Resume Tips

A resume is an objective self-inventory of what you offer an organization. It summarizes your achievements, experience, skills, and education in a positive way. It serves as a guide for prospective employers, which targets particular openings, as well as a tangible reference for the company to keep. For all of these reasons, it is important to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and concisely. The following tips can help make writing your resume less stressful and more successful.


  1. Attract Favorable Attention - by making your resume look professional and avoiding commonly made mistakes.
    • Stationary - The quality and style of paper is important in providing a professional look from the start
      • Good quality, 100 percent cotton paper
      • Stick to neutral colors or white
    • Length - Attempt to keep your resume to one page
      • Adjust spacing and margins to fit
      • If you must go over one page, make sure the information fills half of the next page and that all of it is relevant.
    • Headings - Use them to divide your resume and make it look more organized
      • Use bold font
      • Space them apart
    • Grammar - Pay attention to it!
      • Be consistent, especially in verb usage
      • Use the same tense throughout entire resume
      • Proofread! Proofread! Proofread!
  2. Know Correct Content - so that you can include everything a possible employer may need to know about you to make as favorable a decision as possible.
    • Heading - Always make your name the focal point, do this by centering it at the top of the page and bolding it for emphasis
      • Always include a permanent address, phone number and email address (professional sounding
      • If possible, include a current address telephone (if it differs), and a second email address (if needed)
    • Objective - Its purpose is to explain to a potential employer what you want and what you, if hired, can do for the organization
      • Make it a brief and positive statement
      • Be specific enough to tailor to individual employers but at the
      • same time broad enough to fit several job possibilities
      • Use "buzz words"
    • Education - always start with your highest level of education
      • List institution, city, and state first
      • State major(s) and minor(s)
      • Only include GPA if it is above a 3.0/4.0 (unless instructed otherwise)
      • May also include sub categories like "scholarships" and "related coursework"
      • Should not include high school information (unless you were valedictorian, attended a well known "prestigious" school, or are applying back to the school you graduated from)
    • Work Experience - if you have had many experiences, consider splitting this category into two categories: Related Work Experience, and Work History
      • List most recent first
      • Include internships, volunteer experiences, and practicums also
      • Include a description for each experience: position, organization, city, state, dates, job duties, scope of responsibility, and accomplishments
  3. Optional Information - certain categories can be created to add a little something more to your resume, if it fits. These categories are meant to make you look better and to highlight certain skills you may possess that could assist you in the work environment. Remember, the order may vary depending on a categories importance to the field you plan to enter.
    • Honors/Award
    • Certifications
    • Community Service
    • Activities
    • Technical Skills
    • Accomplishments
    • Professional Organizations
  4. Be Aware of "Scannable" and Electronic Resumes - today many companies use these techniques to collect resumes, for this reason there are a few formatting tips to keep in mind.
    • Font
      • Use a minimum of 10-12 point
      • Use Arial or Times New Roman
      • No italic or underlining
    • Margins
      • Be generous, use a minimum of .75
    • Bullets
      • Will show up, so use them
  5. Final Things to Remember - When your resume is finished, have it reviewed (there are assistants in the Career Development Center on campus to help). Know that a resume is not forever, regularly update and revise it, for best results. Finally, know that most recruiters spend less than 30 seconds reviewing a resume, make sure you are not remembered for your mistakes.