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Category : Writing Tips

Resume Sample #1

Pursuant to the post Resume-writing, here is one of many ways to write a resume:

JO JOB SEEKER

111 J Street, Apt. 3

Jobsville, Indiana

(111) 222-3333

jo@jobseeker.com

EDUCATION

Jobs University, Jobsville, Indiana                              June 2010

Bachelor of Arts, Mechanical Engineering, Cum laude, GPA: 3.00

EXPERIENCE

Go Jo Robotics, San Francisco, CA               Jan. 2011 – present

CEO – Manage daily operations of thirteen-person business dedicated to building technologies that enhance mobility of the elderly and disabled.

Indigo Environmental Solutions, San Francisco, CA                                                                                           Jan. 2011 – present

Associate – Build and evaluate environmentally-friendly portable air-conditioning systems.

Stedman Robotics Lab, Cleveland, OH             June – Dec. 2010

Junior Engineer – Assisted in design and assembly of robots for assisted living facilities. Oversaw development of lab’s entry to the annual Cleveland Robotics Competition.

VOLUNTEER WORK

Older Outdoors, San Francisco, CA           March 2011 – present

Guide – Lead free outdoor excursions for older adults in the Bay Area.

Roving Robotics, Cleveland, OH            Sept. 2007 – June 2010

Helped raise funds to send local schoolchildren to robotics competitions nationwide.

SKILLS

Technical: Microsoft Office, Max OS X, database development and maintenance

Linguistic: Spanish (fluent), Kiswahili (proficient)

INTERESTS

Spelunking, go-cart racing (three-time regional champion), cello

Resume-writing

Resumes serve two purposes: 1) To present important information and 2) to present that information succinctly.

When writing a resume, as when writing anything, think of your audience: The person reading your resume first will probably be a hiring manager. She or he will read through dozens – perhaps hundreds – of resumes, before inviting a handful of people in to interview for a job. Think of your resume as a first step. Along with a strong cover letter, it can get you in for a solid face-to-face talk that lands you your desired job – or, at least, another interview. Very rarely are people hired on resumes alone, but resumes are first impressions, and there’s some truth to the saying that “first impressions are everything.”

Try to follow the following format when writing your resume:

Personal information

Name

Address

Cell phone

Email

Then, in separate sections:

Education

Put this after your name and contact information if you’re a recent graduate; otherwise, education can follow work experience. The lengthier your work history, the less important your education is generally considered to be. Typically, employers are most concerned with what you’ve been doing recently. Education is always important, but if you completed college 15 or 20 years ago, it probably doesn’t make sense to place your collegiate credentials at the top of your resume.

Work experience

List your professional experience from most to least recent. Include the name of your employer, your title, the location of your workplace (e.g. city, state), and the dates between which you held each position. Provide a brief description of the duties you performed, taking care to highlight the skills and experiences that are most important to your potential employer. Do not, however, point out in your resume that these skills are important or relevant. This can be done in a cover letter, and in any case, your qualifications should speak for themselves.

A word of caution: Do not provide too-lengthy descriptions. Resumes should be, at most, two pages – but ideally one page. To limit the length of your resume, consider excluding experience that is not recent enough to be relevant (e.g. the job you worked in high school) or experience that is not qualitatively relevant to your potential position (e.g. don’t include a retail job if you’re applying to be an engineer).

Volunteer experience

Volunteering shows commitment and, in some cases, social awareness. List your volunteer experiences as you do your paid experiences – in order of most to least recent. Also, include the names of the organizations you assisted, the locations of these organizations, the dates of your involvement, and the nature of your responsibilities.

Skills

Use this section to highlight abilities not covered elsewhere. Do not list generic, abstract skills (e.g. communication skills, organizational ability). Rather, focus on specific, concrete skills, such as language proficiency (indicate both language and level of facility) and computer training (e.g. knowledge of certain operating systems or software).

Interests

A brief list of interests (e.g. hiking, photography) reveals more about you as an individual. Many employers recognize that non-work interests and accomplishments positively affect work performance, and some employers would rather not hire people who don’t have “balanced” interests (i.e. interests outside work).

A word about formatting:

Keep your margins at 1 inch and your font at 11 or 12 point.

Do not use multiple fonts; use fonts of multiple colors or sizes; use underlining, bold, and/or italics to excess or inconsistently (they may be used in moderation and so long as their use follows a predictable pattern).

Also, pay attention to verb tenses. If you currently hold a position, use the present tense to describe your activities. If you no longer hold a position, be sure to use the past tense.

The bottom line is to make your resume easily readable. Could a hiring manager scan it in less than a minute, without rereading it; glean your strengths; and make a decision?

Exam English

Exam English can be especially difficult for non-native English speakers. It requires a lot of self-editing – on the spot and under pressure. Here, some tips to organize your thoughts before you start writing:

Don’t get too creative. Most exams – both standardized (e.g. the GRE) and university – expect your essay to follow a given format. Exam graders are usually looking for three things:

  • Principle thesis and supporting theses
  • Evidence and/or premises for theses
  • Discussion of evidence and/or premises

They are also looking for:

  1. Organization
  2. Punctuality
  3. Coherence

Don’t waste time when writing. Begin with a bold thesis (a statement of your position – what you are arguing). For example, if responding to a question on why the United States entered World War II, do not begin with a statement such as, “World War II began when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.” Answer the question directly: “The United States entered World War II after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and because it had strategic interests in sending troops to Europe and the Pacific.” Expound on your opening statement with several supporting sentences: “While the U.S. had provided tacit support to European allies in the form, for example, of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Lend-Lease Program, it anticipated becoming more directly involved in the conflict that had roiled Europe and Asia since the mid-1930s. After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Roosevelt launched a three-pronged offensive that was designed to end the war by pushing back Axis forces in the Pacific, European, and North African theaters.”

Follow your opening paragraph with a series of three or four paragraphs (or more, if you have time and space), each with its own sub-thesis. In the case of the current example, you might devote one paragraph to a discussion of the imperative that the U.S. respond to the attack on Pearl Harbor; one paragraph to Roosevelt’s belief that the U.S. would enter the war eventually and to his efforts to assist U.S. allies in Europe, even before the attack on Pearl Harbor; and one paragraph to why the U.S. did not enter the war (e.g. because of popular pressure). Note that one way to lengthen an essay is to strengthen your argument by giving – and then debunking – counter-arguments. For example, in your third supporting paragraph, you might say something like, “Contrary to popular retrospective interpretations of U.S. entry into World War II, public pressure did not play a significant role in policymakers’ decisions to declare war on Japan. In fact, prior to Pearl Harbor, the American public had been primarily non-interventionist, content to let Europe and Asia solve their own problems. Though public opinion was in favor of responding to Pearl Harbor, Washington was influenced in this direction primarily by pre-existing factors, such as strategic necessity, rather than newly-emergent pro-war popular pressure.”

Note that this sample paragraph contains a subthesis (“Contrary to popular retrospective interpretations …”), evidence/a premise (“In fact, prior to Pearl Harbor, the American public …”), and discussion of the evidence/premise given (“Though public opinion was in favor …”). On exams, always give a subthesis first, then evidence/a premise. Evidence is factual. A premise is an assumption on which a broader statement or assertion rests. Both evidence and premises should explain why a subthesis is true. Discussion of evidence or a premise shows understanding on your, the writer’s part, of how the evidence or premise is connected to your subthesis.

Do not bury your thesis or subtheses amongst your evidence. When in doubt, aim for clarity. Obviousness is more important than fancy language on exams. Graders are more impressed by logicality than by big vocabularies and intricacy of expression. To that end, remember rules one through three: 1) Be organized (subthesis, evidence/premise, explanation of evidence/premise). 2) Be punctual (precise). 3) Be coherent (clear, not too fancy).

Always, ALWAYS stop at least once while writing your essay – and certainly after you’ve finished – to check that you’ve answered the question asked. Also, make sure that the argument in your conclusion, which should recap your introduction, does not contradict your introduction. This gets to point 3) coherency.

Also, try to memorize a few transitional phrases. These are key to creating coherency, organization, and punctuality. Here’s a helpful list:

However                                                 Irrespective of

Though/although                                   In addition

While                                                      Moreover

Nevertheless                                          Furthermore

Despite                                                   What is more

In spite of                                           In regard to/with regard to/as regards

As concerns