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Writing Your Resume

A resume is an organized summary of your qualifications as a potential employee. Employers sometimes spend as little as 10 seconds looking it over, so it's very important to have a well-organized resume that quickly draws attention to your top qualifications.

Resume tips

  • Customize your resume to your field. If you are applying to several different types of jobs, customize a resume for each one.
  • You may include an optional 3- to 5-line summary of your strengths, skills and experience as it relates to that particular job. Avoid using clichés such as "results-oriented," or "good communication skills."
  • Keep your resume compelling and concise by often focusing on only the most relevant experience (for most undergraduates, this means limiting yourself to one page).
  • Lead with active language (for example: "Trained and managed" or "Led a team").
  • Quantify your experience with relevant data if possible (for example: the percentage increase in sales when you joined a team).
  • Use attractive headings, wide margins and a limited selection of fonts and styles to make your resume easy to read.
  • Put your most relevant education or experience at the top left. This is where the reader's eye is drawn first.
  • Present job titles, employer names, locations and dates in a consistent order.
  • Use bullets, subheadings, bold text and indentation consistently.
  • Ask several people to read and critique your resume, including a professional in your field and a career counselor. Make an appointment with a career counselor to review your resume.
  • Create a Linkedin profile, and keep it up to date.

 resume mistakes to avoid

  • Never misrepresent your background, skills or experience.
  • Do not include personal information such as age, marital status or gender.
  • Avoid vague objectives such as "seeking a challenging position."
  • Exclude abbreviations that the employer is unlikely to understand.
  • Be careful with your verb tenses. Use past tense verbs with jobs in the past and present tense verbs for current positions.
  • Don't get too wordy. Eliminate information that isn't relevant to the position or industry.

Resume Examples based on DU students and alumni

Recent BA graduate—entry-level marketing (PDF)

Recent BA graduate—entry-level political science (PDF)

Recent BA graduate—entry-level psychology (PDF)

Recent BSBA graduate—restaurant management (PDF)

Recent BSBA graduate—entry-level marketing (PDF)

Current graduate student—MA in international development (PDF)

Current MBA student—MBA in investment banking (PDF)

Current MBA student—PR and sales (PDF)

Current PhD student—PhD in engineering (PDF)

Recent MA graduate—MS in engineering (PDF)

Recent MA graduate—MA in sport and performance psychology (PDF)

Experienced higher education professional — MA in higher education (PDF)

Experienced mental health professional — MA in forensic psychology (PDF)

Experienced teacher— MS in education (PDF)

Experienced higher education professional—MA in higher education (PDF)

Experienced HR professional (PDF)

Experienced consultant (PDF)

Experienced marketing professional (PDF)

Resume-writing resources

"Adding Greek activities to your cover letter and resume" (PDF)

"Study abroad experience and your job search" (PDF)

"Use your campus leadership position to jump-start your job search" (PDF)

"You've done a lot more than waiting tables" (PDF)

"Marketing your athletic experience" (PDF)

Great sample resumes

Video: Cracking the resume code