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Introduction to the Professional Resume
A well–crafted, professional resume will open many doors and give you the best possible chance for getting an
interview. Once you land the interview, then it’s up to you to land the job. So, resumes don’t get you the job, but
they are a critical element of the job search that leads to an offer.
The staff at the Career Development Center at MTSU builds hundreds of resumes each year and also trains
for resume writing by reviewing thousands of resumes written by professional resume writers. We also listen to
feedback from recruiters and hiring managers. Although you’ll find that just about everyone has a different opin-
ion on how to write a resume, our goal is to help you create your own resume based on core principles so that
you’ll have a professional resume throughout the course of your career.
So what exactly is a resume anyway Let’s start with a basic definition. When you think about it, a resume is
actually a marketing document that highlights your unique knowledge, skills, education, experience and achieve-
ments that meet your target audience’s needs.
A well–crafted resume will accomplish several key outcomes for you:
1. Highlight who you are and demonstrate how you can meet your hiring audience’s needs in simple yet
2. Create interest from an employer to offer you an interview.
3. Communicate your brand or what your competitive advantage is compared to other candidates.
4. Demonstrate motivation and professionalism through commitment to creating a high quality marketing tool.
5. Create a structure to help prepare you and the hiring manager for the interview.
Are there other applications where a professional resume is important Yes!
1. Applications for graduate or professional school, fellowships, scholarships, proposals, grants and other
academic merit awards.
2. Promotions or other performance based programs with your current employer.
3. Appointments to boards, panels and committees.
Three key elements that you will need to master in crafting a professional resume are:
1. Content: The actual word choice and phrasing should be concise yet descriptive and speak to the needs
of your targeted hiring audience.
2. Format: How the information is structured or organized to best present your content.
3. Design: These elements include font type, font size, color, underline, bold or italic script, use of white
space, graphics, and other tools outside of content.