Resume Writing Guide
Your resume is generally your first introduction to an employer. It should be written with great care and consideration. All resumes should be written with your career goals in mind. Your resume is your marketing brochure, showcasing those skills, achievements, and qualifications that relate to the type of position(s) you are pursuing. It should include specific descriptions that give the reader a solid picture of your accomplishments and capabilities. Remember, your resume is not a summary of your entire history; it is a promotional piece that is targeted toward its reader.
- Resumes must be one page in length if you are applying to corporate jobs. If you have trouble fitting your resume on one page, evaluate your content for relevancy and be creative with margins, font size, and format. Non-profit and education resumes can go onto two pages, but be concise whenever possible. You do not need to include every job you’ve ever had – only the ones that are relevant to your future career goals.
- Select and order the major content categories so that the most relevant information is placed on the top 2/3 of the page
- Use verbs to describe your achievements
- Emphasize skills and experience related to your field of interest and/or positions desired
- Avoid self-serving and subjective descriptions
- Include occupation or industry specific-key words
- Be achievement and results-oriented in your position descriptions. Communicate your skills and capabilities
- Quantify achievements by citing numbers, dollars, percentages or time
- Do not include personal information such as age, health, marital status, height, weight, and religion
- Do not lie or exaggerate
- Proofread carefully!!!!! Errors are unacceptable. Have someone else proofread your resume as well
- Include related employment history within the last 5-10 years. Employers run background checks and will notice if your employment history detailed in your resume does not match their findings.
Ask yourself: Have I effectively presented my skills, qualifications, and achievements? If not, what is missing? Writing your resume is a time consuming and difficult process. Push yourself to do your best possible work.
TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF RESUMES
You can use both Chronological and Functional
List current or former positions in descending chronological order
- Chronological- achievements from employment history are listed in reverse chronological order
- Functional - achievements drawn from education, work experience and volunteer positions are listed according to groupings of skills
- Combination - emphasis is on skill groupings, but achievements are listed under each position in reverse chronological order
- Use chronological or combination unless it absolutely works against you!
- Use Times New Roman. Use one font throughout
- Font should be 10.5-12 in size, your name 14-18 size font (10 can be used, but is not preferred)
- Margins 0.5 to 1
- Do not use a table format
- One (for corporate jobs), other industries can be pages. If two pages, as a header on second page include name, email, phone, page number (font can be smaller)
- Proofread for spelling and grammar
- Print on resume paper, fax on standard paper and email as a MS Word or PDF attachment
- Be honest – never lie, stretch the truth, or misrepresent yourself
Bold, Underline, Italicize and/or CAPITALIZE headings
address, phone number and email address
Career Profile (Optional)
This section should be one sentence stating your skill and the position you seek. Typically used if one is changing careers and has limited experience in the job you’re applying to.
Experienced professional with strong communication and organization skills and an understanding of conflict resolution seeks to work with a diverse population in a nurturing environment
List educational degrees in reverse chronological order, most recent first. Write out degree. Specify each college/university attended, location (city and state), degree received, and graduation date or anticipated date of graduation (Month, Year). Include study abroad. Do not include GPA for grad or undergrad unless asked. Include thesis if applicable.
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Master of Arts in Cognitive Studies in Education, Expected May 2007
Thesis: (include if applicable)
Honors may be listed as a separate category or included under the university/college where you received them. List scholarships, academic honors and/or professional awards.
Certification/Licensure (if applicable)
Can be listed under appropriate degree or as a separate section. List certifications like CPR below under skills.
Type of Certification and/or Licensure, Specialization (if appropriate), Grade, Month, Year
List all languages under this heading if directly applicable and/or requirement of the job you seek (Bilingual, Fluent, Proficient, Conversational, including Sign-Language). If not, include language under skills heading.
Include related coursework only if you do not have any experience that relates to the job you seek.
Used for continuing education. Developed, implemented a program and/or created a strategic plan that is not related to a paid job, volunteer position and/or internship. Can be used if you spend a semester oversees developing a program with an organization or association and/or if you observed a classroom for a month or two. Attended workshop, conferences, and/or trainings specific to your industry
Special Education graduate course work, Fordham University, New York, NY, January 2005 – May 2005
How to Write a Curriculum, Reading and Writing Project, Lucy Cawlkins, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY, April 2008
The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP), Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY, April 2008
Under each heading, list all positions in reverse chronological order. This section can include both paid and unpaid positions. The following headings can be used (e.g., Professional Experience, Related Experience, Relevant Experience, Teaching Experience, Clinical Experience, Research Experience, Leadership Experience, Administrative Experience, and/or Volunteer Experience (see below for specific info re: Research and Volunteer Experience)) in order to prioritize your experience. Include title, organization name, city/state and dates of employment (Month/year – Month/year)
For every position, include the following: name of employer, city, state, job title, dates of employment, and a description of your accomplishments. Focus on accomplishments that relate to the type of position you seek.
Volunteer job experience can be listed under Related Experience, as long as the job title includes the word “volunteer”. When listing volunteer experience under the related experience heading, bullets must be used. If volunteer experience is placed under the “Volunteer Experience” heading bullets are not required. You need to be consistent. If you use bullets for one volunteer job, you must use them for all. Include a minimum of 2 bullets for each experience.
Example: (without bullets, with bullets see Professional Experience Example)
Big Brothers, Big Sisters, New York, NY, September 2009 – Present
TCCS recognizes research experience as encompassing the following components: methodology, quantitative/qualitative analysis, data collection, original research piece, and research team participation (if applicable). Note: An analytic literature review piece and/or research for a paper are not recognized by TCCS as a formal research experience. Bullets must be used.
Professional Experience Example:
School, New York, NY
Special Education Teacher Month Year – Month Year
Add bullets describing your accomplishments in this position
(How to Write Your Job/Volunteer Accomplishment & How to write your Accomplishment that are not related to the position you seeksee pg 2)
Papers/Publications/Presentations (write in the APA Format) See below
Published works and presentations are typically found on a CV. Include only if they relate to the position you seek. If you are an educator, include all, even if they do not relate to the job you seek.
Landrum. R. E. & Murdnal, C. (2003, April). When the spelling of a name is reversed: Does Anyone Notice? Poster presented a the meeting of the Rocky Mountain Psychological
Association, Reno N.V
Smith, T., & Murdnal, C. (2004). Assigning the appropriate (high) value to reaching. College Student Journal, 49, 521-529
All activities must be Politically Correct. Examples of activities are: Sport participation, clubs, organizations, and international travel. (if an educator, include all international travel)
Undergraduate activity experience can be included for those students recently graduated from college (within the last 2 years, unless if you are an educator. List all international travel). Activities can be relevant to career goals and a reflection of character. However, activity participation should not overwhelm the resume.
Choir, Volleyball, Softball
Note: Activities can also be placed in Volunteer Experience if the activity was on a volunteer basis.
List the names of professional organizations to which you are still a member of and indicate leadership positions and committee work where appropriate. Include leadership/board membership for former organizations.
Computer skills, any type of certifications that you have, such as CPR, language (for language, include level of proficiency) and/or interest. (Interests - if applicable to the job you seek)
Proficient in MS Office Suite
Language: Conversational in Spanish
Interests: Travel Abroad
How to Write Your Job/Volunteer Accomplishment Statements
- Write your Accomplishments using the Action + Results format. Tell the employer how you did a task and why.
- Begin with an action verb to describe the type of work you did
- Include a word that describes the results or intended results of your work.
- Example: Taught parents discipline techniques, communication, and how to set appropriate boundaries to foster responsibility in home, academic and social settings
- Sample Results Words – resulting in, to foster, in order to, to ensure, to educate, to increase
- Action & Result Words – please see Resume Action/Result Words
- No “I” Statements
- Write current position in present tense and former positions in past tense
- Be concise and to the point
- Under recent or related position list 4-6 bullets. 2-4 bullets for older jobs and/or jobs not related to the position you are seeking, and highlight your transferable skills.
- Be consistent and either end all bullets with a period or omit all periods
- List bullets in order or relevance to the job you seek
How to write your Accomplishments that are not related to the position you seek
If you have limited or no related experience, you should include other types of employment. When writing these jobs,
- Highlight the skills you utilized to get each job done, instead of listing the type of work you did.
- Focus on skills that relate to your particular degree and/or concentration.
Example: psychology students should focus on their interpersonal skills, communications skills, one on one and group facilitation, report writing, crisis management, problem solving, and collaboration with peers and supervisors.