Your resume is a marketing tool created to market you. It may be your first contact with an employer, whether applying for an internship, co-op or job opportunity. Resumes may also be requested for leadership opportunities, graduate school, scholarship, and fellowship applications.
Employers often review resumes and cover letters in 10 seconds or less. Therefore, your resume must be well-written, concise, extremely organized, and easy to read in order to be effective. Customize your resume for the reader, looking for opportunities to match your accomplishments and interests to their needs. Tailoring your resume and cover letter to the specific employer is a key component of a successful resume and cover letter!
There is not one correct way to organize a resume. It depends on your unique education, experiences, and skills. It is a good idea to have different versions of your resume depending on the job type/industry that you'd like to target.
Examples of Resume Sections
An objective tells the employer what you want to do, either by stating a job title or the type of job you currently seek. You might have more than one version of your resume, with different objectives.
List the college/university name, city, state, your degree, major, concentration, and graduation date by month and year. List your most recent college first. Under the education section, you may include information about:
- Courses relevant to the type of job you are seeking
- Class projects (including senior projects, presentations, reports, & research)
- GPA if over 3.0 (major GPA and/or overall GPA)
- Academic honors, Dean's List, and scholarships
- Professional training, overseas study programs, certificates and licenses
- Computer skills (give specific names of systems and programs)
- Languages (indicate skill level: conversational, intermediate, advanced, fluent)
- Percent self-supporting; hours worked per week (ex. Work 20 hours a week while full time student; 50% self supporting
List your career-related experience, including full-time or part-time jobs, summer jobs, volunteer experience, cooperative education, and internships. Even course projects could go under this section! You may include experiences unrelated to your career area if you focus your job description on transferable skills, such as customer service, communication, problem solving, project management, teamwork, and leadership skills. You do not need to list every job you have held. The descriptions for your relevant experiences should be longer than those not directly related to the work you are seeking. Highlight your skills and accomplishments.
Identify your accomplishments and successes from past experiences, and the skills that you used in each situation. In your resume, emphasize what your role was, focus on the skills you used, and describe how you benefited the organization or state the results of your work. Highlight what you achieved and the difference you made.
Accomplishments might include situations in which you created or built something, initiated a project, achieved a goal you set, saved time, saved money, demonstrated leadership, solved a problem or created a solution. Use numbers whenever you can!
Use KEY WORD nouns to indicate your skills and experience, such as strategic planning, customer service, quality assurance, reconciliation, diversity training, CPA, BA, MBA, GIS, JIT, TQM, EIT, MS-DOS, SPSS, Java, HTML, web page design, taxation, statistical regression analysis, asset valuation, systems analyst, manager, Japanese fluency, cryogenics, robotics, calculus, biosytems, accountant, promotions, counsel, teach, cellular manufacturing, project management, autocad release 13, research, problem solving, team leader, etc. Use action verbs like advise, analyze, appraise, audit, consolidate, coordinate, decrease, direct, evaluate, facilitate, forecast, implement, initiate, manage, negotiate, persuade, etc. List your job title, the employer's name, city, state, and dates of employment by month and year. Avoid writing in full sentences and leave out pronouns (I, me, my).
You may include a variety of activities and additional types of information on your resume, such as those listed here. This section may be called Professional Activities, Leadership Roles, Extracurricular Activities - Be creative and title it what makes sense for you. Focus on positions you held, your level of involvement, accomplishments, projects, demonstrated leadership roles, committee work, communication skills, organizational skills, and any skills related to your stated career objective.
- Campus/student organizations
- Community service
- Volunteer experience
- Team and group projects
- Computer skills
- Foreign languages
- Leadership roles
- Professional membership