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Center For Academic Excellence

CAE | Résumés

The most important thing to know and remember about a résumé is that it is a piece of writing that illustrates your writing ability and rhetorical savvy. As such it must reflect your professionalism. The rules of good writing apply, and, of course, the first rule is to know your audience. You want the résumé to be written so that it meets the expectations of the reader; therefore, you may have to tailor each résumé for each position you apply for.

For most entry-level positions, education is the most important item and should be listed first. Other general headings may include experience, related work, community involvement, activities, and honors. The order again depends on your audience.

The following are some guidelines and suggestions for résumés:

  • Readability is a key factor, so use bolded items, headings, and much white space.
  • Many formats are acceptable, but your name, address, phone numbers, and email address are often centered at the top of the page.
  • Unless the dates are significant, put them at the end of the items.
  • Dates of graduation should be placed close to the right-hand margin, opposite the degree granted. Please note that the degree is listed first.
  • Do not include your job objective unless you are applying for a specific job advertised.
  • Do not list your references or even comment that references are available upon request unless they are available in one location such as the placement office of your school.
  • Use few prepositions, substituting commas where possible.
  • The guideline that limits résumés to one page is only for first-time employment.
  • Omit personal information such as family, race, gender, or hobbies.
  • Do not include information from high school.
  • Do not use colored or even tinted paper. There is no need to buy special résumé paper; the best choice is plain white, 25% cotton rag.

Developed by
Jennie Ariail, Ph.D. - Director
Tom Waldrep, Ph.D. - Director (retired)

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