At this stage in the game, you want to write a functional-chronological résumé. Why? Because these are the type of résumé that make an "argument" for your abilities and are especially useful when beginning a career or transitioning between careers. Essentially, this type of résumé captures both your work history and experience, as well as the work qualities that you bring to the position. It is organized in reverse chronological order (from newest to oldest) with the following basic headings: Education, Certification, Work/Volunteer/Research Experience (use one, two, or three as needed), Organizations, Skills, Interests, Honors/Awards. Certification, interests, skills, interests and awards are optional -- if you've got them, use them.
The format of a résumé is perhaps the most important single aspect that you can manipulate in your favor. The visual impact is critical, and you want to make the most of highlighting resources. However, you MAY NOT use a template of any kind!!! Gee, did I get sort of emphatic with that? Contrary to what you may think, hiring committees dislike templates; they are considered a kind of lazy shorthand -- as though you may not really know enough to construct your own résumé. Yikes! Not the first impression you want to make. So, you will create this from scratch, so to speak, using your favorite word processing document. Consider this résumé a basic template for applying to jobs, for scholarships, for internships and other academically oriented positions. You are going for a clean, balanced look showcasing your academic and work history.
- Use dynamic, interesting verbs to emphazise the skills that you've acquired and responsibilities you've had: 100 Action Words.
- Remember that experiences that are current are written in the present; all others are written in the past tense.
Begin with contact information, keeping in mind this is for professional purposes...that may mean creating a "professional" self with its own conservative email address and respectful/respectable answering message. Use lines, bolding, underlining and bullets to create clearly separate sections of the document. Include spaces between entries in a category -- the résumé may be longer than one page, so err on the side of readability. Remember, the personnel manager is only spending 20-30 seconds looking at this in order to make an initial decision.
The template below is just one suggestion -- there are other ways to format your résumé. For example, some students choose to put dates lined up on the right side, some will put lines between each category.
Degree, Major, University, Graduation Date (11 pt font)
minor, thesis title, etc (each on a separate line)
Certification (12 or 13 pt. font, bold)
Name of certification, expiration date
Experience (12 or 13 pt. font, bold)
Position, Organization, Location, Date (11 pt. font)
- bulleted list of action oriented phrases detailing your duties, qualities
- and again
- and again
Name of org., location, dates (11 pt. font)
- bulleted list of offices held,
- membership duties
- bulleted list of special skills you have, including computer skills and language skills
- bulleted list of things like "captain of soccer team" "competitive dancer", etc. with associated locations and dates
- bulleted list of awards/honors/scholarships/officially recognized accomplishments (____ of the Year), Date
(alternative contact format)
Name (15 pt. font, bold)