A resumé is one of the documents that will introduce you as a candidate to an employer. The other is a cover letter. Thoughtful, well-written and succinct documents will catch an employer's attention and place you above the rest of the applicants. Remember, you'll have limited opportunity in these short documents to make an impression. Employers spend on average less than 30 seconds scanning an application ... so always put your best effort into their preparation.

The Résumé

Generally, résumés should be one page long. However, if you have more experience and desirable skills than one page can hold, use as many pages as you need, but be succinct. Make sure your résumé is user-friendly and easy to follow and have the following content:

  1. Your contact information–Name, address, telephone number and email address.
  2. Objective–a clear explanation of your area of career interest.
  3. Your education–list all degrees obtained and institutions attended
  4. Your work experience–Chronologic listing is most common, starting with the most recent. Include the company name and a quick explanation of the company's business, employment dates, special accomplishments and skills gained during the experience.
  5. Include any professional memberships and special activities that will also identify you as a qualified candidate for the position.
  6. List any special skills that make you uniquely qualified for this position- for example, computer proficiency, language, professional and technical skills.
  7. Include contact information for 3 professional references, or indicate your references are available upon request.

Check the spelling and have someone proof read your résumé to catch mistakes that spellcheck does not pick up. Construct several versions – one suitable for emailing or web site posting, and a hard copy version for job fairs and in-person interviews. All printed documents should be on the same color and type of paper, preferably white or beige. You may also want to have résumés with different content tailored to different industries, e.g. one version for clinical practice, one version for academia.

See more information about résumés and covers letters on the Written Marketing page of the AVMA Career Transitions resource.