English for Professional Communication

EPC Home
Reporting Email


models  resources  downloads

Your resume may be the most important document you will produce in your professional life. To produce an effective resume, you need to know about both the functions and language of resumes.


Online practice

arrow.gif (178 bytes)
What is a resume?

A resume, or curriculum vitae (CV), is a record of your history and achievements in a concise yet comprehensive form. An effective resume does not summarise everything you have done in your life. Details of your education and qualifications are essential, but other information should be carefully selected. Provide information about past activities that demonstrate your suitability for activities in the future.


myths &

arrow.gif (178 bytes)
Features and benefits

  • Features are the facts that make up your personal characteristics and your career - 'This is what I am like', 'This is what I have done'.
  • Benefits are the advantages you might bring to a company if it employs you. They show the value or relevance of your characteristics to a particular job situation - 'This is what I can do for your company.'

A good resume does not merely present the facts of your life to a potential employer. It highlights the features of your career to date that will be of most benefit to the employer in the job you are applying for. You should therefore include features that are relevant to the job and exclude features that are not relevant.

You may also state the main benefits you can offer to the employer in a summary at the beginning of your resume (or in a cover letter) and at interview. To do this, you will need to be skilled at translating the features of your career into benefits for an employer.


Features &

arrow.gif (178 bytes)
The language of resumes

Effective resumes are characterised by:




Clarity and brevity: Most student resumes should fit on two sides of A4 paper. To meet this restriction on space, cut out unnecessary words.


Clarity & brevity


Action words: Action words give a dynamic impression of your skills and activities. Remember the ten core competencies that employers look for and try to exemplify them.


Action words 1

Action words 2


Statements of experience: These summarise clearly and concisely what you have done in your career. Use action words and omit the personal pronoun 'I'.

This module is adapted from materials written by English Centre Staff for the Resume and Interview Skills in English (RISE) course.



Statements of experience

The EPC web has been created by the ITIP team at the English Centre, The University of Hong Kong. Please email comments or questions to the ITIP team.