Career Planning

RETAILING IN ACTION  A.3: Hints For Writing A Resume

Consider your resume to be a "picture of you" which may be the basis of an employer's decision whether or not to invite you for an interview. Therefore, your resume should point out and emphasize what you have done in the past that is an indicator of potential success in the future. It should highlight your accomplishments.

For most students, one typed page is enough. A resume should not reflect your whole life history in detail. Rather, it should outline your education and other pertinent experiences.

Be positive. Use your resume to emphasize your accomplishment. If your grades were high, mention them; if they were low then do not include them. Refer, instead, to other achievements.

Be cautious about photos or personal data. No matter how good a photo is, it shows only a fraction of your "personality", and may give an inaccurate impression of you. If you enclose a picture, the employer could reject you on "appearance" before actually seeing you in person. For the same reason, be cautious about how you state job relevant factors.

Start your resume with a statement that summarizes what it is you are seeking. Known most often as the "Objective", it serves to let any employer know exactly what it is that you are seeking.

Aside from mentioning the work experiences you have had during the summers of your college years, also include part-time jobs and volunteer work especially if they are related directly to your professional area. Also, indicate what percentage of your college expenses you earned, if it is significant.

Rank order the information in your resume and type it accurately. Check to make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors. It could very well cost you an interview.

Show your resume to someone who can give you constructive, professional feedback about how it presents you as a potential employee.

If space is available, include your personal interests. Aside from being a student and having had several job experiences, employers like to learn more about you. What do you do in your spare time? Including hobbies and interests helps the employer gain additional insight into your background.

When your resume is complete, reread it and ask yourself these questions:

Be creative, but don't go overboard. And remember, there are as many different types and styles of resumes as there are people. Choose the approach that will represent you most effectively for the opportunity you are pursuing.

If you desire additional help, see a Career Development staff member at your school.

Your resume can help reveal several qualities or traits that are necessary to success in retailing:

  1. An orderly and business mind. A short to the point resume reflects a businesslike mind. If it is poorly typed or replete with spelling and grammatical errors, it can indicate that the individual applying for the job is both unprofessional and unbusinesslike.
  2. Cooperative Attitude. Participation in outside activities and clubs will help indicate this characteristic.
  3. Industriousness and Ambition. Your objective will be of aid in determining an applicant's ambition. Employment history, outside activities, and letters of reference will also provide clues to these qualities.
  4. Interest in the Work. A proper job objective can assure a prospective employer of your job interest. Your past employment history and your educational background can be an indication to the prospective employer of your interest in retailing.

    The Cover Letter.

    Writing the cover letter may be the first time you have to prepare a professional-level correspondence. Therefore, you face the dual tasks of deciding what to say and how to say it. This is especially difficult when you are writing this type of letter for the first time, because you are dealing with an unfamiliar situation. Moreover, while the resume will remain the same, each cover letter, because it is being written to a different employer, has to be carefully tailored to meet that employer's needs. Generic cover letters will not work. Each must be written to reflect what is of importance to the target audience, your objective, and the requirements of the particular situation. See Exhibit A.8 for an example of the key components of the cover letter.


    There are basically two types of job interviews -- the on-campus interview with a college recruiter and the succeeding interview if you have successfully passed the first test with the campus recruiter. The short time you spend in these interviews can determine what your career will be. Since this time is so important, you should spend adequate time preparing for your job interview. Employment interviewers talk to hundreds of applicants annually. This forces them to be very selective and to make rapid decisions on job candidates.

    Retailing in Action A.4 provides you with information on how to prepare for the job interview, the dynamics of the interview, some tips on how to properly interview, and questions frequently asked during job interviews.

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