University Career Center

A resume highlights your skills related to your career interests. It connects your story to your community and includes your academic achievements, volunteer experiences, extra-curricular activities, summer jobs and internships. Employers initially scan a resume for 30 to 60 seconds so you need to communicate your story clearly and concisely to land the interview.

Resume Writing Handout    Download PDF

Below are a few more resources that can help you improve your resume:

 


INSTANT RESUME FEEDBACK

VMOCK is an on-line resume grading system for all undergraduate students!

Improve your resume in 4 easy steps:

1. Upload your resume onto VMOCK
2. Get instant feedback with customized suggestions for improvement
3. Make the changes to your original resume
4. Schedule an appointment to meet with the University Career Center's Peer Advisors or Career Coaches to talk about how you plan to use your resume, and how to connect with organizations of interest!

Targeted Resume is an on-line tool that helps you tailor your resume to the job you're applying for. Upload your resume and job posting, and in 10 seconds, this resume scanner will scan the job posting you're applying for and highlight keywords and skills your resume is missing.

You'll then be able to add these missing keywords into your resume and ensure your resume contains everything the employer is looking for. This increases the chance that your resume will pass the automated screening process (i.e. often known as the Applicant Tracking Systems, or ATS resume test).

Visit Targeted Resume 


HOW TO WRITE YOUR RESUME

A resume highlights your skills related to your career interests. It connects your story to your community and includes your academic achievements, volunteer experiences, extra-curricular activities, summer jobs and internships. Employers initially scan a resume for 30 to 60 seconds so you need to communicate your story clearly and concisely to land the interview.

Common Resume Sections

  • Name and Contact Information
    • List your name, current address, telephone and/or cell phone number and e-mail address.
    • Add your permanent address if it’s helpful information for the employer.
  • Objective or Summary 
    • An objective or summary statement is optional. If included it is a “thesis statement” focusing on skills related to a specific position. If it’s not on your resume include it in your cover letter.
  • Education
    • Highlight your college academic experiences.
    • List institutions you attended and location (city/state) in reverse chronological order.
    • Include degree you will receive; month/year of graduation.
    • Optional information includes: GPA (3.0 or above overall or in concentration); course highlights; awards/honors; study abroad; high school (if you are a 1st year student)
  • Experience
    • Describe work, internship, extracurricular, leadership, and/or volunteer experiences.
    • Include title, name of organization, locations (city/state) and dates.
    • Describe experiences highlighting skills used/gained and tangible accomplishments.
    • Use action verbs and phrases (rather than full sentences) to keep the language action oriented and focused on skills and accomplishments.
    • Use the “bullet plus” technique (below) to strengthen your descriptions. Include what you did plus how, why or the impact of your work.
  • Activities/Professional Affiliations/Interests
    • Optional sections that highlight your involvement outside the classroom.
    • These experiences may be described or simply listed.
    • Interests may be included if they are relevant to the position (e.g., hiking or travel for a sports equipment company) or are unique in nature.
  • Skills
    • Optional section that highlights skills not mentioned in other section(s) (e.g., foreign language ability and level of proficiency, computer skills).

WRITING BETTER BULLET POINTS

Ready to write a “bullet plus”?

The bullet plus is: WHAT you did plus

  • HOW you performed your duties or,
  • WHY the task was important or
  • The IMPACT of the task within the organization

Examples:

  • Basic bullet: Enhanced interpersonal skills
  • Bullet plus: Enhanced interpersonal skills by facilitating cross-cultural conversations with Malawian teens and community members. (how)
     
  • Basic bullet: Created real interest monitoring tool
  • Bullet plus: Created real interest monitoring tool to study the effect of rate changes on foreign exchange levels (why)
     
  • Basic bullet: Directed actors in productions 
  • Bullet plus: Directed 5-10 student actors and managed technical team in both short and full-length productions attracting audiences of 100+ (impact)

Want some help getting started?

  • List 3 skills you want to highlight (e.g., writing, leadership, attention to detail).
  • What are 2-3 experiences that demonstrate each skill (think broadly: classes, volunteer positions, internships, jobs)?
  • What did you do in each of the experiences? How did you use the skill?

SAMPLE RESUMES

Here are a few sample resumes from real UM students (names changed, of course!). Use these for inspiration, but remember, there isn't one preferred format!  The focus is on what you want the employer/graduate school to know about your skill

Examples for: 

1st years/Sophomores
•  Dan A. Hall  Download PDF          •  Lane Hall  Download PDF

Juniors/Seniors
•  Burton Tower  Download PDF        •  Mason Hall  Download PDF

Volunteer / Co-curricular experiences
•  Dan A. Hall  Download PDF          •  Dennis Hall  Download PDF

Internship experience
• 
 Lotta Skills  Download PDF          •  Dennis Hall  Download PDF

Study Abroad
•  Lotta Skills  Download PDF          •  Ima Wolverine  Download PDF

Coursework
•  Mason Hall  Download PDF          •  Dan A. Hall  Download PDF  

Honors / Awards
• Lane Hall  Download PDF              • Burton Tower  Download PDF 

Research
Theodore M. Card  Download PDF  

Masters Level
Vivian Perry  Download PDF                   


RESUME ACTION WORDS

Use the list below to help you get started thinking about action words to use on your resume.

Achieved

Adapted

Addressed

Administered

Advised

Analyzed

Arranged

Assembled

Assessed

Assisted

Attained

Audited

Budgeted

Calculated

Classified

Coached

Collected

Communicated

Compiled

Composed

Computed

Conducted

Consolidated

Constructed

Consulted

Coordinated

Counseled

Created

Critiqued

Defined

Designed

Detected

Determined

Devised

Diagnosed

Directed

Discovered

Displayed

Earned

Edited

Eliminated

Enforced

Established

Estimated

Evaluated

Examined

Expanded

Explained

Experimented

Financed

Formulated

Gathered

Generated

Grossed

Guided

Handled

Hypothesized

Identified

Illustrated

Implemented

Improved

Increased

Influenced

Initiated

Inspected

Installed

Instituted

Instructed

Interpreted

Interviewed

Invented

Investigated

Lectured

Managed

Marketed

Mediated

Modeled

Monitored

Motivated

Negotiated

Obtained

Operated

Ordered

Organized

Oversaw

Performed

Persuaded

Photographed

Planned

Prepared

Presented

Printed

Processed

Produced

Projected

Promoted

Proofread

Provided

Publicized

Purchased

Received

Recommended

Reconciled

Recorded

Recruited

Reduced

Referred

Refined

Rehabilitated

Repaired

Reported

Represented

Researched

Resolved

Responded

Restored

Retrieved

Reviewed

Scheduled

Selected

Solved

Sorted

Studied

Summarized

Supervised

Supplied

Surveyed

Tested

Trained

Transcribed

Translated

Traveled

Tutored

Upgraded

Utilized

Wrote


APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEMS (ATS)

98% of Fortune 500 companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to sort through the resumes that come through their online job application portals. ATS quickly sorts and prioritizes resumes via matching algorithms, so if you’re applying to a large organization you will want to make sure ATS software responds positively to your resume!

  • Tailor your resume with keywords
    • Review the job description and identify key words that are important in the job.  Look at your resume (past experience) and find ways to mirror some of the keywords from the job description. Your word choices should be specific and match the job posting. For example, don’t just list “Excel” if the job posting explicitly mentions “pivot tables”. 
    • Don’t fake it or misrepresent! Hiring managers will review your resume before offering you an interview, so make sure your resume is truthful and that you have given context to your word choices. Also, you will be elaborating on your resume in interviews, so accurate representation is important.
  • Your Best Approach: 
    • Upload a MS Word document (unless stated otherwise in the application). Word docs do better in the systems than PDFs 
    • Use standard sections. The ATS will look for basic contact information and then:  Education, Experience, Skills
    • Use this sequence: Organization name, then title of your role (note: if you worked for the same organization and had multiple roles list the organization each time you list a new title)
    • Include your (shortened) LinkedIn Profile link
    • Keep your resume in a reverse chronological format (present to past) in a single column 
    • Use bold, italics, underlines, and bullets
    • Consider including a Summary section below your contact information. The system will craft one for you if one isn’t included. By creating one yourself, you control the narrative 
    • Quantify! The system will look for numbers with a symbol ($4000 in revenue, improved efficiency by 10%, etc).
  • You’ll want to Avoid:
    • Multiple Columns
    • Headers and footers
    • Fancy Formatting: graphics, logos, tables, text boxes, lines, fancy fonts, lots of color 
    • Use of abbreviations (ex/ BS or BA) unless it’s used in the posting
      • If you do use abbreviations, punctuation matters: The system will read B.A. not BA 
      • The system will read Bachelor of Arts, English (notice the comma!) not Bachelor of Arts in English. (It tracks items separated by a comma as two important pieces of information to pull out!
  • Ready to Test Your Resume?
    • Run your resume through Targeted Resume, available through the University Career Center, to see how it stands up to an ATS 
    • Check out an example of a resume being read by an ATS in this Muse article