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Writing a Resume


Writing a Resume

A resume is a document used to market your strengths, skills and experience to potential employers. The steps outlined below will get you started. Work with your Career Planning and Placement staff to build your best resume.              


Resume Quick Tips:
  • Customize your resume for each job or internship opportunity.
  • Follow the online application guidelines when applying online. 
  • Your resume should be formatted consistently and be free of spelling and grammar errors. 
  • Your resume should include bullet points and usually be only one complete page. 
  • Avoid colors, photos, and personal pronouns (e.g. I, my, we, etc.).
  • Do not misrepresent, exaggerate or lie about your past experience. 
  • Update your resume regularly.
  • Use our Resume Checklist [PDF].
  • Veterans and military personnel - Use our Veterans' Resume Tips [PDF].
Begin with Lists      

To get started, begin by looking at open jobs to understand your industry. Then make a list of your past and present experience and relevant skills. Do not worry about formatting or page length. Consider:           

  • Educational experiences (in class projects, specific classes, or places of study) 
  • Employment experiences (internships, part-time and full-time jobs) 
  • Volunteer experiences (organizations, church groups, etc.)
  • Extracurricular experiences (clubs, athletic teams, etc.) 
  • Skills (languages, computer knowledge, or anything you can be tested on)   
Build Bullet Points            

Once you have your list, use bullet points to develop a description of the position. Bullet points allow employers to quickly understand what you will bring to their organization. Each bullet point should start with an Action Verb [PDF] and have quantifiable results, when possible.

Effective Bullet Point: Less Effective Bullet Point:​
  • ​Called 100+ customers daily to increase sales by 10%​
  • ​​Made phone calls
 
Develop Sections

Once you have your experiences and bullet points written, it's time to start formatting your resume. The best resumes have clear sections and headings.               
Required Resume Sections:           
  • Contact Information:
    • Your name, address, phone number and email address. 
    • Ensure your email address and voicemail are professional. 
  • Education:
    • The name of the college/s you’ve attended, the city, and state; the name of the degree/s earned or in progress; and the date of completion or expected graduation.
    • GPA (optional).
  • Experience:
    • Employment, volunteerism, internships, and military service.
    • For each experience listed include organization name, position title, dates, and bullet points.
    • Begin your resume with the strongest and most impressive qualifications first.
    • You may use subheadings such as "Professional Experience" or "Volunteer Experience". 

Optional Resume Sections:           

  • Skills:
    • Only include skills you can demonstrate or be tested on.
  • Awards or Recognition:
    • Highlight academic, military, or occupational accomplishments and include date you recieved the award. 
  • Objective:
    • An objective is helpful in situations such as when you attend job fairs, but is not required.
    • Make sure your objective communicates what position you are applying for and why you want it. 
Decide on an order once your sections are outlined. Below are heading order examples. The most relevant or impressive items should be first.

​Resume Format 1 ​Resume Format 2 ​Resume Format 3
Education
Work Experience  
Skills         
Volunteer Experience          
   
Skills
Work Experience
Education
Education
Skills
Work & Volunteer Experience

Customize and Edit

Once your resume foundation is built, it is time to customize and edit. Customizing means tailoring each section and description of work experience to match the specific opportunity. Look at the job description and use similar words or accomplishments in your resume. See our Application Tips for details and a general resume example[PDF].

Once you have customized your resume, make sure to edit it thoroughly. There should be no spelling or grammar errors. Use the Resume Checklist [PDF] and example to the right. Contact your Career Planning and Placement staff for assistance.              

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