Resumes

Building a resume

A resume is a brief summary of your education, skills, and experiences. Employers will read it to understand quickly how you are prepared to fulfill job responsibilities.

Required resume sections

This section should be placed at the top of your resume. It will provide the employer with your professional contact information. For example, provide your IUPUI email address that includes your name instead of gocolts@gmail.com.

Ensure you include your:

  • Mailing address
  • Primary phone number
  • Professional email
  • LinkedIN profile (optional)

Bold title saying "First and Last Name" is centered in the page. In the next line, the mailing address, primary phone number, and professional email are centered in that order.

This section provides a quick picture of your current educational pursuits. Now that you are in college, you won’t need to list your high school degree. You should include your:

  • Degree type and major
  • School and its location
  • Anticipated graduation month and year
  • Degree concentration and minor (if applicable)
  • GPA (optional)

Main title saying “Education” aligned left to the page. The horizontal line added below the title. Below that, a bold title stating degree type and major aligned left to the page. In the same line, aligned to the right, a sentence stating the anticipated graduation date. Below that, the next few lines aligned to the left stating the school and its location, degree concentration, and minor as well as GPA in that order.

This section uses action statements (see below) to highlight any experience that has helped you gain skills valuable to the position for which you are applying. This can include any of the following:

  • Employment
  • Volunteer work
  • Internships
  • Significant leadership roles
  • Paid or unpaid experiences that demonstrate your skills

When listing experiences, include:

  • Title of your role
  • Company or organization for which you worked or volunteered
  • City and state of company or organization
  • Time frame that you worked
  • Specific action statements to highlight your completed duties

Final tip: List experiences that have ended using past tense and experiences still happening using present tense. Also, if an experience hasn’t ended, list “Present” in place of the end month and year.

Main title saying “Experience” aligned left to the page. The horizontal line added below the title. Below that, a bold title stating the role title, and the time frame in the same line. Below that, the next few lines aligned to the left stating the company, location, and duties performed in that order.

Optional resume sections

In addition to the required sections, you may want to include some of the information below. Include optional sections only if you think it will showcase your particular skills or qualities as a potential employee.

If you decide to include this in your resume, keep it concise. This brief statement should summarize the type of work you want and a few skills you bring to a position.  

Main title saying “Objective” aligned left to the page. The horizontal line added below the title. Below that, a brief statement talking about the objective in the resume.

The goal is to showcase your particular skills in the action statements you list with your experience. If you include this section, focus on technical, language, or professional skills that you have refined in some way. These might be skills you have acquired through academic coursework, trainings, special projects, or leadership roles.

Main title saying “Skills” aligned left to the page. The horizontal line added below the title. Below that, a list of skills included.

You might include this section if you have completed relevant trainings or earned related certifications or licenses. For example, if applying as a research assistant, you might want to include if you have received Internal Review Board (IRB) training. If applying to a position in education, you might want to include if you have received a teaching license or first-aid training.

Main title saying “Training and Certifications” aligned left to the page. The horizontal line added below the title. Below that, a list of certifications along with the date earned.

You can include this section to highlight involvement that will showcase your skills and interests related to the position, but are not in your experience section. If you had a particular role within the organization, you should include that with the organization. Your list of organizations might include some of the following:

  • Student organizations
  • Community organizations
  • Professional organizations
  • Volunteer groups
  • Honor societies

Main title saying “Organizations and Activities” aligned left to the page. The horizontal line added below the title. Below that, a list of organizations along with the date involved with the organization.

You can include this section to showcase any particular achievements for which you have been recognized. When listing awards, be sure to note who presented the award and when.

Main title saying “Honors and Awards” aligned left to the page. The horizontal line added below the title. Below that, a list of awards along with the date achieved.

Complete resume example

Not sure where to start? View this example of a resume.

Best practices for formatting

Consider these strategies for formatting your resume.

  • Start with a fresh document. Avoid fill-in-the-blank templates because they can be challenging to edit once more content is added.
  • Use standard, professional fonts (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri).
  • Be consistent. If you bold one position title, do not italicize the other. This will create a clean, easy-to-read document.
  • Choose 11- or 12-point font sizes for content. Use no more than 14-point font size for section headers.
  • Only use bold, italics, underline, and horizontal lines to emphasize important information and to separate your sections.
  • Ensure that the spacing between each section is the same. Margins, sections, and bulleted statements should be uniform.

Example: Developed marketing materials using Adobe InDesign to promote the Office of Student Employment.

Action verb list

ResearchFinancialCommunicateHelpingManagementOrganizing
CollectedAllocatedAddressedAdvocatedAdministeredApproved
EvaluatedAppraisedMarketedAssistedDelegatedCompiled
InterviewedBalancedDiscussedCoachedExecutedImplemented
InvestigatedEstimatedExplainedEducatedPlannedMaintained
SurveyedProjectedRecruitedReferredProducedScheduled

Top five things to know about resumes

  1. Organize content in each section of your resume from most recent to least recent.
  2. Be sure your resume is only one to two pages in length. This means you should only include information that is relevant to the position for which you’re applying.
  3. Make tailoring your resume to different positions easier by saving a draft of your overall resume with all of your past and current information.
  4. Save your resume as a PDF before uploading into JagJobs or sending to an employer. This will ensure that your formatting stays the way you intended it.
  5. Change the file name to LastName_FirstName_Resume when sending a resume. Doing this helps employers keep track of your materials.

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