The most acceptable and readily used format for college students is the chronological resume, in which your most recent experience is listed first. How you choose to construct your resume, in terms of style, is up to you. For example, placing dates on the left or right or whether your contact information should be centered or on the left-hand column is entirely your choice. The one rule to remember is that consistency is the name of the game. Always maintain the same style throughout your resume.
- Contact Information: Put your contact information at the top of your resume. It should include your name, address, phone number, and email address. If you plan to relocate soon it is acceptable to list a permanent address.
- Objective: For most college students seeking internships or entering the professional job market, stating an objective on your resume is not necessary. Instead, bring out your interests in a cover letter that is customized for the specific job to which you are applying.
- Education: List your degrees in reverse chronological order, with the most recent degree first as well as any study abroad experiences you may have. You may also include relevant coursework to highlight specific skills and knowledge. If your GPA is 3.0 or above, go ahead and list it in this section.
- Experience: List your most recent experience first and do not overlook internships, volunteer positions, and part-time employment. Use action verbs to highlight accomplishments and skills.
- Academic Projects: If you have specific academic projects that qualify you for the position, include them in their own section with detail on what you accomplished through the project that the person reading your resume should know.
- Additional Information: This section may stand alone under the “Additional Information” heading and highlight relevant information that may include computer and language skills, professional associations, university and community activities (including any offices held), and interests.
- Other Headings: Choosing to break out information such as interests and professional associations as separate headings is acceptable if relevant to the position. Sharing personal information (i.e. birthday) or attaching a headshot is not acceptable unless relevant to the position.
- References: Do not list your references on your resume. A prepared list of 2-4 references should be printed on a separate sheet of paper that matches your resume format. Bring a hard copy (or multiple copies, if needed) of your resume and references with you to the interview.
Curriculum Vitae vs. Resume
Curriculum Vitaes (CVs) and resumes have three major differences: length, purpose and layout. A resume is a brief summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages. A CV is more detailed and can stretch well beyond two pages. The resume will be tailored to each position whereas the CV will stay put and any changes will be in the cover letter. A CV has a clear chronological order listing the whole career of the individual whereas a resume’s information can be shuffled around to best suit the applicant for any given job description. A CV is intended to be a full record of your career history and a resume is a brief, targeted list of skills and achievements.
NOTE: International students: when applying to positions within the U.S., one-page resumes are standard practice. In the U.S., a curriculum vitae (CV) refers to a summary of qualifications and education that is usually more than one page and is used when applying to academic/faculty or research-related positions. Employers prefer resume formats which are minimal and easy-to-read, unless otherwise specified. Personal information like birthdate is omitted to protect candidates from job discrimination as prohibited by federal laws.
Resume guidelines that differ from non-U.S. Resumes/CVs:
- Avoid colorful fonts or use of tables
- Minimal personal info (no birthdate, picture, height, country of origin)
- Omit pronouns
- Include industry terms when appropriate
- Share only relevant information (be able to justify content to an employer)
Cover Letter Format
- Your Name
- Your Street Address (City, State, and Zip Code)
- Employer’s Name
- Employer’s Title
- Company Name
- Company's Address
- Greeting (Dear __________________,)
- Section 1: Tell what position you are applying for and how you found out about the position. State why you are interested in the organization.
- Section 2: Explain and expand briefly how you meet the company’s needs. State the educational, skill and personality traits that prepare you to contribute to the company in a unique way. Give example of something you did that relates to the position and reference to the enclosed documents/your resume. DO NOT put "see resume" for details. The cover letter should guide them to or make them want to read the resume for more information.
- Section 3: Give a time frame in which you will call to arrange an interview, or indicate that you hope to be hearing from them soon, and indicate the best way to reach you.
- Section 4: Thank them for their time and consideration.
- Your signature
- Enclosure: List any supporting documents that are included (resume, writing sample, etc)