Five Ways to Make Your Resume Stand Out

By Ella Butler, Career Coach at University of Utah Career Services


I'm Good At StuffHello from your Career Services Coach!

As you gear up for Social Work Career Prep Month, I wanted to provide some tips & tricks to help make your resume stand out.


  1. Tailor your resume to the job description
  • Input the job description into “ Wordle” to help you find the key words that employers are looking for, which can help you tailor your resume
  • Your resume should mirror the job description with relevant experiences and transferable skills
  • Rather than using photo of yourself or using bright colors, the best way to stand out is to tailor your skills to their job posting.
  1. Use a simple design to structure your resume
  • Use bullets rather than lengthy paragraphs to make it easier for employers to scan
  • Be consistent with formatting, and pay attention to detail
  • Avoid color, or fonts that are too hard to read or distracting
  1. Use words as power
  • Start your bullet points with a strong action verb
  • Determine what skills and values you share with the company
  • Avoid “I”, “We” and “Our” statements
  1. Describe accomplishments, not responsibilities
  • Bullets should be results driven, rather than task driven
  • Provide specific examples and cold hard numbers
  • Provide at least 3-6 bullets for each position
  1. Tell a story knowing that
  • Employers may only spend 10 to 15 seconds on your resume
  • Grammar mistakes will keep you from getting an interview
  • Relevant volunteer and leadership experiences are invaluable

Career Coach Ella Butler (crop)

Whether you know where you will be working for the next three years or whether you are passionately searching for your dream job, Career Services is here to help you with your career path!  No matter what stage you are at currently, we can help make sure you are heading in the right direction.  Come in for a mock interview, to review your resume and cover letter, for career or internship exploration, or any of your career related needs.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me via email ( or phone (801-585-9703), or to make an individual appointment with me.  To make an appointment, please read below:

  1. Go to
  2. Click the red “UCareerPath” button and log-in with your CIS credentials
  3. Click in the “Appointments” tab, select my name (Ella Butler) & choose a time that works for you


Fresh snow and blue skies provide the perfect backdrop for the glitterati, the independent, and the inspiring who are visiting Park City and Salt Lake City for the Sundance Film Festival. Over the last 31 years, the annual festival has served as a venue for thousands of unknown voices to share unique, creative, and powerful untold stories.

Many of our faculty and staff at the University of Utah College of Social Work take advantage of having this internationally-acclaimed annual event in their back yards. After an evening at the theater, they often return to the College with a list of must-see films for social workers. We’re pleased to share a few of their 2016 recommendations (in no particular order).

Christine - 2016 editedChristine

Recommendation: “Christine is the story of Christine Chubbuck, a television news reporter in Florida who committed suicide on live television in 1974. We get a more rounded view of her personality, and why her co-workers described her as difficult but brilliant, warm, and funny. While her depression and rapid cycling from mania to despair become increasingly evident, it was not sufficiently evident for anyone to correctly diagnose her bipolar disorder in order to save her. This would be an excellent case study in BPD, but also is a wonderful argument for physician training and mental health policies in general.” – Dr. Joanne Yaffe, Professor

About this film: “In 1974, a female TV news reporter aims for high standards in life and love in Sarasota, Florida. Missing her mark is not an option. This story is based on true events.” (Director: Antonio Campos)

Sophie and the Rising Sun

Recommendation: “If I see only 10 films at #Sundance2016 please let them be this good. Amazing film!” – Dr. Joanne Yaffe, Professor

About this film: “In a small Southern town in the autumn of 1941, Sophie’s lonely life is transformed when an Asian man arrives under mysterious circumstances. Their love affair becomes the lightning rod for long-buried conflicts that erupt in bigotry and violence with the outbreak of World War ll.” (Director/Screenwriter: Maggie Greenwald)

Captain Fantastic

Recommendation: “Really, everybody should see ‘Captain Fantastic….’ You’ve got mental health issues (bipolar, suicide), child welfare issues (style vs safety), loss and grief (mom’s death and burial, saying good bye), and lessons about family love and forgiveness. It was fabulous.” – Lisa Himonas, Assistant Dean for Development

About this film: “Deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and re-enter society, beginning a journey that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent.” (Director/Screenwriter: Matt Ross)

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Recommendation: “Wonderful exploration of a disrupted foster placement in NZ.” – Dr. Joanne Yaffe, Professor

About this film: “Ricky is a defiant young city kid who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle in the wild New Zealand bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their differences and work together to survive in this heartwarming adventure comedy.” (Director/Screenwriter: Taika Waititi)

Resilience - 2016 editedResilience

Recommendation: “Solidly grounded in science, the film brings to light how adverse childhood experiences (ACE) affect the health and behavior of children, as well as adults. It provides great examples of helping children overcome experiences that are often misdiagnosed, such as a misdiagnosis of toxic stress as ADD. How do we train children to recognize the stress in their lives? How do we make the connection between childhood traumas and the body’s manifestation of that stress? This film examines the connections between health and mental health through an interdisciplinary lens and acknowledges a major public health issues – an epidemic – that our society doesn’t want to talk about.” – Dr. Dena Ned, Associate Professor/Lecturer

About this film: “This film chronicles the birth of a new movement among pediatricians, therapists, educators, and communities using cutting-edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction, and disease. These professionals help break the cycles of adversity by daring to talk about the effects of divorce, abuse, and neglect.” (Director: James Redford)


Recommendation: “This documentary is an important contribution to educating viewers on current issues young girls and women face in other cultures. The film addresses traditional family views on forced marriage in Afghanistan and Iran, lack of education for women, women’s rights, human rights in general, immigration, and refugee life in the United States. What makes Sonita’s story unique is her courage and determination in creating a rap video that earned her a scholarship opportunity in the United States. After leaving Iran secretly initially without her parents’ knowledge, she is not only pursuing a better life and education for herself, but also hopes to help other young women in similar situations in her home country.” – Inka Johnson, MSW Program Administrative Assistant

About this film: “If 18-year-old Sonita had a say, Michael Jackson and Rihanna would be her parents and she’d be a rapper who tells the story of Afghan women and their fate as child brides. She finds out that her family plans to sell her to an unknown husband for $9,000.” (Director/Screenwriter: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami)

Other People

Recommendation: “Mom is dying of cancer, so her gay son comes home to help, but his father is not accepting of his sexual orientation. It’s a story of loss and grief, as well as LGBTQ/family acceptance.” – Lisa Himonas, Assistant Dean for Development

About this film: “A struggling comedy writer, fresh from breaking up with his boyfriend, moves to Sacramento to help his sick mother. Living with his conservative father and younger sisters, David feels like a stranger in his childhood home. As his mother worsens, he tries to convince everyone (including himself) he’s ‘doing okay.’” (Director/Screenwriter: Chris Kelly)

Eagle Huntress - 2016The Eagle Huntress

Recommendation: “The Eagle Huntress is a tour de force. See it!” – Dr. Joanne Yaffe, Professor

About this film: “Step aside, Daenerys and Katniss—Aisholpan is a real-life role model on an epic journey in a faraway world. Follow this 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl as she battles to become the first female to hunt with a golden eagle in 2,000 years of male-dominated history.” (Director: Otto Bell)

Hooligan Sparrow

Recommendation: “This film is a great portrayal of some of the difficult and amazing work being done by some advocates for social justice in China. If you love social justice, you’ll love this film.” – Miguel Trujillo, Youth Empowerment Program Project Coordinator

About this film:   “Traversing southern China, a group of activists led by Ye Haiyan, a.k.a. Hooligan Sparrow, protest a scandalous incident in which a school principal and a government official allegedly raped six students. Sparrow becomes an enemy of the state, but detentions, interrogations, and evictions can’t stop her protest from going viral.” (Director/Screenwriter: Nanfu Wang)


Hearts, Humility, and Healing

LDS & LGBTBy Karl Jennings and Megan Whitlock, MSW Students


Almost two weeks ago, [in response to a new policy adopted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], many of us woke to the Instagram picture at right.  At least two of us (Megan Whitlock and Karl Jennings) went to class not really sure of all the emotions we felt.  Regardless of our LDS/LGBT positionality, from the looks on the faces of our friends, we were certain that people were hurting.  Despite the potential for deep disagreements, the following occurred:

Megan Whitlock: In diversity class later that day, the teacher welcomed us to process the LDS Church’s policy regarding same-sex families. I felt the sorrow I had not yet registered and tears began to stream.  All day I had seen the faces of many of my friends who I feared had yet another jab to deal with from the Church.  Unable to withhold my thoughts any longer, I raised my hand.  All I could say through my tears was that I didn’t know what my future would be or how to do what I felt was right, but I felt that my place in the Church was to stay – with the intent of creating spaces.  I felt and feel like I need to be in the Church to be an influence wherever I can be an influence in order to keep conversations happening.  And what happened next has become sacred to me.  A member of the class, a gay man – a dear friend – offered ME support.

Karl Jennings: I think I said that I can understand and respect that.  I don’t think it’s my place to require anyone to leave or to stay.  I am not in a place where I can work within the Church and it would be hypocritical of me to try, but I support whatever you decide because I know your heart.  

Megan:  We both shared tears in that exchange, but we also shared a space that we have since struggled to name.  We wanted to understand how we were able to feel this connection that seemed unlikely, given our respective positionalities: Megan, an active, straight member of the LDS Church; and Karl, a gay, agnostic, former member.  As a result of further dialogue, this is what we believe enabled us to enter a transformative space:

  • “I know your heart.”
  • “We cannot live peacefully without humility.”

Karl:  To me, it was knowing you, Megan – as a person of great worth and hearing you speak often with genuine empathy and caring – that I knew whatever place you landed, it would be a place I could respect.  In the face of that, it was more important for me to reach out to you than to be “right.”  I think that’s where humility comes in.  

Megan: And for me, in that moment you, Karl, spoke your truth without denying me mine.  I also know your heart.  I have known you to love, own, and seek your path while always recognizing that others have paths of their own.  It takes humility to live that way, and it gave me the strength and courage to live that way too.

We believe our friendship laid the groundwork that turned a potential divide into a strengthening experience.  We could trust each other’s intentions because we took the time to know each other.  Because we had already developed something valuable between us, it was mutually more important to reach out than to go on the defensive – to suspend the need for a “right” answer.  We know this doesn’t solve the issue.  Neither of us is sure we even can.

The community is hurt, but it has the power within itself to heal. Our role as social workers is to nurture that power, teach it, and live it.


MSW students Megan Whitlock and Karl Jennings

Seizing Opportunities: How One BSW Student is Fighting Sex Trafficking in Utah

Photo 2

Dr. Lindsay Gezinski and BSW student Christie Morgan, who was selected as one of three University of Utah Parent Fund Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Scholars for the 2015-2016 year.

By Christie Morgan, BSW Student


I didn’t begin my college career straight out of high school, as is typical for most college students. Instead, I spent 13 years in the banking industry, eventually ending in project management. When I returned to school, I reflected on the aspects that brought success in my previous career: participation in projects that changed the way employees did their jobs, and an influential mentor that encouraged opportunities for growth and development. I knew if I could find such opportunities in college, I would seize them.

In my first semester at the University of Utah, Cindy Greaves and Stephanie Shiver from the Office of Undergraduate Research were guest speakers in my ­­­Advanced Social Work Writing class and presented the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP). This was the chance I was seeking. I began to watch for opportunities to participate in the program.

My intention has always been to engage in macro social work. Participation in research, therefore, held a definite appeal. Engaging in global social work was also an area of great personal interest. When I learned that Dr. Lindsay Gezinski was seeking research assistants for an exploratory research project examining sex trafficking in Utah, I knew I had to participate.


I’ve been granted the amazing opportunity to work with Dr. Gezinski and MSW student Lexie Levitt to gain a better understanding of the prevalence, history, and population characteristics regarding sex trafficking in Utah. The purpose of the research study is to identify gaps and provide recommendations for better identification and criminal justice service intervention.

Study participants come from a variety of criminal justice departments and include law enforcement, attorneys, case managers, and so on. We have conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 17 criminal justice professionals so far. Interview data are transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis. My responsibilities include study participant recruitment, observation or facilitation of interviews, and occasional interview transcription.

Themes emerging from completed interviews include barriers to identification, prosecution, and treatment. Study participants have mentioned concerns about their own lack of understanding regarding the prevalence of sex trafficking in Utah. Additionally, study participants have discussed the inability to prosecute perpetrators with human trafficking crimes, lack of resources for victims, victim’s resistance to the victim label, lack of training, and unclear differentiation between sex trafficking and prostitution.

Participating in this research project gives me experience that will greatly enhance my knowledge and abilities in all aspects of research, from ethical and sensitive collection of data, to fair and balanced dissemination, to critically analyzing the results for conclusions and future research opportunities.  In addition, participation in this research project has improved my abilities to contribute to these areas of study once I enter the work force. Working with Dr. Gezinski allows me to participate in the research of a global concern at the local level. Furthermore, completion of this study will strengthen my academic resume and allow me to be a competitive applicant to a graduate program. Finally, I have the exciting opportunity to present this research at the Utah State Capitol in January, which represents an important piece of facilitating change in our communities.

Halloween Costumes and Cultural Appropriation: Your Role as a Social Worker

ITSW Blog Pic (Blur)By Carissa Perry, MSW Student


Although college students may have grown out of trick-or-treating, many undergraduate and graduate students still dress up for Halloween. There is usually at least one occasion in October that requires a costume, be that a church activity, a costume party, or an office tradition.

Choosing a costume is never easy, and it gets harder as you get older. When you are younger, it’s normally pretty simple: a funny cartoon, a spooky character, or a favorite superhero. As you get older, you choose between a funny costume, a culturally relevant costume, a scary costume, an attractive costume, or a witty costume.

Regardless of which costume you choose, you should also keep social justice in mind. This means you must avoid mimicking another culture, ethnicity, or race other than your own.  The costume then becomes cultural appropriation, which manifests and creates oppression. White people have a history of oppressing many different groups, including taking land from Native Americans and enslaving African Americans. Even though you may think “time has passed” and “nobody actually thinks like that anymore,” it’s deeply offensive for a White person to “dress up” as a Native American, or wear black face, when White people have already caused so much pain for Native Americans and African Americans in history.

It doesn’t matter how obvious or intentional the discrimination and racism is; even small acts of cultural appropriation contribute to cultural and racial oppression. By implying that a culture, ethnicity, or race is something that can be easily taken off or copied, you are devaluing that culture, ethnicity, and/or race, and ignoring your privilege in your ability to “put on” a culture for one night and “take it off” when you’re done. This very idea perpetuates the systemic racist notion that being White is the “norm” and everyone else qualifies as “the other.”

The Center for Multicultural Affairs at Duke University is currently doing a media campaign titled “Our Cultures Are Not Costumes.” The images depict people who identify as certain cultures or races holding pictures of people wearing costumes of that culture or race. The images are powerful; check them out here:

The NASW Code of Ethics says social workers have the responsibility to advocate for social justice and fight against social injustice, which includes fighting against oppressive and racist actions and comments. As social workers, it’s our responsibility to have the difficult conversation about race and cultural appropriation with our friends when they tell us they are dressing up as Pocahontas or a mariachi band. It’s probably not the best choice to call out every problematic costume at a party, but it is important for social workers to talk to their friends and family members about cultural appropriation and how it perpetuates oppression.


Carissa Perry is a second-year MSW student and a student representative for the Initiative for Transformative Social Work (ITSW) within the University of Utah College of Social Work. For more information about the ITSW, email:

Driving for Greatness with Dean Hank Liese

The new dean of the University of Utah College of Social Work, Dr. Hank Liese.

Lawrence Henry (Hank) Liese saw golf in his future. A lot of golf — and more free time with Gail, his wife of 29 years, and their two dogs Lulu, a 10-year-old Lhasa Apso, and Murphy, a 16-year-old Schnoodle. That was the tantalizing promise of his July 2014 phased-retirement plan. As it turns out, Dean Liese, who does many, many things well, was completely unsuccessful at phased retirement. This is the story — albeit short — of his path to the deanship in the College of Social Work (CSW) — rather than the senior golf circuit.

Dean Liese completed an MSW-PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley in 1990, after which he worked as a disabilities case manager for three years. He was hired as an assistant professor at the CSW in August 1993 and, over the course of his 22 years at the College, has taught, served as development director and alumni relations coordinator, directed the PhD Program, served as associate dean for academic affairs, and been a special assistant in the University’s Office for Faculty. He has been a lead member on numerous University committees, including one that increased the role of the University’s career-line faculty in shared governance through represen­tation on the Academic Senate and other initiatives. When the national search for a new dean did not result in the right fit for the CSW, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Ruth Watkins asked Dean Liese to serve as dean for at least the next two years.

Although Dean Liese’s path to the dean’s office was unusual, he has fully embraced his role and received the enthusiastic support of administration, faculty, staff, and students. He is committed to collaboratively creating a stra­tegic plan for the College — one that will have input from many and buy-in from stakeholders. “My number one goal is to increase our national visibility and stature,” he said. “Although rankings are often methodologically flawed, they do mean something and they are important in attracting good faculty, students, and research opportunities.”

Dean Liese is enthusiastic about the future — and confident in the ability of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends to take the College to new heights. “The best part of the job,” he shares, “is coming in every day and seeing the people. I appreciate that everybody wants the same thing — to be great.”