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How to write a resume

How to write a resume

Tips for Writing Successful Resumes

  • 1-2 pages in length.
  • Capture attention at start of resume using Skills section.
  • Use strong verbs to describe work/volunteer history.
  • Highlight accomplishments, not just work duties.
  • Check for spelling and other errors.

The Stuff of Resumes

Often, college students will list the following information on their resume:

  1. Name and Contact Information — Mailing address, phone number, and email address.
  2. Skills — Emphasize unique strengths using 2-3 bullet points for easy scanning. For example, your ability to speak several languages or familiarity with specific computer programs.
  3. Education — Degree, major, expected transfer and/or graduation date, campus location. Tip: if you have a lot of work experience, then put the education section near the bottom of the resume. If you have little work experience, then put the Education section at the top of the resume and bullet-point key courses you’ve taken.
  4. Work Experience — Companies you worked for and their location, dates of employment, work titles, responsibilities/achievements in bullet-point format.
  5. Leadership and/or Volunteer Experiences — Similar to “Work Experience” but this section emphasizes your campus and/or community involvement.
  6. Awards — Scholarships you have won, special recognition earned at school or work (e.g. Tutor of the Month, Dean’s list).

The best resumes go beyond listing your experiences to a potential employer; instead, such resumes highlight the value you would bring to a targeted workplace. In other words, you will want to examine the job posting beforehand, match your experiences with the job’s requirements, and emphasize key leadership moments: taking initiative on a project, resolving problems, or making easy-to-understand contributions.

The Resume is Simply a Tool

If you have never written a resume before, it can certainly feel like pressure to nail down the meaning of your life — trying to organize and explain your educational background, work history, volunteer experiences, and especially the unique skills that will help you stand out among the other applicants.

On the other hand, for many college students, they struggle with just the opposite: “If I only had one or two jobs, how do I write a meaningful and competitive resume that employers will take seriously?”

A resume is a tool for marketing yourself; it gets you in the door, hopefully, for an interview. It does not need to capture every aspect of your life, let alone describe its full meaning. Like a birthday party, it should celebrate your life — interests, milestones, and accomplishments.

Additional Resources

  • To see a college student resume example click here.
  • For additional resume samples and templates for college students click here.
  • For more tips on writing resumes click here.
  • Check out “Gallery of Best Resumes: for people without a four-year degree” by David F. Noble for more resume samples and tips.
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