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Career Planning: Choose Your Path

Résumé Content

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The Difference Between the Job Application, Cover Letter and Résumé

See Job Applications and Cover Letters page for a description.

Preparing Your Résumé

A résumé is a one-page summary of your work and school experiences. Employers match your résumé against their job openings to evaluate if you'd be a good fit. As such, it's important to make your résumé a good representation of yourself. 

Accessing Résumé Components On This Site

Next, you will want to get more information about how to construct each section of your résumé to look professional and to include details that are important to trends (important elements of resumes change from time to time and you need to keep up). You can choose from the tabs at the top of this page to learn more about the contents of each section on a résumé  They include:

  • Contact Information Full name, current address, current telephone number and email address.
  • Objective/Personal StatementA concise personal statement about your career aspirations or short statement of your work experience and relevant skills.
  • Experience Most recent, relevant work experience. Include professional titles and employment dates.
  • EducationList educational institutions; may include relevant training.
  • SkillsHighlight of your professional attributes and expertise.
  • References3-5 Individuals who can confidently speak about your moral and professional character.

To get a full picture of all of the elements that will help you develop a great résumé, we recommend that you review the specific recommendations and details on each tab.  

Decide Which Type Of Résumé You Want

There are three types of résumés: chronological, functional and combination. You might want to consider more than one format of résumé if you're applying for multiple jobs. The 3 commonly used résumé formats are:

Resume Format Overview
Chronological This format is best for individuals with a strong and comprehensive work history. It focuses on steady employment history, level of responsibility, and dates of work history. This format is not recommended if you are a recent graduate, new to the workforce or re-entering the workforce after a lengthy absence.
Functional The use of this format focuses on skills and strengths that are most important to the employer. It is most often used by individuals who are changing careers, have gaps in work history or are recent graduates. This format is not recommended if your primary goal is to emphasize growth or development.
Combination This format is a combination of both the Chronological and Functional resume format. The use of this format demonstrates a strong work history and emphasizes transferable skills. This format is best used when individuals are changing careers and highlighting skills developed throughout their work history. This format is not recommended if there is limited work experience.

Top Resume Formats is a great article by Indeed that not only explains the formats and provides examples of each, but it also provides guidelines for formatting such as margins, font types and more.

Helpful Links for Résumé Preparation

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Why Learn About Résumé  Trends?

There’s been a lot of changes in the job market and how employers screen for candidates over the past 5-10 years. For example, one of the biggest advancements is the use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).  What is that? Employers are using (ATS) computer software designed to scan résumés  for certain keywords and screen out candidates who aren’t the right fit. However, if your résumé isn’t optimized for ATS software, then it won’t make it into the hands of a human – even if you’re the strongest candidate.

There are 4 basic steps to how an applicant tracking system works:

  1. A job requisition including information about the position, such as the job title, desired skills, and required experience enters into the ATS. 
  2. The ATS then uses this information to create a profile for the ideal candidate.
  3. As applicants submit their résumés, the ATS parses, sorts, and ranks them based on how well they match the profile.
  4. Hiring managers then quickly identify the most qualified candidates and move them forward in the hiring process. 

What’s especially important to understand is that recruiters often filterrésumés by searching for key skills and job titles There’s a good chance a real person will never see your résumé- it may go directly to a computer! 

Source: Jobscan

What may be relevant to other fields may not be applicable to yours, and vice versa. studying trends closely and figuring out what works best for your field of interest are crucial. Here are some of the most current common trends:

  1. Use Relevant Keywords - Keywords are crucial to résumés these days because so many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to ensure that the most relevant applications get to the eyes of a human recruiter. This is why pulling keywords from job postings (e.g., specific skills the employer wants) and incorporating them into your résumé has become a useful and widespread resume trend. Optimize your résumé to ensure it is ATS-friendly by incorporating keywords in your summary, skills and work experience sections.
  2. Choose a Simple Design - Infographics and bold design elements are slowly falling out of favor; minimalism is the latest trend in résumé layouts. Streamlined résumé templates are easy to find and can help pass applicant tracking systems by making it easier to scan. 
  3. Keep to the Right Format - The traditional chronological résumé format is back in style because of its easy to read, elegant style. If you have a decent amount of work experience, you probably already use this format, but it can also be useful for entry-level job seekers. By using a chronological format and presenting all of your relevant experience, either from work, coursework, or unpaid work, in reverse chronological order, you will make it easy for recruiters to see your potential.
  4. Keep It Short - Simplicity is king. The trend for short, concise résumé is here to stay. While there may be times when a two-page résumé can be appropriate, it is generally preferable to stick to a single page. Unless applying for senior-level jobs, keep it short and sweet! 
  5. Show Off Results - Humility is out; confidence is the new trend, and if you want to navigate the hiring process with style, you need to use action verbs (e.g., “managed” or “oversaw”) and specific metrics (e.g., “Ran campaign that increased user engagement by 12%”) when discussing your achievements.

Source: Resume Help

More Information About Resume Trends

5 Current Résumé Trends To Know from Résumé Genius

10 Current Résumé Trends and Forecasts Your Should Be Thinking About from Finances Online

Here's What Your Résumé Should Look Like from Canva

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A header should include your name, phone number and email address. You can also include your mailing address, but leave it out if you plan to post your résumé online.

  • Use a phone number that you plan to answer and change your voicemail to a more professional message if necessary.
  • Make sure your email address is professional. If your current email address, for example, is or, it's time to set up a new email, such as or

The purpose of your contact information is to help the hiring manager quickly know who you are and how to reach you.

Your contact information should be listed in your resume header, and include these five pieces of information:

  • First and last name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address (optional)
  • LinkedIn (optional)
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What is the difference between an objective statement and a professional summary?

First, this is an optional element on your résumé. In one or two sentences, summarize your work experience and relevant skills. Whether and objective or personal statement, keep it strong and simple. Again, you don't have to include this, especially if your experience speaks for itself and is relevant to the jobs you're applying for.

Objective Statement

An objective statement is a concise, position-centered statement describing the value you can add and the needs you can fulfill. An objective may include a brief statement of skills and qualifications you will bring to a position.

Objective Statement Examples: Marketing intern with interest in customer relationship management and market research. Offering database experience with Spanish fluency or Human resources internship, with particular interest in recruitment and training. 

Professional Summary

A professional summary is longer and provides more detail than an objective statement. Professional summaries identify the type of position you are seeking and provide lengthier descriptions of skills and qualifications. Professional summaries are most helpful for experienced professionals who aim to demonstrate the applicability of skills from a range or depth of past experiences for a specific type of position. Professional summaries are useful for networking résumés and résumés uploaded to job search websites.

Professional Summary Example: Sales record and staff development experience provide outstanding background for Senior Sales Management positions within the publishing industry. Offering 11 years of sales and 9 years of management experience combined with entrepreneurial, team building and implementation skills. Possess leadership ability to conceptualize, structure and achieve market and profit objectives.

Professional Resume Summary Examples

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  • List the schools you've attended, starting with the most recent one. Include details such as GPA, class rank or special awards.
  • Add any other educational experiences, such as training programs, community college or summer courses, seminars and so on.

The level of detail you add to your resume education section can vary based on how much work experience you have and the number of degrees you’ve achieved.

For example, if you’ve just graduated from college, the education part of your resume should be highly detailed and include any information that’s relevant to the job you want.

However, after working in your industry for a couple of years, consider omitting some less-important details (such as your GPA and honors) when listing your degree unless you’re writing a grad school resume.

This is because your work experience will now likely be a more important factor regarding your employability to a hiring manager.

At the very least, your resume education section should include the following four items:

  • School name
  • Location
  • Degree
  • Graduation year

For additional items, consider listing your GPA on your resume (as long as it’s 3.5 or above) to help demonstrate that you’re hardworking, studious, and responsible.

If you have limited work experience, consider adding relevant courseworkextracurricular activities, academic awards, or even sororities or fraternities you were in as components to help demonstrate your hard and soft skills.

Training, certifications, and licenses

Many professions, such as personal trainerscoaches, or tradespeople, require outside training to be considered qualified for their jobs. Thus, they will benefit from including their certifications, licenses, and training on their resume.

You can choose to include your training, certifications, or licenses in your education section or otherwise in its own dedicated section toward the bottom of your resume.

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Resume Skill Highlights

Self Management skills are essential as you are pursuing a degree in college, they are equally important as you personally navigate through the workplace. This article provides a brief overview of self-management skills and how to apply them in your career.

Article: Self-Management Skills: Definition and Examples

Starting with your most recent or current job, list your previous work experiences.

  • This section shows where you have worked and when. It also states specific accomplishments for each position or job.
  • This is where content can make your résumé run over a page, so be selective (if necessary) about what you include.
  • Pick experiences that seem most relevant to the position you seek. For inspiration, think of your full-time or part-time work, summer jobs, occasional jobs, internships, fieldwork and special projects.
  • Don't worry whether your experiences are "good enough." Employers admire people who have worked hard in a variety of positions.
  • Always start each achievement with an accomplishment verb, like accelerated, achieved, expanded, influenced, solved, maintained, generated, effected, advised, controlled, trained or utilized.
  • Don't worry if there are gaps in the timeline, but keep everything in chronological order, with most recent jobs at the top.

Work experience is one of the most essential parts of a resume, and for most candidates will make up the bulk of their resume’s content.

When listing work experience, include the following information for each entry:

  • Employer or company name
  • Location (city and state)
  • Employment dates
  • Three to five bullet points describing your responsibilities and accomplishments

Additionally, for each work experience bullet point, begin by using an action verb, and use hard numbers when detailing your accomplishments.

Action verbs help make your experience sound more impressive and interesting to read to hiring managers, while using hard numbers and statistics gives them a clear picture of how you contributed on the job at your previous employer.

Don't Shy Away from a Career Break 

As a certified professional resume writer, I discuss this a lot with my clients. It can seem as though it’s important to have a perfect career path where you happily go from one job to the next in order to gradually progress forward in your career, however, this is rarely the case.

Most people, whether they are recruiters, hiring managers, or C-level executives, have had some sort of a career break or non-linear path within their career.

Whether it was a chosen career break or an unexpected career break, most people can look back and find some point in their career where they were unemployed. If this is the case for you, don’t be ashamed of this!

The key to successfully showing a career break on your resume is to discuss what you did in that time. You may not have held a corporate role, but that doesn’t mean that you didn’t experience something that adds value and experience.

If you "took a break" to raise your kids, you took on the hardest job on the planet, parenthood! With parenthood comes crucial life skills such as adaptability, flexibility, and multi-tasking. Add this to your resume! If you traveled, add this in and discuss how you navigated cultural barriers.

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to career breaks is leaving a big blank space on their resume. When you simply ignore a career break and leave a gap in your employment without explanation, it leads the reader to make assumptions about you and your career, which are often wrong.

Pro Tip: Provide context for your career break in your cover letter

Volunteer work

If you’re a college student that’s lacking work experience, putting volunteer work on your resume is a good method for highlighting leadership skills and showing the hiring manager that you have the necessary hard and soft skills required for the job.

When listing volunteer work, there are two methods. First, if your volunteer experience is highly relevant to the position you’re applying for, treat it the same as professional experience by listing it in your work experience section with three to five bullet points describing your responsibilities.

However, if your volunteer experience isn’t relevant, either omit it or list it toward the bottom of your resume in a dedicated section with only one or two bullet points describing what you did.

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The "skills" section of your résumé is a place where you can show your strengths and individuality. Start by stating each skill. Then back it up with a two- to three-line explanation of how you learned that skill or why you believe you have it. Make these entries short, clear and to the point.

  • List skills that are most relevant to the job you seek. Think about what the employer is looking for in relation to what you've done and who you are as a person.
  • Don't forget to list computer programs you've had experience with; proficiency can be seen as added value.

The skills section of your resume sums up your expertise and skillsets to the hiring manager in a short, easy-to-read list. Regardless of how much experience you have, you should always include a skills section on your resume.

To write a strong skills section, list your most marketable abilities and include a mix of both hard skills and soft skills to show employers that you’re a dynamic, well-rounded candidate.

Hard skills will typically only include technical skills that you acquired through training, education, or otherwise hands-on experience. Meanwhile, soft skills most often consist of personality traits and people skills.

Language skills can be a huge asset in many professions that require you to work with international customers and clients.

Typically, listing the foreign language(s) and your proficiency level in your resume’s skills section will suffice, but if you really want to draw attention to it, consider making a dedicated “Languages” section.


When you've been recognized by someone else, you should let potential employers know about it. But you shouldn't worry if you haven't received any awards; just skip this section.

Awards and honors

Listing awards and honors on your resume, in addition to your work experience, is an excellent way to add credibility to your qualifications and expertise. Academic awards and honors can also act as leverage for students by displaying their academic excellence to universities or hiring managers.

When listing awards and honors, you’ll want to display the award name, date received, and purpose or explanation (if the award is not well known or easily recognizable.)

Academic awards should be listed in your education section, in a bullet point underneath your degree. All other professional awards can be listed in a dedicated “awards” section.

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Helpful Tips for Creating A Resume

For more tips on writing a resume visit:

Build a Resume Activity

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