Formatting & Mechanics
☐ Resume is one page without appearing too dense (or two pages depending on experience and industry; check with a career advisor if not sure whether this applies to you); margins are no smaller than .5 inches.
☐ Font size is 10-12 point and is uniform throughout the resume. Recommended font styles include Garamond, Arial, Calibri, Georgia, Times, and Helvetica.
☐ Use of bold, italics, underlining, and capitalization is consistent per purpose (e.g. showcasing role titles in bold as a subheading) enhancing appearance and readability.
☐ Each education and experience entry are consistently formatted and includes full details. Generally, this includes school and name of degree for education, employer and job title for experience, locations (city, state/country) as well as date ranges (typical month and year) for all entries.
☐ Education and experience entries are listed in reverse chronological order (current to oldest) in each section.
☐ The document has been reviewed at least once or twice for typos, accuracy of details, and formatting.
☐ Resume includes accurate phone number, email address (school or personal – whichever you plan to check most frequent for your career pursuits), physical address (city, state and zip code – especially if you will be relocating while applying), and LinkedIn page.
☐ Links for a personal website or professional website are included if relevant to the industry.
Summary or Profile Statement
☐ Statement communicates your interests and major qualifications to the employer.
☐ Significant 2-3 skills and/or experiences for the role are highlighted in the statement.
☐ Statement is concise; no more than 3-4 sentences.
☐ Education is the next section to appear on the resume after your summary or profile statement.
☐ Any honors/awards may be included here (e.g. Dean’s List, scholarships, GPA over 3.0, etc.).
☐ Each educational institution attended after high school is listed. Freshmen and sophomores may include high school; juniors and seniors typically do not but certain private or specialized high schools (IB, international) are an exception.
☐ Study abroad is listed (institution, country, courses, and dates of study) if applicable.
☐ Degree titles are written formally avoiding void abbreviations and including major(s) and/or minor(s).
☐ Specific coursework is optional and/or can be a separate section. Only list selected courses relevant to a position sought.
☐ Can be divided into different types (e.g. employment, leadership, community outreach, experiential learning, research, even career-related shadowing or assisting for those pursuing healthcare, etc.) to best highlight your skills and achievements.
☐ Include paid, volunteer, intern, and course-based experiences that pertain to position sought.
☐ Each entry must include 4 items: employer/organization name, job title/role, location (i.e., city, state or country), and date range.
☐ Select and integrate a consistent bullet point style to lead your description of role accomplishments and skills; aim for 3-5 bullet points depending on the relevance of the job.
☐ Start descriptions with a variety of active verbs: present tense for current work; past tense for completed work.
☐ Emphasize quantifiable achievements as much as possible (e.g. percentages of growth or increases in sales or operations; increases in Social Media followers for new branding initiatives; numbers of procedures shadowed or assisted, etc.). Remember that your readers have not lived your experiences, so don’t take what you may think of as “smaller” details for granted! If you are struggling to note technical achievements through your experience, then highlight interpersonal skills in this section (e.g., how you established teamwork, communication, organization, work ethic, etc.)
☐ Skills are identified by category such as technical, software programs, language, laboratory, and/or industry specific such as research or clinical, etc.
☐ Proficiency level is included for foreign languages (e.g. native, fluent, advanced, intermediate, proficient, beginner). Be sure you accurately express your proficiency level for interview follow up.
☐ Remember to refer to your resume skills as you develop reflections in your cover letter and/or during the interview process with specific situations and experiences. These will serve as your road map for later highlights of your experiences and qualifications.
☐ Make sure dates of participation for activities and other involvements have been listed for all entries.
☐ Document does not include use of personal pronouns (e.g., I, me, we) or subject statements such as “I …”
☐ Remember to review your documents for spelling, typos, and other mechanics.
☐ A list of references should NOT be included in the resume, nor should a reference statement. You may create a separate document for this using the same formatting and layout your resume (contact information header, heading and subheading styles, fonts, etc.) to provide to employers when asked.
☐ Save multiple formats of your resume, including doc/docx and PDF and upload the appropriate format based on the application instructions. If explicit instructions have not been provided to you for the employer’s preferred format, consider including both formats as long as the application fields allow multiple uploads.
Generally, please note that certain employers use Applicant Tracking Systems or Resume Parsers, which are software that screen candidates based on document content, matching language from a candidate’s specific skills or achievements to the language of the job description. Some of these systems may require or function more accurately in screening candidates through a doc/docx format. Alternatively, if no preferences exist, PDFs will ensure there are no formatting conversion errors when your readers access your resume using different systems and computers as well as more protection against document alterations.
Meet with a Career Advisor
Have you gone through the Resume Checklist but still want someone to review your resume?
Schedule an appointment with a career advisor through Handshake, by calling our front desk at 617-573-8480, or visiting us on the 9th floor of 73 Tremont Street.