Download the PDF version of Resume Builder Guide

The Resume Builder is intended to help you jump start the resume drafting process. Your resume is an employer's first "look" at you. Please note it is highly recommended that you have your material reviewed by a career services professional.

Getting Started

The process of writing your resume is an excellent preparation for networking and job interviews. The employer is looking for information that will tell them:

  • Who you are professionally.
  • How you can help them solve their problems.
  • Your experience in solving problems like theirs.

A few steps:

  • Gather all your information: employment history, performance reviews, education, etc.
  • Highlight the skills you used in your work, i.e.: communication, leadership, attention to detail.
  • Create a list of accomplishments that illustrate your skills and abilities. Describe how you lead, create or implement?
  • Analyze a job posting that you are interested in. Do you match the job requirements? Check for keywords and use the job posting terminology to describe your experience. (wordle.net is a great tool for analyzing job postings.)

Note:

  • A bulleted style resume is preferred by employers.
  • There is no one page rule.  The length of the resume should fit your experience.
  • Use a separate sheet for your employment references.
  • Do not: 
    • Include an objective, use personal pronouns or full sentences.
    • Repeat phrases or descriptors.
    • Include anything that cannot be verified.
    • Use the task descriptions on your old job description to describe your work.

1. The Header

  • Contact information: phone, email, LinkedIn, city, state, zip.
    Place at the top of the page – center or left margin
  • Your name, center or left margin: (use bold, type font size 20+)
  • Name your target or career field, not job title (bold, font size 18)
  • For privacy do not include your street address. 
  • Use a personal, professional email, (do not use your current employee email or phone). 

2. Summary of Qualifications

“You need to make it exquisitely clear in the summary that you have what it takes to get the job done.” - Right Management

This section may also be referred to as a ‘Professional Profile’.  It highlights your transferable skills and your subject matter expertise. (3-5 lines, no “I” statements or full sentences.) Note: Anything that is described in your profile will need an example to follow in your resume. 

  • Transferable skills are those talents and abilities that enable you to do your job. Use short phrases, (think “sound bites”) that describe how you work or what is unique about your process.
  • Think about your accomplishments; what are you proud of, and how did you do it? Describing these will point out your achievements as well as demonstrate your skills.  Did you lead, create, motivate, save money, etc.?  
  • Great words to describe your skills can be found in your performance evaluations, in assessments like the MBTI (Meyers Briggs available at the Career Center) or Strengths Finders such as gallupstrengthscenter.com.

How to Write a Summary

  • First statement describes broad overview of experience and highlights. (Avoid naming years of experience in this section).
    EX: Innovative team leader experienced in higher education and information technology.
  • Followed by a statement of specialized expertise. This is where you describe what is unique about your experience.
    EX: Uniquely skilled in communication of complex data to general audience.
  • Followed by 2 or 3 statements related to breadth or depth of expertise.
    EX: Agile and adaptable manager, successful in implementing organizational change.
    EX: Skilled in administration, systems improvement and delivery of successful projects.
  • The final statement might acknowledge what you are recognized for by your peers:
    EX: Noted for grace under pressure and building strong stakeholder relationships.

3. Accomplishment Statements

Keep in mind, you want to share accomplishments, not responsibilities. Accomplishment statements:

  • Demonstrate your skills.
  • Highlight successes.
  • Target your resume.
  • Prepare you for interviewing.

An Accomplishment Statement is a specific example of the results of your work and helps to create your story. How did you do your work differently and better? Did it have a positive impact, contribute to your employer’s success or add value? Use action words to describe your accomplishment (managed, drove, developed, led, designed, innovated). Check out:  The Action word list at resumegenius.com.

PARS

A simple formula for creating an accomplishment statement.  PARS stands for Project, Action, Result and Summary. Start with describing a project you are proud of…

P= PROJECT
Describe the situation or challenge. What was your goal?
EX: Managed and maintained all records pertaining to purchasing and inventory.

A = ACTION
What did you do to impact the problem? Describe your process or decision.
EX: Consolidated and computerized all records into one system.

R = RESULT
What was the outcome or result of your contribution Did you improve, increase, minimize or resolve the issue? (Often a good way to start is to describe your outcome.)
EX: New tracking system reduced annual costs by 20%.

S = SUMMARY
Finally, summarize your story. Your summary goes on the resume, or could also be used in a cover letter. As it represents your skills and abilities, it is good information for interviews as well.
EX: Consolidated records management system resulting in 20% annual cost savings.

4. Professional History

  • Put history in reverse chronological order, use years not months to note period of employment (months will be required on an application). 
  • *Parentheses indicate the position was part of a larger block of time. The full length of employment with the organization is noted on the first line as 1997-2017, with the dates following in parentheses indicating time in that position.
  • Use consistently formatted company, city, state, title to document your work history. Include 1-2 lines describing the department or company. 

5. Format

  • Keep it simple, avoid decorative lines or boxes.

Types of Resumes:

  • The Hybrid format (combination of functional and chronological) lists key accomplishments right after the summary and provides the most opportunity for you to target your resume.  It is the most frequently used and generally preferred by employers as it emphasizes both areas of responsibility and accomplishments. 
  • The Chronological format focuses on work history first and then accomplishments.
  • The Functional format clusters experience or skill descriptors without relating to a specific job or employer. 

Fonts and Margins:

  • Use Professional/Business Font:  Calibri, Ariel, Tahoma
  • Font size:  11-12 pt., except for your name in 20+
  • Use Bold, CAPS, and spacing in a consistent manner
  • Use 1 inch margins (normal default in word)
  • Do not include pictures or personal information, salary requirements or “References Available”

Next Steps

Use the Resume builder to create your sample resume based on a template.

Download the Resume Builder

This Resume Builder is a tool to assist you in describing your skills and work history in order to jump start the resume drafting process. Because your resume is an employer's first "look" at you, we strongly encourage you to submit your draft prior to meeting with a Transition Services professional.

Fonts and Margins

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Note: Current best practices favor leading with a strong professional summary. If you add an objective, please consider the industry you are targeting and your experience.