Preparing to Write Your Resume
Identify one or more career directions (Career Center staff can help you do this). It is easier to write a resume when you have knowledge of the needs of employers in your fields of interest. Become aware of the skills required to be successful in these fields.
Identify your skills, strengths, interests, and accomplishments as they relate to a job search. In order to write your resume you must think about your past experiences, the skills you gained, what you accomplished, and how these skills and accomplishments are transferable to the job or internship you want to obtain.
Analyze job descriptions/advertisements. Identify the keywords that describe skills, abilities, and qualifications required for the job. Use these words in your resume. This requires customizing your resume for each job to which you apply.
Take time to create a resume that is well-written, highlights your skills and accomplishments, and results in interviews. Start with a draft resume, have the draft reviewed, and allow time to make several revisions.
- Avoid using templates. Their formats are not ideal and do not allow for flexibility in highlighting your individual experiences and accomplishments.
- A one-page resume is preferred by most employers. But in some cases, two pages may be needed; if you have relevant experience be sure to include it. The key is for the most important and significant information to be found on the first page.
- Print resumes on high quality resume paper (usually ivory or white), which can be purchased at an office supply store.
- Use a standard typeface (Times New Roman, Calibri, Garamond, Arial) in a font size no smaller than 10-11 pt. Do not incorporate graphics, borders, clip art, or fanciful fonts. Exception: if you would like to enter the field of graphic design and art major.
- Adjust margins to create space for text. Margins can be as small as .5″. Even with narrow margins you must allow for white space so the resume is easy to read and eye-catching.
- Emphasize achievements, accomplishments and abilities, and give specific measurable results when possible (ex: “increased membership by 50%”). Use action verbs to describe experiences and accomplishments.
- Make the resume highly skimmable – short paragraphs / bullet points, crisp descriptions, and use of bold, underline, and italics to emphasize important information.
- Be consistent in how you format information within (and sometimes between) each section of your resume.
- Proofread – check spelling, punctuation, grammar, word usage, dates, etc. One mistake can make the difference in receiving an invitation for an interview!
- Have the Career Center review your resume.
Do NOT Include on Resumes
- Personal information such as Social Security number, date of birth, marital status, height, weight, picture, religion, etc.
- Name of high school (exception: 1st-year students)
- High school activities (exception: 1st-year students or if they show additional experience relating to field of interest)
- Personal pronouns or articles in describing experiences (I, my, the, etc.)
- References. They should be listed on a separate page.
Chronological (reverse chronological): This resume format is the one most preferred by employers. It lists experiences in reverse chronological order – from present to past.
Functional: This resume format is organized by skills categories including leadership, communication, administrative, project management, and other categories applicable to you and the job for which you are applying. Functional resumes do not focus on employers and job titles, but may contain a brief job history at the end of the resume.
Sections of a Resume
The type of information included on a resume varies from student to student based on the academic, co-curricular, and work experience of each student. Potential sections include:
- Contact information
- Education (including study abroad)
- Certification/ Licensure or specialized training – can be included with education
- Research/Senior Project
- Experience – you may have more than one experience section on your resume (Internships, Exhibitions, Work Experience, Additional Experience). These sections should emphasize all paid and unpaid experiences, especially those related to your field of interest.
- Skills – includes foreign languages spoken, computer skills, art skills, technical knowledge, specialized equipment
- Honors, awards, scholarships, publications
- Extracurricular involvement – athletics, clubs, organizations, and volunteer work.
- Professional memberships
- Name should be in bold and a font size larger than the text of your resume
- Make sure address, phone number and email are current. Email and voicemail must be professional.
- Include professional social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, E-Portfolio, etc.).