Need to write your resume?

A resume describes your skills, experience, training, and education. Employers use resumes to quickly see whether your background fits their job opening. For a strong impact, include only the experiences that make you a good candidate for a job. Here’s what to include:

Information to include
Contact information
At the top of your resume, write your full name, home address, phone number, and email address. If you don't have a permanent address, use a location where you can receive mail, or a rented post office box.
Write your 3-4 top accomplishments or skills.
Work experience
List past jobs you've held. Include the name of the employer or company, city and state, your job title, dates you held the job, accomplishments, main tasks, if you were promoted, or other highlights.
List education and training you have done. Include school or program name, city and state, dates attended, and any diplomas, degrees, or certifications you have earned.
Volunteering / activities
List volunteer or community work you have done. Also include other activities that can show your responsibility, commitment, or skills such as sports, clubs, or languages spoken.
Military experience?
List dates of military service, rank reached, and branch. Write in any special training or skills you gained.

Download this sample resume (en español) and edit it to create your own resume.

A good resume represents you well. Remember to be:

  • Truthful. State your skills and abilities accurately.
  • Brief. Limit your resume to one page.
  • Error-free. Proofread your resume and ask at least one other good speller to review it.
  • Professional. Print your resume on high-quality paper using a quality printer
  • Readable. Use an easy to read font, minimal boldface, avoid italics and underlining, and leave white space.
  • A good match. Use keywords that match words from the job posting or description

Need to write a cover letter?

Download this sample cover letter with writing tips (en español) and edit it to create a letter you can send along with your resume when you apply for jobs.

Job references

References are people who will speak positively on your behalf about your skills, abilities, work history, and motivation. Most employers will ask for three references, either when you apply, or at a job interview.

Steps for requesting a reference:

  • Get permission to use someone as your reference in advance. Ask if they would feel comfortable being a reference for you, to be sure they will speak positively about you.
  • People you could ask: previous work supervisor, co-worker, teacher, mentor, religious or spiritual advisor, volunteer supervisor, or others. Usually family and close friends do not serve as references.
  • Confirm how your reference likes to be contacted, and the best times to reach her or him. Make sure it’s OK to give his or her name, phone number, and email address to the employer.
  • Give your reference a copy of your resume and the job description for the position, so they know what to focus on.
  • Create a one-page document that lists each reference’s name, job title, company or organization, street address, phone number, and email address. You will give this to an employer at your job interview, or send it to them on request.
  • After your interview, send each of your references a thank you note, and let them know when you get a position.