Your resume communicates your goal while highlighting your education, experience, and skills. The primary purpose of your resume is to secure an interview. Resumes are also used as a marketing tool for yourself when conducting informational interviews as well as networking.
Be aware of your audience
Who will be reading this resume and for what purpose? When writing a resume, you will need to customize the content to appeal to the reader. You should have multiple versions of your resume, tailored to the intended audience.
Highlight your key skills and experience based on the purpose of each resume
Your customized resume is a tool you can use to market your skills, especially as they relate to an individual job. In a job posting, the employer will outline a list of skills and qualifications that their ideal candidate would possess. As you're crafting your tailored document, concentrate on describing your skills and experiences that align most directly with the employer's needs. You do not need to include your entire academic and work history in your resume. Instead, focus on the most relevant pieces of information.
Consider multiple sources of experience
Every activity in your life is a source of valuable experience, providing skills that are either specific to your job of choice or transferable to multiple fields.
When deciding on the types of experiences to include on your resume, think about your entire background including co-curricular activities, internships, jobs, academic projects, etc.
Seek feedback (employers, advisors, faculty, etc.)
Ask others for assistance in reviewing your resume. Industry experts, faculty, and employers can provide feedback regarding mechanics and content, especially as it relates to your field of choice.
Create a theme throughout your application materials
Connect your resume content to other pieces used in the application process. How does your cover letter reinforce key areas of skills/qualifications that are highlighted in your resume? How will this connect to your interviewing approach? In preparing your application materials, ensure that you unify the message that you want to relay to your prospective employer.
Formatting your Resume
Layout: The layout of your resume should be well-organized and consistent. The reader should be able to quickly pick out information from the different content areas of your resume.
Templates: Do not use a resume template. Resume readers can immediately identify these formats. They also limit your ability to change the content and style of your resume.
Length: Limit your resume to one page. If you have a few years of relevant experience, your resume may be longer. Certain industries or occupations, such as academia, may favor longer resumes.
Margins: Set all margins (left, right, top, and bottom) no smaller than 0.5” and no larger than 1”.
Font and Font Size: Use one professional-looking font. Consider using Arial, Times New Roman, or Times. Font size should be between 10 and 12 point. Font size for headings and subheadings may be slightly larger to draw attention to them.
White Space: Use white (blank) space effectively to make your resume look balanced, professional, and easy to read. Avoid filling the entire surface of the paper with information. However, you don’t want to leave too much white space either.
Enhancements: Enhancements bring attention to certain parts of your resume that you want to highlight. Use indention (tabs), bolding, capitalization, and bullet points to bring attention to important information.
Your header is at the top of your resume and will be the first piece of information seen by your intended reader.
Include your first and last name, telephone number (including area code), and e-mail address that is a variation of your first and last name.
Optionally, include your permanent and/or temporary mailing address and a web-link to your LinkedIn profile.
The education section of your resume lists degrees, certificates, or licenses you have earned.
Required Education Information:
- Degree and Major
- Month and Year of Graduation (not duration of attendance)
- College or University
- Geographic Location of College or University
Optional Education Information:
- Minor(s), Area of Concentration, or Related Coursework
- Overall GPA (if 3.0 or higher) and/or Major GPA (if 3.0 or higher).
Note that GPA is more important to include on a resume if you’re an undergraduate. If you’re at the graduate level, related experience is more valued than GPA
The experience section of your resume tells the reader what type of experience you have that makes you qualified for a specific position.
Sources of Experience:
- Full-time or part-time jobs
- On-campus student employment
- Significant involvement in student activities or community organizations
- Volunteer positions
- Freelance work
- Athletics leadership roles
- Major class projects, papers, or performances
- Research presented at conferences
- Significant roles on committees
When preparing a targeted resume, select experience that demonstrates your strongest transferable skills.
Transferable skills are the skills you develop and transfer to future employment settings.
Required Experience Information:
- Job Title
- Duration of Employment (start month and year to end month and year)
- Location of Company/Organization (city and state)
- Bulleted descriptions that clearly state your experience- related actions, outcomes, and accomplishments.
Leading with a verb, develop 3-5 bulleted descriptors for each experience that you include on your resume.
Writing a Summary of Qualifications
A summary of qualifications or objective statement can assist with providing focus to the skills and qualifications you present to an employer for a specific job or internship opportunity. With a limited amount of time an employer may spend reviewing resumes, a summary or objective can help an employer identify your transferable skills and qualifications in the first few lines of your resume.
A summary of qualifications is a brief, block style paragraph or 4-5 bulleted descriptors that summarizes your education, experience, and skills relevant to the position you are applying for and is the first content section of your resume beneath the contact information/header. Additional names for a summary of qualifications include:
- Candidate Profile
- Executive/Professional Summary
- Occupational Name, for example: Human Resources Professional
Summary of Qualifications Example
Dedicated, results-drive professional from the field of program management. Brings a creative skill set to program leadership, steering, and coordination. Experience developing innovative approaches and content across local, national and regional levels. Dynamic, adaptable and capable of analyzing complex scenarios for reflection in program strategy and implementation. Collaborator with the ability to work positively with internal clients and external partners to produce quality results. Extensive experience working with senior leadership. Strong writing, editing, and presentation development skills. Works with integrity and professionalism.
Writing an Objective Statement
An objective statement tells the reader about your career goals and/or expresses your interest in the specific job you are applying for.
The major parts of the objective, in their suggested order, are:
- General or specific job title (Examples: entry-level position, accountant, graphic designer, etc.)
- Occupational field or industry (Examples: human resources, banking, entertainment, etc.)
- Qualifications/skills (Examples: computer expertise, languages, teamwork, management)
- If applicable, add information related to the position that may interest the reader to consider you (Examples: willingness to travel and/or relocate, work authorization, etc.)
Objective Statement Examples
To obtain a Federal Work-Study position at Webster University using organizational, time-management, and strong communication skills.
Socially astute student affairs professional with over 3 years experience in higher education seeking an opportunity in University Housing utilizing extensive experience in training and supervision, building relationships with students, faculty, and staff, and crisis management.
Once you have listed your education and experience, decide what else you want to tell the reader to show them your qualifications.
Group together related information into categories.
Awards, Honors, and Recognitions
- Campus involvement
- Community involvement
- Leadership experience
- Volunteer activities
- Professional Associations
- International travel
- Military service
You found a job that you're interested in. Now what do you do?
When applying for a job or internship, you must customize your application materials. Your aim is to use your resume, cover letter, and other materials to prove to a prospective employer that you have the skills, experience, and characteristics that fulfill the needs of the role.
In order to adjust your materials to meet the employer’s needs, you need to determine the essential qualifications the employer is seeking. Analyze job descriptions of interest to identify these key skills.
Resume Drop-Off Service
In addition to meeting individually with currently enrolled students at Webster University to review their application materials, our advisors offer a *resume drop-off service through e-mail to students at all of Webster University's St. Louis Region and U.S. extended campus locations.
Directions for submitting your resume through e-mail to the Career Planning & Development Center advising team:
- Subject Line: Resume Review Request
- Body of the E-mail: Please provide your name and student identification number. What is this resume going to be used for? Are you preparing for an internship or job search? Let us know what your goal is, or what position you're interested in applying for.
- Attach your resume as a PDF or MS Word Document to your message.
- Send to email@example.com
*Please allow up to 7 business days to receive feedback by an advisor through our resume drop-off service