Follow these tips to stay focused on the big picture, and turn your resume into a hiring manager’s dream.
- Start by making a list of your significant experiences that demonstrate your training and abilities. This should include prior work experience, internships, even specific courses you’ve taken or certifications you’ve earned.
- Be concise and use active verbs. Employers tend to skim through documents, so structure your resume so they can easily find your most impressive stuff.
- Keep it brief: recent grads should keep their resumes to one page in length, using a standard font such as Ariel, Verdana or Times New Roman with an 11 or 12 point size. Margins should be at least .5 on the top and bottom and .7 on the sides.
- Tailor your resume to the job description posted by the company you are applying to. Use their same phrases and highlight your experience that matches their qualifications.
If you do not currently have a resume, please view the Resume Guide
created by the Career Services office to help guide you.
Career Services offers a free resume builder within OUCareerLink! Click the button below, log in and then go to the "Documents" tab, and choose "Resume Builder."
A great cover letter should do more than just repeat your resume, look at it as a chance to illustrate your personality. Cover letters should be readable, have personality, highlight an eye-catching accomplishment, demonstrate your knowledge of the company, and outline why you would be a great fit. Keep in mind these tips:
- Tailor your letters to your target employer and industry as a whole.
- Talk more about what you can do for the company than what the they can do for you.
- Outline your focused career goals.
- Avoid negativity and exaggeration.
- Be honest, but not too modest. Be proud of your accomplishments!
- Be concise and keep your letter to one page.
- Talk about problems you've solved or past accomplishments in other positions.
- Have someone review your letter first. Make sure it is polished, with proper grammar, spelling and flow.
Now you’ve spoken for yourself in your resume and cover letter, now let others do the talking. Most employers will want to know about your past work and experiences, and how you behave in the workplace. When applying for a job, you have a reference sheet ready that uses the same format, fonts, and paper as your resume and cover letter.
- Choose 3-4 people who will speak for you. Your references should speak to your skills and abilities, and can be supervisors, professors, colleagues, or customers. Avoid using family members.
- List each person’s name, relationship, professional title, company, employer location, and contact information (e-mail and phone).
- Proofread your reference sheet carefully. Make sure you spell the person’s name, job title and company correctly and verify that their contact information is updated.
- Do not attach your reference sheet with your resume, but have it ready for when it is requested.
- Speak to your references ahead of time so they are prepared and know they might be contacted. Tell them about the position you are applying for so they can speak to your relevant abilities.
- Choose references based on their knowledge of you, not their prestige. Make sure they are easy to contact and will return phone calls or e-mails.