What is a Resume?

A Résumé is:

  • An intentional sales and marketing document – its purpose is to help you obtain a job interview
  • A succinct and brief description targeted to a specific career field and addressed to the needs of a specific employer
  • An effective summary of your relevant skills, knowledge, and accomplishments

It is possible that you may have to develop several versions of your résumé for an effective, targeted job search.

Good résumés may be presented in the following formats:

  • Chronological (good format for traditional college students with an average amount of experience and related activities)
  • Functional (most helpful for those changing careers, nontraditional age students, and those with gaps in their employment history)
  • Combination of chronological and functional

What Sections Should Be in a Résumé?

A résumé generally includes the following broad sections:

  • Contact Section: Who are you? Where and how can you be reached?
  • Objective Statement: What do you want to do? (Be brief, five to twelve words with no personal pronouns)
  • Summary Section: What skills and qualities do you have? This section of your résumé should be the last section you create. In it, you will highlight the skills and qualities that you have described in your résumé so that the information is tied together for an employer. This is also a great section to draw parallels between what an employer is looking for in a candidate (find this in the job posting) with the skills that you already possess.
  • Education Section: What have you learned? What degrees, training, and certifications have you earned? Have you studied abroad? Have you completed any major projects?
  • Employment Section: What have you done? Describe your internships, co-op jobs, work, leadership, and volunteerism; use past-tense action verbs.

Categories and subcategories may include:

  • Computer Skills
  • Laboratory Skills
  • Qualifications Summary
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Certifications
  • Community Service
  • Honors
  • Projects
  • Leadership
  • Related Courses

See The Next Step: A Guide to Career Development for more categories.

A Résumé Should Not Be:

  • Prepared by a stranger
  • Copied from another source
  • Hurriedly developed in a generic word processing template or wizard function

Step-by-Step: Creating the First Draft

  1. Brainstorm what you will put on your résumé. Use the worksheet on page 20 as a guide.
  2. Determine how these experiences will fit into categories and subcategories.
  3. Begin talking about your experiences in terms of the value that you added to the organization or your own skill set. Remember to begin all statements with a past tense action verb. Choosing the right words and phrases is critical for selling your marketable skills and experiences.
  4. Work and rework all sections of your résumé.

Return to Creating a Résumé

Office Phone:

Office Email:

Office Location:
Room 234, Ridgway University Center