Writing an Effective Resume

Use these tips to write an effective resume that meets the employer's needs and gets you an interview.  See some sample resumes  to learn about format and layout. Read about  resume tips for specific fields .  More  experienced job seekers  should read our special tips.  


  • Type your name at the top in caps with large, bold type. Include your address, phone number, and email address. If you plan to move while your resume is in use, include your school address and your permanent address.


  • Get focused on your job objective before writing the rest of the resume and tailor the resume to the job and the field.
  • Clearly state theposition you are seeking and whether it is a full-time or part-time job or an internship. You can also include the industry and any skills you want to emphasize. Avoid vague phrases that focus on what you will gain from the experience. Everything that follows on the resume should support the objective.


  • Identify your degree, major, graduation date, and school.
  • Include education abroad and any relevant vocational schools, certificates, and job training.
  • You may include your GPA if it is 3.0 or higher. Employer expectations may vary.

Course Listings  

  • You may include a short list of courses to show experience, training, or knowledge in the field as long as they are relevant to the job objective.


  • Make your skills the selling point of your resume. Include specific skills that pertain to your objective such as computer languages, technical skills, and lab techniques. You may also include interpersonal and adaptive skills such as communication, leadership, writing research, teamwork, etc.
  • Be sure to back up each skill on your resume with specific and convincing evidence.


  • If you have extensive experience, some of it unrelated to your objective, use two subsections: related and additional.
  • Use your most important and relevant experience to convince the employer that you have the skills necessary to do the job. In this section articulate your accomplishments clearly and concisely using active voice to present evidence of your skills. See Action Word List pdf .

Optional information  

  • You can include professional and extracurricular affiliations and activities, honors and awards, and sports.

Items to avoid

  • Keep references on a separate sheet and give to the employer when asked.
  • Omit your age, religious or political affiliations, marital status, or other personal data, which could be used to screen you out.


  • Keep your resume to one page unless you have extensive related experience.
  • Organize headings so that the most important points are first.
  • Invite the readers' attention by using open space, wide margins, and bullets to set off text.
  • Use good quality white or off-white paper.
  • Use clear and dark 10-12 point type.
  • Spell and punctuate perfectly. Proofread several times.
  • Special formatting for scanned, emailed or online resumes .