Writing a Resume
It is important that your resume highlights your accomplishments, identifies your strengths and abilities, and truly reflects who you are in a positive light.
- Tailor your resume to fit a specific position: use keywords, prioritize relevant experience, and highlight transferable skills
- Always put the most important and relevant information first on your resume. If you think that your related work experience is more impressive than the degree you are pursuing, then list that first. This pertains to your bullet points as well: make sure your descriptions are in order of importance and relevance.
- Avoid resume templates as they limit creativity, are easily spotted by employers, and often are rejected or corrupted by company websites.
- A one page document is preferred for a new college graduate. If your experience warrants it, two pages may be acceptable, but please utilize the full two pages.
- Proofread your resume, carefully checking for grammar and spelling errors
- Be consistent with format, style, font, spacing, and punctuation
- Fill the entire page and avoid white space
- Revise your resume and have others edit it
Common Resume Sections
The following are sections commonly included in resumes. These are typical headings but not the only ones you can include. Use them as guidelines in developing a first draft of your resume.For more information and samples resumes, visit HireMizzouTigers.com.
Begin your resume by listing your name and basic contact information: full name, email, phone number, LinkedIn page or website, address (optional).
- Make your name BIG and BOLD
- Avoid abbreviations and spell out all words as it is a formal business document
- Do not include pictures or personal information including date of birth, marital status, nationality, ethnicity, gender, or religion
List your degree program(s), college/university, and the year you graduated/are graduating. This section is typically located near the top of your resume for new graduates.
- Please refer to Mizzou as “University of Missouri”
- Check on the official name of your degree and major
- Include your graduation date (month and year)
- Do not include high school information if you are a sophomore or older
- Include Minor and/or area of emphasis, certificates, or additional training
- List GPA (cumulative GPA or GPA in major) if a 3.0 or higher
Explain the value of your previous experience and how it relates to the positions for which you are applying. Include consistent headings and a bullet points under each experience with clear, crafted explanations of each.
- Include job title, organization name, dates of employment and location (city, state)
- List most recent jobs first and work backwards in time
- Highlight relevant skills by writing detailed statements in your bullet points, beginning each with an action verb
- Quantify experience when possible (e.g., supervised a staff of 10, tutored 8 students, increased sales by 15%, etc.)
- Use alternative headings, to separate experience that is most directly related to your goals. Examples include: Healthcare Experience, Sales & Customer Service Experience, Writing Experience, etc.
- Be consistent with verb tenses (use past tense) and avoid personal pronouns such as “I”, “me”, or “mine”
Community and Campus Activities
Feature this experience in a similar fashion to your work experience. Employers are looking for well-rounded candidates engaged in the campus and community around them.
- Include a position title if applicable, organization name, and dates of involvement
- Highlight unpaid leadership and involvement with brief but detailed descriptions of your tasks and responsibilities using bullet points and strong action verbs
- Your language should indicate relevant skills you have gained or enhanced though these activities
- If you are very involved, prioritize the activities you were most dedicated to and are most relevant to your career goals
- Avoid listing hobbies (music, social media, games, etc.)
Optional Resume Sections
Summary of Qualifications
- Near the top of your resume you can include a summary overview of your education, experience and/or skills. This can give your resume focus and direction, and entice the employer to read more.
Honors and Awards
- Note academic achievements such as scholarships, grants, fellowships, campus honoraries and organizations (Honors College, etc.)
- Share your unique skills and abilities with employers. Rather than just naming a skill set, consider a bullet points that describe these in greater detail (e.g., Communication Skills: Experienced public speaker and published writer)
- Create a separate section that highlights your memberships and connections with professional groups, especially if you have been an active member.
References are a key part of your application, but references should ALWAYS be on a separate page that accompanies your resume.
- Include at least three professional contacts (supervisor/faculty), confirming in advance they will serve as a positive reference
- List your references’ name, title, place of employment, address, phone number, and email address.
- Your reference page should include the same header as your resume (Name and contact information)
- Don’t include the phrase “References available upon request” on your resume