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Career Education

Writing an Effective Resume

We recommend the following as key components to an effective resume: use concise and clear language, focus on your experiences, demonstrate yourself as a problem solver and be short on words and long on facts.

Your resume should present your key attributes and accomplishments that show that you are prepared for the position he/she is seeking to fill. It is important to explain yourself in as few words as possible without losing the meaning. Focus on your problem-solving abilities: state the accomplishment and then mention the result of your actions. For example: Implemented investor seminar programs resulting in new customer business and increased existing customer investor business.

Focus on your experiences, skills and knowledge. Your resume is a marketing piece and you are selling a product: YOU and your skills. Your goal is to entice an employer to consider you for an interview. 


The most ignored and maligned step in resume writing and the job search is self-evaluation. Your job search will lack focus and your resume will appear scattered if you do not explore your work experience, skills, qualifications and interests. Once you have gathered this information, you can create a resume that focuses on your strengths, skills and qualifications. Answer these questions to get you started:

  • What motivates you?
  • What are your strongest communication skills?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What skills have you developed which are transferable to other types of work?

Once you have answered these questions, you have a basis of information to begin construction of your resume.

Resume format types

Typically there are three resume formats which you may elect for your resume. The most common is the “chronological resume.” This resume format is appropriate for most job seekers and particularly good for those with little or no work experience. The format is simple. Begin by listing in reverse chronological order your work experience from your most recent job to the first position you held. These can be full-time work, part-time, internship or volunteer work.

The second, less common format is the “functional resume.” This type is appropriate for those with a substantial amount of work experience in a variety of functional areas. It is particularly good for people seeking a career change. Instead of presenting your work experience in chronological order, the focus is on the functional area of experience such as marketing, finance, accounting, and project management.

The final format is the “hybrid resume.” This format is the merging of the chronological with the functional resume. People with significant work experience in several different functional areas should consider this type of presentation. The advantage of this resume is that is "looks" like a chronological resume but highlights the candidate’s functional skill set.

Brandeis IBS uses the chronological resume format for all career programs. To participate in the resume book and in the campus recruiting program, your resume must be in this format. 

Resume components:

  • The summary statement: Your resume should feature a short paragraph that describes your most desirable and job relevant qualifications. Here is where the important self-evaluation will come in handy. You will want to include those qualifications that relate to the job you are applying for and can prove through the accomplishments you have included in the body of your resume. Most resumes get a first glance that lasts only 10 seconds, so you want to have eye-catching information at the beginning. Including key words in your summary can also help you get noticed if the company utilizes a resume-scanning system. The following are some examples of information you may wish to include in the summary: 

    “MBA with ten years work experience in international marketing and sales in the computer industry. Strong leadership, management and relationship building skills. Proven ability to penetrate and establish company presence in foreign markets. Ability to meet strict deadlines. Fluent in three languages. Seeking a position as a director of marketing.”
  • Experience / accomplishments: The body of your resume should include your accomplishments. Use bullets to highlight the different tasks or accomplishments. Bullets make a visual scan of your resume easier. Use strong action verbs to describe the work that you did. Don't forget to include the dates of employment and location along with the company name and your job title.
  • Additional information: You may wish to include information about your computer or technical ability, language skills and volunteer or extra-curricular activities.

Other important information

Last things to think about: do not use personal pronouns; make typographical or grammatical errors; use passive tense verbs; abbreviate or use slang; list references.

Please contact the Career Development Center to review your resume before submitting it to prospective employers. Also have a friend or classmate review your resume for typographical errors.