For a term that’s in regular, constant rotation, there can be a lot of confusion over what a resume is and what one is supposed to do.

So what do you need to know to begin writing or revising your resume? Here are some basics to understand, accompanied by guidelines to follow. And as always, coming into the Career Center is your best chance to get your resume perfect.

First and foremost, the point of a resume is to get you into the interview phase of a job search. Your resume should show a potential employer that you have a college degree, most of the skills and abilities they need, and a work-related environment.

Your resume should look clean and condensed, be easy-to-skim, and cluster the most important information at the top. You should assume your resume gets 30 seconds of face time with the person reviewing it, so brevity is key: no one is reading paragraphs of information.

Most importantly, your resume should reflect you in the best light for each specific job you're applying for. That means you may add, delete, adjust, or reword information for each separate job application to ensure you’re matching the specifics of what that company wants.

As you write and review your resume, use this checklist as a guide, then come into the Career Center for a final review. We’ll be waiting for you!

Resume Basics: A Checklist 

  • I have only used one font, it’s all in black, and it’s between 10 and 12 point
  • My education has my full degree name, minors and concentrations, and GPA if it’s above a 3.00
  • My experience information is broken into the best sections for me, with some combination of Work, Relevant, Leadership, Organizational, Internship, and Teaching
  • There is only one column of information and it’s all justified to the left side (except for dates and location, which are right-justified)
  • I’ve used bullet points that start with action verbs and not used complete sentences or paragraphs
  • I’ve removed all colors, pictures, formatting, columns, and design elements
  • I’ve condensed everything into one page
  • I’ve included my full name, cell phone, email, and LinkedIn URL and removed my address
  • I’ve taken it to someone trustworthy to proofread
  • I’ve given it to someone and asked if it can be read in 30 seconds or less
  • I’ve saved it as a PDF


About the Author

Megan Miller

Associate Director, Campus Career Engagement Maugans G04 434-395-2064

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