Writing a Resume
Lead with a Summary
- Begin with a brief summary telling the employer the key strengths and abilities that make you the perfect candidate for the job.
- This isn't an objective statement. It's a short profile.
- Limit to 3-5 single spaced lines. Write in phrases, not complete sentences.
- Serves as a foundation for the rest of your resume and a repository for key words.
Get the Reader's Attention
- Highlight Honors and Awards.
- Dean’s List
- Academic awards
- Leadership positions
- Don’t just list jobs, add detail to illustrate your skills and work ethic.
- Illustrate how you have achieved success with facts and figures
- “Helped grow sales” vs. “Increased sales 14% by implemented “Spin Selling” techniques”
- “Good at customer services” vs. “Improved CSI by 40% by reducing wait time from 7 minutes to 2 minutes. Achieved by redesigning queue tactics”
- “Strong analytical ability” vs. “Improved analytical ability by taking Financial Statement Analysis and Decision Models”
- Visit these websites to create strong, descriptive bullets:
- “Maintained records for accounts receivable and accounts payable.”
- “Managed over 1,000 accounts receivable and payable accounts working directly with the Chief Financial Officer.”
Do Not Focus on “Old Experience”
- A job as a waitress in high school is not relevant for a graduating senior, in fact companies reviewing resumes from graduating seniors don't want to see any high school experience.
- Allocate more space to your most recent experience.
Tailor Your Resume to Your Reader
- Research the company and position that interests you and adjust your resume.
- Highlight how your skills align with their needs.
- Resume scanning is common, make sure key words from the job description appear in your resume.
Limit Certain Information
- Never include information about age, marital status, religious or political affiliation (unless you are applying for a position outside the US)
- This may be revealed by associations or activities (such as the Wesleyan Fellowship or College Republicans), but never specifically list them.
Use “Clean” Formatting
- Your resume must be one page, so make use of the horizontal space on your document.
- Choose basic fonts, and don't use more than two fonts in the document.
- Focus on basic formatting, don't use elaborate templates from Microsoft. Often these are difficult to work with when making changes or additions.
- Using bold, italics, and all caps allows you to differentiate sections in your resume.
- Save as .pdf file type to preserve your layout. This prevents "surprise" changes.
- Contact Information
- Always in Reverse Chronological Order
Keep It Brief
- Write in sound bites, short phrases
- Use clear, concise language
- Limit your resume to one page, unless you're writing a Curriculum Vitae.
Do Not Misrepresent Your Past
- All companies do background checks on possible employees.
- Facebook and LinkedIn are routinely reviewed, so keep a clean profile.
Spell Check ≠ Proof Reading
- Proofread your resume, or have someone else look over it, mistakes are often made and not caught by spell check. See examples below:
- “… instrumental in ruining the operation” should be "instrumental in running the operation"
- “… traveled expensively through Europe” should be "traveled extensively through Europe"
- Staff in the Career Services office are available to proofread your resume, but first, you must submit it on Terrierlink.
Use these samples to help you get started. Remember, your resume should be unique to you, so don't copy these samples.
First year student resume
Study Abroad Resume I
Study Abroad Resume II
If you're planning to apply for a job in a technical field (lab sciences, engineering, etc.) or a foreign country, you will be asked to submit a CV. Please email a staff member for help creating a Curriculum Vitae.