Resume Guidelines

No matter what job you are seeking, a resume is an essential tool in a job search. Ask someone to help you seek a job—what do they ask for? A copy of your resume! Your resume is used to market (sell) yourself to an employer. Your resume should be a short summary of your work experience—not the whole story of your career—you need to leave information to discuss in the interview. The guidelines below will assist you, but acceptable information to include in resumes varies by location and industry.

Resume Format

  • Length should be no more than one page if possible, but never more than two pages
  • Make margins (white space at top, bottom, left and right of page0 approximately one inch
  • There should be plenty of white space and easy to read text
  • Font size should be 10 or 12, using conservative font styles (easy to read)
  • Layout should be easy to follow and information easy to locate
  • Appearance should be neat and clean, with no errors or corrections
  • Use 20%-25% white or off-white bond paper
  • Envelope and cover letter paper should match resume paper
  • Left-justified with dates on the left (line up all information on left side of paper)
  • Use black ink (do not use colored ink)

Resume Content

  • Show responsibility and results that relate to the needs of the company
  • Give examples of accomplishments and show the ability to solve problems
  • Show facts—use statistics, numbers and percentages
  • Be honest and specific, but positive
  • Use category headings, including Objectives, Professional Highlights, Education, Training, Skills, Professional Associations and Organizations, Honors and Awards, References
  • Include volunteer experience, languages, internships and certificates that relate to the position
  • Research the company and know what information to include that would impress the employer
  • If you attach a reference sheet, take off the statement “References provided upon request.”
  • Use industry terminology (wording that relates to the industry in which you are requesting an interview)

General Tips

  • Write your own resume—start by writing down a list of everything you have ever done, your work record, education and all of your accomplishments.
  • Do not use a resume writing service because they make your resume look too slick and phony.
  • Leave off salary information and only provide it when requested.
  • Do not mass-mail resumes. It is the worst thing you can do. You won’t be able to keep up with all the places and names if someone does call you (this is insulting to prospective employers) and you will spend time and money without results.
  • Do not include post cards for employers to return. They won’t do it.
  • Don’t include hobbies, marital status, number of children, etc. on resume.
  • Use a computer or typewriter to type your resume. If you do not have a PC to use, use the Career Center resource room. You can also use copy centers, libraries, schools or borrow a friend’s computer.
  • Some occupations do not need resumes for employment, but will be impressed.
  • Never provide names of references on your resume. Either attach a reference sheet or provide references when requested.
  • Only use your references when absolutely necessary so they are not bothered unnecessarily. Always ask your references if you can use their name and let them know who might be contacting them.