Resume Tips

Our top ten tips for building a great resume.

1. Tailor your resume.

Your resume should fit the mission, values, and job description of the organization. Mission and values are usually posted on the company's website. This information, along with the job description is helpful when drafting both a resume and cover letter.

2. Keep to one page in length.

It's only in rare circumstances that a recent college graduate would have a resume more than one page in length. But no matter the length, it's most important that your resume be informative and visually appealing.

3. Feature your best information first.

Make sure that under every heading you put the job with the greatest amount of responsibility first. For example, if you were a salesperson, you would want to feature the fact that you were Employee of the Month before the fact that you assisted customers.

4. Use short descriptions.

When describing job accomplishments or skills, use short, dynamic phrases. Use language that is specific, descriptive, and persuasive.

5. Use action verbs.

Instead of "I did...I was...I am..." begin sentences with action verbs such as "initiated," "created," "supervised," "edited," etc. Focus on highlighting your accomplishments.

6. Keep resume free of filler.

Typically, don't include information about high school or high school achievements. One exception is if you are an education major and applying for a position in the district in which you graduated; another would be if you were senior class valedictorian. Do include volunteer, leadership positions, and senior projects.

7. Stay away from abbreviations.

Only abbreviate states, such as MN. Use industry jargon and acronyms only if you are confident the reader will understand it.

8. Make sure the layout of your resume is clear and consistent.

Watch to see that you're consistent with the order and placement of the information. If you put your title first, then the organization's name, the city and state, and finally the date you worked there, make sure that you put this information in the same order for every entry.

9. Proofread.

Check for spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Use 1-inch margins and a font size of 10-points or more.

10. Finish with a professional look.

Use quality paper and a good laser printer. Paper color should be conservative, such as white, off-white, or pale gray. Envelopes should be typed and match your resume color. Have someone proof it once more before the final printing. If sending via email, save the file as a pdf so that your reader will see it just as you left it when they open it.