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What is a Resume?

A resume is a brief document that includes your education, qualifications, and experiences for a job application. It should be well organized with an emphasis on relevant experiences and accomplishments that are targeted to the industry and position for which you are applying.

Anatomy of a Resume

Include your name, professional email address and telephone number. Include a link to your LinkedIn profile. Consider additional links to showcase your projects or portfolio.

Keep it short and simple. The objective gives the employer a general idea of what type of position you are looking for. State the type of position you are looking for, such as an internship or full time position. Include the functional role (marketing specialist) that you are seeking or industry you would like to work in (technology field).

This section should be at the top of your resume if you are an undergraduate student. GPA can be added if it is higher than 3.0. Choose the higher of the two GPAs, cumulative or major. Don’t forget to add your Study Abroad experience to this section. Class projects could also be listed here as a subset, such as “Projects,” if you used/ developed skills and experiences that are directly relevant to your objective.

Use present tense for a job that you are currently doing; use past tense for all other descriptions. Bold the organization, italicize the job title. Arrange work dates on the right-hand side. Accomplishment statements should be powerful and succinct, while demonstrating your skills and results. Quantify results when possible by adding numbers or percentages. Begin accomplishment statements with action verbs.

For undergraduate students, this is a chance to highlight computer, language, and transferable skills and personal traits. (Graduate students and more experienced professionals should have a Summary of Qualifications section at the top of their resumes)

For each activity listed, follow a consistent format. Spell out acronyms. If there is an activity that you are involved in, such as a fraternity, and you hold a position with a lot of accomplishments, consider adding that to your Experience section instead.


How to Make your Resume Stand Out
  • Make sure you understand what the job involves and what skills the employer is seeking and then focus on experiences that are relevant to your desired career, including previous jobs, internships, extracurricular activities, fellowships, and volunteer experiences.
  • Be sure to include strong accomplishment statements using the CAR technique of including the Context or situation you faced, the Action you took, and the Result. 
  • Begin accomplishment statements with Action Verbs to engage the reader.
  • Highlight the Top Skills Employers Seek

Frequently Asked Questions


► Preferred font size is 10-12 point. Your name should appear larger (14-16 point).

► One page is preferred by employers for undergraduate students.

► Use standard, easy-to-read fonts: Helvetica, Times, Palantino.

► Make effective use of spacing, margins, and bolding.

► Emphasize points with bullets, UPPER CASE, bold, italics, and underlining.

The most noticeable difference between a CV and a resume is the length. A CV is meant to provide a detailed, usually chronologically ordered, list of all of your achievements both academically and professionally. Unlike a resume, the CV doesn’t change with each position in order to only include most relevant experiences, but instead it remains static until you add another achievement or experience. Furthermore, the CV is most often used in academia and internationally.  Academically, it includes research, publications, scholarly presentations, affiliations with professional associations, awards, etc. and internationally, it might also include some personal data such as date of birth, country of origin, and even a headshot picture depending on the country.  A useful tool to know what is best to use based on country is GoingGlobal (log into your Handshake account to get full access to GoingGlobal).


Don’t underestimate the value of your educational experiences. Your degree and related coursework are important qualifications that meet the requirements for many entry-level professional positions. Consider highlighting your academic experience and achievements. You may want to add sections like: Relevant Coursework, Projects, Lab Experience, Honors/Awards, and Senior Thesis.

In general, you should focus on your college experiences. However, high school information may be included for Freshmen or Sophomores who might not have a lot of college activities or work experiences yet. Consider listing your high school if you are tapping into an alumnus from that high school or job searching in your hometown area.

Great! These activities count! Recruiters tell us they look favorably on extra-curricular experiences, particularly leadership experiences. Your resume should focus on your accomplishments and responsibilities in your club or organization. Highlight your contribution and transferable skills. Activities might include: student government, athletics, residence life, campus ministry, student newspaper, academic or cultural clubs, or a sorority or fraternity.

Your demonstrated skills and experiences as a volunteer count just as much as any paid professional job. Help the reader to understand your responsibilities as well as the impact, results, and contributions you made in the volunteer position(s) you held. Your volunteer experiences can usually be included under the Experience section of the resume.

Top Skills Employers Seek

Natl. Assoc. of Colleges and Employers
  • Leadership
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Written communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Initiative
  • Analytical/Quantitative Skills
  • Flexibility/Adaptability
  • Technical skills

Quick Tips

  • Make good use of blank space. It can help isolate and highlight an important point you wish to emphasize.
  • Customize the format to highlight your strengths.
  • Do not abbreviate with names of clubs or organizations.
  • Avoid using slang or trite expressions.
  • Double check all spelling and grammar.

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