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Resume overview

Resume overview

Your resume should let an employer quickly see how you can contribute to their workplace.

The goal of an effective resume is to highlight and summarize your qualifications so the employer will want to schedule an interview with you. If your resume is well-written and appropriate for the position, the employer may consider you to be a good “fit” for the position or company. 

Ideally, a resume should convince the employer that you have the skills for the position, you can fit in to the organization, and you would make a positive impact/contribution to the organization.

Once you send in your resume to apply for a job, it may first be reviewed by an applicant tracking systems (ATS); follow these ATS guidelines to get your resume through that initial screening. 

Then, you may have just 30 seconds to convince the employer reading it - to put your resume in the “look again” pile rather than the “discard” pile. Make sure that your resume format is simple and visually appealing, and that an employer can quickly and easily read and process the information. 

The commonly included sections of a resume are:

  • Contact information
  • Career or job objective statement
  • Summary of qualifications
  • Work experience/accomplishments
  • Education/training
Additional sections or headings may be used to highlight your particular strengths, such as “Technical Skills Summary” or “Awards.”

Keep your resume formatting professional and simple:

  • Length: 1-2 pages (ensure your name is on each page of the resume)
  • Alignment: Left-aligned, except for headings
  • White space is important: ensure that you have a clear margin (recommend one inch all around)
  • Choose a simple font: Times New Roman, Cambria, Arial
  • Use bold, italics and underlines sparingly
  • Font size: 10-12 point
  • Proofread and spell check

Use your job posting review to help you target and build each section. Be sure that your resume makes an excellent first impression! Ask friends, family members, or others to read through your resume before sending it out. Misspellings, inconsistent use of font and type size, and misaligned margins can all indicate a lack of attention to detail.

Get more help with CareerOneStop’s Resume Guide.