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Life After College: Building Your Resume

Building Your Resume
Your resume says a lot about you, it determines whether you will be called in for an interview or not.

Tips When Writing Your Resume

Look for Keywords in the Job Posting

As you apply for jobs, you should study each job description for keywords that show what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. Include those keywords in your resume where relevant. Pay particular attention to anything listed in the sections labeled Requirements or Qualifications

Review Resume Examples for Your Industry 

When crafting your own resume, look how others in your industry are formatting theirs (and what they are including). No matter what template you are basing your resume off of, make sure that your resume is 1) simple and easy to read and 2) brief with short and to-the-point sections.

Use a Professional Font

Use a clean, basic font (such as Arial or Times New Roman), and keep your font size between 10 and 12 points. Selecting a clear, readable font will help make your resume look more professional. Also make sure to eliminate excessive whitespace, which makes your resume seem sparse. 

Include the Most Relevant Information

It is important to keep your resume as brief as possible without leaving out key information. Along with this, also make sure the most important information is listed first. If your resume includes old or irrelevant information, it may distract from key information. 

Use Active Language 

Your resume should be written using active language. Use power words such as achieved, earned, completed, or accomplished. 

Call Attention to Important Achievements 

Instead of listing your job duties under the experience section, select your top two or three most important achievements in each role. 

Only Include Sections You Need

When looking at templates and examples of resumes, some might include sections that you don't need. Do not include empty sections. Instead, replace the section with relevant information or combine multiple sections together if you are having trouble filling a section with more than two bullet points. 

Proofread and Edit

Before sending out your resume, make sure to proofread to make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors. Also have a friend or family member look over your resume as well. 

Academic and Career Services Center at DWU

The Academic and Career Services Center is here to help you find and use your strengths, connect your talents with your educational goals and give you the clarity and focus you need to succeed well after you graduate from DWU.

Academic and Career Services can help you write and edit your resume, prepare for an interview, and locate jobs and internships. 

Contact Information 

Kristy Zink
Phone: (605) 995-2904
Office: McGovern Library 202


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What is a Resume?

A resume is a snapshot of who you are and what you have accomplished. It brings together you education, work experience, skills, achievements, and other useful information in an easy to read format. The purpose of a resume is to emphasize your best qualities with the goal of securing an interview. 

Resumes are completely customizable and there are several types of resumes you can choose from.

Types of Resumes

  1. Reverse Chronological 
    • Most popular style; emphasizes experience and employment history; highlights information from most recent and relevant to oldest and least relevant.
  2. Functional
    • 100% skills based; emphasizes specific skills and accomplishments; lists the skills by groups; useful for those with gaps in work history and those who are seeking career changes.
  3. Combination 
    • Combines the styles of reverse chronological and functional resumes; emphasizes skills and accomplishments while listing work history. 
  4. Curriculum Vitae
    • A brief account of a person's education, qualification, and previous experience; typically sent with a job application; most commonly used in the education industry. 
  5. Federal
    • Federal jobs often require that you have experience in a particular type of work for a certain period of time and show how your skills and experiences meet the qualifications and requirements list in the job announcement. 

The Difference Between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Resumes are for all types of employment. A resume is a concise document with no more than 1 or 2 pages outlining your education and the skills and accomplishments that are specific to your career choice. 

A CV is a longer and more detailed version of a resume that is typically used in educational, government, and/or military employment, and for those who have obtained a PhD. or EdD. A CV consists of more than 2 pages and details all accomplishments, publications, and skills. 

Sections of a Resume

Name and Contact Information

Also include you phone number and professional email address (no or Here is where you would add a URL link to an online portfolio (if applicable to your career choice). 

Work Experience

Put your most relevant work experience (for the position you are applying for) at the top. This means you will be tailoring your resume to each job you are applying for. You can also list your work experience in reverse chronological order, but if all of your relevant work experience is two or three jobs down, go with the most relevant at top. 


If you are a recent graduate, you may want to put your education section above your work experience section. Include the name of your college, graduation (or expected) date, and major/minor. 


Here is where you will list specific skills, qualifications, and certificates that directly apply to the job you are seeking. If the position you are applying for requires a specific skill, make sure that skill (written out as it is in the job description) is located within your resume - provided you have that skill. 

Extracurriculars and Awards

List out the clubs and organizations you have been a part of, and list out the leadership roles you have participated in. Also, list out any honors and additional awards that you may have gained during your time in college. 

Brainstorm Before You Begin

Before you begin writing out your resume, take a moment to brainstorm and write down all of the relevant work experiences you have had, and start jotting down skills, duties, project, and events that could relate to your potential job search. 

Remember: Not all of your experience will be relevant for every job your are applying for. It is a good idea to have all of your experiences and information in a mater document, and pull relevant materials when needed. Resumes should be tailored to the job you are applying for. 

Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Technical Skills
  • Language Skills
  • Leadership Experiences
  • Education and Certifications
  • Athletics
  • Professional Associations
  • Volunteer Experiences
  • Organizational Memberships
  • Awards
  • Community Service
  • Group Projects
  • Honors

Resources to Check Out

Purdue Online Writing Lab: Resume Workshop: This resume workshop provides detailed explanations, as well as step-by-step processes, for creating an effective resume. 

Princeton University's Center for Career Development Resume Guide: This resume guide was designed for undergraduate students, and includes advice, worksheets, and samples to help you get started or update your existing resume. 

How to Write a Masterpiece of a Resume from Rockport Institute: This guide to resume writing will teach you to write a resume, offers examples, shows various format types, and more. 

Resume Guide from the US Department of Labor: Career One Stop's resume guide will help you create a resume that will stand out in today's job market. 

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