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Resume Writing Tips

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What is a resume?

A resume is.....

  • Your marketing tool-it is an advertisement that you create to sell yourself to potential employers. It presents your skills, experience and accomplishments in an organized, professional manner. It is an important tool in your job search process and significant time and effort should be devoted to it.
  • An individually designed document that highlights the skills and activities in your background which are most relevant to your current career objective.
  • It is a summary of your background, not a complete life history. It should be brief and to the point.
  • It is used as a screening device by employers. It is the first step in obtaining an interview.
  • It is just one step in the job search process which also requires you to write a cover letter, know proper interviewing techniques, etc.

What is the best Format or Style?

Chronological vs. Functional

Chronological- This format organizes your educational and employment history by date - listing your most recent education and employment first.

Functional - This type of resume emphasizes your skills and can be especially useful when your degree or work experience is not directly related to your career objective, or when you have worked in one place for a long time holding multiple positions within that company.

* A combination of both styles is also an option.



  • PROOFREAD!!!  PERFECTION IS THE GOAL!!  Review for grammar, spelling, typographical errors, and punctuation. Never rely on spell check! 
  • Do keep it short and simple
  • Do type your resume-no exceptions
  • Do keep sentences brief
  • Do keep the length at generally one page (for recent grads) or two pages with extensive, related experience
  • Do choose a standard font in 12 point size
  • Do use high quality (cotton fiber bond paper) white, ivory or cream colored paper
  • Do use standard 8.5" x 11" paper
  • Do use uniform margins on all sides 
  • Do use double spacing between sections-leave white space for an uncluttered look
  • Do Bold, Underline or CAPITALIZE section headings so they stand out
  • Do be consistent with indentations, capitalizations, font and spacing
  • Do use simple, everyday language
  • Do give examples of accomplishments and results
  • Do use action verbs when describing responsibilities and accomplishments (see Action Verb Handout for a sample listing)
  • Do tailor content to each position for which you are applying (e.g. re-write objective)
  • Do only give class rank, or GPA if you are very proud of them using the appropriate scale -  for example, 3.25/4.00
  • Quantify when possible


  • Don't use fancy type or cutesy artwork or photos
  • Don't write paragraphs
  • Don't include personal data such as age, marital status, # of children, ethnicity, health status, weight, or country of origin
  • Don't exaggerate
  • Don't mention salary or wages



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Outline of a Resume | Types of Resume | Electronic Resume | How to Create a Resume | Resume Template | Resume Guide

Resume Format | Resume vs Vitae | Sample Reference List | Resume Checklist | Resume Writing Tips | Resume Action Verbs

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