Resume Template Format Guidelines

It takes less than one minute for a potential employer to scan your resume. In those few seconds your resume must make an impact. To be successful your resume should reflect careful thought about who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, what motivates you, and your personal preferences. Thinking about these factors prior to writing your resume will enable you to communicate your objectives clearly to an employer. One good page with quality and precision will impress the reader without wasting their time on unnecessary detail. Example statements on this page will be in red.

Target Audience

Most students are writer-focused, not reader-focused. When recruiters review resumes, they are looking to answer one basic question, "What can this person do for me and my organization?" Everything on your resume should be focused on answering your audience's questions. By knowing your audience and targeting your resume to that audience, you will significantly increase your likelihood of securing interviews.

Resume Sections and Content
Contact Information

Make it easy for employers to reach you. Provide your name, current address, telephone number and email address at the top of your resume.

Present graduate and undergraduate education in reverse chronological order. Include all degrees as well as the names, locations and dates when you received them. You may want to include academic honors, your concentration, elective courses, thesis work, and/or scholarships in this section.


List your present and past jobs in reverse chronological order. For each position held, list the employer, location (city and state only), title and dates (years are usually sufficient). If the employer is unknown, provide a one-line description of the firm's business, size and customers ("a $130 million manufacturer of electronic control systems for the oil and gas industries").

Next, outline the major tasks and accomplishments of each position you held. Summarize what you achieved in each position that contributed toward the organization's goals. Show how the equipment you designed led to successful new products, how the information system you developed led to new customers or how the economic analysis you performed identified cost savings for your client. Accomplishment statements should be brief and precisely stated. Begin each statement with an action verb.

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements. In this age of performance minded managers, most are more interested in the outcome of your work than what you actually did. To frame your accomplishments, first think of the problem you faced. Then write down the action you took. Most importantly, finish the bullet with a quantifiable account (if possible) of the result. Did you design or implement a new way of doing something? Did you meet or surpass a sales quota? If you can document accomplishments and successes of formal recognition, do so:

Recipient of "Salesperson of the Year" award
Developed training manual now used company-wide
Won first place in new vehicle design competition

Think in terms of: Improved quality, Increased sales, Reduced costs, Increased profits, "Achieved a technological process to improve, reduce or change decreased turnover, rejections, failures, breakdown, shrinkage, overtime. etc."

Note: Military experience needs to be translated into business terminology so that readers will grasp the scope of your accomplishments. You may want to stress budgeting responsibilities; training; development and supervision of staff; management of complex projects and other demonstrations of leadership, administration and problem solving.


Analyzed statistical reports to pinpoint overrun errors, saving $500,000 annually in raw materials.

Studied 30 bids and contracts from outside service companies totaling more than $30 million annually.

Developed a Customer tracking system for Personal Markets division that contributed to a customer retention increase from 45% to 75%.

Trained new employees in customer service, secretarial and telephone procedures, which resulted in a 30 percent reduction in complaints.
Additional sections
Professional Affiliations
Language Competencies
Community Activities
Special Interests

What Not To Include

No abbreviations, acronyms, or company specific terminology.

No personal pronouns (I, me, my)

No salary history or requirements

No references

No information that is not relevant to your professional competencies, which could be used to discriminate against you, including: sex, age, race, ethnic background, marital status or health status.

Avoid phrases like "Responsibilities included" or "Duties included" - start phrase with an action verb instead.

Candidate Attributes Employers Value

Employers evaluate you against many criteria when making hiring decisions. The following is a list (compiled by the Sloan School of Management) of qualifications companies typically seek in top candidates.

What key attributes do you offer as a candidate?

What evidence can you provide to show you possess these particular strengths?


communication skills (verbal and written)

interpersonal skills

ability to work well with others

problem-solving/conceptual/analytical skills


ability to sell/influence others

team orientation

creativity, focus and defined career goals

functional and/or industry experience relevant to hiring needs

raw intelligence

academic and professional achievement to date

integrity/honesty/high ethical standards



personal and professional confidence


common sense

sense of humor