Resume Writing Guide

Purpose of a Resume

A resume is used to show you have the knowledge, skills, and experience relevant to a particular job and to entice the employer to interview you.

Self Assessment

The first step in preparing your resume is to think about your skills, strengths, experiences, and accomplishments. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What skills have I developed?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What have I accomplished?
  • Why should someone hire me?

Draw from academic work/honors, clubs and activities, volunteer experiences, and prior work experience. Students develop many basic skills that can be transferred to a variety of work environments like organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills, as well as learning to meet deadlines and communicate ideas to a variety of people. Getting together basic ideas about your set of skills will make writing your resume an easier task.

Resume Format

Employers scan resumes in about 30 seconds, so keep your resume organized and easy to read.

  • Font: use 10-12 point font (ex: Garamond, Calibri, Georgia, Arial, etc.) 
  • Margins: between 0.5-1.0 inch margins and equal on all 4 sides
  • Length: Keep it to one page, unless you have more extensive work experience or an advanced degree
  • NO spelling, grammatical, punctuation, or typographical errors. Proofread!
  • Do not include personal information (example: race, age, sex, marital status, number of children, height, weight, health status)

Important Categories of a Resume

1.Contact Information:

  • Include your name, address, phone number, and email address

2. Education

  • List your education experience in reverse chronological order
  • Indicate name of university, location, and anticipated date of graduation
  • Indicate your major, minor, any areas of concentration, and cumulative GPA
  • Example: 
    education-example

3. Work Experience

  • List work experiences in reverse chronological order
  • Include name of company, city, state, position title, and dates of employment
  • Begin descriptions with strong action verbs and include responsibilities, accomplishments, contributions, and skills gained
  • If possible, include quantitative indicators that describe your accomplishments. 
    • Example: "Supervised 30 ten-year-olds during camp recreational activities"
    • Example: "Handled up to $2,000 daily in management of cash register"
  • Describe your early jobs from a "SKILLS" perspective - Samples
  • Include transferable skills valued by employers, such as the ones below: 
    nace-skills

Helpful tools for writing "action based" descriptions:

Additional Categories
Leadership Experience, Honors/Awards, Community/Volunteer Service, Professional Affiliations, Computer Skills, Relevant Coursework, Languages, Licenses/Accreditations/Certifications

  • List any clubs/sports/activities you are involved in on campus, including agencies you have done community service with
  • List positions of responsibility/leadership - include your title, the name of the organization, and date
  • Include hobbies and personal interests only if they are relevant

Resume Quick Tips


Here are some more tips to follow while building and utilizing your resume:

  • Avoid using graphics, unless working in a creative field (digital marketing, visual arts, etc.)
  • Include industry key words to align with the requirements of the desired job
  • Research the company and position for which you are applying; tailor your resume to that job!
  • If uploading a resume online, save the file in PDF format
  • Use professional, thick paper, if printed

Resume Examples

The following examples provide you with ideas for formatting, content, and ways to highlight your own skills and accomplishments. Visit the Career Center for resume samples that are specific to your major and to have your resume reviewed with a Career Center representative.

Resume Example 1
Resume Example 2
Resume Example 3
Resume Example 4
Resume Example 5

For more ideas on resume formats and styles, see the resume samples on Vault.com.