Make the most of your first impression.

A computer generated, updated resume is a critical tool in your search for co-ops, internships, fieldwork, part-time/summer jobs or full-time employment, and graduate school applications. A resume is document that should convey your professional and educational accomplishments to a potential employer. It should demonstrate that you are qualified for a job. The goal of the resume is to convince the prospective employer you warrant a personal interview. It has to be focused, clear and concise, attractive, well organized, and dynamic. Do not omit YOU! Communicate effectively and incorporate information that reflects your true personality.

There are no absolute rules in writing your resume. Content, style and format are individual decisions. Getting started is often the greatest challenge. The following recommendation will clarify what to include and how to organize your content.

Key tips to an effective Resume

Prior to actually composing a resume organize your thoughts - To make the process manageable it is often helpful to organize the resumes into categories or content areas. Make a list of the categories you wish to include on your resume. Recommended categories include: contact information, objective statement, education & academic honors or research, experience, volunteer opportunities, skills, travel, and co-curricular activities. Try to incorporate commonly understood terminology that is appropriate for your professional field. Always list strengths and skills used to achieve your accomplishments. Avoid abbreviations on your resume and avoid the over use of technical terms.

Use descriptive phrases - Create short phrases to describe your job duties. Avoid using ineffective phrases such as "responsible for" or "in charge of." Arrange the descriptive phrases in order of importance to the position.

Nothing less than error free! - Misspelled words, grammatical, or punctuation errors will likely disqualify you from any position for which you apply.

Have your resume critiqued by a Career Services counselor. You may have a counselor critique your resume during Walk-In hours: Monday and Tuesday 5 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. or you may schedule an appointment with a counselor who specializes in your major.

Selecting the proper Resume Format - There are two basic resume formats: the chronological and the functional resume.

Reverse Chronological - The ideal for individuals who have had a series of positions within a field or industry and who desire to remain in the same track. It can showcase advancement within same organization. Best format for recent graduates with few or no field experience, also for students applying for internships or co-op opportunities.

Functional - Best suited to individuals who are changing careers and who have transferable skills and experiences. Helps to conceal lack of advancement or movement within same organization. Also, it helps to "package" an individual who has had many seemingly unrelated positions.

Scannable - An increasing number of organizations are using software to electronically scan resumes. Included is a sample scannable resume and a tip sheet to help you develop an effective scannable resume. Give it a try -- the first draft is always the hardest, so the trick is to sit down and get your basic information on paper. From there, shaping your resume simply involves organizing the information so it communicates clearly, crisply, quickly.

Resume Content

Contact information

Include your name, complete address, telephone number including area code and email. It is recommended to list both permanent and school address. Be mindful that the contact information included must be valid for several week beyond the date which you submit your resume. Avoid using initials or nicknames.

Omit any personal data such as date of birth and social security numbers.

Important Considerations

Review your answering machine greeting. Make sure your message is business appropriate and reinforces your professionalism. Don’t forget about your roommates for they also could be answering the phone. Brief them on the importance of your job search and ask them to use proper etiquette and stress that the need to relay messages in timely and accurate manner.



A specific objective demonstrates your focus and conviction. An objective is an opportunity to market your skills. It is appropriate to include specific company and even position title.


For most students education should follow your objective. Include the names of school, city, state, degrees earned, major & minor or concentration and date of graduation. If you have not graduated simply indicate the month and year you are scheduled to graduate. Do not abbreviate! Always define your degrees and major. If you did not complete degree requirements sight the school and dates attended. It is not necessary to include your high school information.

Academic accomplishments such as Dean’s list, scholarships, honor societies and awards should be noted. Grade point average over 3.0 is often sighted on the resume.


If your academic distinctions are lengthy it is recommended to list them under a separate sub-heading such as HONORS.

If you contribute to your college expenses you can state as a percentage: "Financed 50 % of college tuition" or "Average 20 hours of weekly employment."

If your academic background is distinctive or you need additional resume content your may add ACADEMIC BACKGROUND and list the various courses most relevant to your area of study.


It is of paramount importance to define your employment accomplishments to a prospective employer. Your experience should be listed in reverse chronological order, with your current or most recent position first.

  • Include title, name of organization, location, and dates for each position.
  • Emphasize duties, skills, abilities, and accomplishments appropriate to the position for which you are applying. Remember Use descriptive phrases that accurately describe your duties! Arrange the descriptive phrases in order of importance to the position.
  • Use descriptive phrases beginning with action verbs. Avoid lengthy sentences and the use of pronouns.
  • Do not restrict the experience category to paid experience. Include any employment, internships, significant leadership positions, volunteer work, and relevant research projects.


You may the divide the experience section into "RELATED EXPERIENCE." List non-related jobs in a second category, such as "EXPERIENCE" or "WORK BACKGROUND." This is especially effective if your most significant positions are not organized in reverse chronological order.

Activities & Interests

List college-related activities including student government, sports participation, student clubs and co-curricular activities.

Community Service/volunteer Activities

List organizations and if space permit define your role and highlight leadership skills. Site: relevant conferences/seminars (include any presentations you've given), Campus/community organizations, indicate position, committee work, significant projects, activities (academic, social, athletic special skills/training) describe in generic terms any religious or political activities.


Computer Skills, Foreign languages, certifications, license and include any other pertinent skills.


This should not be dismissed, however try to reflect your interests through "Activities" section. Interest provides a useful vehicle to promote unique qualities and personal involvement. Your resume is not solely describing your professional accomplishments; it provides a window or a snapshot of the person.

List references on a separate page