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grads: No one
path to jobs
Here's help for frantic resume
By Eric Mattson
STUDENTS OFTEN joke about
what they see as the dead end of a
liberal arts education. What can
liberal arts majors do? they ask.
Spout forth reams of information
about the French Revolution, Charles
Dickens, or the Pythagorean
That's not the kind of knowledge
that helps get a job, they think. After
all, those stories about political scien-
ce majors working as bag boys at
Kroger's can't all be wrong.
Those assumptions, recruiters say,
are false. Obviously students with
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more vocational training - like
engineers or business students -
have highly marketable degrees. But
today's employers are also more in-
terested in liberal arts majors than~
many students realize.
Simone Taylor, assistant director of
the University's Office of Career
Planning and Placement, concedes
that it's not as easy for a liberal arts
major to decide upon a profession as it
is for an engineer, for instance. After
four years of engineering classes, you
become an engineer. But "if you're a
history major, does that mean at the
end of four years you're a historian?
It means you're a history major," she
That doesn't mean seniors who
don't know exactly what career they
want should start to panic, Taylor,
says. In fact, "that first job may not
be the job of their dreams - and
maybe it shouldn't be," she says.
Taylor points to statistics that in-
dicate that the average person will
have between three and five careers
and 10 to 15 jobs.
She recommends that students pat-
tern their courses after those taken by
people already working in the same
"There really isn't one major an-
swer, one specific curriculum, to open
up every job market," Taylor says.
"Students are probably looking for
more right answers to curriculum
planning than what employers are
Employers agree that they aren't
searching for students with one par-
"It's very difficult to tell you what I
look for on paper," says Maria Vono,
See LIB. ARTS, Page 5
By Cheryl Wistrom,
Y OU'RE PANICKED. It's mid-
October. On-campus recruiting,
is at its peak and deadlines for job ap-I
plications are creeping up. Yet you
still haven't taken that first step
toward gainful employment after
graduation: THE RESUME.
Relax. If organizing your em-
ployment history is your only
problem, then this guide will aid you
in selecting the most appropriate'
format. Even if your job history is
comprised of summer vacations spent
elbow-deep in grease at the local
hamburger joint rather than waist-
high in computer printouts at a For-
tune 500 firm, a resume will help you
sell yourself to an employer.
Just don't expect putting together
your resume to be a cinch. After' all,
that statement is your autobiography.
And doing justice to your life in an
81/ by li-inch space requires careful
thinking, patience, and skillful
writing. Every sentence counts.
Of course, you could take the simple
way out' by plugging your vital
statistics into a friend's resume. But,
that approach may not highlight your
best qualities or reflect potential em-
So where do you begin?
i T HE objective of a resume is
1 self-analysis and there's a lot
of work that comes before it," says
Deborah Orr May, director of the
University's Office of Career Plan-
ning and Placement. "Put in at least
as much time on it as you would for
one term paper."
David Gruner, director of Career
Directions, a licensed career con-
sulting agency, agrees. "People don't
think clearly enough about what are
their skills or potential in relation to
the job they want."
Gruner recommends completing a
"skills diagnosis" or a list of accom-
plishments and the skills used to
achieve them. The achievements may
be job-related, but they may also in-
clude extracurricular activities, in-
ternships, and volunteer work.
Scrutinize that list, Gruner advises.
Scratch off skills not directly related
to the position for which you're ap-
Choosing a format
NCE you have a list of
Oqualifications,you must decide
how to present them. Three standard
resume formats exist.
If you have a lot of job experiences,
then the Historical/Chronological
style is most appropriate. Your most
recent position should be featured fir-
st, followed by other positions in
reverse chronological order.
But if your employment history
isn't as extensive as you'd like, try the
Functional style. This format is
organized by skills rather than job
titles. Each section should detail how
you gained a specific skill through
If you're applying for a creative
position - say in advertising, graphic
design, or photography - you might
want to select the Imaginative for-
mat. This emphasizes a bold layout
All formats should allow for white
spaces to make reading easier.
Moreover, each format should in-
clude these basic information sec-
tions: identifying data (name, ad-
dress, phone number, and permanent
and current address); occupational
objective; education; work experien-
ce; and honors.
Janet Robinson, director of Career
Dimensions, says all of these
categoriesepresent an opportunity to
"There's no reason for anyone to
have to lie," she says. "Mention a
class project and turn it into a job
description - under the education
section, of course."
She and other resume consultants
suggest students add a category for
"Career-Related Courses." Specific
classes taken to train for a job should
be featured here, as should other
courses that might be useful in a
variety of positions, such as computer
programming or a foreign language.
The experts say including a "Per-
sonal" section might hurt your chan-
ces for a job. Employers are forbid-
den by federal and state laws to ask
about birthdate, race, religion, and
"Don't add that type of information
unless you feel it will be a plus," says
Bob Greenough, director of "Oc-
It might be in your favor, for exam-
ple, to specify your date of birth if
you are a 27-year-old non-traditional
student. Your age may indicate.
maturity to an employer who's sizing
you up beside a 22-year-old senior.
Likewise, resume experts say it
isn't necessary to include your grade
point average unless you're sure' it
can work to your advantage.
Generally, a 3.0 GPA or above is con-
sidered exceptional for students in the
science, business, and engineering
fields. Liberal arts concentrators, on
the other hand, should have at least a
The "Activities" section should be
omitted also unless your items are
job-related or can be used to show an
employer in a technical field that
you're well-rounded or can serve as
an ice-breaker in an interview.
References need not be included in
your resume either since a prospec-
tive employer usually assumes you
will supply names if asked. You are
only wasting valuable space by saying
they are "Available upon request."
From rough draft to
to finished resume
FOR feedback and to avoid
grammatical errors, have three
or four friends criticize your final
draft. "It's going to get better each
time if you're open to suggestions,"
You can then have your resume
typed professionally, done on a word-
processor, or typeset. Prices range
from $7-$20 per page for typing, for
word-processing and $30 per page and
up for typesetting.
Typeset resumes generally have the
most professional appearance
because of the wide variety of type
sizes and styles that are available.
Experts recommend reproducing
your resume on hard, watermarked
bond paper rather than erasable bond
But they tend to disagree on what
colors of paper are best.
Several resume guidelines advise
using plain white paper. However,
Noelle Smith of Alltypes Professional
Services says, "Stay away from
white. It glares, is hard to read, and
may get lost in the shuffle." She
recommends grays and earthtones in-
But another consultant, Jim Smith
of Find-A-Job, says that whites are
best for jobs in "ultra-conservative"
fields such as banking, law, and
finance. More conservative fields
such as business prefer greys and
cream, he adds.
Preparipg a cover letter
NOW wait before you rush to your
typewriter. Just because you un-
derstand how to write a resume
doesn't mean you're ready to apply
for a job. A cover letter should always
accompany your resume - unless you
physically hand it to an interviewer.
Like the resume, your letter should
not exceed one page in length and
should be typed on the same kind of
paper. But don't have cover letters
mass-produced; each one should be a
The purpose of this accompanying
letter is fourfold:
*To persuade your reader to read
*To relate your background to the job
requirements by elaborating on one or
more accomplishments mentioned on
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FORTUNATELY, YOU CAN SAY MOST OF IT
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1100 Catherine Rd.
4 Weekend/Friday, October 25, 1985