Your resume is a concise document that communications your skills, abilities, and knowledge, through your experiences, both paid and unpaid.
Your resume demonstrates that you meet the needs of the employer. It highlights accomplishments that relate to your career objectives and next move, whether that is an internship, a new job in your field, a promotion, a transition to a different area of work or re-entry into the marketplace.
Your resume and cover letter alone will not get you hired, but they should give readers a solid understanding of your relevant academic and professional background and make them want to meet you and discuss your qualifications further in an interview.
In addition to showcasing your skills and experience, your resume is also an example of your writing skills and attention to detail. The grammar, punctuation, consistency and formatting must be flawless. Please have your resume reviewed by a career advisor or career fellow before sending it to a potential employer. It is essential that your resume be honest and truthful. Include only those things that you have done or are currently doing. A resume is generally one page upon graduation from an undergraduate program. Experienced professionals and graduate students may have more than one page, though one page is generally preferable.
- Quick Start to Building a Resume
- Writing a Resume
- Writing Resume Bullet Points
- Action Verb List
- Sample Resumes
- Full Resume Guide
- Resume Critique Checklist
- Formatting Tips
Formatting is important because the reader needs to easily understand your skills, abilities, and knowledge from reviewing your resume, without distraction. The way your present the information on your resume makes a difference in both the computer system to which you submit, and to the human eye. Your resume should:
- Be easy to read
- Have a simple, clean font (e.g. Times, Arial, Garamond) 10 to 12 pt. font
- Have margins equal on all sides, no smaller than 0.5 and no bigger than 1 in
- Be error free (grammar & spelling)?
- Be devoid of personal pronouns (I, me, my, we)?
- Be concise
- Include experiences in reverse chronological order
- Be customized to the type(s) of opportunities you are seeking
- Tips for Customizing
Each hiring manager is looking for something different (in terms of the specifics), based on the needs of the job and the organization as a whole. Here are three tips with examples for a targeted resume:
- Match your skills and responsibilities to the ones listed in the job description. Read through the full job description and pay careful attention to what the position entails. Include work experiences that most closely relates to those responsibilities on your resume. If the job description states: Serve as a significant role model for effective and appropriate work behaviors, procedures, and practices. Act as a liaison and advocate for participants. A tailored resume will say something like: Advocated on behalf of approximately 960 students and 23 student groups as primary representative to faculty and administration.
- Specify accomplishments from your previous experience that relate to those responsibilities. It’s not enough to simply say you’ve done X. Show how your efforts produced a positive result for the organization. Be sure to select results that are of relevance and interest to the hiring organization. If the job description states: Coordinate fundraiser for students and their families, increasing organization’s reach and publicity. A tailored resume will include an accomplishment like: Led graduate-student inclusive philanthropy campaign, garnering 73% response rate from graduating class—highest in school’s history.
- Indicate that you understand the needs of the organization and can meet them. This will likely require a little more research and going beyond just the job description. Research the organization to identify the problems and issues it might currently be facing. Read through the website and press releases, set up a Google alert, read about their staff members and latest news. How might your combination of skills and experience be of benefit? If you discover: The company is growing rapidly. A tailored resume will include: Evidence that you can handle change and manage multiple priorities. Highlight your project management skills or note in your resume if your previous organization has a culture similar to the organization where you are applying.