A well-crafted and targeted resume can open doors and give you an edge when applying for internships, jobs, scholars programs and other activities. By effectively describing your education and experience, your resume will give employers a sense of how your skills and qualifications will translate into success at their organization. The tips provided in this guide are to make your resume effective when printed or viewed/scanned digitally by recruiters or recruiting software.
CONSISTENT, PLEASANT FORMATTING:
Experts say that recruiters spend approximately 10 seconds scanning a resume before deciding whether to read it closely. A strong resume – with good formatting, white space and highlighted content that piques their interest – can get past this scan to receive a serious review.
- Length: Resumes – one page; CVs are longer and require more sections (see below under Section Titles)
- Font: Black, an easy-to-read font like Calibri, *Arial, Arial Narrow, Garamond, *Georgia, or *Trebuchet MS
- Font Size: 10-12 point for the body; 14-18 point for your name (centered or left justified, NOT in header)
- Bold: Use sparingly and consistently to emphasize school/organization names
- Italics: Use sparingly and consistently to emphasize position titles
- Tables/headers/underlining/graphics/symbols/colors: Avoid all of these; They are either too informal or are unreadable by online application software
- Bullets: Use round or square solid, black bullets
PROFESSIONAL, ACCURATE CONTACT INFORMATION.
Use an appropriate email address (student or other) and phone number with a professional voicemail message. Make sure you check them regularly and answer the phone professionally during the job/intern search. List Decatur, GA or your hometown, depending on where you’ll apply.
MEANINGFUL SECTION TITLES:
Organize your information into logical categories. Standard resume sections are EDUCATION (including study abroad and Global Journey), EXPERIENCE (including work and internships – paid and unpaid), CAMPUS & COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT or LEADERSHIP, and SKILLS (software, languages, lab).
*CVs: If you’re a junior or senior pursuing research positions or grad school, you may extend the document to two pages, if you have significant Lab/Research Experience, Presentations or Publications. Add these as section titles.
- List the full name of the degree you are pursuing: Bachelor of Arts/Science in (major).
- GPA: Include if 3.0 or above. List Major GPA instead if it is higher.
- High School: Only include if you are a first-year student OR if you graduated from a top high school in the city where you are searching for a position.
- Relevant Coursework: List higher level courses (e.g., Econometrics for Econ majors) or elective coursework related to the position you are seeking, separated by commas.
Experience (in many forms):
Relevant experience comes from many situations including internships (both paid and unpaid), regular community and volunteer service, community and campus leadership, and part-time, summer or work-study jobs. Review job/internship postings for position(s) you are seeking or will seek. In your resume, include experiences that best showcase how your strengths align with these position requirements.
List positions you hold/held in reverse chronological order, beginning with the current or most recent. Use 2-4 bullets per position to make it easy for the reader to scan the resume.
- Each bullet point must be clear, truthful and comprehensive. Provide impressive details as opposed to vague descriptions, however, try to not to exceed 2 lines per bullet.
- Do not use personal pronouns (my, our, etc.) Avoid informal language, slang, and unfamiliar acronyms.
- Start each bullet with an action verb (see attached list) and describe what you did/do, for whom and why, including the outcome. Do NOT begin bullets with “responsible for” or “duties included.”
- For current positions, use “I” form of the present tense. Use past tense if you’re no longer in the role.
- Think of STAR: each bullet point should describe a specific Situation, your Tasks related to that situation, the Action(s) you took, and the Results you achieved. Examples:
- Research and organize information on 100+ Metro Atlanta companies hiring plans and practices to create the directory of entry-level job opportunities for students
- Selected by faculty to tutor peers in 200-level Chemistry and Biology courses for four hours per week; trained to identify learning challenges and teach strategies for improved retention
- Oversaw a team of six orientation leaders create and execute the schedule of student bonding activities for first-year students, improving satisfaction ratings by 10% over the previous year
- Under each position, list most impressive/relevant bullet first. Save “basic” tasks for the last bullet or omit.
Community and Campus Engagement:
Employers like to see students who have been involved and reach goals.
- List any leadership positions you held and describe your accomplishments in each role. Also, list any activities that may not have involved leadership but show accomplishment and dedication.
- Rather than stating the purpose of the club, student government, or other groups in the bullets, describe ways you specifically have positively impacted its success or your campus/local community. Examples:
- Collaborate with the executive board to plan campus-wide educational events such as….
- Engage children from low-income families for 2 hours each week in reading and math activities
- Train year-round with 23 team members and compete in 7 games per month during the fall season
- Research and write 2-3 world news articles per month to be published on The Profile’s website
- Volunteer several times each semester to support local nonprofits by…
Only include hard, testable skills such as specific software, language or lab proficiencies.
KEY, INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC WORDS:
Keywords are typically nouns used by application software to sort/score digital resumes. Recruiters, human resources staff and hiring managers also look for keywords as they scan resumes. Identify keywords by reading postings of desired jobs/internship(s). Use them in your resume, where genuine.
Unless requested, do NOT include references or state “References Available Upon Request.”
Spell check, grammar check, and PROOF. Have someone you trust proof. To preserve formatting, save your resume as a PDF before sending. Don’t send your resume in Word unless directed.