So you’re ready to take the next (or maybe the first) step in your career. You’ve explored opportunities, and you’re ready to apply. The next thing you need to do is put your resume together, but this is often where job hunters get stuck when they’re first beginning their job search.

The resume is an important part of your application — a stand-out resume can grab a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention, while a lack-luster one may mean your application is passed over. Creating the perfect resume can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Check out tips and tricks straight from our recruiters for building a resume you’ll really want to show off!

What’s in a Resume?

“What is a resume?” might be a better question to start with. A resume is a summary of your professional experience. It’s a way for you to highlight the skills and experiences that make you a great candidate for a role. (In fact, we recommend creating a few different versions of your resume tailored to the positions you’re applying to.)

What a resume is not is a complete, detailed list of every job you’ve ever held. You should keep your resume to one page — two at the most — and focus on the past 10 to 15 years of your career, emphasizing your most relevant experience.

Below are some common elements to include in your resume:


We recommend including a summary rather than a goal statement. A goal statement focuses on what you want, while a summary is a chance to tie all your experience and skills together and tell your story.

The summary should be a few lines explaining what you bring to the table. Avoid clichés like “motivated hard-worker,” and instead use active language focused on what you’ve achieved in your career so far. Show the hiring manager why they should sit up and take notice.

Work history and experience

Make sure to focus on roles that have helped you build the necessary experience to take this next step in your career. Is this your first job? It’s ok to include internships, student jobs, or other experience, too!

Include details here about what you’ve achieved in each of your former roles and how you were an asset to your team. Use active language, and even include some stats when you can.


Add the schools you attended, your graduation year, and your major or field of study. If you’ve recently graduated or you had a high GPA, include that number in your education history, too. Otherwise, it’s okay to leave it off.

Hard and Soft Skills

Read the job description carefully and put key skills mentioned there front-and-center in your resume. Do you have skills that may set you apart from other applicants? Make sure to include those, too!

Other Experience

Especially if you’re just starting your career, you may have some experience that doesn’t fit in these other buckets. Create a section of your resume for things like volunteer experience and club activities.

Choosing a Resume Format

Though most resumes should have many of the same core elements, a resume is not a one-size-fits-all document. Use your resume to emphasize your best qualities by organizing the information to suit your unique background. Below are two of the most common resume styles, but yours might even be a hybrid of these!


You’ve probably seen this style of resume before. Previous jobs are usually listed first and in chronological order, followed by education and skills.


If you’re switching careers or you have some gaps in your work history, this might be the best style for you. This type of resume puts skills front and center, while work history takes a back seat. Previous roles might be listed in order of relevance rather than chronologically, but you’ll still need to include the dates you held each role.

Making a Strong First Impression

Along with the information you’ve chosen to include in your resume, the resume itself will also make an impression about you. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

The Write Stuff

Make sure the quality of your writing says “professional and competent” by following the guidelines below.

  • Trim the fat. With limited space, it’s best to keep things short, simple, clear, and to the point.
  • Keep lists parallel. Each bullet point should be the same type of sentence or phrase and the same tense. When in doubt, begin each bullet with a present-tense verb.
  • Make sure grammar and spell-check are turned on when you are writing and editing your resume.
  • Edit your resume a day or two after you first wrote it. You’re more likely to see what’s there rather than what you think should be there.
  • Read it backwards to catch errors you may have missed.
  • Have your most grammar-conscious friend read over your resume.

Design Matters

You want your resume to be an eye-catcher, not an eyesore. Make sure recruiters and hiring managers are focused on what you want them to know about you, not how difficult your resume is to read.

  • Don’t be afraid to use a template.
  • Make sure there’s plenty of white space, with margins set at least one inch wide. Choose a template that still looks readable from a distance.
  • Use a professional, easy-to-read, sans-serif font like Calibri or Helvetica.
  • Set your font size to at least 10 pt.

Saving and Uploading Your Resume

And finally, making sure your resume is saved correctly will make life easier for hiring managers and recruiters, and that will give them a great first impression of you! Give your resume a clear name that includes your first and last name, and save it is as PDF or a Microsoft Word document. And don’t forget to check that the details in your application match your resume! Our application portal pulls information from your resume to populate your application, but it’s never a bad idea to check for accuracy and formatting

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