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.


Resume Samples

Ima Cyclone

John Business

Jane State

Jane A. Cyclone


Resume Evaluation Guide


Elements of a Resume

Identifying Information

This section allows the employer to contact you. Your full name should be listed at the top of the resume, followed by your permanent and/or present addresses. The permanent address can be an important as a talking point with an employer.  Make it easy for the prospective employer to contact you.


Career Objective

Ineffective Objective Statements

  • To obtain a position so that I can gain experience in customer service. (Not Employer Centered)
  • To get an internship in marketing. (Not Specific)
  • Seeking a position to improve my skills and have a successful career. (Not Employer Centered)

Effective Objective Statements

  • To obtain a position leading to the design, development, and installation of software.
  • To obtain a summer 2010 internship in marketing with special interest in promotions and event management.
  • To attain a management position in a Human Resource Department of a health-care facility. Interests include employee relations, in-service training and employee motivational programs.


  • List your current institution and other colleges from which you have received degrees.  List in reverse chronological order.
  • You may list coursework and/or projects if it adds value to your resume.  Use course titles, not course numbers.
  • List other educational experiences such as:  special workshops, certificates, etc.
  • You should not list your high school education.
  • Include your grade point average if it is a strength in this section either by major or just your overall.  Include the  grading scale with the same number of decimal points.  (3.0/4.0 or 3.54/4.00)
  • 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



Employers weigh a number of factors when screening resumes, but two of the more important items are your academic credentials and 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.  See example on Resume examples.


Use concise phrases headed with action verbs to describe your job duties and the skills you developed or refined. Quantify your accomplishments and responsibilities when 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
  • 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, Department 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


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 a large event, then you should include 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 20__-20__
  • Gerdin Citizenship Program, Fellowship Leader, Fall 20__
  • Society for Human Resource Management, Spring 20__
  • 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 Java and 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.