When pursuing positions outside of academia, you will likely be asked to submit a resume instead of a curriculum vitae (CV). Whereas the CV has a scholarly focus, offering a broad summary of academic-related content, the resume has a more targeted purpose specific to the position, industry, and employer being sought. 

The resume is often a “ticket” of sorts to the interview, and many employers report spending very little time perusing resumes in the process of deciding who they consider to be viable candidates. It is therefore important to tailor your resume as much as possible to the key requirements of the position, conveying succinctly through the document your ability to succeed in the role, as well as your fit and enthusiasm for the work. As this is no small task, research and strategy are of the utmost importance.

Resume Writing Tips

  • Use Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica or other common font styles throughout.
  • Spell check and proof your document before sending it to anymore.
  • Use phrases, not complete sentences.
  • Use past tense for experiences completed and present for those still current.
  • Don’t use personal pronouns.
  • Leave at least a 1/2" margin throughout.
  • Avoid a text heavy document.
  • Put headings in CAPS/BOLD to help identify sections.
  • Use bullet points instead of paragraphs to outline key points.
  • Point size should ideally be between 11—12 and consistent throughout, with the exception of headings and your name which need to stand out.

Resume Sections

Use the following sections to help structure your resume. Remeber that titles can be adjusted to further highlight your expereince and categorize positions accordingly (i.e. Relevant Experience or Management Experience). You may add or remove sections as needed, but remember to stay within the 2 page limit.

Heading -Name & Contact Information
  • Make your name stand out, often bolded and in larger font than the rest of the text
  • Personal mailing address (or just city and state for security reasons)
  • Institutional office address not normally included
  • Phone number and email address
  • LinkedIn address and/or website (optional)
  • Optional section
  • If used, be targeted, concise, and meaningful. Avoid general statements, such as “A challenging position with a dynamic organization that will reward my strong analytical skills.”
Summary of Skills and Qualifications
  • Optional section
  • Brief summary of skills and/or other specific qualifications most relevant to the position being sought. This section primes the reader, in a sense, by emphasizing the most relevant content.
  • Can be effective for graduate students who want to create a narrative about their skills and consolidate what’s most pertinent from their varied educational and other experience
  • Section typically precedes Experience while you are a student or recent graduate, unless you have substantial experience clearly related to the position being pursued. Students interested in positions for which their education is not obviously related, or who worry that their graduate   degree may deter a hiring manager, may also choose to foreground their Experience.
  • List in reverse chronological order
  • Include institution, location, degree, field of study, graduation date or expected date of completion
  • Can also include research focus (if pertinent), relevant courses, study abroad experience, honors, GPA
  • Include related and other significant experiences, whether paid or unpaid (work, internships, research, projects, volunteer, campus activities, etc.)
  • You may choose to have more than one experience section, dividing  into areas that target the position you are pursuing (e.g. Related Experience, Industry Experience, Professional Experience, Projects, Research Experience,  Leadership Experience, Additional Experience, Campus Involvement, etc.). Personalize the sections to highlight your important experiences.
  • Within each section, list your experience in reverse chronological order
  • Include position title (if no official title, create one within reason), name of organization, location, dates of employment/involvement (months and years – abbreviation is okay).
  • Be consistent in how you present your information
  • Add bullet points that relate to accomplishments and skills related to the job for which you are applying for.
  • Bullet points do not need to be full sentences but should have enough detail to get the point across; include numbers, percentages and dollar amounts where applicable.
  • Start bullet point with an action verb using proper tense.
  • Put most important bullet point as it relates to the position you are applying for at the top of the list.
Additional Sections (optional)
  • Computer/Technical Skills
  • Languages
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Honors/Awards


Final Steps

Once you have a complete resume, it is important to go through it one more time to make sure everything is in order. Follow the tips below to ensure you submit your resume in the most professional manner.

Last Minute Reminders
  • Remember, target your resume to the position you are pursuing. Employers normally have a handful of key requirements that they are looking for when they hire. Many employers, especially in the engineering/tech sector, use resume-scanning software to weed out resumes that do not contain certain key words. It is imperative, then, that you do your best to discover these key requirements and display them prominently on your resume.
  • Length should be 1-2 pages. There is generally more leeway to go over one page as you get further in your career, but it will normally never exceed two pages.
  • Proofread! Check and double check your resume, and have it critiqued by several people for content and grammar. Bring your resume to Career Services to have it reviewed by a career counselor.
Sumbitting Process
  • For positions in the United States, do not include personal information such as photo, birthdate, marital status, or physical characteristics.
  • For submitting/distributing hard copies, use resume paper (white or ivory bond paper, 8½ x 11, laser-printed, one-sided only).
  • For sending electronically, attach as a PDF file to preserve formatting and make sure your file is clearly named so employers can easily identify that it is yours.
  • You do not generally include your references on your resume, nor do you need to include the phrase “references available upon request.” Instead, include your references on a separate “References” document that you will have available at all times if the employer requests them.