Your resume and cover letter are the way to get a job interview. You get an estimated 12 seconds to make the reviewer (or computer program) agree you are qualified for the job when they are reviewing your resume.

Your resume should be no more than two pages. One page if you don’t have much related work history. The font for the body of the resume can be 10-12 point fonts. Make it as big as you can while keeping the resume to one-two pages.

Primary Sections

Experience or work, and Education.

summary/highlights section at the top of the resume to make a computer scanning program or recruiters job easier.

Other helpful areas can be skills, honors or occasionally, volunteer.

The education section should always be first or last. You can decide which is best based on what would end up being first if your education is last. You always want your best material as close to the beginning as possible.

Objectives or goals are not helpful.

Key words are essential.  As mentioned previously many resumes are pre-screened by computer programs and if you don’t make it past that screening then you are unlikely to be considered.

Use short, punchy phrases starting with strong action verbs.

  • Meal planning for special diets based on the specific foods recommended by clients doctor.(passive)
  • Worked to develop meal plans for clients special diets based on doctor’s dietary recommendations. (Stronger)
  • Developed meal plans for clients based on doctors dietary recommendation.. (strongest)

Always consider transferable skills and write them out so they sound as close as possible to a job duty in the job you are applying for while assuring you are still accurate about the work you did.

  • Took orders and assured customers received accurate change

Might become

  • Provided personalized customer service

Resume Structure


Start you résumé with a header; name, address, phone and email are included.

You will sometimes see recommendations that an address is not needed.  Employers tend to find it helpful to know if you are currently living in the same city.  This is especially true if your phone has a different area code. (If you are using your resume as a direct to client marketing tool you will probably only want to include your name and professional email and/or phone number) The font size is larger for the header.


If you are adding a summary or highlights section is would be the next section.  If you do this you want to list 3-5 bullet pointed skills that match or exceed the job requirements.  You are showcasing that you are qualified for the job so any system (computer or screener) will easily pass your resume to the next phase of consideration for an interview.  In this area numbers and percentages can be helpful in making your case.


Your education section will include your degrees, school you attended, year graduated (or anticipated graduation date) Do not include your high school or schools you attended but did not complete. Only include significant honors for your undergraduate degree, any honors or activities that make you stand out can be included for your graduate degree. This will either follow the header, the summary or be the last section of your resume.


You can use either experience or employment. If you have great volunteer or unpaid internship experience then title this section, experience.  Most positions that you list in this section will have 3-5 bullet points describing the work you did as it relates to the work that you want to do.  Each position is listed in reverse chronological order starting with the most recent. The information listed includes:

  • job title
  • place of employment, city and state
  • date you worked there.

The bullet points follow this information.

Honors, Professional Associations

If you are including honors, professional associations or any other section they will go next and simply list the information in a bulleted format. It is usually prefer to list anything that can be included under education or experience there so that the resume is cleaner and easier to scan quickly. Any section or information that causes a reviewer to pause costs you precious time in your 12 second scan. Special sections are best if they to help you reorder your resume to showcase exceptionally relevant or impressive details.

Do not under any circumstances use a template or your resume will look like you used a template. Even if every person in your class chooses to use the same suggested general order, your resumes will look different and personalized, if you use a template they will not. The same goes for a third party resume writer, it doesn’t come across as authentically you – because it isn’t!