Create a resume that describes your experience so far as well as your career goals and interests. Besides summarizing your background, this document will also serve as the first imp


Touchstone 3.2: Your Resume

ASSIGNMENT: Create a resume that describes your experience so far as well as your career goals and interests. Besides summarizing your background, this document will also serve as the first impression of your communication skills. The emphasis in grading will be on the content of the resume, not the formatting. You may choose to use the attached template or to use your own formatting (for instance, if you are revising your existing resume rather than creating a new one from scratch). If you use the template, be sure to replace the example content with your own.

Download the template & example.

If you have an existing resume, be sure to review and revise it in light of the content in Tutorial 3.4.1, “Resumes,” before submitting.

A. Directions

  1. Using the provided template, develop a resume that highlights your education, professional experience (paid or unpaid), and professional interests.
    1. Review the tutorial on writing your resume.
  2. As you begin, remember to follow the guidelines of professional communication.
    1. Understand your audience (what would your ideal employer want to see? For example, a business in marketing or advertising may appreciate more creativity, while other fields would expect a more serious tone.)
    2. Be relevant. Make sure the experiences and interests you include relate to the objective.
    3. Be clear, concise, complete, and consistent.
    4. While you do not want to be strictly objective in this touchstone, you do want to be honest. Avoid exaggeration and outright misrepresentation.
  3. We hope this will be an opportunity to help you strengthen your resume with grader feedback and improve your next job search.

Resumes by Sophia

In this lesson, you will learn about creating a resume—a snapshot of your education, experience, and

skills. Specifically, you will learn about

1. Resume Basics

a. Personal Statement

b. Work Experience

c. Education

d. Special Skills

e. Training and Certifications

f. Volunteer Experience/Other Experience

g. References

2. Targeted Resumes

a. Applicant Tracking Services (ATS)

b. Keywords

3. Special Circumstances

1. Resume Basics


In this course so far, we have mostly been discussing communication strategies that you will use in

various workplace settings. In this Challenge, we will be looking at the communication tools and strategies

that will help you get interviewed and hired for a job in the first place. Great communication skills are an

asset for any job hunter and especially for the skills of job hunting itself.

A resume is a document that summarizes a job seeker’s work history, education, skills, and accomplishments for potential employers. Your resume is your first introduction to a potential employer. It is a written picture of who you are, a marketing tool, a selling tool, and a promotion of you as an ideal candidate for any job you may be interested in.

A resume is also just the first step in the job seeking process. Few people get hired based on their resume alone. The purpose of a resume is to get selected for an interview and further steps of the hiring process.

Although you might tweak your resume for each job you apply for, you won’t want to create each from


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scratch. A general resume will give you a starting point for each job you apply for, as well as giving you a default resume you can bring to job fairs.


Even most small companies now require applicants to complete an online form. Some will use software

that automatically pulls information from an uploaded resume. Others might require you to copy and paste

each section of your resume into a form, which admittedly is not much fun. However, a well-organized and

cleanly formatted resume will help you complete these forms. You might also keep a plain text version of

your resume just for copy and pasting!


The artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci is credited with creating one of the first known resumes! In

1482, at the age of 30 and not yet famous, da Vinci applied for a job as “maker of things,” with the Duke of

Milan, by writing a letter that briefly listed his many skills and accomplishments that were relevant for the

role. The resume got da Vinci the job and Sforza became a longtime patron of da Vinci and later

commissioned him to paint The Last Supper. Perhaps the hardest part of writing a resume is figuring out how to organize and present your information in the most effective way. While resumes can vary based on the field and where you are in your career, there are a few essential categories that are almost always included, such as contact information, work history, and education.

Resumes that emphasize skills and licensure over work experience and education are called Functional Resumes. Resumes that emphasize education and work experience are called Chronological Resumes. While the two would likely have the same content, the big difference is the sequencing of major sections. For most jobs, a chronological resume will tell employers what your most recent job is and how it naturally leads to the one that is open. But some jobs that require specific technical expertise, such as computer programming or medical assistant, will mainly want to know if each candidate brings the specific skills they need and will emphasize languages known or equipment they have been trained and licensed to operate. If you are unsure which is right for you, begin with a chronological resume.

You may begin your resume with a blank document or use a resume template. If you do choose a resume template, avoid ones that are overly colorful or splashy or which include images of yourself. These are not the norm in most industries. Unless you are looking for a job in a design or artistic field, the layout of your resume doesn’t need to be beautiful and unique; it just needs to be clear, concise, and easy to skim.

In most industries, it is traditional for resumes to be only one page. If you write a resume that fills two or more pages, a potential employer is not likely to keep reading past the first page anyway! Restricting the length of your resume also pushes you to keep it succinct and organized and to only include information that is relevant and useful for the potential employer. If your resume is too long, ask yourself if there is more information than you need. You might drop a couple of older jobs, or lose a few bullet points from your job descriptions. However, do not make the font smaller to fit more on the resume; the resume should be easy to read.

Margins should be at least half an inch on every side. The norm is one inch, but you have a bit more flexibility than with business letters and can extend them a little if it helps fit the content on one page. The purpose of using standard margins is to make sure that your resume will print correctly if someone chooses to print it. If the margins are very small, the text might get cut off on a print out.

The modern version of this practice is to ensure file type compatibility regardless of what device your resume is viewed on. Microsoft Word or Google Docs are common tools, but if your resume includes a lot of formatting

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or unusual fonts, it might look strange when it is opened on a device that doesn’t have the software for your file type. The safest option is to use a PDF, which essentially turns your document into a static image. But don’t forget to save local versions in the software that you used for creating your resume!

Your resume should have your name and contact information at the top, so that potential employers can easily see whose resume they are looking at and how to get in touch. Other information you might want to include could be your current title, your preferred means of contact, your website or LinkedIn URL, your pronouns, and your city of residence. There is also more flexibility in layout than there is with business letters. The important thing is that it is neat and easy to read.

 EXAMPLE Raymond D. Allen 415 Camelot Court Milwaukee, WI 53201 617-866-4924 [email protected]


Be sure your email address is simple and professional, a variation on your name instead of one you share

with family or reflecting your hobbies and interests. Do not use any email address associated with your

current job unless you are applying for a new job in the same organization. If you can keep your college

email address after graduation, that is another good option.

1a. Personal Statement

Many resumes have a personal statement, either as a summary or an objective, at the top, particularly for people starting out on their career path. This is a statement that sums up your strengths and experiences and your goals for both the immediate and long-term future. If you are at the beginning of your career, you can focus on your goals. Note that any job applicant can describe themselves as “highly motivated,” or “a self- starter,” so try to make yours more unique to you. It is generally good to have a personal statement at the top of a resume, but can it be omitted if space is an issue.

When writing your personal statement, consider that a summary describes your work experience while an objective describes your immediate career goals.

Type Length Example

Summary 3-4


Highly motivated and results-driven professional with 5+ years of experience in project management and team leadership. Proven track record of successfully managing multi-million dollar projects, leading cross-functional teams, and delivering projects on time and within budget. Strong communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills. Seeking a challenging role in project management where I can utilize my skills and experience to drive success.

Objective 1 concise


Experienced recruiter seeking the opportunity to join a team of experienced HR professionals so I can learn and grow my skills


If you have a lot of relevant experience, use a summary to describe all of it. Objectives are usually best if

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you’re an entry-level candidate or you’re switching careers.

1b. Work Experience

Your work experience is usually listed on your resume in reverse chronological order with the most recent job first, then going back to your first job. If you have a longer work history, you will leave off older jobs or the less related jobs. Your employment history usually includes your job title, the name of the employer, the location, and the dates of employment. Listings of your work experience should offer sufficient detail that the reader could check your background if needed.

Each job should have a few bullet points highlighting your accomplishments. This is also where you can emphasize skills you learned at your past jobs even if they don’t seem to be related to the current position. Your job description should take the form of brief statements using action verbs. For example, consider an entry-level position stocking shelves at a grocery store. Even if you’re applying for an office job, you can emphasize the transferable skills you learned and demonstrated at this position.

 EXAMPLE Inventory Associate, Rite-Aid, Milwaukee Wisconsin, May 2018- June 2021

Assured that store inventory remained stocked. Maintained clear aisles for a neat and safe shopping experience. Engaged with and assisted customers as needed. Selected to train new staff based on my own skills.

Emphasize the real strengths and skills you have demonstrated. A career coach can help you brainstorm these and put them into writing, or you can enlist a friend or family member to play the role of coach: your friend should ask you questions about your job experience that lead you to describe your specific job functions and responsibilities in general terms (as opposed to job-specific terms) and determine which of these can translate into transferable skills for your resume.

1c. Education

Like work experience, education is organized on your resume in reverse chronological order with the most recent degree, diploma, or certificate listed first. You should usually include the date you finished (or dates you attended) each program as well as the location, if it is not evident from the name of the institution. If you have not yet graduated, you can put the year you plan to graduate and “(Expected)”. Your education will rarely include high school once you have a college degree. As with work experience, you can add bullet points with details about accomplishments. For example, if you did not major in the field you are applying for work, you can emphasize coursework that was applicable.

 EXAMPLE Associate’s Degree in Business, Milwaukee Community College, May 2021

3.8 grade point average. Coursework included Introduction to Marketing, Business Communication, and Principles of Management.

Whether you put Education or Work History first on your resume depends upon the job you are applying for and the job you are applying for. For example, if it’s an entry level position with a Bachelor’s degree as a requirement, you would put education first. If the job description wants 3-5 years of experience, you would want to put that first.

1d. Special Skills

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In some cases, specific technical skills may be more important than when and how you attained them. For example, if you’re applying for jobs as a computer programmer, the most important category would usually be the list of programming languages you’ve mastered. Other job openings might have you emphasizing software, hardware, or machines you can operate, or technical processes you know well. You may change the title of this section to match, such as “Technical Skills,” or “Programming Expertise.” This would then be listed first, before even work history or education, though these would ideally demonstrate your expertise as well. This would make your resume functional, instead of chronological.


Some “soft skills” phrases, like “self-starter” and “excellent communicator,” appear on so many resumes

employers will barely notice them. While employers are certainly looking for self-starters and excellent

communicators, this is better demonstrated through your work history and explained in your cover letter

or interview.

1e. Training and Certification

As with special skills, specific (and up-to-date) training and certifications may be more important than work history for some jobs and may appear at the top. This is especially true if the licensure is a legal requirement for the job, such as for many jobs in accounting, nursing, and teaching. As with education, you would list the license or certificate followed by the certifying body, the location if otherwise unclear, and the date you received it.

You may combine sections under a title like Education and Licensure or Education and Training.

1f. Volunteer Experience/Other Activities

One of the bigger questions about compiling a resume is how much to include accomplishments outside of professional (i.e., paid) work. The answer depends on how much work experience you have, and how related your experience is to the job. For example, a teacher seeking their first job may not have any direct professional experience, but extensive experience with youth as a volunteer mentor could make the difference in proving their skills at working with children.

Volunteering and hobbies should not take up valuable space on your resume if you have a robust work history, unless they are relevant for the roles you are seeking. However, if you have some room to spare, there are two good reasons you might include this information: either because you can make the argument that it demonstrates transferable skills, or because you are hoping to sound interesting and connect with employers as people.

 EXAMPLE Being a regular volunteer at the cat sanctuary (as noble as it is) may not make much of a

difference if you’re applying for a job that isn’t related in any way to animals or nonprofit work. But if

your role involved managing other volunteers, keeping track of the cat food supply, or soliciting

donations, there are many jobs where this could be relevant experience, even if they don’t involve

cats at all.

Be careful when including hobbies solely to sound interesting, as this can backfire! If you do include a brief mention of hobbies, make sure they are activities that you can discuss passionately and engagingly; if your interviewer asks about your marathon running, you should be ready to describe how the strict training regimen keeps you focused and goal-oriented, or how you run to raise money for a cause you care about. Running in and of itself is not interesting except to other runners, but the reasons someone may care about it can be very interesting, and the same applies for most hobbies.

The truth is that you just never know how some information will affect your chances. It might make a

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connection to someone on the hiring committee with the same passions, or—such as if the volunteering or hobby is related to politics or religion—it might color their perceptions of you in ways that are not favorable.


Always prioritize paid work, education, and skills on your resume, but if you have space to spare, you

might mention volunteering or hobbies if you can explain how they show aspects of your character or skill

set, if you can talk about them in a way that will make others interested and not bored, and if they are

unlikely to be divisive.

1g. References

References may be required in the application, although it is rare for organizations to contact references until late in the process when they are on the verge of making an offer. The usual practice is to have your references in a second document ready to upload or send upon request. While your resume may say “References available upon request,” this is widely understood and does not need to be stated.

As a general rule, you should plan to have two different types of references—character references and professional references. Character references are sourced from people who know you very well, usually for many years, and can speak to who you are as a person. This is why we call them “character” references. These are people who can attest to the nature of your character. It is okay to use personal friends or friends of your family for character references, although it is generally not a good idea to include direct family members as they may not be perceived as impartial.

Professional references are from those you have worked for in the past. Good professional references do not have to be from similar types of work you are applying for. In most cases, anyone that you have worked for can work well as a professional reference (although someone in an industry or field you are applying for would be even better). Typically, professional references will be asked to comment on your work ethic, reliability, and how well you work with others. So pick professional references who know what kind of worker you are; someone whom they would like to hire again, given the opportunity.

If you are a recent graduate, you may also wish to add a third type of reference—an academic reference. This is normally a former teacher or professor who had you as a student. Academic references are typically used for entry-level positions or other academic jobs. As one gains professional experience, the utility of academic references loses value and professional references, as well as character references, become much more relevant.

2. Targeted Resumes

While the general resume is a good starting point, the conventional wisdom in the 21st Century is to make each resume “match” the job description by echoing the specific requirements of the job. As always, this doesn’t mean lying, but it may mean making slight changes to the words in your resume. For example, if a job description asks for “three to five years of supervisory experience,” you may change a line in your resume stating that you “managed staff” to say “supervised staff.” Why? Because some companies now have computers do the initial cut of resumes, performing scans of resumes and searching for keywords. Even if humans are doing the scanning, you want to make sure they catch the key qualifications they are looking for.


Keep the job listing open and accessible as you prepare your resume and cover letter and refer back to it

frequently. Note that bookmarking the position in your web browser will get you through the resume and

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cover letter stages, but it may not be available once you are invited to interview, so you may want to copy

the text of the job listing into a document on your computer for later reference.

2a. Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

We’ve stressed the importance of customizing your resume for every job you apply to. Here’s another reason why that’s so important. It’s estimated that over 80% of large employers use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to sort and filter the large number of applications they receive. To make it through the filter, you must clearly show that you have the skills and qualifications for the position.

An ATS will generally scan your experience section, evaluate your years of experience, and search for keywords throughout your resume.

No ATS processes are identical, but here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Format your resume appropriately.

Customize your resume to include keywords from the job posting in your bullet points. Use the exact

same language to ensure the ATS recognizes the keywords.

 EXAMPLE If the job posting requires candidates to have skills in “building relationships,” your

resume should use the exact phrase “building relationships” instead of “build relationships.”

Ensure that you show how you meet the qualifications for the position. You may have to list bullet points

with the same skills under multiple positions to show that you have the years of experience required for

the job.

Try using Jobscan to scan your resume. After you upload your resume and the job posting, Jobscan will

analyze your resume and give you a score to help you see how well you’ve tailored your resume to the



Remember, you’re creating your resume for two audiences: the ATS and the hiring manager. You need to

make sure your resume works for both.


You could spend a lot of time trying to tweak and improve your resume to beat the ATS. To be even more

effective in your job search, we highly recommend networking with individuals at the organization, in

addition to applying to open positions. This strategy can help get your resume reviewed by the hiring

manager, rather than relying solely on the ATS to flag your application.

2b. Keywords

Make sure you are using the keywords that are listed in the job description. Many resumes are never delivered to a company because the resumes didn’t include the right keywords. Below are keywords that often appear in resumes across different industries. Remember, you should always check to see how the job description you are applying for uses these keywords!

Industry Common Keywords

Business, Finance, and Law analyze data, budget management, GAAP, invoicing, etc.

Customer Service, Retail, Human Resources, client relationships, hospitality, PeopleSoft, talent

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Tourism acquisition, etc.

Education biology, counseling, program development, recruiting, etc.

Health Care, Medicine FDA, nursing, on-call, public health, etc.

Information Technology, Computer Science algorithms, C++, frameworks, SQL server, etc.

Manufacturing, Transportation distribution, fabrication, inventory, SolidWorks, etc.

Marketing, Media, Publishing, Graphic Design Adobe, branding, CRM, project delivery, etc.


Visit Jobscan for more examples of keywords, along with other tips on how to use keywords.

3. Special Circumstances

Many people may have issues in their work history that make writing a resume especially hard. The most common are long absences from the workforce, either because of raising children or unplanned/unwanted unemployment. While an unexplained absence might make potential employers curious, it is important to be truthful in your resume. You can address any questions that come up in the interview. Another common issue is a checkered work history, for example having several jobs in a short timespan, or a job that didn’t work out and which you cannot use as a reference. As with an absence from the workforce, you can use the interview to address this if the question arises.


Either begin writing or revising a resume that has at least your most recent job and highest level of

education. Be sure to write bullet points under the job description that use action verbs to show the

transferable skills you’ve demonstrated in that position. You can find a list of verbs here.

In this lesson, you learned about how to build a resume that helps you introduce yourself to potential

employers. After resume basics, you learned about the key sections on most resumes: a personal

statement, work experience, education, special skills, training and certification, and volunteer

experience/other activities. You also learned about listing references, which may be included on a

resume but are more often sent separately. You learned how to create a targeted resume by using

the same words and phrases in a description when you apply for a job, and how to treat special

circumstances that create gaps in your resume’s timeline.

Source: This content has been adapted from Lumen Learning’s “Business Communication Skills for Managers”. Access for free at


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  • Resumes
    • 1. Resume Basics
      • 1a. Personal Statement
      • 1b. Work Experience
      • 1c. Education
      • 1d. Special Skills
      • 1e. Training and Certification
      • 1f. Volunteer Experience/Other Activities
      • 1g. References
    • 2. Targeted Resumes
      • 2a. Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
      • 2b. Keywords
    • 3. Special Circumstances


Raymond D. Allen

415 Camelot Court Milwaukee, WI 53201 617-866-4924 [email protected] 


An entry-level position in management with potential for growth and professional development


Associate’s Degree in Business, Milwaukee Community College, May 2022

· 3.8 grade point average

· Coursework included Introduction to Marketing, Business Communication, and Principles of Management

Professional Associations

Future Entrepreneurs, 2018-Present

· Chapter Coordinator of Recruitment, Southeast Wisconsin, 2020-Present

· Session Panelist at Regional Conference, Chicago, 2022

Employment History

Inventory Associate, Rite-Aid, Milwaukee Wisconsin, May 2018- June 2021 

Assured that store inventory remained stocked

Maintained clear aisles for a neat and safe shopping experience Plagiarism Free Papers

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