First Impressions Count!
A resume is a concise, complete document that outlines your unique work-related education, skills, accomplishments, and experience. Its purpose is to generate the interest of a potential employer to secure you an interview.
A one to two page resume is usually sufficient, especially for someone just starting out. Lengthier resumes are more common for someone with a Master's degree or Ph.D., with a considerable amount of clinical, internship or work experience or for working in a higher education setting.
An employer spends an average of 15 to 20 seconds reviewing a resume, so the most important and relevant information should be presented directly after the “Education” section.
Target Your Resume to Employers
Divide your experience into more than one section to highlight relevant experience. The different sections should have eye-catching headings such as "Health-Related Experience" or "Business Experience." Entries within each section should be placed from most recent to least recent. Consider having multiple versions of your resume so that you can tailor each one to an employer or a position.
Resume Writing Tips
Create unique resume categories that highlight your relevant skills and experience. Typical sections may include:
- Objective – specifically states what type of work you’re hoping to do.
- Education – lists your degrees and other relevant training.
- Experiences – may include any relevant employment, internships, significant campus leadership offices, volunteer work, and class/research projects.
Emphasize activities outside of academics and employment in additional resume sections. Some areas to consider:
- Volunteer Experience
- Study Abroad
- Campus Activities & Involvement
- Certifications & Licenses
- Language Proficiency
- Relevant Coursework
- Technical/Computer Skills
- Professional Affiliations
Write strong, descriptive “action word” statements for each experience. Make sure that you are incorporating unique results or accomplishments into any bullet points describing experiences.
Incorporate key buzzwords throughout your resume that illustrate your skills and aptitudes to an employer, particularly if you’re in a technical field.
Pick a format and stick to it. Use consistent spacing, font, and styling techniques.
Your resume should be error-free! That means no spelling or grammatical mistakes.
Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems or keyword searches to identify candidates with certain skills or qualifications. To ensure your resume gains attention, incorporate key descriptors and buzz words of your field. Research the company and position to target your keywords.
You may be asked to submit a resume online. If uploading an attachment, a PDF file is best to ensure your formatting will be protected. If asked to copy and paste your resume into an application form, use a simple, plain text version. When emailing a resume as an attachment, the body of your email should be your cover letter. Always use formal and professional correspondence, even when online.
When preparing your documents for a job search abroad, it is important to adhere to the cultural standards and norms of that country. Many countries use the words resume and CV interchangeably, so make sure you understand what documents you are required to submit.
- International Resumes and CV Guides Country by Country, from JobERA.com
- Login to BullsEye to access Going Global where you can view resume and CV samples by country.
Watch the "Resume Tips" video, part of our Employer Tips video series.
- Sample Resumes by Career Area, from Monster.com
- Resume Sample #1: PDF (739KB) | Word (34KB)
- Resume Sample #2: PDF (154KB) | Word (35KB)
Resume Writing Resources
Curriculum Vitae (CVs)
If you’re applying for academic or research positions, you will typically be asked to submit a CV rather than a resume. In addition to standard sections such as Education and Work Experience, your CV should include sections such as Publications, Presentations, Research Experience, Teaching Experience, and Professional Affiliations.
CVs are typically longer and more comprehensive than resumes. They may be as short as 2-5 pages or as long as 20+ pages for an experienced academic!
In other countries, the CV may refer to a resume accordingly to American standards, although the format and some of the information included may differ from customary practice in the US.