How to Write Your First Résumé
Résumés generally follow either a skills-based or a reverse chronological format. The sections that are
often included are:
Education (intended major and minor (if any), estimated graduation date, college gpa)
Technical Skills (Programming languages and computer-related skills)
Projects (both in and out of class) - If you have one or two that you are proud of make sure
that you include them – even if they were little games or chat programs that you made up in your
free time. Most importantly, you need to be excited about them, so you can talk about them in a
positive way. If you worked on it in a group, you can talk about how you contributed something
unique to it, or had a job or role on the team. Whatever it is, include a brief description of the
project and what you did. Employers always want to hear about projects because they show how
you apply the knowledge you learn in class.
Work Experience (two basic layouts either skills-based or reverse chronological format, but
make sure to keep the focus on technical or computing related jobs if possible)
Activities/Community Service (any on-campus clubs - if you have none right now, consider
joining ACM, ACM-W or IEEE, any events that you have helped with, are you a CSE mentor?,
Optional sections consider:
An Objective - If you use one, it should be a really strong hook, so that the reviewer wants to
keep on reading. Make sure that your objective actually fits to the company/companies where
you apply, otherwise the objective can tell them that they don’t fit what you want in an employer.
Honors or Awards - Could be a scholarship, an award from a club, an academic recognition of
Publications, Presentations, Research
If you are applying for a specific job, you need to tailor your résumé to meet the requirements of the
position. So, take a look at the job description of the position you want. It contains valuable information
for you to use in creating your résumé, including the skills and experiences necessary to be a successful
candidate. You want to show how you fulfill the requirements.
If you are trying to write an initial résumé without a specific job in mind, think about the type of job you
want and what will be important skills or experiences you need to include.
A couple other hints to keep in mind:
Don’t put your contact information in the header or footer. Sometimes big companies have
résumés scanned or directly input to databases that don’t pick up text that is not in the main body
of the document.
You want to present yourself in the best way possible, so have someone else review your résumé
to look for spelling and grammatical errors. Mistakes do not make a good impression.
If you feel like you don’t have enough experience and want to augment it, check out Husky Jobs
on the Center for Career Services website or the CSE jobs newsgroups – lots of opportunities
exist for you to gain some marketable skills to find info about open positions.
Make sure to use action words to start your sentences (see Power Words sheet)
Want to look at some sample resumes?
Check out the UW Career Center’s Gold Guide at http://depts.washington.edu/careers/students/ (look
under the section that is called “Resume Resources.”
UW – Computer Science and Engineering – Fall 2007