What to Include on Your Resume

A resume is a brief account of your qualifications and experiences, written for the purpose of securing a job interview. Your resume should get across the following three points:

  1. What you want to do
  2. What you have done
  3. What you can do that will fit the employer’s needs

Start by listing all of your experiences including volunteering, tutoring, interning, study abroad, education, course projects, awards and honors, computer skills, language skills, activities, and interests.

Once you have compiled this list, keep it as a reference you will refer to while writing your resume. You will continue to add new experiences to this list.

Your resume is a work in progress, a tool you will change as needed.

Resume Formatting

There is no ‘right’ way to write a resume. However, your resume should include:

Heading

Name, present address, phone number, e-mail address, permanent address and phone number or cellular phone. If you have a personal website that would enhance your chance of getting an interview, put the URL here.

Education

This section describes your academic history including study at other colleges and/or abroad. If you have a college degree, you do not need to list your high school education. List the schools in reverse chronological order.

Indicate your concentration(s) as well as programs or minors. You may also choose to include your thesis, by title only or with a description.

Consider including your GPA if it is a 3.0 or above. You could also call attention to your GPA in your major if it is higher than your overall GPA.

Additionally, this is the place for your academic honors, such as Dean’s List, scholarships or special honor societies within your concentration.

Some students include a select coursework section and list the titles of three to six particularly challenging and relevant courses.

Skills

List computer, foreign language, and laboratory skills in this section.

Indicate your level of proficiency in a foreign language (e.g. bi-lingual, fluent, proficient, basic knowledge of) and list the hardware, software and types of computer applications with which you are familiar.

Experience

Include all of your internships, employment, summer jobs, work-study, class projects, volunteer work and substantial extra curricular activities.

Make sure your most important and relevant experiences are at the top. This might mean using targeted headings such as Research Experience, Film Production Experience, Laboratory Experience, Communications Experience, Community Service, Relevant Experience. Under each heading, begin with your most recent experience.

Emphasize skills you have developed from the experience (e.g. planned and coordinated tutoring program for urban youth).

Activities

List memberships in organizations, sports teams, and offices held that either pertain most directly to your career choice or display team work, management skills, leadership, etc.

Don’t list memberships where your only involvement was signing up.

Interests such as swimming, traveling or playing piano may serve as ‘ice breakers’ during interviews.

Optional Resume Sections

Objective

Placed at the top of your resume, it describes the type of position you are targeting. This concise statement of the type of work you seek may include the type and level of position, the industry, the type and size of organization, and a geographic preference.

Your objective statement can (and probably should) change with each job.

Qualifications Summary

Instead of an objective you can use this section to highlight skills and experiences that are particularly relevant to the position for which you are applying.

References

Adding “References available upon request” provides closure at the end of your resume but is not required. You should keep a separate list of at least three references and make them available only upon request.

Professors and work supervisors are preferred references for students and recent graduates.

Always ask permission before giving out names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers to ensure a positive reference.

Let your references know the types of positions you are seeking and your relevant strengths.

Honors and Awards

Use this section to highlight any awards or honors you may have received.

Updated: 19/06/2011

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