Make a Professional Impression!

The job of a resume is to make employers want to interview you. Does yours make them rush to the phone to set up a meeting? If not, follow the steps below.

Got Skills

You will need and want them to compete, to get a job and for life fulfillment.

1. Self Inventory

Start with a blank page, not a template, and list each of your experiences (ie: volunteer, internship, or employment) that has relevance. Go for volume here and focus on details and specifics of what you did with these experiences. You will condense this information later.

Sample Resume

Don't know how to get started? Begin with this template.

2. Choose a Format

Describe your experience in terms of the functions you performed and what you accomplished. Use action verbs to strengthen descriptions. Employers are interested in how successful you were in the past because it predicts future performance.

Jobs and education are listed in reverse chronological order-the most recent experience first. This format is best for those who have some experience directly related to their objective.

Highlights qualifications, skills and related accomplishments with little emphasis on dates. This format is not recommended as employers usually prefer past employment information.

Similar to functional resume, but with employment history listed in a separate section. This style is best for people who have little related experience but lots of transferable skills, new graduates, career changers who have gaps in their work history, and those who have had many similar jobs.

Request a Resume Review

Have your resume reviewed by fresh and experienced eyes.

3. Critique Your First Draft

Use the resume checklist to self critique and ask several individuals who are familiar with the type of employment you are seeking to look it over. Always ask someone at the Career Development Center for a resume review before distribution.

4. Final Draft

Check that your resume is mistake free, has consistent emphasis (bold, underline, italics) and is well laid out on the page. Print your resume on 24 lb. cotton bond paper. Use pure white, cream, ecru, or beige paper. Never photocopy your resume, always print your resume using a laser or high-quality inkjet printer.

Alternate Resume Types


Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Software used by 80% of large companies and 50% of medium companies designed to facilitate electronic recruiting and applicant tracking.

How Can I Make the Most of ATS?

  • Skills: Match your skills with keywords and language from the position description
  • Spelling: Avoid errors, spell out strengths, competencies, abilities, and include industry-specific abbreviations or acronyms
  • Font: Use web safe fonts (Arial/Helvetica, Times New Roman, Courier, Tahoma)
  • Format: Stay away from templates, special characters and formatting; no tables, graphics, images, or PDF formats!
  • Sections: Use common headers and include an Executive Summary with bullets
  • Dates: Start with employer name or job title, never left align dates
  • Relevancy: Target each resume and only include relevant information even though length is less critical

Curriculum Vitae

A Curriculum Vitae ("CV" or "vitae") is a comprehensive, biographical statement emphasizing your professional qualifications and activities. In general, curricula vitae are three or more pages in length. An advantage of the CV format is significant freedom to choose the headings and categories for your information and the strength reflected in their arrangement.

When Is a CV Appropriate?

A CV should only be used when specifically requested, this might occur in the following instances:

  • Applications for admission to Graduate or Professional Schools
  • Providing information related to professional activities such as applications for professional memberships, leadership positions, and presentations at professional conferences
  • Proposals for fellowships or grants
  • Applications for positions in academia, including school administration (elementary or secondary), principals, superintendents, and deans of schools
  • Higher Education positions in teaching, research, administration, and institutional research
  • Independent consulting in a variety of settings

Qualifications or Skills
A summary of relevant strengths or skills which you want to highlight.

Relevant Experience
Listing of positions (part-time, full-time, volunteer, temporary and permanent) related to the type of work sought.

List the names of courses you have taught, institution and dates where taught, and brief course descriptions.

Educational Travel
Include only if relevant to the position/grant for which you are applying (countries, dates, purpose)

List all relevant certifications and the year received.

Grants Applied for/Awarded
Include name of grant; granting agency; date received; title or purpose of research project.

Give bibliographic citations using the format appropriate to your particular academic discipline for books, abstracts, reviews, articles, papers, creative works, technical reports you have authored or co-authored. In fine arts areas, this can include descriptions of recitals and art exhibits.

Give titles of research papers and professional presentations using the format appropriate to your particular academic discipline; name of conference or event; dates and location; and a brief description.

List professional committees, including offices held, student groups you have supervised, or special academic projects; relevant volunteer work and community service organizations.

Consulting Activities
Cite as for grants; give major activities and relevant to professional training and research programs; characterize the subject field of inquiry.

Honors and Awards
List only those pertaining to professional training and research programs.

Professional Associations
Memberships in national, regional, state, and local professional organizations, significant appointments to positions or committees, student memberships are appropriate. If offices are held, note title of the office and dates of incumbency.


If you served in the military, you have developed a whole different way of talking, writing and explaining what you did while serving. And, most civilians will be totally confused and not understand what you did in the military.

How Can I Translate My Military Skills To Civilian Terms?

It's important to use key words like key words from your military experience that will attract employer's attentions such as:

  • Discipline
  • Self-Motivated
  • Teamwork
  • Work well under pressure
  • Adaptability
  • Leadership


International resume and employers place a big emphasis on your personality - including your cultural competence, and how well you will be able to work and thrive in an international environment. It's important to not only highlight your professional personality, but emphasize your cross cultural skills, and addressing your international experiences as strengths.

What Sections Should I Include on my International Resume?

  • Language
  • Courses with international focus
  • Class projects - stress working as a team, project outcome and any multi-cultural environment
  • Cross-cultural international experiences in North America or abroad
  • Volunteer experiences
  • Travel
  • Clubs and organizations

Keep in mind that unlike a U.S. resume, international resumes may require you to list your name, social security number, age, marital status and family dependents. Be sure to follow the specific employer instructions for each international application.


Academic portfolios assess learning over the course of your college career. These may include reflections on experiences (e.g. study abroad, volunteer service), graded writing from first year through senior year, general professor feedback on assignments, and more. It shows growth of skills and learning within an academic context.

Professional portfolios reflect your best work, meeting the needs and standards of an industry/employer.

Start your Career

Find career-launching tips, tricks and guidance from Career Development Resources for Monarchs seeking employment.