Remember that a resume is not going to get you a job. Resumes are marketing tools designed to motivate a prospective employer to interview you. Effective resumes are tailored to a specific position/occupation and target the employer’s needs with clear information detailing your most related skills, knowledge, and accomplishments.

    There are several types of resumes, but all resumes should follow these basic guidelines.

    • Try to limit your resume to 1 page. In some instances (with a strong history of related employment), 2 pages are acceptable. However, be aware that hiring managers will be reviewing your resume quickly so get important information to the reader efficiently.
    • Use plain white or cream paper if you are printing your resume.
    • Choose a classic font (Times New Roman, Ariel, or Garamond) and format headers consistently throughout your resume.
    • Make sure that your margins are not too wide (1” is a good width) and that there is a balance of text and white space.
    • Proofread your resume -- it needs to be error free and accurate.

    These are common resume sections. Please keep in mind that the sections you include, and their order, will vary depending on your experience, work history, and career goals.
    • List your name, mailing address, phone number, and a professional-sounding e-mail (do not use a work e-mail or phone number). 

    Objective (Optional): 

    • Be concise (one short sentence) and specific to the position for which you are applying. 

     Summary of Qualifications (Optional): 

    •  Highlight in 36 bullet points your most related qualifications for the position. 
    •  Do not use vague statements; quantify whenever possible.
    • List university degrees in reverse chronological order (most recent first).
    • Include graduation date even if it is in the future.
    • A related course work or academic projects section can be helpful if you lack related work experience.

    Technical/Language Skills:

    • List any technical or language skills that might interest the employer.


    • List any relevant certifications and licenses. 

    Experience/Relevant Skills:

    • Focus on your transferrable and related experiences.
    • Quantify whenever possible.
    • Use resume action verbs to describe your accomplishments and avoid saying “Responsibilities included...”
    • Don’t list job duties; give information on your accomplishments and results.
    • Avoid the use of the first person.
    • Use the accomplishment statement worksheet to document your experiences.

    Volunteer Experience (Optional -- can be useful if you are changing careers and lack related professional experience):

    • Include related volunteer experience citing examples from your community or professional organization.
    • Be careful not to include information that is illegal for the employer to ask about (e.g., religious/political affiliation).

    Interests/Hobbies (Optional -- can be useful if you are changing careers and lack related professional experience): 

    • Only include these if they are directly related to the position.


    • Do not say “References available by request.”
    • List 34 references on a separate document (use the same header that you use on your resume). See sample.


    A chronological resume focuses on employment and professional history. This style works well if you have experience that relates to your career goal. Chronological resumes are preferred by some employers.

    This resume format focuses on your transferable skills as they relate to the position or type of position that you are applying for. A functional resume can be appropriate if you lack directly related experience or if you are changing careers. 


    Optimal ResumeOptimal Resume
    This resume builder is easy to use and includes hundreds of examples to help customize your resume.

    Resume Checklist
    Use this tool while you are writing and reviewing your resume.

    Resume Reviews

    Career Services will review your resume. To submit your resume for review, email it to .

    "Wordle" Your Resume
    This is a fun tool that allows you to “see” your resume with fresh eyes.

    To "Wordle" Your Resume:

    1. Highlight and copy your resume
    2. Go to
    3. Click on the “Create” tab
    4. Paste your copied resume into the text box
    5. Click “Go”
    6. What do you see? Does this visual image portray your core skills and accomplishments?

      Note: Please read the "Terms of Use" under


    Western Governors University