Did You Know? Employers may spend as little as 10-30 seconds determining if your resume is eye catching enough to warrant a second look. To ensure a good first impression, be sure to keep your resume clear, concise and consistent.
Listed below are the steps necessary to build an effective resume.
International Experience |
Action Verbs |
If you have questions about creating or updating your resume, or would like your resume to be reviewed, please contact
From the Employer’s Perspective
- The resume is a screening tool to rule out applicants who do not meet the job qualifications or do not professionally present themselves
- There is no “right” way to write a resume – Every employer will have a different opinion on what they prefer
- Motivates the employer to want to interview you
From the Candidate’s Perspective
- The resume is a marketing tool to sell your unique skills and qualifications to potential employers
- The resume should be a summary which highlights skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the intended career goal
- A creative and compelling document that will set you apart from all other candidates and get you to the interview stage
1. Determine Resume Focus
- What types of career fields interest you?
- What types of positions will you apply to?
- What are your career goals?
- Assess your skills and accomplishments as they relate to your career goals
2. Compile a List of your Experiences
- Full and part-time employment
- Professional development
- Professional associations
- Volunteer experience
3. Decide on Format
Chronological versus Functional
4. Plan your Layout
Review online sample resumes to find a layout you like. The layout should be easy to read in a quick manner, so be sure to pay attention to margins, white space, bold, underline, italics, and capitalization (
see sample resumes online)
5. Write your First Draft
Create your first draft by starting with a blank Word document. Do NOT use templates as they do not make your resume stand out, nor do they allow for easy edits.
6. Focus on Key Words
Include key words and phrases that are prevalent in your career field or industry
7. Use Action Verbs
Action words help demonstrate what skills and experience you have that would help an employer know why he or she should hire you.
8. Edit and Proofread
Utilize the Career Services Office to assist you in editing and proofing your resume. Any errors will reflect negatively on you as a candidate, so be sure to check for spelling and grammatical errors.
- Most applicable for current students and recent graduates
- Lists positions in reverse chronological order (start with the most recent and work backwards)
- Job achievements and skills are listed under each position
- Presents experience under headings by job title, company, location and dates of employment
- Format allows employers to easily determine work performed at each company
- Separate out the experiences that best relate to your career goal by using headings, such as: Marketing Experience, Accounting Experience, Counseling Experience, Sales Experience, Customer Service Experience
here to view a sample Chronological Resume
- Most applicable for the following job searchers:
- Out of work
- Job hoppers
- Career changers
- History of unemployment
- Many years and variety of experience
- Gaps in work history
- Focus is on skills and experience, rather than on chronological work history
- Headings consist of functions or skills
- Responsibilities, accomplishments, and quantifiable achievements are described under each applicable heading
- Typically opens with a summary or profile detailing your work history, education and strengths in 1-3 sentences
- Demonstrates how you ideally match the requirements of a particular job for which you are applying, by including relevant achievements and accomplishments
here to view a sample Functional Resume
- Your Name
- Street Address
- Phone Number
- E-Mail Address
- Personal Web Site/Blog (ONLY if professional and applicable to career goal)
- 1-3 lines in length; Be specific and tailor for each position you apply to
- Conveys key information to the employer as to why the candidate has applied and how they will contribute (NOT what the candidate wants from the position or what they will gain)
- Avoid cliché phrases such as: “To work in a challenging environment”
- This section is 2 - 5 sentence fragments that may also include bullet points
- It highlights skills, knowledge and experience
- It is "you in a nutshell," and should include job-relevant keywords
- The statement should answer the employer's question: Why are you the best person to hire?
- Name of college, Location (city, state)
- Degree Level (B.A., B.S., B.B.A., B.M., M.A., M.S.), Graduation Date (month, year)
- Majors, minors, concentrations
- Certification/licensure (Education or Health fields)
- Begin with your most recent educational experience
Additional (non-required) Education Content:
- GPA if > 3.0 and if proud of (Ex: 3.0/4.0)
- Honors and Awards (could also be in own section) - only include if recent
- Study Abroad Experience
- Position Title
- Organization Name
- Location (city, state)
- Dates of service (month, year – month, year)
- Description of skills, responsibilities, accomplishments, quantifiable achievements, promotions
- Include work experience, internships, leadership experience, related projects, etc.
- Reverse chronological order (start with most recent)
- No personal pronouns
- The experience does not need to be paid
- Write in short phrases
- Begin each statement with an
- State present positions in present tense and past positions in past tense
- Avoid the terms “Responsible for” or “Duties included”
ADDITIONAL SECTION TOPICS
|Honors and Awards
Employers value international experience, but you must be explicit in your description about what you gained from that experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for or how the company will benefit from your international experience. The skills/attributes listed below will help you in communicating those assets to a potential employer in your resume, cover letter or interviews.
Skills/Attributes Gained from International Experience
|• Foreign language skills (Spanish, German, etc.)
||• Excellent intercultural communication skills
|• Lead others in formal/informal groups
||• Communicate despite barriers
|• Effectively participate in group discussions with people from diverse backgrounds
||• Highly developed cross-cultural communication skills combined with ability to motivate others
|• Global point of view
|• Tolerant of differences
|• Cultural awareness
||• Open to new ideas and practices
|• Establish rapport quickly
|• Thrive in multicultural settings with a diverse range of personalities and learning styles
|• Understand global dependence
|• Able to work effectively as a part of a multinational/multicultural team
|• Sensitive to other cultural values, norms, customs and communication patterns
|• Effective and knowledgeable in working in cross-cultural settings
|• General travel and navigational skills
|• Able to prioritize
|• Successfully juggle multiple demands
|• Time management skills
|• Capacity to adapt and be flexible in new and changing situations
|• Achieve goals despite obstacles
|• Extremely adaptable and resourceful in new and challenging environments
|• Take initiative and risks
|• Function well in multiple, dissonant environments
|• Handle stress and difficult situations
|• Capable of working in difficult/ambiguous settings
|• Learn/adapt quickly
|• Effective and cooperative team player who also works well independently
|• Identify problems and utilize available resources to resolve them
|• Positive outlook toward adversity
|• Learn through listening and observing
Action verbs should be used to introduce experience descriptions. Below are suggestions for selecting words and phrases:
1. Use action verbs in short, clearly written phrases.
2. Use the minimum number of words necessary to convey accurately what you wish to say.
3. Select words that will mean something to the person who will read your résumé. Use the jargon of your chosen field where appropriate.
4. Avoid introductory phrases such as "my duties included" or "I was in charge of."
5. List accomplishments whenever possible rather than just describe duties.
6. Always keep the needs of your employer in mind. Put them ahead of your own desires and concerns.
for a list of Action Verbs.
Length: 1-2 pages, although for recent college graduates
a one page resume is recommended
Font Size: Use 10-12 point font
Section Headings: Use bold and/or CAPS to make headings stand out
Prioritize: Place your most important information toward the top
Always Check for Spelling and Grammatical Errors:
- Check and recheck. Errors often occur when individuals attempt to complete a resume at the last minute.
- Prepare well in advance to avoid presenting a poorly written and error-laden final product.
Edit Until You are Certain the Information is Clear and Concise:
- Does this resume best reflect you? Is the information presented in an easy to read format?
- Have several individuals review your resume to gather comments and suggestions.
- Realize that opinions about resumes may vary among individuals. Ultimately, you will have to decide what is best for your situation.
- There are a number of styles and formats that you may consider when creating your resume.
- Avoid using templates because they may not allow you to easily move information or change bullets, fonts or text sizes.
- Always create your resume by starting with a blank Word document.
- Determine which format best fits the type/amount of information you need to convey on your resume.
- Evaluate what separates you from other candidates. Does your resume reflect this?
- Print your resume on quality paper using white or light-colored paper.
- Avoid paper with speckles that could look like dirt smudges or specks when sent as a fax or copied.
- Be sure to print your resume on a high quality laser printer. Ink jets tend to smear on resume paper.
- Save your resume in more than one location. If you have it saved onto a hard drive, keep it saved in an alternate location for future reference.
- If you have used the word “planned” to describe one task or responsibility in your experience section, use another word to convey the same message later, such as “coordinated” or “facilitated”.
Action Words to avoid repetition.
No Personal Information:
- Do not include a photograph or personal data information such as age, weight, height, marital status.
- Do not include references on your resume. They should always be a separate document using the same heading as your resume.
- Many organizations now use computers to scan resumes to search for applicants using keywords.
- Tips for creating a scannable resume include: use keywords (included in responsibilities and/or requirements sections of the job posting); use industry jargon; use a traditional resume format; avoid italics, bold, underline; virtually no punctuation; provide white space between words.