Your resume is your chance to display your qualifications, skills, and ambitions. It is a tool for communicating your capabilities to a potential employer. Begin by creating a comprehensive document, then tailor it for each job.
The following information and resources may be helpful to you as you write and refine your resume. We encourage you to have your resume critiqued during our resume walk-in hours.
Developing Your Resume
- Make a list of your experiences. Generate a list of everything you have done or earned in college relating to jobs, campus activities, class projects, travel abroad, sports, volunteer activities, awards, honors, foreign languages, computer skills, and so on. List as many details you can recall, including dates.
- Make a list of your skills. Generate a list of your skills including: languages, technical skills, transferable functional skills, self-management skills, and career competencies. If these skills align closely with specific experiences you’ve had, you might incorporate them into bullet points for that experience. For example: Demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills working with diverse clients. Otherwise, you may include them in a separate “Skills” or “Competencies” section.
- Determine section headings. The content of your resume will help you determine appropriate categories. Do not simply use headings you’ve seen on sample resumes unless you have the content to fit. Place the Education heading after the contact information, then select headings that apply to you. Examples: Relevant Experience, Additional Experience, Leadership (should only be a separate section if you have several leadership roles), Undergraduate Research, Campus Involvement, Community Involvement, Awards/Honors.
- Write bullet points. When listing experiences, describe accomplishments and not just duties. Employers want to know how you performed, as opposed to what you were asked to do. Lead each phrase with an action verb and, if possible, end with results. For example, “Exceeded sales goals by 10 percent or more each quarter” is a stronger phrase than “Promoted merchandise to customers.”
- Tailor Information. Employers scan resumes quickly, and the sooner they see how you might fit their needs, the better your chances of avoiding elimination. Organize your sections according to relevance to the target job. If you have relevant experience, list that above experience that is not directly relevant. Experiences listed in each section should be presented in reverse chronological order.
- Have Your Resume Critiqued. The Career Center offers resume walk-in hours every semester. You may also make an appointment to speak with a career consultant about your resume through Handshake.
Developing a Master Resume
A master resume is a document that lists and describes in detail your work experience, accomplishments, volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, etc. Your master resume is the place to record everything you think might be valuable to share in your more tailored resume, on a job application, or in an interview. When noting experiences and accomplishments, include the skills you demonstrated. Add experiences to your master resume while they are on-going or as soon as you have completed them. When you are ready to apply for a job, your master resume will be a comprehensive list of all of your experiences and skills from which you can pull information for your tailored resume.
Pro Tip: Because your master resume is a working document, it’s fine to save it as a MS Word file. However, once you are ready to send a tailored resume to an employer, be sure to save it as a PDF.
These sample resumes download as a MS Word document template that you can edit to give you a starting point for your resume. Remember, don’t simply use the headings in these templates if you don’t have the content to fit. Use the steps above to develop headings and bullet points that make sense for your experience.