented a disaster plan that reduced repair crew on call time
**Identified 3 major design errors in plans for 30,000 gallon storage tank
1987 - 1900, Associate Engineer at H&H Engineering
**Assisted in design of pump station
**Responsible for preliminary survey for pump station

EDUCATION
BS in Civil Engineering, Colorado State University
PE, State of Colorado