Resume Tips

Your resume makes the most important first impression. For media jobs especially, human resources professionals will look for faultless grammar and perfect presentation. Even a small typo can sink your chances of landing an in-person interview as interviewers won’t take seriously an applicant for a media job who hasn’t caught all of his or her mistakes.
Use these guidelines to ensure that your resume and other submissions will shine:

Resumé Writing Tips

  • Have someone else check your final draft for mistakes.
  • Remember, resumés work best if they are tailored to a specific position.
  • Don’t expect to use the same resumé for different types of jobs.
  • Limit your resumé to one or two pages for most jobs. Include only relevant and targeted information.
  • Do not write your resumé in first person.
  • Your resumé should be accurate, honest, organized and easy to read.
  • Use a concise and specific objective. Avoid long, wordy and ambiguous statements. In some cases, an objective may be omitted. If so, be sure your cover letter contains a specific objective.
  • You may want to create a letterhead at the top of your resumé and include your name, full address, e-mail address and phone number. This look can be used on all of your professional documents.
  • Bulleted action verb statements should be used when describing skills, accomplishments and responsibilities.
  • Reference information can be listed on a separate sheet if you do not have room at the bottom of your resumé.
  • Always include a cover letter when mailing or emailing your resumé to a prospective employer.

Tips for producing a scannable resumé

Many businesses and organizations are using computer technology to scan resumés for information pertinent to evaluating candidate qualifications. The following tips will help you produce an effective scannable resumé:

  • Focus on skills and facts, using keywords for definition.
  • Use concrete words to describe your experiences.
  • Avoid vertical and horizontal lines, italics, underlines, graphics, shadows and boxes.
  • Use standard typefaces, with a font size of 10 to 14 points.
  • Do not condense spacing between letters.
  • Use white or light-colored paper, printed on one side only.
  • Provide a laser printed original.
  • Do not fold or staple.


  • You need three to six references. Type a list of names, titles, addresses and preferred phone numbers of the people who have agreed to serve as references. Use the same paper on which your resumé is typed, if it is a separate sheet. It should have your contact information at the top.
  • Ask people to serve as references before you include their names. Ask them if they feel comfortable recommending you and if they will be complimentary about you in their comments.
  • Ask professors, university administrators, your advisor, former or current employers or supervisors or anyone who knows you well and can comment on your personal qualities, abilities, talents and accomplishments.
  • Take a few minutes to review some of your specific accomplishments with references and supply them with copies of your resumé. If you are asked to send recommendation letters instead of merely a list of references, ask your references to write you letters of recommendation, then provide them with the appropriate recommendation form (if available) and addressed and stamped return envelopes if they need to mail the letter directly to an employer or to a graduate school.
  • The more time you give a person to write a letter of recommendation, the better. You should make sure that your reference knows when the letter is due. It is your responsibility to check with your references to make sure that he or she has completed and sent the letter.
  • Always write your references thank-you notes expressing your appreciation. Stay in touch with your references even after you’ve landed a job or been accepted to graduate school. 

Cover letters

A cover letter is a professional document that tells your interest in a particular position, highlights your qualifications and introduces your resumé. It should accompany your resumé whenever you are submitting your application materials to an employer, whether by regular mail or e-mail. Your cover letter is just as important as your resumé. It also is a sample of your writing. 

Your cover letter should be: 

  • Targeted and tailored for each position you are applying for, not mass-produced. Mass produced generic cover letters addressed to To Whom it May Concern or Human Resources Manager will get about as much response as mail addressed to Occupant. Occasionally you have no choice but to use a general heading if you are responding to a blind job want ad that does not list a company name or address. In that case, the employer knows you have no choice.
  • Personalized to the individual you will most likely be interviewing with (whenever possible)
  • Accurate, error free, energetic, enthusiastic and concise
  • Produced on high quality bond stationery that matches your resumé paper
  • Signed by you

Also, don’t forget to:

  • Match your cover letter and resumé paper
  • Follow up as you specified in your cover letter

Outline of a Cover Letter 

Your address
City, state, zip

Name of contact person
Street address
City, state, zip

Dear (contact person),

Opening Paragraph: Why writing? Capture interest!

  • Strong opening sentences to make the reader want to continue reading.
  • Name the job for which you are applying. Tell how you learned about it.
  • Mention the name of a person (if any) who referred you to the organization.

Body Paragraph: Critical content section. Convince the reader of your skills.

  • Acknowledge the skills required by the open position.
  • State the skills/strengths you will bring to the job and that parallel those needed to fill the position.
  • Give examples of skills and achievements and how they will transfer to the job.
  • Comment on your knowledge of the company (its products, services or special projects) and why you are interested in working for it.

Closing Paragraph: Ask for interview and identify next step!

  • Refer to enclosed resumé.
  • Tell the contact person that you will call on a designated date. Also, state that you are available for a personal interview at her/his convenience.
  • Make it easy for the person to contact you: list your phone number and times you can be reached. Even if it is on the resumé, list it here again.

Sincerely, (Respectfully, etc.)

(sign your name)
Your name typed

Enclosures: resumé
(work samples, transcript?)