Writing a Resume
A resume is a summary of your experience and unique qualifications that introduces you to employers in a visually appealing, concise, easy-to-read, and informative way. It showcases your skills and accomplishments related to the job. It should capture highlights that set you apart, not tell your life story. A resume helps you secure an interview, not the job itself.
Tips for Creating Your Resume
- Tailor your resume to the job for which you are applying, with specific skills and qualifications relevant to each position.
- Include only information that you are willing and able to talk about in an interview.
- Present the most relevant information for the job goes on the top half of the first page or the first page (if two pages).
- Avoid using resume templates. They are too limiting in what you can highlight and do not reflect your uniqueness.
- Align your resume and cover letter so they convey the same message.
- Be consistent in each section. For example, if your title is bold for your work experiences, it should also be bold for your student and community involvement.
- Review key elements in a job description that interests you and review other similar positions to identify common keywords. Use these keywords throughout the resume and in your professional summary.
- Use strong action verbs in your bullet points and avoid personal pronouns.
- Ensure that your contact information is accurate.
- Proofread carefully to ensure there are no typos. Share your resume with your peers and professionals to review and provide feedback.
A professional summary comes at the top of your resume and is a concise, one- to two-sentence overview of your skills and work experience. This is often most beneficial for experienced workers because it’s a way to recap your diverse capabilities at the top of your resume.
Example: Marketing professional with more than 10 years of experience in online, interactive marketing, and advertising in a B2B capacity.
This section can be in addition to, or in replacement of, the professional summary. (Because you have limited space, include this only if it is appropriate and you have something to say.)
Example: Exhibits excellent analytic skills and possesses strong attention to detail, which allowed the recovery of almost $500,000 in misallocated resources during the year-end close.
This section is the heart of your resume, the place where you will list in reverse chronological order your professional experience. Most often, your most recent job should take up the biggest space on the page. Include quantifiable achievements that were a result of your work. Do NOT list only tasks or responsibilities.
Example: Managed team of 15 accounts payable specialists and improved productivity by 15 percent with smaller lag time between invoicing and payment.
As a current student or recent graduate, you should also list leadership positions within organizations that give evidence of soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork, and communications.
List your college name, city and state, and major/degree. If you have recently graduated, include your GPA only if it is 3.5 or higher. List any coursework relevant to the position.
Consider if and how this information is relevant to the organization and the position. For example, if you’ve volunteered for a community organization and you’re targeting a not-for-profit employer, listing your experience can show you have applicable interests.
List only skills relevant to the job for which you’re applying. These may include:
- Language skills with qualifiers: literate, conversational, proficient, fluent.
- Computer skills in regard to specific applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Outlook. List proficiency level when applicable.
- Computer languages and software specific to the industry
Resume Formatting Basics
- Maintain a consistent format (e.g. font type and size, spacing, etc.).
- Avoid fancy fonts.
- Limit the amount of white space and color.
- Do not use personal pronouns such as “I” or “my.”
- Bold and/or italicize what you want to stand out.
- Your name should be no larger than 16-point font.
- Your text should be no smaller than 10-point font.
- Margins should be the same on all sides (0.5 to 1 inch).
- Always convert your resume to a PDF when sending it by email.
- Use clear section headings (e.g., education, work experience, certifications, skills, etc.).