It's You on paper!

Essential resume components

Your resume is a document that communicates your relevant experiences, skills and strengths to an employer. It’s an effective and efficient way to tell your story and highlight your unique qualifications. While each resume is distinct and should reflect your personal brand, here are essential components that create the foundation of a strong resume. These components are your Name Block, Education, and Experience.

Name blocks

Your name block is an effective way to communicate your personal brand to employers, make you stand out and add visual appeal to your resume. Use the same name block on all of your marketing materials (cover letter, resume, reference page) for consistency and to create brand recognition. Be creative with your name block and use elements (fonts and design) that reflect your brand, but that are also fitting for your career field.

  • Include your name, address (it’s acceptable to list only city/state), phone number, email address, and website, portfolio link or LinkedIn profile (if you have one).
  • Your name should be the first and largest.
  • Be creative with your name block, but also be aware of it’s visual purpose. Ask yourself : “Is it dominating the page?”
  • Be sure that information is readable and easy to find.
  • List only the number where you can easily be reached and have a brief, clear voicemail message.
  • Your email or web address should be short and appropriate.

Resume Module

Summary statements

A summary statement draws in the reader’s attention and highlights the specific skills and experiences you have that an employer is looking for. A summary statement is optional, but can be a great way to tailor your resume, incorporate your personal brand, and make it easier for an employer to see your relevant qualifications and skills. Summary statements can have various titles including Summary of Skills, Professional Highlights or Career Profile. Check out the resume guide for examples.

  • Be specific, descriptive and focus on the qualifications of the position or type of position you are applying to.
  • Review position postings to determine the specific skills and qualifications.
  • Incorporate your career interests and goals and use industry specific language.
  • If you have multiple positions that used similar skills a summary statement can reduce the need for repetition of skills in each position.


Your education section lists your academic degrees and institutions. Focus on your college level education. List your most recent institution and degree first. Include the date you received your degree or your expected graduation date. It is not necessary to include your high school degree.

  • Include Name of Institution, City, State, Degree, Major and Graduation Date
  • List the correct degree (Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts) and spell it out rather using B.S. or B.A.
  • GPA is optional, but consider including your GPA if it’s over 3.0.
  • Teachers - list your teaching license(s) under “Education” or as a separate “License” heading
  • Optional education sub-headings: Licenses (if not required for position – separate heading if it is), Certifications, Language Proficiency, Intercollegiate Athletics, Learning Abroad, Relevant Coursework, Honors, Awards


Your experience section is an opportunity to tell employers about your relevant work and volunteer history. Include both paid and unpaid experiences where you gained relevant and transferable skills. You can differentiate between relevant and non-relevant experience by grouping them under separate headings. For example, “Relevant Experience” and “Additional Experience.”


  • Position title, Dates
  • Name of Organization (Company, School, Club, etc.)
  • City, State
  • Also consider:

    • A bulleted list of your position responsibilities and accomplishments
    • The most important information, with the most detail, should be listed first
    • Write strong skills statements that are concise and to the point, but include relevant details.

    Strong Skills Statements = Action Verb + Details + Outcome/Result

    Action verb

    Start skill statements with a strong action verb—avoid repetition and vague words like "Worked," "Taught," and "Responsible for" and stay away from personal pronouns (I, we, me).


    The situation, problem, or need that you fulfilled. Quantifying and qualifying your work is important. Examples:

    • "Managed 40 internal accounts…"
    • "Communicated to management daily…"


    What happened as a result of your action on the problem, situation, or need? How did the result contribute to the organization or company? How did you gain skills or discover strengths?

    Emphasize your accomplishments and achievements rather than focusing on your responsibilities.


    • If you managed a front desk, give a specific description, such as: "Fielded calls from 4 incoming telephone lines (average of 100 calls/hour)."
    • For teacher resumes, instead of stating "maintained control of classroom" describe how you did that: Applied low-profile intervention techniques to effectively maintain classroom control."

    Format and visual appeal

    • Be consistent in your formatting and fonts.
    • Keep the most important information on the top portion of the first page.
    • Set your margins between .75 and 1 inch.
    • Use an easy to read font at 10 – 12 pt.
    • Define sections and use clear headings.
    • Balance text and white space.
    • Use font, size and bold or italics to highlight important information and headings.
    • Keep dates on the right side of the page.
    • Stay away from using resume templates, they limit your flexibility and creativity.
    • Keep resume length to 1-2 pages.
    • Use high quality resume paper when printing.
    • Spell out acronyms.
    • References are a separate document from your resume.