Find general formatting and composition tips here that will help you highlight your skills, strengths, education and experience. Because this is general, it is strongly recommended you review your resume and cover letter with Career Services at your earliest convenience.
Start with a brainstorming exercise to fill out these categories:
- Education & Study Abroad
- Work & Internship Experience
- Relevant Course Work & Field Skills
- Leadership Experience
#1 TIP: Match it to the job!
- Keywords: Get the employer’s attention by using keywords that match their job description.
- Tailor your resume for each job!
What categories should I include?
- Contact Information: Name, Phone, Email, Website & Address (optional)
- Profile (optional): Brief, specific description of self or career goal
- Education: Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, Associates degrees, Certificates
- Experience: Work, Internship and/or Volunteer
- Skills: Technical, Leadership, Language, Field Specific
- Others?: If you have room consider: Interests/Hobbies, Honors/Awards, Relevant Coursework, etc.
What should my resume look like?
- Balanced: White space should be in all four quadrants, not lopsided
- Easy to read: 10 pt. to 12 pt. sans serif type font, clear category headings, equal margin size, majority bullet points over paragraphs, can gather main points in 10 second scan
- Consistent: Put the same type of information in the same place for each category
- Relevant content: Information supports requirements of job/internship/graduate school requirements. Showcase skills vs. duties.
- Concise: Rule of thumb--1 page for 4 years or less; 2 pages for 5+ years experience in field
- References: On separate page with 3 - 5 references listed including name, company, title, phone, email, and address. Use the same heading, font & format as your resume.
What does good content look like?
- Quantifiable information: Numbers, percentages, amounts, increase/decrease
- Achievements/Results: Outcomes, recognition, awards, improvements, etc.
- Transferable skills: Communication, leadership, organization, problem solving
- Keywords/Language: Words emphasized on job description, field specific jargon
- Action verbs: Past tense action verb begins bullet
- Relevant: Include the most relevant information only. This may mean you have gaps in your employment & that's o.k.
What should I avoid?
- High school information: School name, awards, jobs, activities—unless relevant to your field!
- Fluff: Over representing experience, i.e. all, many, successful, great, excellent, etc.
- Dishonesty: Including skills or experience you do NOT have
- Redundancy: i.e. Responsible for creating brochures vs. Created brochures
- Irrelevant Information: Wasting prime space with unrelated or unimportant details
- Poor Organization: Putting important information at the bottom of your resume