Guide to Writing Resumes, CVs
And Cover Letters
CREATING A RESUME: WHERE TO BEGIN?
Start by brainstorming.
List all of your work-related experiences.
Consider summer work and volunteer work.
Include activities such as athletics, clubs, organizations and leadership roles. Think about the job or field in which you want to work.
What qualifications are necessary to succeed in this field?
What can I contribute to this field?
What skills have I demonstrated related to this field?
Describe what you did in each work experience.
Consider the P-A-R approach:
State the PROBLEM; Explain your ACTION; State the RESULT
Chronological: Experience is normally listed on a resume in a reverse chronological format, listing experiences beginning with the most recent to the least recent. Functional: lists individual accomplishments/experience under general skill headings by order of importance.
Combination: If your most recent experience is not related to the position, and another experience is, you might consider using the functional form, or a combination chronological/functional format, emphasizing experience most appropriate for the specific position.
IDENTIFICATION: Begin your resume with your name, address, telephone number and email address. Most students include a college address and a permanent address. Area codes and zip codes should also be included. Make sure you include a telephone number where you can be reached or where voice mail messages can be left. If you are listing a cell phone number, you should indicate it (for example, cell # - 323-212-2222). You should have a professional-sounding voicemail greeting rather than a humorous or potentially inappropriate one. EDUCATION: As your education may be your biggest accomplishment thus far, it belongs at the top. You may also include scholarships, honors, or awards related to your education.
GPA – Listing your GPA is optional. The Registrar’s official policy is not to provide GPA or class rank to people outside of the College but in many cases, you will be asked to provide it on an application. You may calculate your GPA on your own and list it on your resume. A general rule is if you have a 3.0 or higher, you may want to include it. For more information about GPA and to compute your GPA using a special calculator, visit the Registrar’s website.
Honors – Swarthmore does not award Latin honors (e.g. “cum laude”) so don’t include these on your resume. Our designations are highest honors, high honors or honors.
Courses – In your Education section, you can choose to include a list of some of the courses you have taken. These courses should be tailored to the type of position for which you are applying. If you prefer, “Relevant Coursework” can be listed as a separate section on your resume.
High School: To list or not to list? – If including high school shows a geographic familiarity that may be important to the employer, significant honors or strengthens the representation of yourself, you may wish to 2
include it. For most first-years and sophomores, it is appropriate to include high school and to list activities and awards received during that time. Only include data that is relevant. EXPERIENCE: You can include any of the work that you have done, including full-time, part-time, paid, volunteer, on-campus, off-campus, summer jobs, internships, externships, college projects, independent research, or anything else that may have required time, effort, or skill.
Breaking it down: When listing your experience, select a category title that matches the type of job for which you are applying. For example, someone interested in teaching could have a “Related Experience” or “Teaching Experience” section that would include teaching and tutoring...
References: ‐Grant writing experience (awarded “Dream Catchers Award” by Community and
Recreation Services, Delaware County Government, Dec. 2006)
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