When you find an opportunity that energizes you, be ready to

Step 1: Know what it is and what it is not

What is a Resume?

A quick-glance, one-page document highlighting your backgrounds, skills, and experiences. The presentation of a personal brand preceding the face-to-face interaction with a potential employer. A snapshot of the skills and experiences you have that align with the job you want.

What a Resume is NOT

A multi-page novel telling every detail of every experience you’ve had. Or, an inaccurate representation of who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Or, listing your job duties and not accomplishments.

Step 2: Think Before You Write

The job description is your guide – make sure to emphasize skills and experiences in your resume that are consistent with the skills the company/organization is looking for.

  • Which skills are necessary to be the best for this position?
  • What are the keywords and needs this company/employer is looking for? 
  • Have you used “Word Cloud” or another job scanning software to evaluate the key words?
  • How do MY experiences and capabilities align with THEIR needs they’ve stated in the job description? Think curricular, volunteer/leadership, work-related

Step 3: Accomplishment Statements

Accomplishment statements highlight your skills by citing specific results, and quantitative results where you can. Simply listing duties from your job description is not enough.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What was the purpose of this work? What goals was I contributing to? How did I go beyond basic job duties? How did I stand out relative to my peers?
  • Did this work save time/money, increase customer satisfaction, design/improve a process or policy, etc.? Did I achieve more with less? Did I complete something ahead of schedule/budget?
  • Did I receive a promotion and/or recognition during my employment?

Examples of basic vs. professional accomplishment statements:

Camp Counselor – Basic
  • Worked with kids at an overnight camp
  • Led daily activities
Camp Counselor – Professional
  • Collaborated with a team of six peers to implement educational, individual and group recreational and social activities during four two-week sessions at a traditional girls’ overnight camp
  • Led a group of five, experienced cabin leaders and three leaders-in-training for a division of 56 female campers ages 10 – 12 during four successive two-week camp sessions

Step 4: Use sample accomplishment statements

Step 5: Guidelines

These guidelines increase your chances of getting an interview. And remember – this is a direct snapshot of the skills and capabilities you have for the job you want. The personal brand preceding the face to face.

  • One page
  • 10 to 12 size font in a professional style *no colors or fancy fonts*
  • Include job title, organization, location, date, the impact you had and accomplishments that demonstrate your skills for the job
    *in most-recent chronological order*
  • Make sure you’re positive and honest about your experience, skills, and capabilities
  • Proofread – correct punctuation, grammar, and syntax – flawless!
  • Start each bullet point with an action verb
  • Order bullets by most relevant to the job description

Step 6: Select a Layout

Step 7: Get it reviewed by an expert

Stop by the OPCD office in Reynolda 230 for a 15-minute review
Monday through Thursday from 1:30 to 4:30 pm

Other Resources

Career Core by Kaplan

Career Core by Kaplan is free to Wake Forest University students. The courses are taught by our very own Wake Forest professor Heidi Robinson and spotlighted Wake Forest students.