Resume Writing Guide

A resume is typically an employer’s first introduction to you. First impressions are crucial to establish yourself as professional, capable, and motivated. A strong resume demonstrates your transferrable skills, communication abilities, and achievements. A consistent, detailed, and concise resume can help your resume get noticed by recruiters. By formatting your resume professionally, you increase your chances of earning the interview.

Resume Components

Resume Formatting and Layout

The average reading only spends 20 seconds reading a resume. Before that, an applicant tracking system may be utilized to select which resumes get reviewed by a human being.  Make sure your resume is easy to read and stands out. 

  • No single format works for everyone: the only rule is that you need to be honest, factual, and relevant

  • One page is ideal (especially for internships) and for students ages 18-25

  • Keep a longer master resume for future opportunities

  • List everything in reserve chronological order; start with your most recent experience work backwards

  • Use a legible sans serif  font size, keep it readable, 11 is a good place to start

  • 1 column is better than 2; when you have two columns the reader may jump around and miss key information

  • No icons or images as they cannot be read by applicant tracking software


How Many Resume Versions Do I Need?

There is a big difference between customizing your resume for a specific position/industry versus creating different documents for each application.

  • If you are applying to jobs in drastically different industries, you will want to customize resumes for each industry. For example, a psychology major applying to jobs in Human Services as well as Human Resources will want to highlight different experiences and skills for each, and potentially format their resumes different as a business setting holds different expectations for job criteria compared to a mental health setting.
  • If you're pursuing a few different roles, but they're all related to one discipline or field, then you will not need multiple versions of your resume. However, you will still want to tweak each resume you send out based on the specific job description. 

Specialized Resumes/Sections

While resumes may follow the same general format, depending on your experience and industry, there may be other considerations to help your resume stand out.