The Writing Center

All About Resume Writing

What is a resume? A resume is a one-page document that outlines your work/volunteer/internship experience, skills, and educational background required by most job applications.

Why do I need a resume? Think of a resume as an opportunity. A resume is your chance to show off all of your great experience and skills to a potential employer. It’s also your chance to make a catalogue of all of your skills in one compact place.

What job does my resume need to accomplish? Your resume should be persuasive. You’re trying to include the best information possible to get the specific job you’re applying for. Your resume should also be concise. It should be no longer than one page and should not use wordy language or fluff. Be detailed, but brief!

How should my resume be formatted? The Golden Rule of resume design is making it easy to read. Avoid clutter and make things easy to find. Start with what’s most important and work down from there. Try to stick to one font throughout and two at the very most to keep things consistent. Your name and contact info should always appear at the top of the page.

Resume Do’s:

  • Proofread everything very, very thoroughly.

  • Try reading out loud and reading from the end to the beginning to catch any typos or mistakes.

  • Get professional advice from the Writing Center or a professor.

  • Ask friends to read it.

Resume Dont’s:

  • Do not include information from high school (unless you’re a freshman or sophomore).

  • Do not say “References available upon request.” Leave that for your cover letter.

  • Do not include boring, overly general, cheesy, or unimpressive items under your Work Experience or Skills sections unless you absolutely have to. These are examples of boring items:

    - “proficient in Internet”
    - “kept office clean and organized”
    - “able to work long hours”
    - “answered phones and took down messages”

What sections do I need in my resume?

Contact Info

  • All resumes should include contact information so that an employer can get in touch with you to offer you a job or an interview. Make sure all your contact information is current.

  • Include: a phone number, mailing address, Web portfolio URL (if applicable), E-mail address

  • You may want to establish a “work” e-mail address for yourself if your current e-mail is something like crazyforcats@gmail.com or starchaser91@yahoo.com. Try firstname.lastname@gmail.com or a similar professional-sounding address.

Objective

  • The objective should be short and concise, but it must also be tailored to the specific organization and position. The objective should state the organization's name and the specific position title, and then briefly outline how the applicant will help the organization achieve its goals. Remember, the more specific, the better.
    • Example:
      • Objective: To obtain the programming position in the Navigation Software Development Team to help ABC Aerospace further achieve its mission of designing tomorrow's technology today.

Work Experience

  • List information for each relevant job, internship, or volunteer experience where you have worked. Include the name of each company/organization, its location (city and state is enough), the dates you worked there, your position title, and your job responsibilities and achievements

  • This section should be in reverse chronological order (starting with the most recent)

  • You can arrange this section by either company name or by position

Education

  • Include: names and levels of any degrees you have earned or are in the process of earning, names of majors and minors, names of institution(s) where you earned the degree(s), dates of graduation (or expected date). GPA is optional.

Optional Sections

Skills

  • Computer software proficiency (Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, etc.)

  • Languages

  • Job-specific skills (copy editing and photography for a journalism job or computer languages, skills,

    hardware knowledge for a computer science job or CPR certification for a nursing job)

    Honors and Awards

    • Dean’s list, department awards, scholarships, off-campus awards, contests

    • Keep these connected to what you’re applying for: don’t include the hot dog-eating contest you won
      (unless you’re applying for a job eating hot dogs!).

Other Optional Sections

  • Volunteer experience and activities

  • Leadership experience

  • Research experience

  • Relevant coursework

  • Publications

  • Certifications

  • Foreign travel/study abroad experience

  • Professional organizations

  • Honors organizations membership

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