Resume Building

a student looking over their resume

An overview of your education, experiences, and skills, your résumé is used to market what you offer potential employers by demonstrating your strengths and skills and how you would apply them to deliver value and outcomes.

Before writing a résumé, review job descriptions in your area of career interest to find out the skills sought. This will provide a frame of reference and help you align your skills with those employers want. In general, an undergraduate résumé should be kept to one page in length, though there may be exceptions in certain industries. Often the most difficult part of developing a résumé is learning how to articulate your experiences to impress employers. Every experience, no matter how trivial it might seem to you, can develop skills that can transfer to other settings. To identify and adequately describe your skills, make a list of each experience, whether a volunteer position, a full-time job, an internship, or a role in a student organization. Picture what you did on a typical day during a busy week, selecting three to five words from the power verbs list on the next page to convey the skills you employed that day. For each verb, expand your statement by asking yourself who, what, when, why, and how. Whenever possible, quantify your impact on the customers, process, or organization. What difference did your work make? What were your accomplishments?

Once you’ve given thought to identifying and describing what you can offer, you can organize your résumé using some of the categories below. You may choose to vary this typical sequence to suit your unique experiences. Many examples of effective résumés are shown on the following pages.

Effective Resumes

  • Focus on the position description and the employer's needs
  • Describe your career direction and job-related skills/interests
  • Emphasize your potential contributions and previous accomplishments
  • Use power verbs to begin statements describing your experiences

Video created by Career Ambassador Isabella P.
Music credit: bensound.com