A well-crafted, clear and concise resume is an essential tool in the search for employment. The chronological resume is the #1 most commonly used resume format.
Main Sections & Content
- Insert your complete Name in a larger font size (i.e. Times New Roman 13 - 15 pt font)
- Indicate complete Street Address
- Enter City, State, and Zip Code
- Identify your Phone Number including area code
- E-mail address - under one side or the other, if using two addresses
- If using two addresses, indicate your last Date of Residence under either side - month, day, year.
College students should include both current and permanent addresses so employers can easily make contact with you. If you only have one address, center it directly under your name.
Objective or Summary
You can use either an Objective or a Summary in your resume, but you should NOT use both.
- An objective is used to describe your career goals to an employer and should tell the reader what type of position you are seeking and the field/industry of interest.
- Do not be overly wordy or too limited in your focus.
- If you want to target different positions or industries, you may need to develop a different resume targeted to each area.
- Do not send a resume for a position if the objective does not match the position.
- The remainder of the resume is used to support why you are qualified for a position.
- Do not write your personal philosophy or request that the company do something for you.
- Avoid using vague language such as: “To obtain a rewarding career with a progressive company that will allow me to contribute and at the same time provide advancement and personal growth.”
- A summary is generally used by a student or alumnus who has had several years of full-time professional work experience. A summary briefly highlights your achievements and matches them with your career goals. A summary should contain three to five well-written, strong sentences and may include academic background, area of expertise, examples of leadership, or personal strengths.
- List your most recent degree first (as recorded on diploma), followed by month and year of graduation.
- Do not include "Anticipated" or "Expected" with your graduation date.
- Include name of institution where you received your degree. On same line, include city and state.
- Display your Major(s), Minor(s), or Areas of Emphasis, Concentration, etc.
- Insert GPA if it is 3.0 or above -- it is not beneficial to list your GPA if it is below 3.0.
- Grade Point Average can be expressed as Cumulative GPA and/or Major GPA.
- Do not refer to a 4.0 scale.
- If you financed the majority of your degree you may add the phrase, "Financed 90% of education." This can show employers that you are hardworking and goal oriented; however, this is optional.
- Indicate Significant Coursework or Certifications.
- Only list courses that directly support your career objective.
- Do not list more than six courses.
- Coursework is most relevant for internship candidates.
- You could also list Special Training, Areas of Emphasis that support your objective, or Relevant Skills here, i.e. computer languages/software, foreign languages spoken, etc.
High School Education:
This section may be included if applicable to your career objective or if you were not involved in college activities and want to list honors, leadership, and activities from your high school experience.
- List High School Diploma, followed by the month and year of graduation (in examples xx is used for date).
- Include the name and location of the high school.
- Insert class rank, GPA, or class honors, i.e., Valedictorian.
You may want to emphasize special skills in a separate category. Include the level of proficiency (basic, intermediate, etc.) Possible headings include:
- Foreign Language Skills: list individual languages spoken
- Overseas Travel: list countries visited
- Computer Skills: list programming languages, operating systems, software, etc
- List the title of the position you held. Begin with your most recent experience first.
- Reference the name of the organization and location (city and state).
- Insert dates you were employed. Make sure you are consistent in use of months, semesters, etc.
- Describe your experience in detail.
- Use past tense action verbs like "achieved" instead of passive words like "was responsible for."
- Try to show not only what you did, but also how well you did it. You can accomplish this by citing accomplishments, supervision, responsibilities, etc.
- Use past tense even if you are still employed in the position.
- Use phrases, not entire sentences, and eliminate all personal pronouns (I, me, my, etc.).
All of your work experience may be included under this heading, or you may divide it up to better support your career objective by placing all directly related experience (paid or unpaid) under one Related Experience heading.
Other headings which might be used include:
- RELATED WORK EXPERIENCE- RELATED EXPERIENCE
- RETAIL EXPERIENCE- OTHER WORK EXPERIENCE
- PUBLIC RELATIONS EXPERIENCE- NON-PROFIT EXPERIENCE
- OTHER EXPERIENCE- VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE
- List the title of the position you held.
- Reference the name of the organization and the location, including city and state.
- Indicate the period of time you held the position.
- Describe your experience. Use past tense action verbs like "achieved" instead of passive words like "was responsible for."
- Try to show not only what you did but also how well you did it. You can accomplish this by citing accomplishments, supervision, responsibilities, etc.
Honors/Awards and Activities
- List the activities you were involved in and/or honors and awards you received in college.
- If the activity is not self-explanatory, you might need to clarify if you have enough space.
- If you are an education major, consider listing the activities you were involved in and/or honors you received in high school. (This is included only if significant/applicable and if high school was also included in your Education section.)
- List the interests that will show employers you are a well-rounded individual or that support your career objective. For example, hobbies, travel, intellectual activities, or special interests.
- This section can be optional if space is already limited on your resume.
- List up to six maximum.
- Seek prior approval from references
- List references on a separate page (formatted to match resume)
- List three references who are familiar with your academic achievements, leadership and professional skills, work ethic, personal character, etc.
- If room, may include statement "References/portfolio available upon request."