Resume Formatting

Resume Formatting

Step 1: Header

  • Make your name bold and in slightly larger font than the rest of the resume; you want your name to stand out so any employer who reads it will remember you.
  • Below your name list your current mailing address, phone number, and the e-mail address you most frequently use. You may use your permanent mailing address if you wish.
Step 2: Education
  • Always list your most recent education first. Include your college (e.g. Iowa Wesleyan College), major, minor and graduation year.
  • The rule of thumb is to include a GPA of 3.0 or higher. However, you may choose to include any GPA if you would like. You can additionally include a GPA for your major and minor separately, especially if one is higher than your overall GPA.
Step 3: Experience

You will find chronological and combination formats summarized below, as these are the most commonly used formats and preferred by most applicants and employers. Remember that relevant experience can include jobs, internships, volunteer experiences and coursework.

The chronological resume format is used most frequently by college students. Furthermore, employers are familiar with the chronological format and oftentimes prefer it. This format lists your experiences chronologically, beginning with the most recent. This format is the best way to showcase your experiences while highlighting all of your assets.
  1. List experiences, starting with your most recent position.
  2. On the first line write the name of the company, location and the dates you worked.
  3. On the next line write the title of your position.
  4. Include three or four sentences describing your position. Think about what you contributed in your job or organization and how your role was significant. The use of bullet points makes the resume easy to read.
The combination resume format (so called because it combines chronological and functional formats) allows you to highlight your experience in specific fields. Work experiences are listed chronologically under functional categories (e.g. finance experience, legal experience, etc.).
  1. Create categories based on skills that are most important to the job field (e.g. financial, education, research, technology, etc.)
  2. List work experiences under each category starting with your most recent position.
  3. Follow steps two to four as outlined under the chronological format.
Step 4: Activities

This is where you can list any extracurricular activities (ex: athletics), on-campus involvement and/or volunteer experience. It is often helpful to provide a brief description of your responsibilities and accomplishments for each, particularly if your work is relevant to the job at hand.

Step 5: Skills

Important skills to include are:
  • Languages - be sure not to overstate (basic, intermediate, advanced or fluent)
  • Technical skills - list specific and relevant software with which you are familiar (such as MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, WordPerfect, or Adobe Photoshop)
  • Social media skills, if applicable to the position (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest)
  • Any specific training or certification programs you have completed that would be relevant to the job
  • You may list these under two separate subtitles (“Extracurricular Activities” and “Skills”) or one (“Skills & Activities”) if you need to conserve space

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