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HERC Career Blog

5 Tips for Resume Writing

By Higher Education Recruitment Consortium
January 24, 2017
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A resume is one of the most important documents you will write when beginning or advancing in your career. After all, this document serves as your key to working in the world of higher education. Your successful resume will also be one of the most persuasive works you craft.

As a calling card to beginning or advancing your career, your resume should reflect your personality and qualifications while fulfilling your potential employer's expectations. Here are a few tips to move your materials from a pile in the HR department to the desk of the hiring manager. 


1.   Keep a Master File

Create a compendium of your experiences, accomplishments, and publications that can be edited to fit any job posting to use as your "master resume." When applying for specific jobs, you will have everything you need in one document.

2.   Focus Your Resume

A resume’s entire purpose is to demonstrate your qualifications and credentials. In higher education, a teaching-focused resume is used when applying for academic positions in community colleges. Instead of trying to create a “one size fits all” document to send out to anyone with a job opening, be focused. Tweak each resume you send. Hiring managers search for keywords matching the announcement, so the more your resume language matches the announcement, the more likely you will receive a callback.

3.   Easy on the Eyes

Your resume should be easy to read and scan. Use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Verdana at 9-12 points. While you might want to call out your name and the names of schools you’ve attended or worked for by using a slightly larger font, go easy on excessive boldface type, underlining, and italics. Use a simple Word format that can be easily viewed across platforms. The person looking at your resume should have no trouble opening or viewing your document.

4.   Quantifiable Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities

When detailing your work history, focus on achievements. It is common to see a resume where a candidate has listed his or her responsibilities at each job; in fact, that is how many people were taught to write a resume. Instead, go beyond job expectations and show improvements made under your watch. Call out your successes. While you are listing those accomplishments, include quantifiable statistics and percentages pertinent to your success. Did you create a system that improved efficiency? Tell about that with before-and-after statistics. Were you chosen for a leadership role?  Explain why. Detail how you have accomplished your goals in a concrete way.

5.   Professional Summaries, In; Objectives, Out

Employers care about their own objectives, not yours. Take this section out of most higher education resumes. Instead, replace it with a summary of your accomplishments that will make you stand out to potential employers. Get rid of any fluffy language as well. Everyone applying for the job you are is “student-centered with excellent communication skills.” Phrases such as these are rarely read and will not get you closer to an interview.

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