What is a resume? And why should I have one?

A resume is a summary of your skills, education, and experience that is aimed to convince an employer to invite you for an interview. The average employer rakes less than 30 seconds to scan a resume, so it's important to have a thorough yet concise resume. A well-written resume is essential for beginning a successful job search!

How should I format my resume?

  • Your resume should not exceed one page in length and be written concisely in bullet point format.
  • 0.75"-1" margins and font size 11-12
    • Best fonts for hardcopy resumes: Times New Roman, Georgia, Bell MT, Goudy Old Style, Garamond
    • Best fonts for online resumes: Calibri, Arial, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Lucida Sans
  • Bold headings and position titles - do not use italics or underline anywhere on your resume
  • Be sure that past experience is described in past tense; positions you currently hold may be described in either past or present tense

What can I include in my resume?

Tailor your resume to the specific position you're applying for. Make sure you market your skills, education, and experience to the job description! General categories include:

  • Your Name
  • Contact Information: email, phone number, address, and LinkedIn URL if you have one
  • Objective: clearly and succinctly state the position you're applying for
  • Education: list advanced degress (past high school) and education abroad programs only
  • Summary of Qualifications: brief statements on how your background and strengths make you a good candidate
  • Relevant Coursework: courses you have taken that are relevant to the position
  • Experience: you may list both paid and unpaid positions, including past jobs, internships, volunteer, and leadership experience
    • Use strong action verbs and descriptive phrases to convey your skills and responsibilities from each experience. For a list of descriptive words and guidelines on writing action phrases, click here.
  • Honors and Activities: list any scholarships, honors, and awards as well as professional or campus organizations you belong to

*Do not include professional references on your resume. Instead, make a reference sheet and bring it to your interview.

How can I tailor my resume to a specific field or skillset?

Take a look at our sample resumes targeted for different fields and levels of experience:

Need more help with your resume?