A Resume Is

  •  A one page summary of your skills, accomplishments, experience and education designed to capture a prospective employer’s interest and result in an interview.
  •  A document that pinpoints qualifications relevant to a particular career. No single resume will suit all occupational areas you are considering. Several resumes highlighting different aspects of your background may be needed if you plan to apply for positions requiring different skills.
  •  A representation of you which must look professional to create the best impression. All copies should look like originals. Reproduce your resume using a laser printer, or have a printer do the copying. Use good quality paper with a watermark and a high rag content.

Resume Purpose

Because no one knows you as well as you know yourself – your goals, your accomplishments, your strengths – no one can write an effective resume for you, but you. You must be comfortable with every word in your resume and be able to speak easily about whatever you write. If you are willing to spend time creating this "personal ad" and take advantage of the services provided by Center counselors or your college's career advisor, you will create an effective resume.

Resume Language

The average resume gets between 5 and 10 seconds of the reader’s time. The "reader" is a prospective employer who needs to know quickly what you can do for his/her organization. Every word on a resume must be there for a reason. Thus,

  • Avoid narration. Use short, concrete, skill-oriented, results-oriented phrases, such as "Initiated membership drive which increased pledge class by 75%"rather than "One of my responsibilities was to recruit new members. I devised a new system of recruitment which brought a lot of new pledges to our fraternity."
  • Do not use the words "responsibilities" or "duties" before each description of a particular job or experience.
  • Use action verbs such as these to clearly identify your skills:    
adapt administer analyze
approve arrange compile
coordinate conceive conduct
control  create  develop
demonstrate design determine
direct earn edit
establish expand expedite
generate increase initiate
increase  innovate improve
instruct maintain motivate
negotiate originate promote
produce recognize reduce
revamp research revise
simplify solve support


  • Employers are likely to reduce the thousands of resumes they must read each year by eliminating resumes with over-crowded margins, incorrect spelling, grammar or punctuation. Be sure to have your resume critiqued by the Center before reproducing it. 

Typical resume categories

  • Reverse Chronological: Lists experience from present to past
  • Functional: Skill categories related to the objective are created and experiences are listed under those skills
  • Combined Forms: Focuses on skills but also lists employment in reverse chronological order

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