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Job Searching: Resume

Tips, strategies and pointers to help in your search for employment.

Resume Mistakes to Avoid

  • Don't include a personal information, such as your birth date, religion, martial status, hobbies, etc., that have nothing to do with the job.
  • Don't include a picture unless it is required for the position.
  • Don't include false, inaccurate or misleading information about yourself.
  • Don't include the line, "References Available Upon Request."  However, you should have your references listed on a separate document that can be easily supplied if requested.
  • Don't include salary information unless you are specifically asked to include it.
  • Don't use "I" statements when writing phrases.
  • Don't skip over spell checking your resume.  Misspelled words, typos and errors make you appear careless and show that you are not detail oriented.

Tips for Creating the Best Possible Resume

A resume is a brief summary or outline of your education, experiences and skills you have acquired.  Its main purpose is to convince prospective employers to contact you for an interview.  Employers look through hundreds of resumes and may spend only a few seconds reviewing them.  It is your responsibility to articulate what you have to offer the employer. Here are some tips to help your resume stand out and get past the screening stage:

1. Target

Customize your resume, including job titles and descriptions, to each job for which you are applying.  Do research on the company and the position to ensure that you include the necessary information.  It may be convenient to create several versions of your resume based on common positions you will be applying for to eliminate the amount of customization you will have to do.

2. Use Key Words

Use language from the job description as well as general research from LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc. to see how others in similar positions describe the job.  Incorporate key words and phrases into your resume to convey your knowledge of the job, field or occupation.  Recruiters are looking for key words that show you have the skills and knowledge required for the position.

3. Be Specific and Concise

Use bullet points and very concise language to make your accomplishments, skills and experiences stand out in as few words as possible.  This helps showcase your communication skills while highlighting your areas of expertise.

4. Consistency

The formatting throughout your resume needs to be consistent.  For example, use the same font, headings and subheadings, spacing, verb tense, etc.

5. Proofread

It is vital that you proofread and spell check your resume for errors and visual appeal.  Many hiring managers will immediately toss a resume upon catching even the slightest of mistakes.


Additional Tips:

  • Use 10-12 point size font
  • Use bullet points to help emphasize what you want the hiring manager to know about you
  • Focus on information that is relevant to the job and organization
  • Keep your resume short (i.e. 1-2 pages)
  • Update your resume frequently
  • Keep up on current resume writing trends

Resume Types

Two most common resume types:


A chronological resume is the most frequently used format.  Your jobs are listed in reverse chronological order with your current or most recent job first.  It should contain details such as the company name, dates of employment, job title and responsibilities.


A functional resume focuses on your skills and abilities.  It is most often used by those who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.  Work history may be listed by skills rather than in chronological order.

Note: Be sure to use the appropriate template and style when composing a resume with help from Career Services.


Resume Content

  • Include name, address, phone number and email address at the top of the page
  • Make sure your  email address is business appropriate.
  • Your name should always be at least a 16 point font.
  • Begin with your most recent educational experience. Include the name of the school, location (city and state), and the degree you received it.
  • Any academic honors may be listed under a separate heading or as a subsection under Education.
  • Give the company name, location (city & state), dates that you were employed (month and year), your title for each position, and duties performed.
  • Can include internships and volunteer work.
  • Any professional awards may be listed under a separate heading or as a subsection under Work Experience.
  • Optional section that highlights skills not mentioned in other sections.
  • Examples: foreign languages, computer skills, and other relevant skills.
  • List level of fluency/proficiency
  • Certifications and licenses
  • Examples: EPA Universal Certification, First Aid, CPR, etc.


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University of Michigan. (n. d.). Writing your resume. Retrieved from

University of South Florida. (2015). Résumé do's & don'ts. Retrieved from


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