Résumés are considered by many to be the most important document needed by an individual seeking employment of any type. Whether it be cashier at McDonalds or a consultant at Goldman Sachs, an employer needs a concise, well written document that aptly describes all relevant work experience. According to OWL , "A résumé is a brief document that summarizes your education, employment history, and experiences that are relevant to your qualifications for a particular job for which you are applying" [1]. A typical résumé includes relevant job experience, any education that the applicant received, and the skills that applicant possesses that are also relevant to the desired job. This information is then formatted in a professional, clean, and clear manner in order to best appeal to any reviewer. Coupled with a cover letter, an applicant can aptly describe all the qualifications the reviewer needs to make a good assesment of the applicant. 

Here is a cool, short video to introduce to making a résumé:

How To Write A Resume - Our Top 5 Resume Tips That Will Get You The Interview

How To Write A Resume - Our Top 5 Resume Tips That Will Get You The Interview

Paper Résumés Edit

The biggest trick about writing a paper résumé is to write it yourself. This is because:

  • You know yourself the best 
  • The employer might recognize that an agency made your résumé
  • When writing your on résumé, it becomes easier to adapt the document to different jobs

In order to effectively write an effective résumé, the applicant needs to communicate through the appearance and content of the document. 

Résumé AppearanceEdit

In order to look like a professional document, there are multiple criteria a résumé has to meet. These are:

  • 1 inch margins on each side
  • Using a high-quality printer to create a clear type
  • Balanced and symmetrical
  • A clear organization
Indentation will help tremendously with the last two bullet points. When creating a vertical list, always indent over for a new item, or an items new line. 
Good resume fonts 2013

an example of a well, formatted resume

Résumé  ContentEdit

According to a CareerBuilder survey , 60% of reviewers said a résumé should be a single page for someone new to the workforce [2]. This one paged document should also be:

  • Free of grammatical and spelling error
  • Sublty sell applicant through the use of active verbs (excelled at.., proficient in...., etc.)

In order to construct a great resume, there are multiple aspects one needs to include. 

Personal InformationEdit

The applicant should include everything one needs to know about them for contact purposes. This include his/her legal name, phone number, address, and e-mail address. 


When crafting a résumé, the document should be focused on a specific job or opening. In order to do that, an objective can be used to cater to opening. This can be done by:

  • Using duties explicitly stated in the job listing
  • Researching the companies needs and stating that the applicant can fulfill or is looking to fulfill the need
  • Being specific of what exact position is wanted


This section should follow the objectives if the applicant is recently out of school or is currently a student. To aptly describe the education, list the degree abbreviation followed by the major, the institution, the date one expects to/did graduate, and the location of the institution. If one attended multiple colleges or universities, make sure to include all with most recently attended on top to least recent. 

Along with listing the school, the applicant needs to include the grade point average earned in order to show how they fared at the institution. Also, a list and description of relevant course work can really specify the applicant and cater the resume to the listing. Finally, any honor societies, awards or accomplished received during this time should be listed in this section.

Employment HistoryEdit

Relevant job experience is perhaps the most important aspect of a resume. In a chronological format, the applicant should put the most recent experience first and the least recent last. For each position, include basic information about the job, such as the company name, location, along with the position title. With more relevant positions (ones that are related to the desired job), expand on the basic information by including what skills were acquired, what equipment was mastered, what types of funds that the applicant was responsible for, any important documents (papers, manuals, books) produced, and any notable, relevant clients. 

As described by Markel in Technical Communication  [3], when describing experiences at past place of employment, applicants should consistently use the active voice with appropriate verbs, not the passive voice (i.e. three workers were supervised by me). The active verbs show action taken by the applicant. Here is a link to a table of active verbs one could use:


Individuals from past work who can speak positively of an applicant are needed in order to reinforce or supplement the other application materials. Only those who have a great amount of experience with the applicant and which the applicant performed exceptionally in his or her guidance. For example, an applicant should not ask a professor he or she knows  where he or she received a C in their class. The job-seeker should also note if the potential reference shows any hesitation. If so, the reference should not be used. 

On the résumé, references are put at the end of the document in a separate section. This part should list their name, title, email address and phone number, and, if possible, a description of the extent of the applicant's relation to the reference. 

Electronic Résumés Edit

With more and more of the job process becoming digitized, electronic résuméhave started becoming more prevalent. Most companies today have online applications which need electronic resumes. Electronic résumés take many forms including:

  • An email-attached version
  • Plain text résumé(saved as a .txt)
  • A scannable résumé(one taken from print)
  • Web-based résumé embedded in a website

The content and the appearance of the résumé should be identical to that of the printed version. In addition, save your résumé in multiple formats such as .doc, .docx, .pdf, etc. Finally, save multiple resumes for different purposes. Each job is unique, but one job may be similar and call for a similar résumé. 

Sample Résumés Edit

For how to construct a cover letter, please click here .

For general information on job seeking documents, please click here


  1. "Introduction to and Expectations for Résumés" Page 1
  2. "CareerBuilder Releases Study of Common and Not-So-Common Resume Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job "
  3. 'Technical Communication' pages 405-425
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