The Basics of Writing a Resume

Through my work study position as a Career Assistant in the Career Center, one of  my responsibilities is to edit students' resumes and provide them with guidance on how to optimize their chances of making a good impression on a future employer.

My first piece of advice is to start early! Often students don't work on a resume until they need one for an internship application. The process then becomes rushed, which often results in  very average or even poor resume. Much like a well-written research paper, a good resume requires time to reflect and revise.

Through my training and experiences, here are some other do's and don'ts when creating a resume:

The do's:

  • Pay attention to the format of your resume: the more uniform, the better it will look
  • List volunteering, student organizations/groups, leadership experiences after talking about your education and work experiences on your resume
  • Start your bullet points with an action verb (ex: conducted, executed, facilitated)
  • Try to keep your resume to 1 page (exceptions: nursing, teaching, and social work)
  • Tailor your resume for specific opportunities; focus on the skills and experiences listed in job descriptions in the career fields you are interested in
  • Have others look at and edit your resume


  • Use a template: they are often hard to manipulate and don't always have relevant sections
  • List general skills that you have: everyone can say they are "a good communicator" or "hard working"
  • Include personal or demographic information
  • Use too many font styles and sizes
  • Include high school information if you are a sophomore or older

Hopefully these simple tips will help guide you in the right direction when you decide to create your resume! Be sure to stop by your college's career center. They have plenty of people that are happy to help you with resumes and other career-related topics!