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Writing Center: Resume

A guide to information to help you research and write more effectively.

FAQ about Resumes

FAQs About Resumes

What is a resume? 

Resumes operate as a detailed, concise “list” of the applicant’s most notable accomplishments, educational milestones, and experiences. 

Why are resumes important? 

Resumes communicate the most important and relevant information about the applicant and help the employer quickly decide if the applicant is qualified. 

What should be included in a resume?

Resumes should include information that explains who the applicant is and why they are qualified for the position. As such, resumes include the applicant’s contact information, education, professional history, experience, accomplishments, and relevant skills, tools, and certifications. 

How long should a resume be? 

Resumes should be limited to one or two pages. 

What is the difference between a chronological resume and a functional resume? 

A chronological resume lists past experience in reverse chronological order. Functional resumes groups experience under categories of skills. A chronological resume is more commonly requested by employers and will be the focus of the following handout. 

What is the difference between a curriculum vitae (CV) and a resume? 

A CV is a written description of a person’s full educational and work history. A resume is a brief summary of a person’s most important and relevant experiences, skills, and education. 

Resume Brainstorming Worksheet

Resume Brainstorming Worksheet

Instructions: Fill in your answers to the following sections on a scrap piece of paper. This information will be used to help you develop a professional resume. 

Section 1: Heading 

This section appears at the top of your resume and includes your personal information. 

Name ___________________________________________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________________________________

Phone # _______________________________       Email _________________________________

Section 2: Objective (Optional) 

Some employers request that you include a brief objective statement about your career goals and how these career goals align with the position you’re applying for. 

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

Section 3: Education 

This section should include all the colleges and universities that you have earned or will earn a degree. Your entries should be ordered in reverse chronological order.  

School _______________________________       City & State _____________________________

Degree ___________________________      GPA (if higher than 3.0) ________________________ 

Graduation Date (Month & Year) _____________________________________________________

Major(s) ______________________________      Minor(s) ________________________________

Section 4: Relevant research, class projects, courses (Optional) 

Describe any relevant research projects, class projects, and coursework you have completed. 

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

Section 5: Honors & Awards (Optional)

Include any honors, awards, scholarships, grants, honor societies, and deans list you received with the date the award was received and the name of the organization giving the award. 

________________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________________

Section 6: Certifications & Licenses (Optional) 

List any relevant certifications and licenses. 

Name of certificate / license _________________________________________________________       

Date Received & Date Experiences ___________________________________________________      

 Organization that granted certification / licensure ________________________________________

Section 6: Work experience 

List your previous work experience, including paid positions, co-op experiences, and internships. Start with the most recent experience. Each entry should have concise statements about your role, the tasks and activities you performed, and your accomplishments in the position. These statements should begin with action verbs. 

Position / Title ___________________________________________________________________

Dates ___________________________________ to _____________________________________

Employer / Company ______________________________________________________________

City & State _____________________________________________________________________

Responsibilities & Accomplishments ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Repeat the above entry as necessary 

Section 7: Skills (Optional) 

Describe your proficiency in areas relevant to the position, including language fluency and computer skills

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Section 8: Involvement in Campus, Community, Volunteer Positions, or Leadership Positions

Explain your involvement in organizations, including leadership roles organizations and length of membership 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Instructions: Once you have filled out the above sections, you can begin formatting your resume by entering this information into a document. You can use the tips below to help format your resume.

Tips For Writing Resumes

Tips For Writing Resumes

  • Format your resume to be simple and easy to read    
    • Employers have little time to read applications, so you should ensure the employer can quickly read through your resume 
  • Make each section of your resume is brief and to the point
    • Include only the most important information about yourself
  • Use active language, including power verbs in your task descriptions 
  • Organize the entries in each section in reverse chronological order
  • Pay attention to keywords employers use in their job descriptions. 
    • These keywords indicate what skills employers are looking for and can be applied to your task descriptions on your resume
  • Avoid listing all work experience 
    • Include the most important information for the job you’re applying for
  • Write in the past tense for positions you no longer hold and present tense for positions you currently hold
  • Be honest and do not exaggerate in your task descriptions
  • Include numbers and metrics to demonstrate your performance in past positions
  • Make the most important information stand out, such as job titles and company names
  • Use a professional font, such as Arial or Times New Roman in 12 point font
  • Write out acronyms in titles, company names, and task descriptions  
  • Prevent your resume from containing too much white space and appearing sparse
  • Look at examples of resumes from people in the industry you’re applying to
    • These resumes will demonstrate the format and information you should use
  • Pay close attention to spelling, punctuation, and grammar
  • Tailor your resume to meet the requirements and aspects of the position you’re applying for

Checklist For Resumes

Formatting

  • The resume is between 1-2 pages in length
  • Information is easy to read and is not too crowded
  • Major headings are easy to find due to capital letters, underlines, and/or bold font
  • Spacing and formatting is consistent throughout the document
  • Font used is professional and appropriate (Times New Roman, Arial, etc.)
  • Two fonts are used at most
  • Font sizes are easy to read and consistent throughout the document
  • Spacing is consistent throughout the document
  • Personal information, such as age, children, material status, is not included 
  • Pictures and/or graphics are not included
  • Free of grammatical errors

Contact Details 

  • Full name is written at the top of paper 
  • Phone number, email address, mailing address, and/or LinkedIn profile are included 
  • Email address is appropriate and professional 

Education 

  • Degree and major are written 
  • Name of all educational institutions attended after high school are listed with the location
  • The month and year of graduation or expected graduation is listed 
  • GPA is listed if higher than 3.0
  • Your highest degree is written first and all entries are written in reverse chronological order

Experience

  • Paid work, internships, and co-op experiences are listed
  • Position titles, company name, city, state, and date of employment are provided 
  • Each job description begins with an action verb 
  • Accomplishments and data or metrics are included 
  • Bullet points are used to describe experiences 
  • Experience is listed in reverse chronological order

Leadership, Volunteer & Other Activities

  • Campus involvement, volunteer experience, leadership positions, and community involvement are listed 
  • Positions, especially leadership positions, are mentioned
  • Accomplishments are described in bullet points
  • Title, organization, location, and dates of participation are listed

Additional Categories

  • Additional categories are used as relevant to the individual and the position 
    • These categories may be certifications, licenses, military service, etc.

List of Action Verbs for Resumes

Additional Resources for Resumes

Resources For Resumes