The Basics of a Résumé

A résumé is a sample of your writing skills and should represent your best work. Thus, it should be professional: clear, concise, consistent, error-free, and up-to-date.
The following guidelines are meant to assist you in presenting yourself professionally to potential employers and/or experience providers and to help you show them how you meet their needs.
Many different ideas exist on the proper procedure and style for creating a résumé. Some people insist on one thing, some on another.
So who's right? Your audience.
Though the style you use and the information you include in a résumé is ultimately yours, the most important thing you can do, in all phases of the job search, is to know the needs of your audience and tailor your résumé accordingly.
  • To learn more about how to research your audience, utilize the Know Your Audience (KYA) Guide.
  • To understand the process of tailoring your résumé and cover letter to your audience, read the Tailoring Your Cover Letter and Résumé PDF document.
  • For help in starting from scratch, utilize Optimal Résumé. Log in to your account, select the Services tab, then Optimal Résumé.

Chronological Résumés

To create a powerful chronological résumé:
(2) Utilize the Writing a Résumé guide and samples/resources below to compile it (DO NOT use a template)
(3) Assess your with the Anatomy of Effective Chronological Résumés checklist.
(4) Schedule an appointment to receive one-on-one feedback from a trained career preparation mentor

Skills-based Résumés

To learn about when skills-based résumés are appropriate and how to get started writing one, utilize the Skills-based Résumé Guide and Checklist.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) Samples

Making Your Résumé More Powerful

The words you choose play a significant role in how your résumé will influence a potential employer.  Use the documents below to give you some ideas on the words employers want to see on a strong résumé: