Resume Guide

The purpose of a resume is to gain an interview.  It is your advertising and promotional material.  Focus on highlighting the strongest parts of your background through the resume.  Market your skills, background, experiences, and education.


In most cases your resume, accompanied by a cover or prospecting letter, will be your introduction to an employer. Your introduction should reflect you in the best possible light.


You will need to do a self-analysis of your skills, goals, interests, strengths, weaknesses, experiences, activities, and geographical preferences before you start your resume. It will help you with the clarity and focus of your document.


Resume Samples

Ima Cyclone

John Business

Jane State

Jane A. Cyclone


Resume Evaluation Guide


Identifying Information

This section allows the employer to contact you for an interview. Your full name should be listed at the top of the resume. Your present and permanent addresses should be in a prominent position at the top of your resume. The permanent address is important as a talking point with an employer.  Someone at your permanent address should always know how the employer can contact you.  Make it easy for the prospective employer to contact you.  See Resume Samples for an example.


Career Objective

The objective expresses your employment goal in one or two succinct phrases. It should answer the question, “What do I want to do?” Omit pronouns such as “I” or “me”.

Too General

To obtain a position in management for a large financial institution.



To obtain a finance-related position in a commercial bank or trust company.


Too Diverse

To obtain an internship in marketing or human resources.



To obtain a position in auditing with a public accounting firm.


Other Examples

  • To obtain a position in a management training program with special interest in human resources administration and management.
  • To obtain a programmer analyst position, having responsibilities for program design, coding, testing and documentation.
  • To obtain a position in insurance underwriting requiring strong analytical skills, proven ability to learn quickly and apply knowledge effectively.
  • To obtain a position in production management within a private or corporate manufacturing firm.



  • List colleges from which you have received degrees.  List in reverse chronological order.
  • You may list coursework only if necessary to fill your resume.  Use course titles, not course numbers.
  • List other educational experiences such as:  special workshops, certificates, etc.
  • Do not list your high school education.
  • Include your grade point average in this section either by major or just your overall.  Include the  grading scale with the same # number of decimal points.  i.e. 3.0/4.0 or 3.54/4.00.
  • Abbreviating your degree is acceptable as long as the abbreviation is the universal standard for that degree (B.A., B.S., M.S., Ph.D., etc.).
  • If you are sending out your resume before your actual date of graduation, there is no need to say “expected date of graduation”. Simply list the date next to your degree.



Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Bachelor of Science, May 20__

Major: Finance, Minor: Statistics

GPA: 3.50/4.00


Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Bachelor of Science,  December 20__

Major:  Supply Chain Management

Major GPA: 3.4/4.0, Cumulative GPA:  3.0/4.0



Employers weigh a number of factors when screening resumes, but two of the more important items are your academic credentials and work experience. For this reason, you should put the Experience section of your resume immediately after the Education section.


Full-time employment, internships/co-ops, work-study, summer positions and part-time jobs can provide experience for inclusion in your resume. Volunteer positions and leadership roles are also good choices for this section. If you have career-related experience (it can be paid or volunteer) you should excerpt these experiences out of historical context and put them under the heading of Career Related Experience.


Begin with your job title and dates on the first line. On the next line, list the place of employment and city/state it is located in. If your place of employment is more impressive than your job title, list it first. Choose one format and keep it consistent throughout the Experience section.


Use concise phrases headed with action verbs to describe your job duties and the skills you developed or refined. Quantify your accomplishments and responsibilities if possible. Pay particular attention to the number of people you supervised, the number of dollars you handled and the increases in productivity which resulted from your efforts.


Use the appropriate tense for current employment and past tense for previous employment.

Possible Action Verbs to Use
  • adapted
  • addressed
  • administered
  • advised
  • analyzed
  • arranged
  • assembled
  • assessed
  • assisted
  • attained
  • audited
  • budgeted
  • calculated
  • classified
  • coached
  • collected
  • communicated
  • compiled
  • composed
  • computed
  • conducted
  • consolidated
  • constructed
  • consulted
  • coordinated
  • counseled
  • created
  • defined
  • delivered
  • designed
  • detected
  • determined
  • devised
  • diagnosed
  • directed
  • discovered
  • displayed
  • edited
  • eliminated
  • enforced
  • established
  • estimated
  • evaluated
  • examined
  • expanded
  • experimented
  • financed
  • formulated
  • gathered
  • generated
  • guided
  • handled
  • hypothesized
  • identified
  • illustrated
  • implemented
  • improved
  • increased
  • influenced
  • initiated
  • inspected
  • installed
  • instituted
  • instructed
  • interpreted
  • interviewed
  • invented
  • investigated
  • lectured
  • managed
  • marketed
  • mediated
  • modeled
  • monitored
  • motivated
  • negotiated
  • obtained
  • operated
  • ordered
  • organized
  • oversaw
  • performed
  • persuaded
  • planned
  • prepared
  • presented
  • printed
  • processed
  • produced
  • projected
  • promoted
  • proofread
  • provided
  • publicized
  • purchased
  • received
  • reconciled
  • recorded
  • recruited
  • reduced
  • referred
  • refined
  • repaired
  • reported
  • represented
  • researched
  • resolved
  • responded
  • restored
  • retrieved
  • reviewed
  • scheduled
  • selected
  • served
  • sketched
  • solved
  • sorted
  • studied
  • summarized
  • supervised
  • supplied
  • surveyed
  • tested
  • trained
  • transcribed
  • translated
  • traveled
  • treated
  • tutored
  • upgraded
  • utilized
  • wrote



IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, Dept. of Athletics, Ames, IA

Marketing Intern, May-August 20__

  • Contacted prospective season ticket owners for sales and focus group meetings
  • Assembled and sent customer survey/questionnaire to over 1000 clients
  • Compiled survey results and produced survey report
  • Utilized survey results to help develop new sales promotions which were fully implemented

Teaching Assistant, August 20__ to May 20__

Iowa State University, Computer Science Dept., Ames, IA  50010

  • Handled grading of homework, programs and exams
  • Proctored exams, recorded scores and aided in preparing exams
  • Debugged programs and answered questions for students in both help rooms and office environments

Courtesy Counter Clerk, August 20__ – Present


  • Train and supervise five part-time employees
  • Resolve customer complaints
  • Balance cash drawers
  • Manage customer service counter



Salesperson, June-August 20__

  • Displayed and sold jewelry and watches
  • Advised customers on quality, cuts and value of jewelry
  • Informed customers of various grades of watch movements and type of servicing offered by manufacturer
  • Achieved sales quota for 6 consecutive months


If these activities are Career-Related Experiences, you might consider moving them to that section of your resume.  If you were an editor of the Iowa State Daily, held an elected office on the business council or were instrumental in the organization of some component of VEISHEA, then you should record this in your resume.


We suggest you omit activities of a religious or political nature when possible, but this is a personal choice.



  • Gerdin Business Council, Vice President, Spring 2006-2007
  • Gerdin Citizenship Program, Fellowship Leader, Fall 2007
  • Society for Human Resource Management, Spring 2008
  • Gerdin Off-Campus Student Organization, Social Chairperson
  • Gerdin Business/LAS Career Fair Ambassador
  • Gerdin Intramural Basketball, Participant
  • Conversational English Tutor for international students

Additional Elements

Special Skills and Training

You may have special skills and/or training in addition to your education or work experience that could appeal to an employer. The ability to speak a foreign language, conduct research, and utilize specialized computer programs could be of interest to a prospective employer.



  • Programming experience in COBOL, Java, C#
  • Knowledge of the following software:  Turbo Tax, Quicken, Quick Books, Illustrator, Photoshop
  • Fluency in Mandarin and English


Computer Skills

Example for MIS majors:

Operating Systems: UNIX, Linux, Windows XP

Languages: COBOL, Java, C#, SQL

Software: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, HTML


Example for other majors:

Computer skills: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access


Professional Memberships


  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • Society of Certified Public Accountants (SCPA)
  • Association for Operations Management (APICS)
  • Institute of Supply Management (ISM)
  • American Marketing Association (AMA)




  • Dean’s List, Fall, 20__
  • Cardinal Key, 20__
  • Gerdin Citizenship Program, 20__
  • University Honors Program, 20__
  • Carver Scholar, 20__



Briefly describe any projects executed through courses or clubs.

  • Developed database for inventory of automotive parts store utilizing SQL.
  • Organized local 5K to benefit area Boys and Girls Club.




Quick Tips/Suggestions for the Resume
  • Do not include height, weight, health status, marital status, or religious beliefs.
  • Never list expected salary on a resume.  This discussion should take place when the employer broaches the subject.
  • Your resume should be limited to one page if possible. If you have professional work experience in your background it may warrant a second page.
  • Experiment with the formatting and arrangement of headers, lines, margin and text to find the best total appearance.
  • It is not advisable to use the first person pronoun unless the text does not make sense without it. Since you are writing about yourself, verbs will imply "I" as the subject of your sentences.
  • Utilize, but do not rely on spell and grammar check. Proofreading is necessary.
  • Before you circulate your resume, have a professional critique your resume.
  • Resumes should be reproduced on 8-1/2 by 11-inch resume paper. A white or ivory color is best.
Student Policy

The Student Policy includes policies on class attendance, offer acceptance, interviewing, continuing the job search, and emails.

Career Advising Appointments

Career Services staff members are available to assist you with any aspect of your job search, from developing a resume to negotiating a job offer.


Walk-In Appointments
10 minute sessions available for quick questions
Monday-Friday 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Scheduled Appointments Typically 30 minutes in length, can be scheduled in person in 1320 Gerdin Business Building, by phone to 515.294.2542, or by completing the online Appointment Request form.