Resume Writing Guide

A resume is a tool used to market yourself to employers. The main goal of a resume is to attract the attention of readers enough to get you an interview.

This document should clearly and concisely present your education, skills, accomplishments, and experiences as they relate to particular jobs that are of interest to you. (If you have varied interests and want to apply to different jobs, it is highly recommended that you develop more than one version of your resume.)

Remember that employers spend approximately 6 seconds looking at a resume before they decide to toss it or save it. Restrict your resume to one page, give preference to the most relevant information, and make it visually appealing. You can be creative with layout and formatting, but make sure you stay professional. Attention to detail is imperative: many employers will toss resumes due to grammar mistakes or inconsistency. Do not abbreviate and avoid using personal pronouns (I, me, my).

Where to begin?

Writing a resume can be a time-consuming process. Creating this document requires you to define what you want to do, and to organize your qualifications towards your goal. Ultimately, you will have a thorough understanding of your education, experience, and skills as they relate to a desired position or career. By reflecting on information about yourself, you will also be better prepared for interviews and more aware of your professional objectives.

A resumes requires numerous drafts and revisions before it is ready for an employer. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you start compiling your resume:

  • What transferable skills do I have? (e.g. foreign languages, critical thinking, data analysis, interpersonal communications skills, time management)
  • What field-specific skills do I have? (e.g. laboratory skills, programming languages, spreadsheets, financial analysis)
  • When have I exercised those skills? (e.g. part-time and full-time jobs, internships, student organizations, research projects, sports teams)
  • When have I displayed leadership, excelled at teamwork, coordinated projects, managed teams…?
  • Have I earned any significant scholarships? Any awards?

These questions and their derivatives will eventually fall into place to constitute the sections of your resume.

Resume Categories

  • List entries in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)
  • Always include job title, name and location of employment and employment dates
  • Give special attention to responsibilities most relevant to your targeted job objective
  • Write concise, descriptive phrases to summarize the key components of each experience

Action Verb List

Accelerated Coordinated Expanded Launched Processed
Administered Counseled Expanded Managed Produced
Analyzed Demonstrated Facilitated Mediated Reconciled
Arranged Demonstrated Gathered Mentored Resolved
Broadened Developed Guided Monitored Reviewed
Budgeted Devised Identified Negotiated Scheduled
Catalogued Enabled Increased Orchestrated Supervised
Classified Envisioned Informed Organized Systematized
Compiled Evaluated Interpreted Oversaw Trained
Conceptualized Examined Interpreted Oversaw Transformed
Career and Post-Graduate Development

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