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The average employer takes less than 10 seconds to scan a resume. As an undergraduate, typically your resume should not exceed one page in length and should be written concisely in bullet point format.

Click on the boxes below to expand them and read answers.

What is a resume? And why 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

Steps to writing a resume

Resume Videos

1. Review the job description

Read through the description and identify the required skills and qualifications

2. Create a list of accomplishments

List your education, jobs, volunteer and leadership positions, relevant coursework, and notable projects

3. Identify your relevant skills, especially from your past experience

Emphasize the skills that you have gained that are transferrable to the position you’re applying for

4. Write descriptive phrases

What you say is important, but how you say it can make all the difference. Whether you have extensive experience or you're looking for your first job, you have transferrable skills to offer potential employers. Learning to thoroughly and concisely explain what you can do and what you've done can make your potential employers see the true value of your qualifications. 

Some helpful tips: 

  • Use strong descriptive action verbs.
  • Write concise and specific phrases to describe your skills and responsibilities for each of your accomplishments.
  • Write your descriptions as phrases rather than writing full sentences (thus eliminating punctuation at the end of each description)
  • Arrange the descriptive phrases in order or relevance to the position you are seeking
  • Refrain from using "I" statements
  • Use descriptive action verbs to explain your skills gained and responsibilities held from past experiences.

Some examples of commonly used action phrases (varying in quality):

Mediocre Descriptions Good Descriptions Best Descriptions
Filed papers Filed papers and prepared sensitive documents Accurately maintained files and efficiently prepared and processed sensitive documents for management team
Constructed website Constructed website using streaming media and graphics Integrated engaging graphics and streaming media to construct company website, resulting in a 45% increase in hits in the first six months
Provided customer service Engaged in positive and professional customer service Positively and professionally interacted with customers from diverse backgrounds and patiently answered their questions about specific products

5. Choose the approriate format

  • For a more general resume go for a chronological resume. Include past experience starting with the most recent.
  • For a more specific application, consid- er writing a functional resume that lists skills and experience from volunteer, organizations/clubs, and work, that make you a qualified candidate.
  • 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 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 do I include/how to format 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: bold and size 11-13 font the rest of the resume is in 11-12 font.
  • Contact information: Professional/appropriate email, phone number, address, and LinkedIn URL (optional).
  • Objective: State the title of the position your are applying for and the organization.
  • Education: List the advanced degrees(s) you are working towards, associate degrees from community colleges (if you are a transfer student), and any study abroad programs you have participated in. Do not include high school information.
  • Summary of qualifications: Use 3-5 bullet points that connect strengths/ background tailored to the job description (include computer or language skills in a bullet point list).
  • Relevant coursework: Courses you have taken that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Display the courses in 2-3 columns for balance and to save space.
  • Experience: begin with your most recent experiences (as determined by date)
Position title, Employer/Company name, City, State Start-end date
  • List both paid and unpaid positions, including past jobs, internships, volunteer positions/work, and leadership experience that are either directly or indirectly related to the job you’re applying for.
  • Use action verbs to describe the tasks and accomplishments you did at the job.
  • Honors and Activities: List professional or campus organizations you belong to and scholarships, honors, or awards.
  • The more you know about the company the better decision you can make about whether to include controversial subjects (e.g. political, religions etc.).
  • Meet with an adviser if you have any questions or concerns on what to include in your resume.

    For an outline of how the resume may be formatted, click here

Submitting your resume

Most employers require online submissions of your resume. Unless instructed by the employer otherwise, send your resume in PDF format and include the document title and your name in the file name

Sample file names: Sammy Slug—Resume” or “Resume_SammySlug”

Need more help with your resume?

  • Come to the Career Center for a resume and cover letter critique M-F 8am-12pm and 1-5pm

If you have specific questions or concerns, contact a career coach via email or phone.