Before crafting your resume, you need to understand its core purpose: to land you the job interview. Not the job itself, just the interview. A resume gives prospective employers an overview of your education, prior work experience, leadership/service activities, and technical skill set, among other items. Graduate Career Services works across college disciplines to provide opportunities (workshops, small group discussions, 1:1 appointments) to help you craft an individualized resume that will best represent you as you begin the strategic job search process.

Keeping the end goal (landing the job interview) in mind will help keep your writing in check, minimizing the need to over-explain or otherwise dilute your message. The resume is simply a fact-sheet that showcases your skills and expertise as related to a particular position or technical area. For more information on resumes, check out our downloadable PDF: The Basic Resume 

Resume Basics

  • Learn the differences between a CV and a Resume with our guide: CV vs. Resume
  • Resumes are clear, concise and organized. Focus on the employer’s needs, emphasizing skills and technical expertise that demonstrate your ability to add immediate value.
  • Resumes are short. Stick to one page (2 at the most). If initial positions are not relevant to the search at hand, leave them off.
  • Resumes are skimmable. A hiring manager’s first look may last no longer than 30-60 seconds.
  • Resumes are visual. Use capital letters, bold font, and spacing to help the reader absorb essential information.
  • Resumes are dynamic and should be customized for each specific position. If you can send the same resume to multiple organizations, it’s probably not a resume that will separate you from other candidates.
  • Resumes contain strong Action Verbs. A candidate’s use of strong, clear, action verbs provides a quick inventory of skills and abilities that leaves a lasting impression of competence.
  • Resumes contain accomplishments and results that quantify the candidate’s impact whenever possible.
  • Resumes are error-free. Proofread several times for spelling, grammar, and structure. Your advisor and a Graduate Career Consultant should review the document before you post it on Go IRISH or send it to prospective employers.
  • Avoid these common resume mistakes.
  • Resume Templates:

Advanced Tips

  • Look at LinkedIn profiles in your field; find skills that match your education and experience and retool for use in your documentation.
  • Gain new experiences; participate in professional organizations and community activities. Update your resume to showcase service/leadership accordingly.
  • Research applicant tracking software (ATS). Most organizations employ software to scan resumes for keywords and match to specific job posting; using websites such as JobScan and LifeHacker will allow you to see how your resume matches up.
  • Dump your resume into a word cloud generator to see what skills and experiences are highlighted.
  • Format matters!  Word vs. PDF Resume: Which Is the Best Resume Format? is a great article from the blog uptowork outlining the pros and cons of each format.
  • Remember, it’s easier to edit than create. Keep your resume dynamic and up-to-date; never stop revising and tweaking content.

Recommended Reading

Resume Psychology Resume Hacks & Traps Revealed: Beat the Machine. Be Seen. Get Hired!, Dirk Spencer (Kindle Book)

Give Your Resume A Facelift, LifeClever

Verbal Oragami, Inside Higher Ed, Joseph Barber

Digital Resources

185 Powerful Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome, The Muse

Graduate Career Services has a Pinterest Page where we have posted a wide variety of carefully selected online content that may be of interest to graduate students. Check out our Resume board for more tips and advice!