Build a Resume

It is never too early to build your own resume. Complete this step by using the resources on this page to create or update your resume by adding internships, part-time jobs, research, leadership, and volunteer experience.

Make an appointment with a Career Coach or stop by the Career Center for a drop-in appointment (Monday - Friday, 11AM - 3PM) to help you get started or to receive feedback.

In addition to the Career Center, if you're a student in one of the schools or colleges below, you can also connect with these centers for a resume review:

Need ideas to create or update your resume? Use our Sample Resumes »


Purpose

The resume is designed with one purpose in mind—to generate enough interest to get you an interview. Do not send it out unless you are completely satisfied with the message it conveys. Most resumes are discarded. Give the prospective employer reasons to separate yours from the crowd by giving indications of how your background and skills are transferable to his/her work environment.

Format

There is no standardized format to follow, but what is critical is that it is graphically easy to follow, concise, and consistently formatted from one section to the next with appropriate headings and subheadings. Ensure that it is aesthetically pleasing to look at with careful use of "white space" and, above all, has no spelling or grammatical errors.

Content

The key is to highlight your background concisely, focusing on the items you feel would be appealing to a prospective employer. Use action words that convey a message of proficiency, accomplishment, and drive. What is most important is that the employer projects your skills, experience, and training as transferable to his/her work setting. The one compelling question you should ask yourself regarding whether or not an item should be included on your resume is "Will this enhance my chances of getting an interview?"

Style

The resume can be chronological, functional, or some variation of the two. The chronological approach (by dates) is generally used when there is a logical sequence of events to list and an historical perspective is most appropriate. The functional resume may be more appropriate when one wishes to highlight particular functions, skills, strengths, or areas of expertise.

Focus

Remember to tailor your resume to accentuate your individual strengths and significant features of your background that distinguish you from the competition. It needs to be a reflection of you and what you are capable of doing in the workplace. Sell yourself with confidence—with the primary focus being: experience, specialized training, and transferable skills.

Some items of "universal appeal" to consider when describing your experiences/skills include:
  • Customer service/customer relations experience
  • Supervisory or management responsibility
  • Promotions or increased responsibilities
  • Use of communication/interpersonal skills
  • Basic computer/technical skills (e.g. Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel; Type XX wpm)
  • Meeting deadlines or working in a high pressured environment
  • Report writing or presentations
  • Independent decision making/problem solving responsibilities
  • Working as a member of a "team" toward a common goal
  • Providing training
  • The use of numbers to substantiate what you have done (e.g. increased sales by 20%; balanced a $200,000 budget)
Suggestions
  • Be consistent with font size, margins, abbreviations, punctuation, bold, etc.
  • Don’t use smaller than a 10 pt. font or larger than a 12 point font.
  • Use an appropriate amount of white space.
  • The resume should be a concise statement of your background and qualifications. One page is generally sufficient, however, a particularly capable and experienced candidate might need two pages. If a second page is required, make sure to include your name at the top and do not staple (use a paperclip)!

Honors, Awards, and Activities

Include items that are indications of you excelling and distinguishing yourself. Of particular interest to employers are group activities and leadership roles. Also, emphasize any activities that required voluntary involvement, whether school related, community related, or informal. Academic honors should be included, such as Dean’s list, honor roll, etc.

Additional Specialized Skills, Proficiency, Equipment, Procedures, etc.

Any additional skills, equipment worked with, familiarity of specific procedures, etc. that you feel you could bring to an employer in addition to what has already been mentioned. Include items that you feel would be transferable to the prospective position you’re targeting, even if you feel it is not necessarily a requirement of the position, but could be helpful (e.g. computer skills, speaking a second language, etc.).


Resume Do's and Dont's:

Do
  • Limit your resume to one page
  • Use a one-inch margin on all sides
  • Avoid abbreviations
  • Quantify accomplishments wherever possible
  • Place all dates on the right side of the resume
  • Maintain consistent font style, spacing, indentation, capitalization and bullet style
  • Use a font size that is easy to read – 11 or 12 pt. is recommended
  • List experience in reverse chronological order
  • Use phrases that start with Action Verbs
  • Maintain consistency with verb tense with phrases in the experience section
Don't
  • Use meaningless words or phrases such as "seeking a challenging position"
  • Start phrases in the experience section with "responsible for" or "my responsibilities included"
  • Begin phrases with "I" or use complete sentences
  • Exaggerate your experience or your GPA
  • Use a font smaller than 10 pt.
  • Include any demographic information (age, race, gender) or photographs on your resume

Sample Resumes

Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae (CV) may be used when applying for academic, scientific or research positions. A CV includes awards, scholarships, research experience, publications, and professional associations in addition to work experience and activities.

EMPLOYERS

FACULTY & STAFF

ALUMNI

FAMILIES

OWN YOUR FUTURE

Navigate the Career Center's step-by-step checklist on the path toward a successful career.

EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS

BUILD YOUR BRAND

GAIN EXPERIENCE

MAKE YOUR PATH