Online Career Guide
FOR STUDENTS AND ALUMNI
What is a resume?
A resume is a highly polished, professionally written presentation of your qualifications to prospective employers. Keep in mind that friends, family, faculty, recruiters and almost everyone else has an opinion about what constitutes the "perfect" resume. No such document exists. A strong resume focuses on the needs of the employer.
Why do I need one?
A resume portrays your professional and academic achievements. Your resume is not a list of every single thing you’ve accomplished; instead it shows your skills and abilities that relate to the specific job you seek. Employers typically take around 6 seconds to review a resume. You want to make sure it is direct, appealing, and to the point.
Should I have more than one resume?
Yes! Alter your resume to fit the needs of different job applications. While some of your experiences will relate to the position you're applying to, others are unnecessary and will take up room that could be better used. Importantly, your resume is a living document that should be edited and updated on a regular basis.
What are some tips?
Most college students and recent graduates will have a one-page resume. If you find yourself needing two pages, be sure to fill more than half of the second page. If your second page only contains a line or two, readjust the margins or language to fit onto one concise page. Remember, additional information can be added to your professional LinkedIn page. LinkedIn is a great way to network with others and inquire about openings. Always attach a link to your resume.
Make your resume visually appealing. Use a consistent font throughout, preferably Calibri, Cambria, Garamond or Helvetica. Limit the font size to no smaller than 10 points, and do not use colors. Use bolding, italics, and underlining when appropriate; there is no need to overdo these features. Be sure to balance the page, avoiding long, blocked off paragraphs. Use bullets and consider columns. Everyone’s style is different, but it should be pleasing to the eye and easy to read.
Order your resume in reverse chronological order. This means the resume will begin with your most recent experience, and end with your oldest. Expand the most upon your relevant positions and avoid going too in depth about the least relevant.
Avoid phrases such as “My duties included...” or, “Responsible for...”. Do not use personal pronouns such as “I” or “My”. Be careful not to use words that exaggerate your responsibilities. Begin each bullet with an action verb and use present/past tenses appropriately. Carefully proofread for spelling, grammar and spacing errors. One mistake can cost you an interview.
If you’re delivering your resume by hand or mail, print on high quality bond 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper in white or off-white. The paper for your resume, cover letter and envelope should match. The Career Exploration Center offers this paper free to students. When sending electronically, change the Word document to a PDF to preserve the formatting.
What should I NOT include on my resume?
This is an outdated feature that should be excluded. It can be expressed in your cover letter.
A summary of qualifications
This is shown throughout your resume and cover letter. It does not need to be written out in a section on your resume.
Your high school degree and accomplishments
Remove high school accomplishments after the end of your sophomore year of college unless they are quite impressive, relate directly to your career, or you are applying for a position at that school.
Soft skills such as ‘good listener,’ ‘hard-worker’ and ‘trustworthy’ are best expressed in your cover letter. Your resume should highlight hard skills such as software or language proficiency.
If asked, include at least 3 professional or academic references on a separate page.
The Career Exploration Center has put together a series of guides to help you build your resume.
This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.