- Use the active rather than passive voice.
- Begin with a strong, active verb that best represents what you contributed.
- Use present tense for current activities and past tense for past activities.
- Avoid the phrases “responsible for” or “duties include.”
- Prioritize sections based on most relevant information first.
- Write section headings based on tailoring them to the position. For example, “Work Experience”
- becomes “Research Experience,” while another section could be “Additional Employment Experience.”
- Within your bullets, organize these descriptors so that the most relevant appear first.
- Maintain sufficient white space to make it easily readable and uncluttered, while still including thorough descriptions of your experiences.
- Be consistent with styling and formatting throughout all sections of the resume as you use bold, CAPS, italics, and underlining.
- Place important information toward the top of the document, because HR managers often scan resumes quickly. These sections include Education, Relevant Experience, and/or Leadership Experience.
- Each section should be organized in reverse chronological order.
- Use a readable font, such as Cambria, Calibri, Times New Roman, Garamond, or Arial.
- Font should be size 10, 11, or 12 point and easy to read.
- Your name should be 16+ font size, in bold, and NOT in caps.
- Margins should be in the range of .5” to 1” on all four sides.
- Use numbers instead of writing them out, for example, use 5 instead of five.
- Use black ink.
- Don’t include tables to organize the document.
- Avoid personal pronouns in the resume.
- Don’t use full sentences or paragraphs to describe your experiences.
- Keep your resume to one page in length.
- Proofread to avoid spelling or grammatical errors.
- Coursework must be relevant to the position. Irrelevant courses or standard courses expected of a student with the stated major should not be listed.
- Evaluate your language skills honestly, using words such as “beginner,” “intermediate,” “advanced,” or “native proficiency.” You can separate your experience between written and conversational aptitude.
- Technical skills should include your level of proficiency with language such as “proficient in” and “familiar with.”
- A photo is not recommended on a resume. For LinkedIn profiles, a photo of you in professional
attire is common.
- If printing the document, use white or ivory resume paper.
- References should be on a separate page, so don’t make them a part of the resume. Do repeat your contact information at the top of the reference page.
Improving Your Active Verbs