Resume Writing

The resumé is an essential part of the job search process. The purpose of the résumé is to get an interview. The average amount of time an employer takes to initially look at a résumé is 30 seconds or less. It is very important that the résumé is brief and attracts attention, creates interest, and describes accomplishments. Focus on your education, skills, and work history.

Resumé Guidelines

Use a one page resumé unless you have extensive experience in your career field. If you already have experience in your chosen career field then it is okay to use a two page resumé, if needed. If you have two pages, make sure they are two full pages and include your name and page number on the second page. Your resume should be a Microsoft Word document (.doc) or if you are an advertising design student, an Adobe Acrobat document (.pdf) and/or Microsoft Word document (.doc).

Do not use resumé wizards as they are unoriginal and are hard to update. Make sure your resumé is unique and professional. You can use different formatting tools (bold, italics, underline, all caps, etc.) but don't go overboard. Use a minimum of a 10pt font that is easy to read and is professional. Do not use abbreviations unless used in directions (N, S, W, E) or states (MN) or degrees (B.S., A.A.S.). Be consistent with your format and don't forget to check for spelling and grammar. It's a good idea to have other people check it over.Career Services will be happy to review it for you. Lastly, use professional resumé paper when submitting your resumé to employers.

Include the following information in your resumé:

  • Name and contact information (address, phone, email). Use a professional email address and voice mail. Include multiple phone numbers, if needed.
  • Use a Related Qualifications section to highlight your strong skills. List skills learned through your classes, as well as transferable skills. Use phrases; not full sentences. You can also list skills in a column format.
  • Degree and grad date, as well as other colleges/universities if attended for more than one year. If you did not obtain a degree, state General Education courses and/or highlight courses related to your career. List most recent college first. Do not list high school. List college name; city, state; dates of attendance (optional); degree obtained; graduation date; GPA (if 3.0 or higher); and honors/awards (such as Perfect Attendance, Honor Roll).
  • Present and past jobs – list most recent first. List company name; city, state; dates of employment (use month/year – month/year for past employment and for current employment use month/year – Present); position title; job functions (highlighting key skills – do not use full sentences); and awards. Use strong action verbs (planned, developed, assisted, etc.) to describe your position functions. Present tense should be used for your current position and past tense used for past employment. Do not use "I, me, my" or "duties included" or "my responsibilities are.
  • Volunteer/externship/certifications/freelance activities related to your field. If any of these apply to you and the career field you are seeking a position in, then go ahead and list it. Do not list controversial events or activities, such as politics or religion.

Do not state "References given upon request" on your resumé. Employers would rather see you use space on your résumé to expand on your skills and accomplishments.

It's a good idea to track where you have sent your resumé. Include the following information: company name, contact name and number, position you applied for, date sent, and date you followed up on position. Within two working days give the company a call to confirm they received your resumé. This also gives you the opportunity to ask, "Do you know when you plan to start interviews for this position?". They may not tell you or even know themselves but it is a great question and it will show initiative.

Below is a list of sample resumes you can use to get started.

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