Robert R. McComsey Career Development Center
Alfred, NY 14802
www.alfred.edu/cdc - firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: 8:30-4:30 Monday-Friday
Walk-in hours: 1:00-4:30 Tues., Wed., and Thurs.
The ideal resume is a concise, well-organized, aesthetically pleasing document that
describes your background as it relates to your current career objective. It is NOT meant to
be a complete autobiography that includes both positive and negative experiences. Instead,
a resume highlights your assets and omits your weaknesses. This guide will give you some
general suggestions, but you should talk with a counselor in the Career Development Center
about your particular needs, or use our resume critiquing drop-off service.
Organizing your resume
The most common resume style for students is the chronological resume: Information is
presented with the most recent education and jobs listed first. This type is usually
recommended for a first resume and employers overwhelmingly prefer this style.
Information is arranged in order of chronology, most recent first. Advanced candidates will
use a functional resume, which combines chronological with a more skills-based resume. If
you have several years of professional experience, please use these guidelines as a starting
point, but you may also want to ask a CDC staff member for assistance in customizing your
Major categories of information to include on your resume
Name and Address
Your name should be at the top of your resume, and should stand out in some way. Use
your full name.
Full address, including zip code. Include two addresses if applicable, college and
Include your phone number, with an area code. If you have a cell phone, you may want
to list that as well. Either way, it is essential you indicate a place where you can receive
a message. Make sure your voice mail has a professional-sounding message.
Include your e-mail address in this section, along with the URL of your homepage, if you
have one. Make sure your webpage and email addresses are professional. The best bet
is something like email@example.com.
Career or Job Objective
Explain in one sentence the type of position you are looking for OR the types of skills you
wish to contribute.
Be specific. Do not use statements such as “a position that utilizes my skills and
experience,” or “challenging work in my field of study.”
If you are interested in applying for more than one type of position, prepare more than
one resume, each with a different objective. Do not combine objectives onto one resume
to save paper or time.
If you are applying for a job you feel well qualified for, consider putting in a “Summary
of Qualifications” rather than an objective. See the “Nancy Smith” resume for an
Colleges/Universities attended should be listed in reverse chronological order, most
recent first. Each entry should include the formal college name, the dates attended, the
degree obtained (“Bachelor of Arts” or “BA”), and your course of study.
For the degree you are currently working on, list it as you would above but use the
phrase “Candidate for Bachelor of Arts, May 2004” or “Bachelor of Arts candidate, May
Include your thesis title
Include your GPA if 3.0 or above (although some recruiters would like it included
regardless of your GPA, especially in business and engineering). You can choose to use
your overall GPA or your GPA in your major. If you do it the latter way, you need to
write “Major GPA 3.3.”
If you do not have any experience in the field, and are applying for your first
professional job, you may want to list relevant courses in this section as a subheading.
If you have studied abroad, list it in this section as a separate educational institution.
If you are a freshman or sophomore, it is acceptable to list high school under education.
Juniors and above, leave it out.
If you have a double major, list it as “Bachelor of Arts – Double Major in English and
History,” or “BA, Ceramic and Mechanical Engineering (double major).”
You may want to include full-time, part-time, summer, and volunteer work, student
teaching, internships, and co-op in this category, or make separate categories for some
If your internship was paid, list “Paid Internship” rather than just “Internship.”
Emphasize only those experiences that best relate to your career objective. You do not
have to include every experience!
Job descriptions should include specific duties, accomplishments, and achievements,
verified with numbers, percentages, statistics, etc.
Consider including work-study experience, especially if it is related to your field, or if
through the job you are earning a significant part of your college expenses.
You may want to include a section highlighting your skills in selected areas, such as
Technical Skills, Computer Skills, Language Skills, etc. Be as specific as possible and use
“keywords” - acronyms, lingo, etc. - that are common in your field.
Many resume software programs used by employers target skill sets on resumes as the
most crucial component. If you skimp on technical keywords your resume may not
match the words being searched for.
List only those that best relate to your career objective. If you have done a lot with an
organization that is very relevant to your career goal, use a few bullets under the name
of the organization to emphasize what you did.
Acknowledge leadership positions (President, Captain, etc.). Some employers prefer to
see only activities in which you have held leadership positions.
If an award or scholarship is not self-explanatory, include a one-line description. “John
Smith Award recipient - highest design project grade of senior class.”
You might want to separate honors and activities if there are several.
Consider the way in which you list organizations that might be considered controversial
(e.g. political or activist groups). Depending on the impression you would like to give the
employer, you may choose to emphasize them or leave them off of your list.
If you have enough other information on your resume, leave this section out. If you need a
couple of lines, you can add this section, but exercise consideration when determining which
of your interests to include. Not every employer will be impressed with “Lifetime
membership in the National Rifle Association.” The safest bet is to include interests related
to career interest, or non-controversial interests.
Other possible categories might include: Certifications, Licenses, Professional
Affiliations, Presentations, Community Involvement, Volunteer Experience, Special
Projects, Professional Development, etc.
Checklist: Use this when you think your resume is perfect
__Clean and easy to read
__Font style and size is appropriate (no smaller than 10 pt. font)
__High quality resume paper and printer used
__Conservative with the use of formatting that may not translate well on a screen such as
different fonts, bolding, italicizing, underlining, tables, templates, headers and footers, etc.
__Margins are clean and consistent
__The most relevant categories and entries are listed first
__The resume is an appropriate length (one page for bachelor’s degree or first professional
position, two if you have 6-10 years experience, more for an academic or PhD-level job
__My name is listed in a font as large as, or larger than, the rest of the resume text
__Tense is consistent (past tense for older jobs, present tense for current jobs)
__Active voice (e.g. “Supervised ten people” rather than “Ten people were supervised”)
__I have personally spell-checked this and had two others also spell-check it, not including
__There are absolutely no grammatical errors
__I have not used the first person (no “I”s)
Descriptions & Content
__Contact information is complete, including email
__Objective is targeted to the specific job or company, not vague
__The first word of each bullet point is a specific action verb
__ I have quantified information (number of people supervised or trained, amount of budget
managed, percentage increase in sales, etc.) as much as possible
__Customized to a specific position or company, including relevant keywords, acronyms and
__Focused on accomplishments rather than duties (e.g. what did I accomplish that
__I have emailed the resume to myself and to someone else to be sure it looks the way it’s
__I can positively explain everything on my resume; there are absolutely no lies or
__My resume is saved electronically in a way that a busy recruiter can find easily (e.g. john
__I have had at least two people review this including a staff member at the CDC and the
__My resume supports my objective and is employer-focused, not self-centered
Sending Resumes Electronically
Many employers want resumes to be sent via email or submitted as part of an online
application. If the instructions say to email a resume, you can send it as an attachment.
Include a shortened cover letter in the body of your email that includes a sentence like “My
resume is enclosed in Word format. Please contact me if you have difficulty opening it.”
Some employers will specify that your resume should be sent in TEXT format, or sent in the
body of your email. In those cases, the employer is not at all concerned with format. Be
sure to take all the formatting and unusual spacing off your resume before sending it.
Always email a resume to yourself first to check for spelling and formatting before you try to
send it to a prospective employer. You are also welcome to email it to CDC@alfred.edu and
we will review it for you.
Related Services from the CDC
Saxon JobLink on the CDC website will allow you to post several versions of your resume
for employers to view.
24-hour resume critiquing service (also for cover letters, thank you letters, or any other
job search document). Drop it off in person or send your file to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Resume and cover letter guides in our career library.
Make an appointment for individual assistance with resume/cover letter development by
Please ask at the CDC, or check our website, for the following specific resume samples:
Accounting General entry-level
Art and Design – several types MBA
Business MBA with engineering undergrad
Communications/Public Relations School Psychology
Computer Science Sciences
McComsey Career Development Center
Saxon Drive, Alfred NY 14802 (t) 607-871-2164 (f) 607-871-2791 (e) email@example.com