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Academic Resource Center: Résumé Basics

Content and Formatting

The first step is to make a list of:

  • Every position of responsibility (job) you have ever had, on or off-campus, paid or unpaid
  • What you learned from each one in 5 words or less - think specifically 
  • What you did well to fulfill the responsibilities of the position

Key elements of a basic resume:

  • Your contact information (top of the page, centered)
  • Optional: objective *or* key skills
  • Experience (paid or unpaid work, campus activities, etc.)
  • Education (in reverse chronological order)
  • References with contact information

Remember:

  • You are writing for a very specific audience.
  • Be succinct.
  • Proofread, proofread, then have someone else proofread. There can be no errors on the page.
  • Everything on one page!
  • Save as a PDF to avoid formatting issues for your reader.

Writing Tips

Formatting and writing tips:

  • Use action words and consistent tense.
  • Do not exaggerate; plain, clear language about your skills and experience is more trustworthy.
  • Use consistent font, headings, and text sizes. Use bold or italics for emphasis but don’t overdo it.
  • Strive for readability, not length.
  • Use technical language appropriate to the field you’re interested in.
  • Be clear about your objective if you have one, but keep it short.
  • See Further Resources below for links to classic formats and stick to them. 

Further Resources

LinkedIn

  • Start a LinkedIn profile now to connect with your Kent friends and classmates and other contacts.
  • Use a  fairly serious, but friendly looking profile picture.
  • Follow hashtags related to your field(s) of interest and skills.
  • Update whenever you have new job or education-related information.

Helpful books in the collection