Resume Tips and Guidelines

Tailor Your Resume

While it is tempting to develop a "basic resume" once then simply update it as time passes, this approach is not be as effective as tailoring each resume to the specific employer and position. Select a resume style based on your experience and qualifications as well as the type of position for which you are applying.

  • Chronological - Lists experiences in reverse chronological order (most recent to least recent) and emphasizes a continuous career path of increasing responsibility. The most commonly used resume format by students and recent graduates.
  • Functional - Organizes experiences according to specific functions or skills. Employers and dates are listed, but with minimal details. Commonly used by career changers to emphasize the transferability of their skills, or by those reentering the work force after an absence.
  • Combination - Merges elements of the first two and typically begins with a summary of qualifications for a particular position before reverting to a more chronological style.

Resume Headings

Choose headings that best highlight your skills and experience. Some common categories for students and recent alumni include:

  • Objective
  • Summary of Qualifications.
  • Education
  • Related Coursework
  • Experience or Related Experience
  • Skills (Computer, Language, etc.)
  • Involvement, Activities, Leadership
  • Honors and Awards

Resume Formatting

Your resume must be visually pleasing and easy to read quickly.

  • Avoid "wizards" or templates that reduce your control
  • Use margins of at least 3/4 inches all around
  • Use bulleted statements beginning with action verbs in consistent verb tense rather than paragraphs
  • Use bold, underline, and italics sparingly to highlight and separate sections
  • Obtain input about both content and style from Career Services, faculty, former employers, and professionals in your field
  • Develop an unformatted version of your resume for on-line applications
  • Proofread several times and have at least 2 other people do the same