A résumé is a marketing tool that highlights the aspects of your background you wish to showcase. It should be concise and easy to read. An employer will spend on average, less than 30 seconds reviewing your résumé. In this time, your résumé needs to convince the reader that they should meet you for an interview. Let's make those 30 seconds count!
Think about your reader. Gear your résumé to the skills, experiences and qualities employers seek in candidates. Focus on the needs of your target employer's. Don't necessarily just list your duties, but describe specifics using action verbs and specifics to show your accomplishments and particular skills you learned. Ask questions for each experience such as: Who? What? When? Why? How? How many? How Often? Results? Use numbers when possible (quantities, dollar amounts, percentages).
Make your résumé easy to read. Choose a visually appealing layout that presents the most relevant information in the top portion of the résumé. Use a font size between 10 and 12 point and a standard font type. This makes it easy to read and easy for an employer to scan into a database. Use bold, italics, and underlining conservatively.
Be concise: Many employers prefer one page, but use two pages if your experience and qualifications are very relevant to the career field. If you do use two pages, put the most relevant information on the first page and put your name and "page 2" at the top of the second (this can be done in the header and checking "different first page" if you are using Microsoft Word). Use phrases, not sentences. Don't use personal pronouns in a résumé.
The finished product should be flawless. Proofread carefully. Don't rely on just spell check. If you are sending an electronic copy or uploading your resume, save it as a PDF to ensure your format remains intact no matter who looks at it.
Now, let's get started with a draft. You can use the Résumé Starter Activity to begin formatting your information. For résumé samples and in-depth guidance for each section on a résumé, download our Résumé Writing Guide below.
If you are a current student or alumnus, Career Services provides two ways to receive feedback on your résumé.