Mercury Association résumé workshop focuses on avoiding common mistakes

Elizabeth Golden

Mercury Association hosted its annual résumé workshop on Nov. 16 in Royall Hall.

The Communications Studies student organization partnered with UMKC Career Services general manager Sandi Dale, who discussed avoiding common résumé mistakes and ways to stand out among the competition.

“How many have a résumé?” she asked a group of about 25 students.

The majority of students raised their hands.

“Are you happy with the résumé you have?” she asked.

The hands in the air began to descend with only a couple remaining.

Dale explained the different formats of a résumé.

“A good, effective résumé is your personal marketing tool,” she said. “It’s the first thing a prospective employer will see, so emphasize what is relevant to the job.”

Dale also stressed the importance of including experience, education and leadership.

“Résumés work best if they are clean, neat and easy to read,” Dale said. “Identifying what field the job seeker is looking to enter is helpful.  Highlighting relevant experience, leadership skills, co-curricular activities, any study abroad experience, honors/awards and volunteerism help make a résumé work.”

Dale said that the most common mistakes Career Services sees are not knowing the correct way to spell out UMKC and not identifying a degree.

“As elementary as it may sound, we see dozens of résumés with incorrect spellings,” she said. “This will look really bad, especially if the person doing the hiring is a UMKC graduate.”

Punctuation is problematic.

“It’s surprising the amount of people who write ‘University of Kansas City’ or even ‘University of Missouri – Kansas.’ Many forget to include the hyphen and use a slash or comma instead,” she said. “Also, we see many students who don’t even know what degree they’re getting. UMKC does not have a Bachelors of Communications. Communications is a major. Bachelor of Arts is a degree.”

Another red flag mistake is putting personal information on one’s résumé.

“We see many résumés that include marital status or number of children,” Dale said. “We’ve even seen some with pictures attached.”

Dale concluded with key tips to landing a job or internship.

“Have a great résumé that stands out and perfect your interviewing skills,” she said. “Making that first great impression (with the résumé) and then a second great impression with being able to articulate who you are and what you have to offer to a potential employer.”

Junior communication studies and English major Amy Daniels came prepared with a résumé to show Dale.

“I chose to come to the workshop because it’s good to get involved and get feedback from someone outside of college years,” she said. “I’ve been a writing tutor so I already knew the do’s and don’ts, but I still had something to learn.”

Sophomore Jordan Williams, Mercury Association publicist, was pleased with the turnout, but hoped for more.

“We held the workshop in the middle of the day, so it’s hard to get away from class,” she said. “I’m really glad people asked so many questions though.”

Williams also felt that the résumé workshop was helpful.

“I’ve gone to the workshops before, but it’s still always good to hear from Career Services,” she said.

Mercury Association plans to hold  similar events in the future. Next semester, it will offer an interview workshop and the annual internship brunch.

For more information about Mercury, email Williams at [email protected].

Career Services is located in the Student Success Center, and Dale can be reached at [email protected].

Résumé checklist

Contact Information

First and last name (14-16 pt. font), address, phone number, and professional email address displayed clearly at the top of the page.


  •  List schools attended in reverse chronological order.
  • Full name of the university is spelled out.
  • The city and state of each school are listed.
  • Use the official degree name (i.e., Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science).
  • Spell out major, minor, concentration, and emphasis (if applicable).
  • Include GPA if it is above a 3.00, listed to the hundredths place.
  • Indicate graduation date, anticipated graduation date, or dates attended (if not a degree granting program, i.e. Study Abroad).
  • Do not include your high school information.


  • Use reverse chronological order.
  • Indicate the name, city, and state of the organization or company.
  • List title and start/end dates. Use consistent formatting.
  • Use descriptive, bulleted statements listing skills, accomplishments, and specific responsibilities.
  • Avoid “I” statements and full sentences. Use action verbs.
  • Use past tense verbs for past experiences and present tense verbs for current experiences.


  • Avoid first person pronouns (I, me, my).
  • Use a standard font and size for the body that is easy to read (10-12 pt.).
  • Proofread carefully; no typos.
  • Undergraduate resumes should not exceed one page in length.
  • Style and layout are consistent throughout including use of bullets, bold, italics, underline, hyphens, punctuation, and indentation.
  • Does not include any of the following personal items: photograph, marital status, date of birth, social security number, citizenship status, gender, ethnicity, religion or political affiliation
  • References not included within the resume. Do NOT say “referenes available upon request.”


  • Objective statement-Should be brief and specific and at the beginning of the resume, stating interest.
  • A summary section listing job related skills may be used instead of an objective.
  • Honors and Awards-Specify the complete name for each relevant award or honor, the granting organization, and the month/year of receipt.
  • Activities-List the full, correct name of each organization, dates of involvement and any leadership roles.
  • Skills-A brief list of computer skills such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, QuickBooks, etc. Only list if proficient.

[email protected]