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What’s on a Resume?

  • Identifying Information: Includes name, address (permanent and temporary), telephone and e-mail. If you have an e-portfolio, professional blog or LinkedIn profile, you may choose to include that information as well. 
  • Objective: Objective statements are optional, but if you choose to include one, it should be a short, specific statement that includes position, industry and relevant skills.
  • Education: In reverse-chronological order, this section includes the schools you have attended, dates of graduation or dates of attendance, as well as degrees sought or completed. Other information that might be included: related coursework, scholarships and honors, percentage of college expenses earned by you and special projects (e.g. research projects, teaching).
  • Experience: This section includes work, volunteering, extracurricular activities, research or field experiences. Names and locations of employers and dates of employment should be included. Descriptions should detail level of responsibility, breadth of exposure and acquired skills. Possible headings include: Related, Leadership, Volunteer Experience, Involvement, Research or Relevant Course Projects and Skills. Focus on what you want employers to notice first—they will read top to bottom, so make sure the sections most relevant come at the top of the page after education.

Language

Resume language should be professional, succinct and expressive. Make the reader pay attention by using strong action verbs.

  • Use the minimum number of words necessary to convey meaning. 
  • Use precise action verbs to describe accomplishments and responsibilities (i.e., “Managed a group of 4 members to…” instead of “Responsible for managing a group of 4…”) 
  • Avoid personal pronouns, but write in the first person.
  • Leave out articles: a, an, the. Use short sentences or phrases.
  • Use parallel grammatical structures and consistent verb tenses. 

Does Your Resume…

  • Include only relevant information?
  • Use strong action verbs?
  • Stress skills and accomplishments over duties?
  • Make qualifications evident?
  • Include specific info: figures, dates, numbers?
  • Support your purpose/objective?

Master Resume

Every resume you send out should be unique and particular to the job you’re applying for, but you won’t be writing each of your resumes from scratch. Your "master" resume will serve as a digest for all of your industry-specific resumes, and you can further develop these by modifying or rearranging elements for specific jobs.

Content for a master resume can include:

  • Education
  • Research
  • Coursework
  • Honors/Awards
  • Internships
  • Work Experience
  • Volunteer
  • Shadowing/Externships
  • Leadership
  • Activities
  • Abroad/International Experience
  • Professional Development
  • Presentations
  • Publications
  • Certifications
  • Skills

Tailored Resume

You need a tailored version of your resume for every job application. 

Making customized resumes does two important things. 

  1. It makes you look like a more appealing and relevant candidate. 
  2. It shows your employer that you are serious about applying and that you didn't simply send your generalized resume out to every employer you could find.

Start by asking yourself what types of jobs you’re applying for. Adjust each one with slightly different information according to the job description. You might include the same work histories and skills, but rearrange them so that the most relevant information shows up higher in the resume for each job type. After you’ve come up with several of these “themed” resumes, you can use them for the most relevant job applications.

Next Step: Format Your Resume