Creating a Resume 101

1. Use Microsoft Word or Google Docs to create your resume

Using one of these programs allows you to make edits as your education and experiences progress. You can use evolving versions of your resume to apply for different jobs. While it is easiest to edit in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, do NOT complete a job application with your resume in this format. 

2. Export your resume as a PDF

That brings us to the second step: always send a PDF copy of your resume with your job applications. PDF is the best format to apply for jobs online and can’t be altered easily.

3. Have two types of resumes

The most efficient way to apply for jobs online is to use a simple resume that highlights your skills and work history. Exclude images, graphs, videos, columns, fields, headers, and footers. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can’t read these items and will distort your application. 

You can create a flashy resume to take with you to interviews or to include as an attachment to an email. Fancy resumes make you stand out, but they don't bode well against ATS. This step is particularly useful for people who are in creative industries. 

4. Avoid using different fonts or symbols

Computers are very intelligent, but something as minor as using multiple fonts can mess with Applicant Tracking Systems. Your goal should be to get your resume through the ATS and to the hiring manager, and using different fonts and symbols can make this especially challenging for you.

Consider using one of the following fonts: 

  • Times New Roman
  • Garamond
  • Arial
  • Calibri

5. Capitalization matters

If you do not capitalize your name, employer, or job title, the ATS will think it’s a spelling mistake and instantly reject your resume. 

6. Include a proper heading

Your resume should have a proper heading (yes, this is different than a header). Put your name in your heading with your email (one that is professional and clean!), phone number, and a link to your LinkedIn profile. DO NOT include your address!

7. Use a summary/objective* to stand out

A summary or objective provides the hiring manager with a brief overview of who you are and what you hope to achieve. The average hiring manager only spends 6-10 seconds on each resume before deciding to pass or move forward with the candidate. Your summary/objective should count! 

*Some schools recommend omitting a summary/objective, so double-check with your career advisor. 

8. Use common titles

Use common section titles that hiring managers and the ATS would be familiar with. We recommend using Work Experience, Education, Objective, and Summary.

9. Follow the same format for Education and Work Experience

Use this format or something similar to list your education: 

University Name                                     Anticipated Graduation Date (Month, Year)

Degree & Major

Use this format or something similar to list your experience/jobs: 

Company Name                                    Location

Job title                                                 Start Date-End date

You should list your collegiate history and work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent experience/degree. DO NOT include extra space between your dashes for your dates of employment and education.

10. Do not skip an end date

Always include an end date for your education and work experiences. If you are still in school or a work position, put Current

Example:  July 1776-Current

You can find an easy-to-follow template here!

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