Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Basics of a Resume

By Kelsey McWilliams, Marketing Intern at CU-Boulder Career Services

Whether you have an old resume that you’re looking to spruce up or writing a resume for the first time, these basic steps will give you a great start! The task of writing a resume may seem daunting at first, but as soon as you get going you’ll see that it’s not as tough as you think. Resumes are absolutely crucial if you’re searching for jobs or internships, applying for scholarships or graduate school, attending a career fair, or networking with a potential employer.

- 8.5 x 11, white paper with black ink
- ONE page, ONE side only – if you need more room, widen the margins
- Simple and easy to read font (I recommend going basic with Times New Roman)
- Your name (14-16 pt. font) and the rest of the text (10-12 pt. font)

Contact Information
- Your first, middle and last name should be centered at the top of the page (no nicknames)
- Also at the top of the page should be your address, cell-phone number, and e-mail address (make sure your email address is simple and professional – your Colorado email is perfect. Do NOT use something like buffsfan4lyfe@aol.com)

- List your educational information first – high school information is optional
- It should look something like this:
University of Colorado Boulder                                              May 2014
B.S. Journalism, French Minor, GPA: 3.6
- Add your cumulative GPA or major GPA only if it is above a 3.0
- List your expected graduation date on the right hand side of the page as shown above
- Optional: include relevant coursework or academic projects if they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for

Work Experience
- Use present tense for positions you currently hold and past tense for all previous experiences
- List your most recent experience at the top and work backwards
- Do not use personal pronouns (I, me, my, you, etc.)
- Always include: title of position, name of organization, location of work (city, state), dates of employment (include months and years), description of work experiences, emphasis on skills and achievements
- Basic formula to follow when giving a description of each job: ACTION VERB + TASK = RESULT/OUTCOME
Examples: “Executed press mailings, maintained key databases, wrote and edited client press materials."

Volunteer and Leadership Experience
- Volunteer experience is incredibly important no matter what type of job or internship you’re applying for
- Check out CU’s Volunteer Resource Center if you’re still looking for opportunities
- Organize your volunteer experience in a bulleted list that includes the names of the organizations you’ve worked with
- Leadership experience includes positions you’ve held within student government, clubs on or off campus, extracurricular activities, honor societies, fraternities or sororities, and anything else you’re involved in as a leader
Honors and Awards
- Example: Dean’s List Spring 2011, National Honors Society, etc.

- Example: Proficient in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, fluent in French

When creating your resume it is important to remember that the main purpose of a resume is to land an interview. Most employers will initially spend about 30 seconds (or less) reading your resume. Thus, you want to ensure that you have carefully outlined how you are a match for the position. Employers are looking not only for what work you have done, but what skills and experiences you will bring to their company.

For an even more in-depth look at resume writing check out the quick tips on our website (they’re absolutely worth reading) as well as sample resumes we’ve posted for your convenience!