Preparing A Resume 101

How To Get Started

  • Consider what the employer is seeking, as well as your own skills, interests, and abilities. Self-reflection is critical to writing an effective resume.
  • Meet with a staff member in your Career Center to have your resume reviewed.


  • When writing your resume, always represent yourself in the most positive light. This is YOUR advertising tool. Let your employer see all of your most POSITIVE qualities.
  • Always tell the truth on your resume. Facts can be checked from former employers.
  • Let your resume draw the employer’s attention to your qualifications and abilities.
  • Use action verbs, such as led, developed, and organized, instead of passive phrases to give your resume strength.
  • Qualify and quantify your skills. Use numbers and adjectives to give a factual weight to your experience. For example, “Increased sales by 20% in 2015.”
  • Revise your resume to fit the position for which you are applying. It’s extra work, but it will pay off. Draw parallels between your qualifications and the job requirements.
  • Emphasize the work experience that is most relevant to the job for which you are applying.
  • Depending on the style of your interviewer, your resume may set the tone for the interview. Be sure to include topics on your resume that you would like to talk about in your interview, such as international and volunteer experience.
  • List your high school information only if it really makes you stand out.
  • Avoid salary information on your resume.
  • For companies that scan resumes, try to use “key words” that are used in the job advertisement, such as specific computer skills, foreign languages, or job responsibilities.

Format and Style

  • Make sure your name and contact information are prominent and correct. Put your name on every page.
  • Fonts should be 10-12 points in size.
  • Avoid fancy graphics.
  • Print your resume on high quality bond or resume paper.
  • Leave space between paragraphs, and allow for adequate margins.
  • Job Objective sections on your resume are optional. You may include one if you have a very specific job in mind or if it would be difficult for an employer to understand your objective based on your resume.
  • The Summary section should capture the essence of your characteristics, skills, and experience in several short phrases.
  • List your Relevant Experience in reverse chronological order. A chronological format is usually best for entry-level jobs.
  • Include additional categories on your resume such as Leadership, Awards, Professional Organizations, and Volunteer Experience.
  • The phrase “References Available Upon Request” is optional. You may exclude it from your resume if you are short on space.
  • Always make sure the resume and the cover letter are error-free. Proofread, and have others proofread as well.
  • Prepare a separate reference sheet with the names, titles, and contact information of three people who will speak positively about you. Always ask for permission prior to including someone as a reference and give them a copy of your resume.