Resources: Resumes and Interviews

Remember the old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?” Now, more than ever these words ring true. In any economy, preparation can mean the difference between a job offer and being second in line. Your resume and the interview each make the first impression critical to success.


Crafting your resume to maximize exposure takes time but your best efforts will pay off in phone screens, interviews and ultimately, the right job! Consider these tips as you begin your process.

What if I don't have any experience in the kind of work I want to do?
The short answer is — get some. Search for opportunities where you can volunteer and gain valuable experience. Even a small amount of experience for a concentrated period of time gives you something to put on your resume.
What do I do if I have gaps in my work experience?
Explain what you were doing during that gap as gracefully as possible. Volunteering, attending school, pursuing a certification, or doing anything of value during that time period should be listed as work history.

  • 2003-2004 Maternity leave and family management
  • 2003-2007 Full time parent
  • Travel and study
  • Full time student
  • Parenting plus community service
  • Attended to aging family members

How far back should I go in my work history?
10-15 years unless you have relevant or significant experience further back.
If I've only worked for one employer for 10+ years how should I display it?
List each position you’ve held with the company separately to make your job progression and successes more obvious.
General Resume Tips

  • Don’t include everything you have ever done. Employers have a low tolerance for more than two pages, at most.
  • Include other interests to reflect the many dimensions of your life.
  • Don’t list your references on your resume unless this is requested.
  • Edit your resume, beyond a quick spell check. Ask a friend or two for their assistance with editing and proofing.
  • Never fudge dates, job titles, or responsibilities. Be truthful in any market, knowing that many companies verify your work history and education.

Resume Examples

Chronological: A chronological resume lists your work history in reverse order with your current or most recent position listed first. The benefit of this format is it’s easy for employers to see what jobs you’ve held and when. PDF Word

Functional: A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience instead of listing your work history. This format is best used for professionals looking to make a career change or that have gaps in their employment history. PDF Word

Combination: A combination resume contains the characteristics of a functional and chronological resume with the skills and experience listed first followed by the work history. This format is excellent when applying for a specific position. It allows you to highlight relevant points that make you perfect for the opportunity. PDF Word

Displaying Temp Work: Some people enjoy the freedom of never being tied down to a full time job while others are trying to jump-start their career or get back on track. Regardless of where you stand, it’s important to display temporary work history in a manner that best represents your skills and experience. PDF Word PDF 2 Word 2


Effective Interview Tips
Effective Interview Tips

  • Avoid saying things in a negative way and instead use positive, forward-looking words. Glass half full!
  • Never bad-mouth previous employers or co-workers.
  • Don’t say what you don’t like; say what you’re looking for and what you would like to get from a job.
  • Outline how your skills can benefit the employer.

Typical Behavioral Interview Questions

Be prepared by thinking about how your knowledge, skills and abilities match the job requirements. Carefully review the job description and be prepared to respond to behavioral questions about your past work experience.

  • Briefly tell us about your previous experience and how it relates to this position.
  • How do you set your priorities to help manage your workload? Provide an example.
  • Give us an example of a project that you generated on your own because you saw the need for it. Tell us what you did.
  • Describe a complex problem that you recently solved. What was the problem? How did you resolve it?
  • Tell us about a project or process that you have had to organize. What did you do?
  • What do you do if two or more supervisors ask you to complete different tasks? How do you handle conflicting priorities?
  • Give us an example of when you were a productive team player.
  • How would your last supervisor describe you?
  • How would your co-workers describe you?
  • Tell us the biggest mistake that you have made and how you learned from it.
  • Most of us have worked with difficult customers or clients. Describe a time when you handled a difficult customer.
  • What types of documents have you written in the workplace? You may be asked to provide writing samples to demonstrate your written communication skills.
  • Do you have any questions for us? Remember, a job interview is a 50/50 process; you are there to find out if this is an opportunity that fits your employment needs. At the first interview, focus your questions on the job requirements and the company culture, not on specifics like vacation pay, benefits, etc.