Posted by Tim Chen, OSU undergrad and Career Services Career Assistant

TypingA couple of days ago, a friend of mine approached me about how he needed to write up a resume for a position the night before it was due.  I mentioned to him that the general resume writing process takes time since it requires a lot of self reflection, but we spent the time to sit down and tough it out anyway.

After spending roughly an hour going through a quick draft, I decided that it is possible to create an initial resume in a short timeframe.  I personally highly discourage students go through this process for any job application, but I encourage students use this process as a way to get a generic resume started.  Most students seem to have trouble figuring out what to write in a resume.  It’s definitely easier once a draft has been made.

And with the Career Fair coming up, many students are struggling to figure out how to create a decent looking resume.  I have decided to try and compile a simple must-have list that will give you a jump start in marketing your skills to employers.

The key things a student should include in their quickly written resume:

1)    Identification: the most important information on a resume, the applicant’s contact information.  Students should include their name (in a large font size such as 20), mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address (make sure it’s professional, I encourage students to put their ONID e-mail address on there).  The location of the job does affect the addresses you need.  If the job is on campus or within the vicinity, use the current address.  If the job is back home or out of town, include both the current and permanent address.  Make sure the current and permanent address is bolded so the reader knows which location belongs to which.

2)    Education: unless you have written a resume before, you generally want to place your institution at the top.  Include the name and location of the school, the degree you have received (or intend on receiving), and your expected graduation date.  If your GPA is above a 3.0, list it.  Here is an example of what this may look like:

Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Bachelor of Arts in New Media Communications
Minor in Chinese
Expected Graduation: June 2011
GPA: 3.2

Depending on your major, if you have taken classes that teach a specialized skill that can satisfy the requirements for a given position, take this chance to market yourself!  This way, if you submit a resume that matches the qualifications of the position, your chances of getting an interview for the position increases dramatically.


Relevant Coursework: MatLab, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Java Programming

This section can either appear at the end of your Education experience (but before your GPA), or appear as its own section before experience.

3)    Experience: this section covers the bulk of your resume.  Many students believe that only job employment belongs in this section.  This statement is NOT true.  If a student had previous employment, they should definitely include that because it shows that they understand the roles and responsibilities of a job.  If a student does not have previous employment experience, then they need to start brainstorming on any significant involvement.  This includes volunteer work, course work, special projects, and more.  After coming up with the list, figure out which experience contains enough transferable skills to talk about.  The importance of transferable skills is the ability to tell the reader how those skills from previous experiences can benefit the organization.

Generally, I believe that a decent quick resume should include at least three experiences and three bullet points to describe their role.  Sometimes this step is difficult, especially if you feel that you didn’t play a big role in a previous position.  Your best bet is to brainstorm and figure out how to accurately reflect your role—think hard on the skills you used in that role.  For example, if you worked at a fast food chain, you probably learned how to properly handle food, provide superb customer service, and learned how to handle transactions (assuming you worked at the cash register).

4)    Awards, Activities, and Interests: If you still have a little room after listing your experiences, take this chance to talk about any awards you have received, any activities you’re involved in, and possibly what you like to do during your spare time.  This section allows for the interviewer to get a better understanding of what you do outside of your time.  Ideally, advertising your awards and achievements make you look like a star player.  A list of some clubs, organizations, or activities shows that you’re an involved person.  Interests should only come in if you can’t come up with something.

At the end of this walkthrough, you should now have a decent looking resume.  All of the information should fit within a page and appear in either size 11 or 12 font (depending on how much depth you have put into it).  Make sure that you proofread it again and have someone else look over it so that the information makes sense.  Try and stop by Career Services for a drop-in appointment and have a Career Assistant look it over!  Drop-in appointments take place Monday through Thursday’s from 1-4PM in the basement of Kerr (B008).

I hope you have found this walkthrough helpful in getting a start on your resume!

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