Students & Alumni, see checklist on this page before submitting a resume review
Knowing who you are is the first step to building a successful resume. Before you start it is important that you know what skills, interests, and talents make you unique.
The purpose of a resume is to:
- "Get your foot in the door" for a specific opportunity
- Communicate your accomplishments and value relevant to that specific opportunity
- Serve as your marketing tool for a specific opportunity
- Recruiters want to know that you are applying to a specific position. Write your resume for the current opportunity. The job posting will provide you clues as to what the recruiter is looking for in a candidate.
- Recruiters want to learn about you quickly. Power pack the top of your resume with character statements, talent phrases, and major accomplishments and experience.
- Recruiters want to easily find your experience. Use bold, spacing, and indention to organize the experience section in reverse chronological order.
- A college to career resume does not include high school information unless it is critical to the specific opportunity.
- A career changer resume should only include work experience from the previous 10 years unless it is critical to the specific opportunity.
- Find a template online or start with a clean document.
- When choosing a template pick one that is simple and clean, without tables or text boxes.
- Keep it concise. The "one page only" rule about resumes is a myth because the purpose of a resume is to show your value for the current opportunity. A 1 ½ - 2 page resume that does that concisely is acceptable.
- Use 10-12 point black font of the same style like Arial or Times New Roman.
- Your name font should be 1-2 points larger than the remainder of the document.
- Visually organize information with bold headers, bullets and indentations.
- Avoid using text boxes or other segmented styles that may confuse online application systems or distract the reader.
- Consider format style relevant to your profession or industry.
- Make choices about your resume style based on the audience. A recruiter at a large bank may not have the same preferences or be open to creativity on a resume as a small start up company.
Top one-third: Profile/Summary of Qualifications
- Summarize what distinguishes you in 4-5 statements at the top of your resume.
- Use descriptive words that highlight your qualifications, skills, and characteristics relevant to the opportunity, whether it is for a job or graduate school application.
- Study the job description or admissions requirements dor details about what to include.
Experience section: Accomplishment Statements
- Accomplishment statements are bulleted statements under each position or project that start with a past tense verb and are supported by evidence, particularly quantitative evidence.
- Each statement should include the following 4 elements when appropriate:
Who, what, where, and how? Include as much detail as possible about the accomplishment. What kind of report? Who was involved? What system was used? Who was the audience?
Quantify the work by answering how many, how much increase in numbers or percentages. How many were in the training? How many reports? What size was the space? How many were on the team?
Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually are common ways to include time-orientation. If it was a one-time accomplishment include the date it was carried out.
Ask yourself, “What resulted in my work/involvement?” Include this as the last bullet statement or in each bullet statement if it makes sense to include it.
How many students? For what subjects?
How often? What age or grade level?
Tutored 10 college students weekly in Statistics resulting in an increase of one letter grade during the fall 2014 semester.
Redesigned company website
For what purpose? How long did it take to complete the project? What was the size of the website? What was the measurement of success?
Redesigned a 50 page website in 3 months to incorporate 6 new product lines and a new logo, resulting in a 25% increase in visitors and 15% increase in sales.
Interacted with customers.
How many? How often? For what purpose?
In what kind of setting? What was the measurement of successful interactions?
Interacted with 20-30 customers daily by phone to help trouble-shoot issues with HP, Cannon, and Lennox printers. Maintained a monthly resolution score of 95%.
- Do NOT use first person. (No I, me, my)
- Do you use bold headlines, bullets and indentations to visually organize the information?
- Is your contact information, including email and phone number included?
- Are you consistent with your font style and size in the body of your resume?
- Are you using line breaks sparingly or not at all?
- Does the top 1/3 of your resume communicate the value you bring to the job/employer instead of what you are looking for in a job?
- Are you using descriptive words to describe your experience and character in the top 1/3 or your resume?
- Does your resume tell the story of you as an interesting person?
- Does the top 1/3 of your resume include information that provides a summary of your character, interests, and experiences?
- Is your resume marketing your skill and experiences? Or, is it just a list of job duties and education?
- Are you highlighting the most important aspects of your work experience relevant to the purpose of the resume?
- Are you framing experience statements as “accomplishments” and including specifics, metrics, time and results?
- Are there other jobs, academic experiences, leadership roles, or volunteer experience that you could include that is relevant to the purpose of your resume?
- Are you using past tense action verbs to start each accomplishment statement under experience?
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