Resume Writing Tips
A resume is a professional document that summarizes your education, experience, skills, and achievements. A good resume is one that is written concisely; it must be perfect both in appearance and content. The purpose of a resume is for you to get an interview. Write your resume to match the employer’s needs. A resume may be the first form of contact you have with a prospective employer; therefore, it must make a dynamic first impression.
There are three resume styles: Chronological, Functional, and Combination.
Chronological is the most common and is used for those who have a steady work history in the same field. Work experience is written in reverse chronological order with the most recent occupation listed first.
Functional is more suited for job seekers who are changing careers or when your work history is not continuous or if you’ve been unemployed. Usually the most applicable experience is listed first. The primary content includes paragraphs that describe your strongest skills.
Combination combines your skills and responsibilities with a brief work history. It illustrates special aptitudes and abilities especially if your skills and experience are not evenly matched.
General Resume Tips
- Do not use a template when creating your resume. Templates are restrictive and can be difficult to manipulate when making corrections.
- Seek the advice of others as you compose your resume. Have your resume critiqued by a Career Services staff member, a professor, or industry professional before submitting.
- Make your resume brief and try to print it on one page. Keep your font simple and use 10-12 point Helvetica, Arial, Times Roman, or Verdana.
- Use approximately one inch margins and have adequate white space so your resume is legible to read. Your resume must be easy on the eyes of the reader.
- Do not use complete sentences, use simple statements. Omit all pronouns. Begin statements using action verbs that highlight your skills. Do not abbreviate words or use slang. Your writing, grammar, and spelling should reflect your college education.
- Print your resume on white or ivory stationery.
Parts of a Resume
Include your name (in all capital letters), address, phone number and email address.
Objective or Summary of Qualifications
State the type of position you are seeking and the field or industry in which you would like to work. Search for sample resume objectives online that pertain to the position you’re applying for.
List degree(s) received in reverse chronological order; list the most recent first. List university name and include city and state. Spell out your degree name, i.e. Bachelor of Science, Master of Science. Degree names are singular not plural. List month/year degree received. Include GPA if 3.0 or above. List academic honors (President’s or Dean’s List) and note the semester/year received.
Include coursework relevant to the position you are seeking. List them in two columns without bullets.
Certification and Licenses
Any professional certifications and licenses should be listed. Examples are software/technology, health care, business, construction certifications, etc.
List work experience in reverse chronological order and write your current employer information first. Include specific statements about your responsibilities, not long paragraphs, and include bullets. Use action verbs at the beginning of your statements describing your responsibilities. Include internship, practicum, summer, full-time, and part-time employment.
Highlight computer and software skills (include level of proficiency including basic, intermediate, etc.,) and other specific skills.
List academic scholarships received and include semester/year received.
Provide examples of projects that you have completed or that are in progress (i.e. capstone course) that demonstrate that you can apply the theoretical or classroom lecture and apply it to a real-world situation. Note if it was a team project. Provide the grade(s) assigned for the project.
If you received special technical training while in the military, held a position of leadership, or have a continuing work history, include it. Be sure to use civilian terms if applying for non-military positions.
List all professional memberships relevant to your degree. Include college club memberships, i.e. Accounting Club, Black and Latino American Student Union, IEEE, Baja, etc.
List the most relevant activities and leadership positions first. Include details regarding skills and experiences, if applicable
Include foreign languages or American Sign Language. Use words such as “familiar with”, “fluent in”, “verbal and written.”
List interests and hobbies that you enjoy.
Seek prior approval from individuals who you want to list as references. Prepare a list of references on a separate page and include name, title, address, phone number, and email address. List three to five references (consider individuals who are familiar with your academic achievements, leadership and teamwork skills, and/or work ethic). It is also helpful to have letters of recommendation.