How should I format and write my resume?
Creating a great resume can be daunting. We have developed a one-page template, download here, for you to develop a resume that will help you showcase your experience, skills, and potential.
Once you have written your resume, run through this checklist:
- Is it easy to read?
- Font: Times New Roman, Arial, or other simple font
- Size: 11 or 12 point font (no smaller than 10)
- Margins: .5-1" margins on each (no smaller than 0.5")
- Does it tell a clear story and showcase your strengths?
- Reverse Order: experiences listed in reverse chronological order (most recent position first)
- Highlight Growth: list multiple positions for the same employer as individuals entries to highlight your progression
- Focus on Achievements, not Descriptions: write concisely and focus on problems you solved, actions you took, and results that followed. Do not describe overall duties. Consider using the framework: Action verb + Project (what you did) + Result (what you accomplished)
- One page per 10 years of work experience: for most people, a good rule of thumb is one page per decade of work experience
- Do you stand out?
- Make it personal: include a small Personal or Additional Information at the end. Include language abilities, citizenship, service activities, society memberships, or current hobbies. If including interests, be as specific as possible (e.g. “avid Caribbean scuba diver” or “die hard Philly Eagles fan”). Do not repeat information from other sections.
- Be Action-Oriented: start each bullet with an action verb and lead with the most important point
- Emphasize outcomes: state the outcomes of your work and quantify them where possible
- Is it error-free and consistent?
- Format: Companies/Universities, Job Titles, Dates should all be formatted the same way. We recommend bolding Companies/Universities, using Italics for Titles, and utilizing MMM YYYY–MMM YYYY (e.g. Jun 2015–Jul 2016) for Dates
- Alignment: spacing between experiences and at the end of bullets should be consistent
- Things to Avoid: avoid jargon, personal pronouns, objectives or personal statements, photos, and listing "references upon request" - they just take up space
- Have you proofread it? It also helps to have a friend or two proofread it for you
- Uploaded as a PDF? Formatting in word is variable, always save your resume as a PDF
Note: this template is a general guide that works across many industries and job functions. However, we know that it may not be appropriate for all fields (e.g. design, where the layout also serves as an example of abilities in the field) or experience levels.