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There is no overall consensus as to what constitutes a good resume. However, there is consensus on the fact that employers will spend less than 30 seconds scanning your resume to determine if it is worth further consideration.

Therefore, to assure that your resume gets a second look, it must be organized and attractive. Your resume must quickly identify for the employer:

  • Who you are
  • What you know
  • What your strengths are
  • What you have accomplished
  • What you would like to do
  • What you can offer the employer

Remember, there is no exact, right way to develop a resume, but it should be designed so that it emphasizes those job qualifications and personal strengths that will serve the employer’s needs. Always write with the potential employer in mind.

Samples of resumes are located below. Additional samples can be found in Career Services. Please refer to them and use them as guidelines; but remember, your resume should be a reflection of YOU!

Students – samples for a variety of majors and career fields

Education Majors

Other Resume Samples – mid-career, making a career change, executives

  • Keep your resume visually simple. Use simple fonts like Courier at 10 or 12 points. Avoid scanner-unfriendly features such as bold, italic or underlined letters, shaded or boxed text, multiple columns, or paper that is anything except a high-contrast (preferably white) shade.
  • List your name at the top of the page, use standard address formats and list permanent and present phone numbers on separate lines.
  • Use keywords – the nouns and phrases employers rely on to specify the type of education, experience, skills and knowledge they are looking for in candidates. Learn what this language is by reviewing help-wanted ads, talking to people you know in the field and asking them for their job descriptions.
  • Use abbreviations sparingly.
  • Use more than one page if necessary.

There are three kinds of resumes: the chronological, the functional, and the combination. Regardless of which style you choose, preparing your resume will take some time and effort. Be sure to select the style that will highlight your best qualities and yet remain visually appealing to the reader.

  1. Chronological: This is the traditional method, which presents your education and employment history in reverse chronological order. The chronological approach is the most common and straightforward. It works well if most of your past experience directly relates to the position you are seeking.
  2. Functional: This style highlights your major skills and competencies as represented by your education, employment, and activities while de-emphasizing the specific positions you have held. It works well if you lack experience directly related to the job position you are seeking yet have the related transferable skills necessary for the job.
  3. Combination: This combines the best elements of both the chronological and functional formats. It stresses your skills and abilities while including a chronological listing of your experiences.

The information included on your resume and the sequence of your headings is optional and will depend largely upon the qualifications you wish to feature. The key idea to remember is to lead with your strengths. Following is a list of headings and information usually included on a resume.

  1. Personal Information: Give your full name (use of middle initial is acceptable), complete mailing address, telephone number, e-mail address, and web-site address if you have one. Make your name stand out more by increasing the type size. Place your name and the page number at the top of any additional resume pages. It is advised to give both a Present Address (campus address) and Permanent Address (usually your parents’). E-mail and web-site addresses need to be professional in nature.
  2. Career Objective: An objective gives the employer a brief glimpse on how your qualifications will benefit the company. Experts in the field of personnel and employment differ on whether or not a job objective is necessary. Some feel it is absolutely imperative to include one while others do not. If you use one, state the type of position you seek and how you will benefit the company in a very concise manner. Avoid listing demands you want in a position such as "a challenging and rewarding position," or "a position where I can gain experience."
  3. Profile: A profile is a list, in ten lines or fewer, of the skills and abilities you have mastered that would be useful for the job you are seeking. If an employer is specifically looking for certain skills, this can be a very effective way to illustrate that you have them. This may be titled "Profile," "Qualifications," "Strengths," "Areas of Knowledge & Ability," "Expertise," or something similar. This section can be eliminated, used in addition to the career objective, or used in place of the career objective.
  4. Education: This section is important for new graduates. It is customary to list the schools you have attended in reverse chronological order. Include: a) the name and location - city, state - of the institution; b) degree or diploma conferred; c) date of commencement or attendance; and d) major and minor field(s) of study. It is recommended to include your Grade Point Average (GPA) if it is above a 3.0. If you do include your GPA, indicate the point scale (3.5/4.0). You can also include your major GPA. Educational honors, such as the Dean’s List or scholarships, may be included here or under a separate heading. High school is generally dropped by your junior or senior year. However, you may want to include it if the school is prestigious or you are looking for a position in the same geographical area. If you studied abroad, this is one area it could be listed. This section should be moved down lower on your resume after you have a few years of experience.
  5. Courses: Sometimes it may be beneficial to include courses you have taken, especially if you do not have a lot of experience. Unusual courses, or those which are not part of your major field, may also be of interest to a potential employer. You should list courses that set you apart from the crowd, not make you seem like every other graduate.
  6. Experience: List in reverse chronological order the name and location of each organization for which you have worked, your position or title, dates of employment, and a brief description of your responsibilities and accomplishments. You may also include experiences such as internships, student teaching, volunteer experiences, extracurricular activities, field experiences, etc., or you may choose to highlight these specialized experiences more dramatically by making each a separate heading. When describing your responsibilities, use an action verb to start each statement (a list of action verbs can be found in the following pages). Omit personal pronouns such as I or my. Quantify your statements as much as possible, such as "Handled money in excess of $5,000 per day." Describe the duties most relevant to the positions to which you are applying first.
  7. Honors and Activities: Include professional and/or honorary societies, specifying offices held and/or committee assignments; student organizations of which you are a member with offices/committees listed; scholastic and/or athletic honors; and special projects in which you were involved.
  8. Interests: This heading is not used very often. It is a brief statement or listing of special hobbies, and/or related interests. Use this if you have a special interest that may relate to the position you are applying for or to  intrigue the employer to want to interview you.
  9. References: This heading is not necessary. If used, you may simply state "Available upon request." It is better not to list your references here. 

Resumes should be one to two pages in length. A well-spaced resume with relevant information on two pages is better than a one-page crammed resume or a one-page resume with a font that is too small to read.

  • Design your resume for eye appeal - make it inviting to read. Use an open layout, good white space, bolding, and bulleting and vertical listings for emphasis.
  • Use one font throughout. Times New Roman, Courier, or Arial are three preferred fonts. Type size should be 10-14 pt, with 12 being the preferred size.
  • Pay careful attention to spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Have someone proofread your resume.
  • Be consistent. Use the same format throughout your resume.
  • Print on high quality bond paper (24-pound, 25% cotton). White, off-white, ivory or light gray are the best colors.
  • Avoid resume templates as the format is limiting.
  • Do not fold or staple your resume.   

Whether you are sending your resume to a database or applying to one of the thousands of companies that scan resumes electronically before any human sees it, you should be aware of some simple guidelines to use when preparing your resume to enhance its scannability.

Many employers now want you to send your resume by email. If you send your resume as an attachment in Word or PDF, it should retain its format. Your cover letter can be sent either in the body of the email or as an attachment. If you send it as an attachment, use the email to introduce yourself briefly and say why you are writing. Be specific in the title of the position you are applying for.