How to Write Your Resume

Your resume is your personal marketing tool. It allows you to establish contact with an employer. An effective resume will help you obtain an interview and possibly a job. Often, you'll send your resume along with a cover letter, which also needs careful preparation.

To get started, check the tips and resources below for writing a professional resume. Review how to prepare your cover letter.

If you have questions about how to start writing a resume or cover letter, or you would like a professional review of your resume, the Career and Professional Development Center can help you. To schedule an appointment, log into your Handshake account and click on the Appointments link under the Career Center tab. You also can stop in for quick tips during drop-in hours from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. every weekday at the Natali Student Center, Suite 138. 

Writing Your Resume

Keep in mind that your resume has about 8-15 seconds to make an impression on a potential employer. To make a good impression - and get an interview - your resume must immediately show that you have the skills, qualifications and professionalism to match the job for which you are applying. 

Here are the top 10 tips to follow when you're writing and reviewing your resume.  

  1. Target your resume. Make certain you include all of your relevant experience and education, and that it's focused on what the employer is looking for. Including irrelevant information only distracts the reader.
  2. Prioritize your accomplishments. List your top achievements before others that are less important. Remember, the employer will be reading from the top of your resume to the bottom.
  3. Keep it short. Employers often skim over submitted resumes. They decide in about 8-15 seconds if your entire resume is worth reading. Try to keep your resume to one page, if possible.
  4. Use action words. Action words get attention by showing what you have done. Try starting off bulleted sentences with words like developed, implemented or coordinated. Check the full list of effective action words in the Career Resource Handbook.
  5. Be original. Avoid using a resume template without making adjustments to fit your information. Look at examples of resumes and pull together different aspects of each to tailor the format for your resume. Career Services can help you.
  6. Make it neat and professional. Employers notice a resume that's well-organized, neat and professional. Include ample white space.
  7. Avoid misspellings. Employers see misspellings as careless and sloppy. They'll assume that's how you would do your job. Misspelled resumes don't get you hired.
  8. Use industry terms. Use words related to specific fields that can demonstrate your knowledge. But be sure to use them correctly!
  9. Use one universal font. Keep your resume uniform. Use the same font for the entire resume, such as Arial, Tahoma or Times New Roman. This will ensure that employers can read your resume easily, especially if you email it.
  10. Have someone read over your resume. Others will pick out the errors and misspellings in your resume quicker

than you will. Make sure your resume is proofread and perfect before you submit it to any potential employers. Bring your

resume into the Career and Professional Development Center to be reviewed and corrected, if necessary. 

Resources and Next Steps

To get the right start to develop an effective resume and view sample resumes, see the Career Resource Handbook. You also can check out these resources:

To get one-on-one help, schedule an appointment with a Career Center staff member by logging into your Handshake account and clicking on the "Appointments" link under the Career Center tab. You also can stop in for quick tips during drop-in hours from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. every weekday at the Natali Student Center, Suite 138.