Resume Starter Kit

Not sure where to start?

It’s normal to be unsure of where to start when creating a resume, or to think you do not have anything to put in a resume, especially early on in your college career. Most of the time, you have important experiences or skills that you might have forgotten about, didn’t think were important, or didn’t know how to include on your resume.

Start with the Basics


Think of everything you have ever done and jot it down onto a piece of paper. If you are not sure if something is important, jot it down anyway. This could include:

  • Jobs or volunteer work
  • Clubs, athletic teams, or leadership roles
  • Software or computer skills, independent projects, languages, honors or awards
  • Academic courses or projects that are relevant to your field


Learn more about the jobs you are seeking. Read through job descriptions of positions that interest you. What are the skills and qualifications your prospective employers are looking for?


Review the list of experiences and skills that you brainstormed. What from that list best matches the information you found in your research? Categorize and display your information accordingly. Your goal is to highlight those skills and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position.

Content of Resume

  • Name
  • Address (City, State and Zip Code is enough)
  • Phone number
  • Professional or School email address
  • LinkedIn (professional URL)
  • Personal Webpage or Portfolio if applicable 

  • A concise statement summarizing your qualifications and what you are looking to do.
  • This should communicate your brand to the employer.

  • List your most recent/advanced degree first and use reverse chronological order
  • Include certificate programs and study abroad
  • Can include transfer institution if you prefer, but not necessary
  • Can include high school early in your college career, but by junior year it should no longer be listed

  • You may have multiple experience categories: Relevant Experience vs. Other Experience, Leadership Experience, etc.
  • List your experiences in reverse chronological order within each experience category.
  • Be sure to include an appropriate category for leadership, community involvement, campus activities, or related interests. 

  • Technical, software, language, laboratory, and other (power skills)
  • In more technical or software-driven industries, you may want to highlight your skills at the top of your resume with your profile statement

  • Professional Associations related to your major or industry
  • Academic contests you participated in that are related to your major
  • Conferences you have attended that are related to your major or industry

  • Personal information such as photo, birth date, etc. (this may be included in a Curriculum Vitae, but not in a resume in the U.S.)
  • References Statement
  • Full Sentences to describe your experiences
  • Use of personal pronouns (i.e. I, me, we)

Writing the Resume

To best showcase your skills and abilities to an employer, you want to use accomplishment statements in describing your experiences.

Accomplishment statements go beyond just describing your experience or what you did in a job or internship. Accomplishment statements also show the results of your actions, and your effectiveness and success as an employee who solves problems. Accomplishment statements always begin with active verbs.

When writing accomplishment statements, use the PAR system:

Problem Action Results
The problem encountered or identified in work environment (e.g., process, procedure, personnel, etc.)
Specific action(s) taken to address or resolve the problem
The result(s) you achieved through your actions to fix the problem

Examples of the PAR System

Filed papers for a doctor's office Developed updated filing and organization system, which resulted in less time spent locating and retrieving patient files
Served customers at a restaurant  Promoted weekly specials resulting in a 20% increase in sales
Supervised camp activities Supervised 10 children, ages 5-13, ensuring safety and experiential learning in a summer day camp
Volunteered as Program Council Treasurer Saved $10k annually by implementing new auditing system to be used by the Program Council
Trained new employees Trained more than 15 new employees over a 12 month period resulting in increased customer satisfaction
Conducted market research Researched media buying for two clients using databases, telephone surveys, and competitor data 
Provided customer service Provided attentive, high quality customer service leading to referrals that generated over 50 new clients
Counseled Youth Completed diagnostic assessments, treatment plans, quarterly updates on up to 20 clients
Managed Budget Managed a $350.00 budget, with a reduction of costs totaling 15% over two years

Need Help Brainstorming Verbs?

 achieved  drafted  originated
 acquired  edited   oversaw
 adapted  eliminated  performed
 addressed  enforced  planned
 administered  established  prevented
 analyzed  evaluated  produced
 anticipated  expanded  programmed
 assembled  explained  promoted
 assisted  forecasted  provided
 audited  formed  publicized
 budgeted  founded  published
 calculated  generated  recruited
 centralized  guided  reorganized
 changed  hired  reported
 collaborated  implemented  researched
 composed  improved  resolved
 condensed  informed   reviewed
 conducted  insured  selected
 constructed  interpreted  separated
 contracted  interviewed  set up
 converted  launched  simplified
 coordinated  maintained  solved
 created  managed  surveyed
 cultivated  marketed  staffed
 demonstrated  minimized  supervise
 designed  motivated  taught
 developed  negotiated  tested
 devised  obtained  trained
 discovered  operated  used 
 doubled  organized