Getting Started with Your Resume
Building Your Resume
Your resume is a marketing tool that showcases your top skills, highlights your relevant experience, and tells a story of your accomplishments.
An effective resume enables you to stand out and be competitive so you can get an interview. Do this by clearly:
- Showing your skills, responsibilities, and accomplishments.
- Articulating what you will bring to a potential position.
A strong resume details your skills and experience, but also what you have achieved through your experience. This is one way to stand out from other applicants and why focusing on your achievements and contributions when writing your resume is so important!
No matter what format you use for your resume, every resume includes the same basic information.
- Your name, phone number, email address and website (if relevant)
- Optional: Summary or Summary of Qualifications
- Start with your most recent experience
- Include position title, employer name, city, state and dates by month and year
- Bullets that describe your responsibilities, skills, knowledge and accomplishments (see Formatting Bullet Points further down the page)
- Include formal name, city and state of colleges where you earned or will earn your degree
- If you're currently in school, you can include projects, classes, honors, and scholarships, as appropriate
Additional categories can include:
- Research Experience
- Community Service & Leadership
- Skills, Licenses & Certifications
- Publications & Presentations
Choose Your Resume Format
Different industries have different requirements, so it’s important to create a resume geared toward that industry. Select a format that works for you, your career interests, and what makes sense given your industry. Consider the roles you will be applying for and select a format that will best highlight your strengths.View Sample Resumes
As you begin to create your resume, write down all the experiences you have had.
- On-Campus Involvement & Leadership Experience
- Work Experience & Part Time Roles
- Relevant Coursework and Projects
- Study Abroad Experience
- Involvement in Sports
- Community Service
- Research, Presentations, or Publications
Next, reflect on the experiences you wrote down.
- What skills did you utilize?
- What did you learn?
- What did you get better at?
- How did the work you did make a difference?
- What skills have you developed through your education that you applied?
Creating A Relevant Resume
Strategies to Track Your Accomplishments
Recognize that your resume is a living document, so you should strategize now about how best to track your future accomplishments and experiences. Watch this video for six proven strategies to track your accomplishments and experiences.
For more resume resources, review the Wildcat Career Guide.
Six Easy Methods of Tracking Your Accomplishments
Formulating Bullet Points: The APR Method
Writing about your skills and accomplishments in compelling and impactful ways often takes practice and a lot of revisions.
Effective resumes use accomplishment-driven bullet points, known as accomplishment statements. When writing accomplishment statements, it is important to both explain what the task required and to highlight your successes. Utilize past experiences to inform future employers on the value you could bring to the organization.
First, think of a project or a problem you have solved during an experience then write your accomplishments using the APR approach:
Action + Problem/Project + Result
Step 1: Choose an action verb that best describes your approach. Use present tense when describing current experiences and past tense for previous experiences. Need help finding the right verb?
Step 2: Clearly and concisely state the problem or project.
Step 3: Describe the results achieved, quantifying results (using numbers) when possible.
Need some action verbs? Check out this list from the Muse.
Action + Problem/Project + Result
Rectified + invalid data set from system + allowing results to be accurate and valid for the presentation
Action + Problem/Project + Result
Implemented + two fundraising events for Campus Food Pantry + raising more than $2,000 and significantly improving campus awareness of food insecurity
Types of Skills
Technical skills, also known as hard skills, are abilities and knowledge required to perform specific tasks. They are practical, measurable, provable, and experience-based.
Examples of technical skills: Microsoft Office tools, Adobe Creative Suite, Point of Sale (POS) systems, languages, software, hardware, operating systems, data processing, use of laboratory equipment, mathematical problems and formulas, program languages.
Example Accomplishment Statements with Technical Skills:
- Utilized Microsoft Excel to manage and organize 10,000 item inventory list.
- Built a mobile exhibit to help children learn how to make vowel sounds while practicing scientific processes, such as gathering information to make hypotheses about the sounds.
- Created branded marketing materials using Adobe Creative Suite.
- Use drone videography, GPS technology and 360-degree virtual reality to compare security in U.S. border regions along Mexico and Canada.
Transferable skills are abilities and attributes that are objective. Transferable skills are skills acquired in one situation that can be applied (or transferred) to a different opportunity. Typically, transferable skills are relevant across different industries and can be referred to as “soft skills.”
Examples of transferable skills: collaboration/teamwork, communication, problem solving/critical thinking, project management, leadership
Example Accomplishment Statements with Transferable Skills:
- Led a team of five new employees through customer service training exercises.
- Analyzed business communication plan of 200 clients to improve accuracy and efficiency.
- Enhanced presentation skills during Public Speaking 101 course by communicating in an articulate and positive manner in front of 300 people.
- Reflected on global issues and the worldwide impact of individual and systemic actions while respecting diverse viewpoints during study abroad.
Related Events & Programs
Career Exploration and Preparation
LifeLab is designed to support any student — from first-year undergraduates to graduate students — to identify values, skills, receive feedback and suggestions to improve your resume, or begin the search process for internships, grad school, or full-time jobs.
Career Peer Coaches
Get help with resumes and more!
Peer Coaches meet with students across all majors so they’re better prepared for their job search. Appointments are virtual via Zoom, email, or phone.