Are you applying for a new job and are not sure where to begin?
It is overwhelming to take your experiences/accomplishments and compile them in an
organized resume. Here, you will find some tips to help build/update your resume.
Resume MUST HAVES
- List your full name (no nickname), address (optional), personal phone number, and
professional email address.
- Make a list of the following sections:
- List of companies you worked for with dates of employment, the position, and a list of
responsibilities and achievements.
- Internships and seasonal jobs can also be included under the “experience” section.
- If you do not have experience (you just graduated) you may want to list extracurricular
activities and volunteer positions.
Education (and certifications)
- Include degrees in reverse chronological order (most recent first)
Include name and location of each institute.
- GPA is only necessary if asked in job description or if you have limited work experience
and need your GPA to reflect your work ethics and drive.
- Year of graduation is not necessary unless you are a recent graduate (rule of thumb: 2-3
- If you have accomplishments in college (such as: Dean’s List, Achievement Awards, and
Honors) mention under “education” section.
- Sorority and Fraternity membership are vital for team work. If suitable, mention under
- Certifications are proof that you have the knowledge and skills to do something.
Certifications can be completed, in progress, or to be completed.
- They should be relevant to the job.
- Do not mistake certification for completion of a course. A certification can also be a
license for which you have eared the credential. Example: CPR with Red Cross, CPA,
or specified Driver’s License.
- Very important to show what you have to offer.
- List all of your useful abilities that are relevant to the job.
- Hard Skills: teachable abilities which include (but not limited to) computer programming,
web design, accounting, finance, writing, mathematics, and other such skills.
- Soft Skills: subjective interpersonal skills which include (but not limited to)
communications, leadership, team building, and motivational skills.
- If you are multi-lingual, this is where you can list it.
- Stick to work-related skills.
- It is important to provide 2-3 references.
- Professional References can be anyone from a former employer, to colleague, to
teacher/professor, advisor, or supervisor/manager.
- Personal references can be a family member or close friend.
- References do not have to be on the same page as all the other sections, especially if
your one page is filled up with all other information.
Resume DOs and DON’Ts
- Word Usage: Do not repeat words more than a couple of times.
- Obvious Skills: There are some skills that are assumed to be known by everyone (how to use
internet, and how to use Microsoft Office (or something similar).
- Random/Unrelated Skills/Hobbies: Do not include something that does not pertain to the job
at hand. Of course it is good to have skills and hobbies that are more than JUST work, but
keep those for small talk once hired.
- Overboard of Information: Keep things relevant and to the point. Having to oversell ONE of
the skill/experience/education may indeed turn the hiring manager off.
- Lie: Lying on a resume may make the resume seem more appealing, but some of the key
points may get you terminated from your position if you are unable to fulfill the tasks at hand.
- Cliches: Be unique. Using the same phrases and descriptions as others will make just like
everyone else. Using different words can help your resume stand out and more engaging.
Example: using “team player”, “hard worker” or “detail-oriented” are cliches. Using words or
phrases like “Committed” “diligent” “efficient” “leadership” “proficiency with ______”
“meticulous” are just a few examples of strong words
- Certifications and Licenses: If including certification/licenses, it is recommended to list under
education unless there are a few certifications that need to be mentioned, then list under
new section “Certifications” or “Certifications and Licenses)
- Use abbreviations throughout document however do write the meaning the first time it is
mentioned. Example: CPA is Certified Public Accountant.
- Personal Information: Contact information is required on a resume, however, personal
information such as age, height, marital status, gender, religion, race, or color.
- Less is more: Having too much information on a one-page document can be overwhelming.
It is best to keep is short and sweet. Get to the point and keep it most relevant.
- Creativity: Although encouraged to get creative with resumes (to stand out from others),
keep it uniform throughout. Using too many fonts or colors can clash or distract. Using text
effects such as Bold, Italics, and underline can help keep the resume organized and legible.
- Word Document: Always save and send resume in PDF form. Every computer should have
the feature in changing a word document into a PDF document. A PDF keeps the document
as is. With a Word document, the sentences and fonts may shift from user to user.
- Swap: It is important to have someone else read your resume, and for you to read your
resume out loud. Swapping documents can inspire to add or even remove information.
- Spell Check: ALWAYS Spell check and proofread.
Before submitting your resumes, you may want to proofread it to make sure you have the
- Resume Length: One page is preferable, however do not exceed two pages
- Font and Size: The recommended fonts and sizes should be easy on the eye.
Font Options: Calibri, Helvetica, Georgia, Arial, Times New Roman, Verdana, Cambria,
Garamond, or any similar font.
Size: The recommended size is 10-12 pt. This helps the interviewer skim through your
- Layout: Separate your sections by titles, and make sure there is a true separation between
them. Example: use bold, underline, italics, or different color.
- Sections: Include sections to make it easy to look over. Examples of sections: Experience,
education, skills, references…
- Accuracy: All information that you have included is accurate.
- Proofread: Check the spelling, grammar, tenses, and language before submitting your
- Contact: Your full legal name (no nicknames), your address (optional), your professional
email address, and phone number.
- Professionalism: Use of appropriate language.
- Chronological Order: It is important to put the most recent position and accomplishment on
top of the section.