Resume Formatting

While every resume is different, there are certain components of a resume that are standard. The following sections are most common:

HEADER/IDENTIFICATION

The first items on a resume are your name, phone number, address, and a profession email address. Make your name bold and slightly larger font than the rest of the resume. You want your name to stand out so any employer who reads it will remember you.

*PROFESSIONAL OBJECTIVES

This section used to be common and universally accepted as a section of resumes. The current trend in resume formatting is not to have a Professional Objective section because your cover letter should address this in information in greater detail.

EDUCATION

Your education section is typically the second heading of your resume. Always list your most recent education first. Include your university, your school (e.g. The Graduate School of Education and Human Development), concentration and graduation year.
You can include your GPA. For current students and recent graduates, this section comes after your header. After a few years in a particular career field, your education section may move to a lower part of your resume (note this is not the case for a CV) because you will have more relevant work experiences in that particular field to put first on your resume to demonstrate your expertise.

EXPERIENCE

You will find chronological and combination formats summarized below, as these are the most commonly used formats and preferred by most job applicants and employers. Keep in mind, relevant experience can include jobs, internships, research projects, volunteer experiences and coursework. As you begin to have more experience to put on your resume consider using more advanced and specific headers such as Research Experience, Teaching Experience, Data Analysis Experience, etc. instead of just an Experience section. As you move forward in your career, the tendency is to move away from a standard chronological format and to more frequently use a combination formatted resume.

The chronological resume format is most commonly used by college students. This format lists your experiences in reverse chronological order. As a graduate student a combination resume is recommended, however employers are familiar with both chronological and combination resume formats. When should I use chronological or functional formatting?

COMBINATION RESUME FORMATTING
The combination resume format (so called because it combines chronological and functional formats) allows you to highlight your experience in specific fields. Work experiences are listed reverse chronologically (most recent first) under functional categories (e.g., Teaching Experience, Research Experience, Curriculum Development Experience, etc.).

  • Create categories based on skills that are most important to the job field and specific job descriptions (e.g. financial, education, research, technology, etc.)
  • List work experiences under each category starting with your most recent position.
  • On the next line write the title of your position.
  • Include three or four sentences describing your position. Think about what you contributed in your job or organization and how your role was significant. The use of bullets makes the resume easy to read. Refer to our list of action verbs for help with selecting specific verbs.
  • CHRONOLOGICAL RESUME FORMATTING

  • List experiences, starting with your most recent position.
  • On the first line write the name of the company, location and the dates you worked.
  • On the next line write the title of your position.
  • Include three or four sentences describing your position. Think about what you contributed in your job or organization and how your role was significant. The use of bullets makes the resume easy to read. Refer to our list of action verbs for help with selecting specific verbs.
  • ACTION VERBS
    Use action verbs to help you write impact statements that make an impression. An impact statement is a bullet on your resume that reflects what measurable impact you have on each task and the result of that action. You may hear these impact statements referred to as SAR (Situation, Action, Result) statements.
     

    Weak Statement: Taught mathematics to 6th grade students
    IMPACT STATEMENT: Increased 6th grade student achievements in mathematics by an average of 13 points from Quarter 1 to Quarter 2 according to IReady diagnostic data

    Helpful Hints:

  • Utilize a variety of verbs to keep the reader interested
  • Describe accomplishments, not just job duties
  • Remember to use the appropriate tense for past and present experiences
  • Use key words directly from position description
  • ACTIVITIES

    This is the place to list your extracurricular activities such as on-campus involvement, or volunteer experience. You may provide a brief description of accomplishments and responsibilities for each if you wish, particularly if your work is relevant to the job at hand.

    PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS

    Be sure list any professional organizations or associations you are a member of that are related to the position you're applying for.

    SKILLS & CERTIFICATIONS

    Important skills to include are:

  • Languages. Be sure not to overstate (basic, intermediate, advanced or fluent)
  • Technical skills. List specific and relevant software with which you are familiar (such as HTML coding, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, or SPSS.)
  • Social media skills, if applicable to the position (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Squarespace, WordPress, Pinterest)
  • Any specific training or certification programs you have completed that would be relevant to the job such as CPR or licensure information
  • You may list these under two separate subtitles (“Extracurricular Activities” and “Skills”) or one (“Skills & Activities”) if you need to conserve space.