Creating Your Resume

What is a resume?

It is a professional advertisement about yourself that translates what you have done in the past into what you can accomplish in the future. Your resume should captivate the reader and answer the question, "Why should the employer want to interview me?".  Think of your resume as a 30-second personal commercial.

What makes a good resume?

  • A visually pleasing layout, attention grabbing content, with writing that is clear and concise.
  • Spelling, grammar, and neatness are of paramount importance. Spelling or grammatical errors in a resume can be fatal to employment chances.
  • Neatness and organization are projections of your personality on paper.

Keep in mind that potential employers are skimming resumes (a few seconds each!) and sorting through dozens, sometimes hundreds of resumes for one job opening!

8 Quick Tips for Student Resumes

You may be asked to provide a resume as part of competitive application processes on and off campus – for example student leadership opportunities, independent projects, scholarship applications, research opportunities, and jobs posted in LyonNet or JobX. Below are our most relevant recommendations for accomplishing this task:

Getting Started

  1. First make a master list of all your experiences. You can make edits later after you consider what is most relevant in the context of your goals. Brainstorm education, employment, internships, volunteer experience, projects, and community leadership… what have you done (title), who did you do it for (organization), and when did you do it (start to end dates)?
  2. Your resume is not simply a summary of what you have accomplished in the past… it is an evolving document you can use throughout your career. Refining and polishing your resume takes time! What are your goals when you graduate? What do you need to be ready and competitive in pursuit of those opportunities? With an advisor, use your resume to identify what skills you already have and the areas you want or need to develop.
  3. Be strategic. Make the most of your time here!  Become involved in and out of the classroom – and use your resume to market these valuable skills, experiences, and accomplishments!
  4. Be honest and descriptive.Use concise phrases to highlight and fully describe your responsibilities for each experience, but be sure not to exaggerate. Instead use dynamic words to highlight your key skills and accomplishments. Do not use complete sentences or personal pro-nouns (I, me, we, etc.)
  5. Remember that ultimately your resume is a unique reflection of YOU – and what YOU have to offer!
  6. Avoid using templates in Microsoft Word or online as they are often difficult to edit later as your document evolves.
  7. Include your contact information, educational details, and descriptions of your experience. On a typical U.S. resume one does not provide photos or personal information such as birthdate, marital status, family obligations, health status, faith, race, height, weight, or your social security number. If you are developing a CV or resume for international use please meet with a career counselor to explore those requirements.
  8. Your resume is an employer’s first impression of you. Be consistent in your format – and mindful of typos, spelling and grammatical errors.  Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Below, please find some helpful resume aides to get you started in creating your resume. Remember that there is no one “right” format. Use the examples to assist you in creating an effective format for your own resume.

CDC Peer Career Advisors are available every day to offer resume advice. Call 413-538-2080 to schedule a drop-in appointment with a PCA. Please note: Drop-in appointments can’t be made in advance but must be made on the day that you want to come in to meet with a PCA. It is recommended that you call when the CDC opens, as slots fill up quickly.