The job of a résumé is to get you an interview. To do its job it must be FOCUSED and RELEVANT. It needs to scream “This person can do the job!” If you want to do more of what you’ve done before, you can use a chronological résumé. If you want something different, you’ll need to rearrange your experiences to emphasize transferable skills using a combination résumé.
See below for an outline which will work for most (but not all) people. More examples are available in Career Services.
There are no rules except to tell the truth. A résumé is a marketing document and you should do whatever is most helpful in presenting YOU to potential employers.
Right out of college, most people can manage nicely with one page. A two page résumé is fine if you have the experience to justify it. Keep it tight, concise, and specific. Pretend you are paying for each word.
Make it pleasing to the eyes. An attractive résumé is like a nicely wrapped package; people are inclined to expect something good inside. It must be perfect, perfect, perfect: spelling, grammar, everything. Have someone else proofread your work.
You will need something up front telling the employer what you are looking for or what you can do. An entry level person should include an “objective”. The experienced job-seeker will do better with a “Summary” or “Qualifications” section. Whichever you choose, it must be specific to the kind of job you want.
Many résumés today are scanned into a database. Some hints: Use only white or off-white paper. Use as much specific terminology (key words) as possible in order to “match” a job announcement. Note the machines that you can run, tests you can do, and software programs with which you are familiar. Keep it clean, free of hard to scan fonts, and at least 12 point. Avoid columns and “chunks” which are hard to scan. Do not staple or fold.
Employers are most interested in specific accomplishments. Use action words such as “organized, achieved, established.” Use facts and numbers. You may want a section just for “Special Skills” to highlight computer skills, language proficiency and/or tests you can administer. Employers also like to see leadership and teamwork demonstrated through your participation in activities and sports.
If your GPA is 3.5 or higher, put it on your resume. You may want to have a section listing relevant coursework. Don’t include high school information unless you are a teacher applying to the district from which you graduated.
It is customary to have a list of references which you can give to a potential employer. Be sure you have asked permission, and have included the work addresses and telephone numbers. You may hand the reference sheet to the interviewer, but you should not include it with your résumé, unless it is requested.