A résumé is a one- or two-page summary of your education, experience, skills, and accomplishments. It is a marketing document whose purpose is to earn you an interview. It should be brief and tailored to meet the needs of the specific position and organization to which you are applying. Because recruiters often spend less than 30 seconds initially screening a résumé, it must be formatted so the recruiter can find the information they need quickly and easily.
Key elements of a résumé
Contact information:How can you be reached?
- Identify yourself and provide several ways employers can reach you:
- Legal name
- Current and/or permanent address
- Telephone number (home and/or cell)
- E-mail address (not your work e-mail)
Objective:What are you looking for?
In one focused phrase, summarize your goal for your employment search. Your objective may be oriented to:
- The position (“Seeking position as case manager providing service to the aged.”)
- Your field of study (“Position working with youth in the social services field.”)
- Your skills (“Seeking position utilizing my skills in counseling, research, and writing.”)
Education:What have you learned?
- College(s), degree and major(s) (or anticipated degree with graduation date)
- GPA (if 3.0 or higher)
- Special qualities of your education, including course highlights and certifications
Work and related experience:What have you done?
- List employment, internships, and voluntary service in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
- Position title, organization name, and dates of employment
- Description of work performed — emphasize accomplishments and skills you developed (not just a list of everything you did)
References:Who can testify regarding your qualifications?
- 3-5 individuals who can speak about your skills and qualifications
- Include references on a separate sheet of paper from your résumé; place your contact information at the top of the page in the same format as your résumé (view a sample)
- Always ask permission BEFORE using someone as a reference! (read additional tips)
Career Services has developed several templates in Microsoft Word that you can use to make creating a résumé easier!
For current students and recent graduates:
For alumni and others with significant professional experience:
After filling the template with your own information, we highly recommend personalizing the template by changing the font, adjusting the margins, adding or deleting sections, etc.
Tips & suggestions
Consider the following tips as you create and format your résumé:
- Use short, concise phrases (not complete sentences)
- Eliminate complete sentences and the use of pronouns and articles (I, me, we, a, the)
- Incorporate enough blank space to ease reading
- Utilize industry specific language and terminology
- Tailor your résumé to the specific position you are applying for. Review the job description and qualifications; make sure your résumé demonstrates the required skills
- Use action verbs to strengthen your résumé
- Use a readable and familiar font (e.g. Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica). Except for your name, type size should be uniform and sized 10-12 point
- If at all possible, condense your résumé to one page
Career Services has several ways to assist you in creating your resume:
- Make an appointment with the director of Career Services, who can help you brainstorm ideas or review a draft
- Participate in Super Tuesday and have your resume reviewed by a local human resource professional
- If you’re writing a résumé that will be sent to another country, review our international résumé resources
- The Good Library has numerous books giving advice on writing résumés. In the library catalog typerésumés employmentin Browse and choose “subject”
- Browse the web resources below
Resume web resources
Watch a short online video that will help you make your resume stand out from others.
Two dozen articles with advice on developing a winning résumé, solving common problems, and sending a plain text e-mail résumé to employers.
The Résumé Center offers detailed advice for résumés and cover letters.