Writing and Formatting a Resume

A guide to writing a resume that gets results. For a more interactive guide, view our new YouTube Tutorials on Creating a Resume from Start to Finish.

Starting a Resume

You can read the following or View YouTube Tutorial on Resumes: Set Yourself Up For Success.

1. Compile a Master Document

This document should include personal history of previous work, volunteer, & internship experiences, as well as club involvement, with emphasis on the following:

  • Names of companies/organizations you worked for
  • Position title
  • Dates you worked there (month and year)
  • Description of duties

2. Decide Which Type of Resume You Need

  • A Targeted Resume - Tailored to a specific job posting with a particular company; higher success rate in gaining employer attention. A Targeted Resume typically includes an objective, related experience (or coursework), and reduces "extra" content that may be less relevant to the job. 
    View Sample
  • An Untargeted Resume - Used at career fairs when encountering unexpected employers of interest; used when a contact is networking on your behalf; or used when you do not know what a job entails. An untargeted resume does not include an objective, does not label anything as "related," and may include a variety of experiences that are not necessarily connected. View Sample

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) - Traditionally, in the United States, a Curriculum Vitae is used to apply to grad school or employment within higher education. A CV does not include an objective; typically is 2 or more pages; and expands on educational experiences and academic achievements.View Sample

In some countries, the terms "resume" and "CV" are used interchangeably. When applying internationally, it may be helpful to reference GoinGlobal's database of country-specific resume samples. Learn more 

Writing a Resume

Resumes are not just for graduating seniors. First-year students, sophomores and juniors need resumes to apply for part-time jobs, graduate school, scholarships and internships.

REMEMBER: the purpose of a resume is to land you an interview.

It does not need to become your autobiography (that's your Master Document). Be honest about your experience and level of ability. Ask yourself "what am I trying to convey to the employer" for each item you want to place on your resume. Also, demonstrate your research of the company and position throughout your document.

View YouTube Tutorials on Resume Formatting

Resume Do's & Don'ts

While the content of your resume is, of course, extremely important, that content may never be read if the format and style of the resume is displeasing to the eye. A resume must be aesthetically pleasing and easy-to-read.

DO NOT use a template or "resume wizard.

DO create a resume from scratch in Microsoft Word. Learn How. 

DO choose 1 easy-to-read font throughout your document.

DO choose 1 font size (between 10-12) for the body of your document

DO make your name stand out: keep it big & bold.

DO separate important information (like company names or section titles) by using CAPS, Bold, Italics, or a Horizontal Line underneath.

DO NOT add too many special formatting features to your resume.

DO add spacing to balance text & white space. This makes it easier for the reader to scan.

DO NOT list information from high school (unless it is directly related to what you will be doing).

DO NOT reduce your margins lower than .5" on all 4 sides.

DO send your resume as a PDF (unless otherwise specified).

DO NOT print your resume on regular printer paper.

For more technical formatting tips, view our YouTube Tutorials on Resume Formatting to:
• Create a bottom border or horizontal line
• Align your dates to start at the same point
• Create a bulleted list
• Add a single bullet to separate contact information
• Adjust line spacing

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