There are three critical aspects I look at as an interviewer when considering a resume. These include initial impression, critical information, and proof of soft skills. Time is everything for a recruiter and they will look for key bits of information, disqualifying a resume whenever it doesn't match. Your strategy is to give the recruiter what he or she is looking for without disqualifying yourself. Here's a checklist to see if you are on the path for an effective resume. It is set up as if a recruiter was looking at your resume, mentally checking items off to see if you are the candidate they are looking for.
- Is the resume neat and clean?
- Is the layout attractive and well organized?
- Is the font type and size appropriate?
- Is the spelling and grammar flawless?
- Are the address and other contact information where they should be?
- Is education information listed first?
- Does it include GPA, major, expected time of graduation?
- Is work experience listed next?
- Does it describe skills and responsibilities clearly and concisely?
- Does the resume indicate good communication skills?
- Leadership skills?
- Does it show your ability to work independently and as a team member?
- Does volunteer work (mission, church callings, community, etc.) demonstrate leadership and interpersonal skills?
- Do hobbies or personal interests indicate a well-rounded individual?
- Different jobs require different qualifications. Research these qualifications make sure your resume addresses these qualifications.
- Recruiters know you are only a student but want to see work ethic. Your resume needs to show that you are working and are willing to work by listing past jobs. The type of job is important, but in my mind, the work ethic that is demonstrated.
- Remember, recruiters come to BYU and the Chemical Engineering department they know our students, like students from other ChE departments, have the technical skills and tools. Recruiters like our students because they also excel in the communication, interpersonal, leadership, and teamwork skills. Much of this excellence stems from church and missionary service. Make sure your resume highlights these aspects.
Dow Resume Guide
Your name should be at the top of the resume. Your name should be clearly seen, so use all capital letters or a larger font. Typically your name should be in bold print.
List your address and phone number. If You have a campus address that is temporary, list both your current address (campus address) and your permanent (home) address.
Listing a job objective is optional. If you decide to list a job objective, the recruiter will be looking to see if your objectives are a good fit with the job being offered.
Be somewhat specific about what type of job you are seeking. For example: "A summer internship in the field of production engineering". Stay away from extremely general objectives that show a lack of direction. For example: "A summer internship" or "A challenging position with a progressive company", does not provide recruiters with any useful information.
If you are interviewing for several different types of jobs, you should consider customizing versions of your resumes so the objectives listed are appropriate for each field you will be interviewing for. Or, do not list an objective.
List the name of the university you attend and its location. Use the full name. Do not use abbreviations. If you have attended more than one institution, begin with the most recent information and list the others in reverse chronological order. List the degree you will receive and your major. List the month and year you expect to graduate. List your GPA. If your GPA is not listed, many recruiters may assume it is low, so if your GPA is close to or above a 3.0, it is in your best interest to include it.
- Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
- Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, April 2001
- GPA: 3.6
If you earned a significant portion of your college expenses, you may choose to list that. For example:
- Earned 75% of college expenses.
Use this section to list any employment experiences you have had including full time, part time, internships or co-ops. If you have participated in any volunteer work experiences, you may either list them in this section or in the "Activities" section. List these experiences in reverse chronological order beginning with the most recent position.
For each work experience, list the organization you worked for, their location, your title, and the dates (using just month and year) you worked.
Provide bullet points of your key accomplishments. Begin each of these bullet points with an action verb (for example: analyzed, coordinated, created, developed, implemented, installed, managed, etc.) Do not use the word "I".
To best present your accomplishments, ask yourself three questions:
What did I do?
- What did I change or impact?
- What was the value of that change or impact?
Most students simply list the responsibilities they had on their job. Determine if you can better differentiate yourself by determining the impact achieved through your work. Then ask yourself if it is possible to assign a value to that impact.
Here is a real-world example of how a chemical engineering co-op worked through the three questions to improve an accomplishment listed on his resume.
What did I do?
His bullet point relative to his co-op experience, as originally written, answered this question.
Responsible for improving performance of reactor time
This simply listed his responsibility.
What did I change or impact?
Through his project work, he was able to improve the turnaround time (time needed from when batch reaction was complete, reactor emptied, and then reloaded again ready to process), by 3 minutes out of 100.
So, his bullet point could be enhanced by saying: 'Improved batch reactor turnaround time by 3%.'
This describes a significant accomplishment he achieved on the job rather than simply listing his general job responsibility.
What was the value of that change or impact?
In this case, there were 19 reactors being used. The reactors were turned around 220 times per year. 19 times 220 equals 4,180 turnarounds in the system per year.
3 minutes saved in each turnaround (3 times 4,180) means 12,540 total minutes saved per year, which translates to 209 more hours that the equipment is now available to make product per year.
He asked his management to help him understand the value of that equipment. They told him one reactor hour equals $1,200 worth of product. 209 hours times $1,200 equals $250,800.
So, he strengthened his accomplishment by quantifying the value of his work:
'Created $250,000 annual savings by improving reactor turnaround time by 3%.'
Here is another example of the process involving a business major:
What did I do?--Acceptable key responsibility bullet point:
'Conducted market research on the opportunities for high-heat resistant plastics in medical applications.'
What did I change or impact?--A better key responsibility bullet point:
'Identified 10 potential new customers for high-heat resistant plastics in medical applications.'
What was the value of that change or impact?--If you can estimate the potential worth of those ten new customers you can write a higher caliber key responsibility bullet point:
'Identified $15 MM of potential new business within the medical market segment for high-heat resistant plastics.'
Use this section to list any activities you have participated in, including college organizations, leadership activities in fraternities/sororities, community service, sports, honor societies, or professional organizations. You may also list any scholarships, honors or awards you have received. If you have several honors and activities you can split them into two separate categories to emphasize your achievements. List the most significant and most recent activities first.
Be certain to list any leadership positions or participation in committee work. Indicate your title and/or role in the organization or event. Many students simply list their title or roles, but as an option you may also list your key responsibilities or accomplishments as discussed in the 'Experience' section.
Listing Your Mission
It is your choice whether or not you want to list your mission on your resume. By law, you are not required to list any activities which indicate your religion.
There are some advantages in including your mission as either an activity or work experience.
If you don't list your mission, two years/eighteen months of your life are unaccounted for. Any recruiters or interview panel members who are not familiar with the concept of missions may wonder what you were doing during that time.
- You may choose to use your mission experiences as examples of positive traits during your interviews. For example, the ability to work well with people and work as a member of a team, initiative, tenacity, organization and planning skills, persuasiveness, etc. If you served a foreign mission, some companies may value that international experience.
- If you were a district leader, zone leader or assistant to the President, you can list that as a leadership position.
Here is an example of how you might list your mission:
Voluntary Representative, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Nagoya, Japan 1997-1999
- Conducted presentations for individuals and groups
- Performed community service activities
- Learned to speak, read, and write Japanese
Here are examples of how you might list leadership roles:
- Aided in the supervision of the activities and finances of 180 volunteers as Assistant to the Mission President
- Supervised 10 other volunteers as Zone Leader
- Developed monthly mission plans
- Planned and facilitated monthly meetings
Listing Church Leadership Roles
It is also your choice whether or not you want to list church leadership roles. By law, you are not required to list any activities which indicate your religion.
However, you might want to consider listing any church callings that showcase your leadership capabilities or other significant skills--particularly if you are going to eventually be competing with non-member candidates who will be listing their involvement and leadership roles in campus organizations.
If you elect to list church leadership roles, word your role and your responsibilities in a way that will make sense to a non-member. Be prepared to discuss your involvement in ways that focus on the relevant skill sets that you developed vs. the spiritual nature of the calling, if asked.
For example: If you were an Elder’s Quorum President, you could list that as, 'President of Men’s Service Organization.'
You may list relevant courses you have taken specific to your job field if you believe that this will be of interest to recruiters in your field. This practice is more common in fields that require specific technical skills. However, in most cases recruiters are familiar with the courses required to graduate within your major, so it is less effective to invest resume space with this information as opposed to other material that will truly differentiate you from other candidates.
You may also list publications, presentations, performances, or special skills such as foreign language or computer capabilities if you believe they will be relevant.
Length of your Resume
In the past it was considered mandatory to limit resumes to one page. If possible you should target for no more than one page--one page is easy to read and you are certain that the recruiter is seeing all of your credentials without having to flip to a second page. However, it is now usually considered acceptable to use two pages if you truly have more relevant experiences than can be listed on the one page.
You may use a 10 point font to get more material on one page.
- Give priority to your major work experiences, campus/community involvement, and other accomplishments.
- Design your resume for easy skimming. Emphasize major data by bolding. Bullet points are usually more effective than paragraphs.
- Do not use space to list references. Either wait for the recruiter to ask for references or use the sentence, 'References Available Upon Request', at the bottom of the resume.
- Do not list any unnecessary personal information such as date of birth, marital status, height, weight, health, personal interests (unless they relate to relevant skill sets), etc.
- Use 8 1/2' by 11' paper. Choose a conservative color such as cream or light gray or white.
- Use conservative fonts that are easy to read
Intel Resume Guide
- Invest the time required to polish and update your resume. This may take a couple hours, but it will probably be the most productive time during your job search. Your resume introduces you as a viable candidate. It showcases your qualifications and demonstrates your professionalism and thoroughness. Update your resume at the start of the school year to include current related courses as well as courses planned for later in the year. This will be useful information for a hiring manager and will reduce the need for updates to your resume during the school year. As your related academic and work experiences increase, shift the emphasis in your resume to your acquired skills.
- Make your resume "scanner-friendly." Many companies, including Intel, use an electronic scanning system to process resumes. To decrease potential scanning errors, your resume should be in plain ASCII text format and should be on white or off-white paper (no fax copies, please). Please avoid bold type, underlining, italics, fancy type faces, different font sizes and styles, graphics, and photos. Examples of preferred type faces include Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman 12-point font size. It is best to prepare two versions of your resume: a "scanner-friendly" version and a "fancy-format" version which is more appealing to the human eye. You may offer both versions to recruiters.
- Carefully check the spelling and accuracy, especially your name, address, and phone number. Include a nickname, if appropriate (e.g., "Kristen Jean 'K.J.' Johnson"). Use a spell-checker (this will catch most, but not all, spelling errors), then review it line-by-line for any remaining errors. It is also helpful to have someone else review it.
- A one-page resume is preferred. If two pages are needed, the second page should have a header with your name and page number. Do not use a single sheet printed on both sides because many automated scanning devices cannot accommodate two-sided copies.
- Make it easy for us to reach you. Be certain that your resume lists your current address, phone number, e-mail address, and any other ways to contact you (e.g. pager, phone number for messages, campus or office phone number). If roommates or relatives take messages for you, alert them to the importance of job-related calls. If you have a web site, include the URL on your resume (near your name and address).
- List your primary academic credentials. Indicate your school(s), degree(s), major(s), and date(s) you did or will graduate (e.g. "Brigham Young University, MS Chemical Engineering, May 2000").
- Always include your overall GPA for each degree (e.g. "Overall GPA: 3.3/4.0") because many managers will assume it is low if not included. Also list your major GPA or your recent GPA (e.g. "Major GPA: 3.5/4.0", "GPA since 1997: 3.6/4.0") if they are higher than your overall GPA. Do not rely on a statement like "graduated with honors" as a substitute for an actual GPA.
- List key academic courses and projects related to your career goals and highlight topics or lab work of special interest. Also, list courses that are important, though indirectly related to your goals (e.g. Technical Communications, Engineering Management).
- List your work experience. If a position is related to your current career goals, provide a couple of lines of specific details on projects and responsibilities; otherwise, provide a brief summary. Your resume should reflect both the breadth and depth of your work experience since it is very often the deciding factor when managers compare resumes. For each position, include your job title and note whether it was full-time or part-time.
- Include keywords and phrases that describe your skills and experience (e.g. specific equipment, operating environments or software applications, technical jargon, relevant acronyms, etc.). Recruiters and managers regularly search our database using keywords and phrases that describe the specific skills and knowledge required for a particular opening. Indicate on your resume any Intel products, architecture, or technology that you have been exposed to and include the word "Intel" (e.g. "Developed cache memory simulations of a Pentium® II processor using Intel assembly language under MS Windows 98").* Do the same for other key companies' products, etc.
- Highlight your computer skills. List the hardware platforms, programming languages, operating systems, and application software of which you have working knowledge. Managers (and their database queries) will not assume that you have experience with PC's, Windows, UNIX, C++, Java, HTML, SPICE, VHDL, or any other technologies unless they are included on your resume.*
- Highlight leadership and teamwork skills. List any work experience, project work, or outside activities that demonstrate these skills. Indicate leadership roles in professional societies (e.g. HKN, IEEE, SWE, NSBE, SHPE, AISES). Volunteer positions that reflect these skills may also be included.
- Focus on pertinent information. Avoid including personal information that is not relevant to your ability to carry out job assignments. However, do include information such as permanent right to work in the U.S., availability for employment, geographical preferences, etc.
- Do not send other documents in support of your resume. Examples include transcripts, letters of reference, work performance reviews, school project reports, sample of technical writing, abstracts of theses, dissertations or publications, etc. You may offer these in an interview or when meeting with a recruiter as they may assist in assessing your qualifications and finding a suitable position for your skills. However, please do not mail such additional documents since only your resume and cover letter will be entered into our resume database.
- Keep an ample supply of your resume on hand. Bring copies of both a plain ASCII text version and a fancy-format version of your resume to all recruiting and employer networking events, and keep a few copies with your at all times. Don't hesitate to offer your resume to anyone who might be able to help you find a suitable position, even outside of formal recruiting events.
- Submit an updated scanner-friendly resume whenever there are significant changes (e.g. new address, phone number, GPA, or work experience) and we will update our database accordingly. We prefer to receive resumes electronically as they are processed more quickly and accurately.