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September 13, 2021

Writing Your First Resume

Resumes are the first thing your future employer will see about you. We’re here to share proven tips that will allow your resume to stand out! There are four basic components: contact information, professional experience, educational experience, and skills/interests. Let’s get started!

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From the Top

Your name and contact information should appear first. You want to make it as easy as possible for potential employers to contact you. Next, you can highlight your current education status. This includes your major, GPA, start and intended end date, and relevant coursework. As a freshman or sophomore, you can include your high school achievements. These lines will be the first to go as you can fill your resume with more recent and applicable information.

Highlighting Your Experiences

The next two sections are your professional and educational experience. These will be the bulk of your resume. Expand on exactly what you did, the relevant skills you used, and the results of your efforts. As much as you can, include numbers that can prove your level of success in a role! Use bullet points starting with active, rather than passive, verbs for consistency and efficiency.

The XYZ Formula

Google recruiters have emphasized the value in the XYZ formula: "accomplished [X] as measured by [Y], by doing [Z]." They give the example of winning second place at a hackathon. Following the XYZ formula, they would write “won second place out of 50 teams in a hackathon at NJ Tech by working with two colleagues to develop an app that synchronizes mobile calendars.” This paints a pretty picture of your experience and shows your role in the achievement!

Your Skills and Interests

When drafting your list of skills, make sure to be as accurate and honest as possible. If listed, prepare to prove these skills in an interview if asked. It is also advised to only list Microsoft Office as a skill if you believe you have exceptional knowledge of these platforms.

Last but not least, your ‘interests’ list allows you to add some of your personality to your resume. They are great conversation-starters that interviewers may use for small talk. This gives you an opportunity to set yourself apart and build a more personal connection.

The Nitty Gritty Formatting

The contents of your resume will continuously adapt, but there are dependable formatting rules to always follow! First, limit your resume to 1 page but maintain enough white space to keep it uncluttered. Select a professional font (Cambria, Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial) and adjust to a readable size (10, 11, or 12 points). Remember to start each bullet point with an active verb and avoid using "I" or any other first-person pronouns. While formatting will not make or break your resume, it shows dedication and attention to detail!

The internet is your best friend! Use online resources to view templates and example resumes for your specific industry. Once you feel good about your resume, read it out loud or share it with a friend to catch places for improvement.

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You are now equipped with all the necessary tools to start designing your first resume - you got this!


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