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Market your skills and abilities with a strong resume.  A quality resume is visually pleasing, easy to read, and highlights you as the candidate of choice!

Use the tips below to learn what employers are seeking, how to format your resume, and what goes in each section.

Prepare Your Resume

  • Use the job description to your advantage. Read the job description carefully and highlight the key skills and qualifications being sought. Use this as a guide on the language to include in your resume. Also be sure to review the Key Attributes Employers Seek list from NACE

  • Now that you know what the employer is looking for, it is time to evaluate what you have to offer. Below are a few ideas to help you generate a list of the skills you offer.

    • Complete a self-assessment
      • CSP Career Development offers the MBTI and StrengthsFinder, which can give you insight to skills you have
      • There are free online self-assessments that can identify skills you offer
    • Inventory your transferable skills
      • These are the skills that you offer, regardless of the job
        • Communication, critical thinking, innovative, creative, professional, team player, etc
    • Review the Key Attributes Employers Seek list from NACE
  • If it is difficult to read your resume, the employers are not going to see all you have to offer. Pay attention to your use of white space, font, font size, and emphasis.

    Formatting Tips:

    • Start with a blank document
      • It is not recommend to use templates. Templates make it difficult to add information and make changes to the layout.
    • Choose a font and font size
      • Consistency is key. Use one font and font size throughout. The one exception is with the size of your name at the top of your document
      • Times New Roman, Calibri, and Ariel are common font choices
    • Establish your layout. Stay consistent.
      • Decide on your section titles
        • For example: education, experience, community involvement
      • Decide on your format within each section
        • For example: Degree Title, School, Location, Date || Job Title, Employer, Location, Date
    • Emphasis key points
      • Again, consistency is key.
      • Common emphasized points include:
        • Bold: your name, degree title, job titles
        • Bullet points: skills under each position
  • A skill statement (the bulleted statements on your resume) describes the skill you gained and duties you performed during a certain experience. Effective skill statements are essential in showing a prospective employer your abilities. A general rule of thumb is to create four to eight skill statements per experience.

    Use this list of action verbs to help create your skill statements.

    Effective Skill Statement = Action Verb + Duty + Impact + Result

    • Good: Sold sporting equipment to customers
    • Better: Developed sales strategies to sell sporting equipment
    • Best: Developed effective sales strategies that resulted in a 10% increase of sales

    Another way to think of this is

    • I did this
      • Created lesson plans
    • Action had this impact
      • Taught/instructed
    • Result
      • Enhanced student understanding
    • Statement:
      • Created and taught a two-week unit to 7th grade students explaining major concepts of climate including meteorology, land forms, and weather patterns.

Resume Sections

  • At the top of your resume, include

    • Your name
    • Address
      • If you aren’t comfortable including your entire address, at a minimum include city and state so the employer knows where you are located
      • If your current address is in a different location than you are seeking employment, you can add a small statement which says *willing to relocate
    • Phone number
      • Preferred to only include one phone number
      • Make sure your voicemail box is set up with a professional message
      • Make sure you check your voicemails and don’t have a full inbox preventing employers from reaching you
    • Email address
    • LinkedIn URL (if applicable)
    • Academic credentials (if applicable)
      • It is common once someone completes a graduate degree or has a relevant certification to add those credentials after your name.
      • Example: Juanita Jones, MBA, SHRM
  • Some people choose to create a Summary of Qualifications section after the contact information to give the reader a quick summary of what you offer. If you choose to include this, we recommend 3-6 bullet-points or a small paragraph tailored to the position.  It is common to see this section replace the objective statement, which traditional tells someone what you are seeking instead of what you have to offer.

    Tips to creating an effective summary section:

    • Focus on big picture skills and accomplishments that you offer
    • The first statement should focus on an overview of your experience
      • ie: 10+ years of experience in various project management roles
      • ie: Innovative customer service specialist always going above and beyond to meet customer needs
    • The next 2-3 statements should again be big picture skills relevant to the desired job
    • The last statement, if applicable, should include technical skills
      • ie: Technology Skills Include: Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Google Docs, Adobe Photoshop
      • ie: Writing Skills Include: Editing, Proofreading, Mentoring, and Coaching

    Section title(s): Summary of Qualifications, Highlights of Qualifications, Skills Summary, Career Profile, Areas of Expertise, Career Achievements

  • Your education section tells the reader what your academic qualifications are.

    Items to include in your education section are:

    • Degree type (ie, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science)
      • If you have multiple degrees, list the current/most recent first
      • After your sophomore year of college, do not include high school
    • Major
    • Minor (if applicable)
    • Institution name
      • Concordia University, St. Paul, MN
    • Location
    • Anticipated graduation date
      • You do not need to include the date range
    • GPA (if 3.5/4.0 or higher)
    • Academic awards (if applicable)
    • Relevant coursework (if applicable)
      • If your most relevant qualifications are from your coursework, it is common to include a “Relevant Coursework” section
      • If you choose to do this, include the course name, term completed, and two to four statements explaining what you did in the course
    • Study abroad (if applicable)
  • Your experience section aligns what you have done to match what the employer is seeking. This section is going to look different for everyone since we all have different experiences. You may decide to have two or three sections of experience, with different headers, to highlight what you have done. For example, “Internship Experience” and “Additional Work Experience.”

    Tips for your experience section:

    • Brand your experience section headers
      • As you gain more experience, if possible, create tailored headers
      • ie: Sports Management Experience, Human Resources Experience, Internship Experience, Student Teaching Experience, Clinical Experience
    • List experiences in reverse chronological order
    • Use a consistent format when listing your information
      • Job Title, Company, Location (City, State), Dates of Employment
    • Create strong skill statements for each experience
      • 4-8 statements per experience is recommended
      • In some instances, due to space of amount of experience, you may choose not to include skill statements if redundant or no longer relevant
    • If you have a lot of experience, it is a rule of thumb to go back 10-15 years, as long as the work is relevant.
      • You may decide to only include skill statements for your two or three most recent experiences to save space

    Employment to include:

    • Full time work
    • Part time work
    • Summer employment
    • Student teaching
    • Clinical experiences
    • Internships
    • Practicums
    • Volunteer work
      • If volunteer work is your most relevant work to your career goal, include this in your experience section!

    What if I don’t have any experience to include?
    You probably have more than you are giving yourself credit for. Take an inventory of all you have done and be sure to include it on your resume. Areas of experience include:

    • Volunteering
    • Studying abroad
    • Leadership programs
    • Student athlete
    • Club and organization involvement
    • Relevant coursework
    • Research
  • In addition to your experience, your resume allows you the opportunity to showcase your involvement. For some, this might be in the form of your experience section, for others this may be your main experience. Regardless, activities, involvement, and membership show you as a well rounded candidate.

    If you have a full experience section, this section will likely be straight to the point. List your title, organization, and dates. For example:

    • Member, Minnesota Marketing Association June 2019-Present

    If you don’t have as much work experience, you might enhance this section with skill statements under each involvement. For example:

    • Member, Minnesota Marketing Association June 2019-Present
      • Attend monthly meetings to discuss vision of organization and plan events
      • Collaborate with other members to develop resources
      • Contribute to the social media presence by sharing relevant articles
      • Analyze membership survey results to ensure we are delivery relevant learning opportunities

    What to include:

    • Volunteering
    • Studying abroad
    • Leadership programs
    • Student athlete
    • Club and organization involvement
    • Research
  • If you have received honors or awards through your studies or professional work, create a stand-alone section or include them in their respective categories. For example, academic awards could be included in your education section and professional awards could be  included in your involvement section.

    For each, include the name of the honor/award and the date granted. A brief description is optional, typically based on space and relevance to your career goal.

  • Your CSP involvement offers you a great set of skills employers are seeking! Now it is time to add this experience on your resume.

    Student Athletes
    As a student athlete you demonstrate time management, adapting to priorities, accepting critical feedback, being a team player, adhering to policies, etc. What else have you specifically gained as a student athlete?

    • Student Athlete, Football, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN  August 2018-Present
      • Learn and execute the policies and procedures governed by the NCAA
      • Demonstrate strong time management skills by committing 30+ hours per week to training, preparing for games, competing while simultaneously maintaining full academic course load
      • Develop concentration, strong work ethic and perseverance to meet personal and team goals
      • Collaborate with coaches and teammates to create effective outreach initiatives to engage players
      • Mentor incoming players to familiarize them with the team culture and academic expectations

    Ignite Leadership Program
    As a member of graduate of the Ignite Leadership Program, you are setting yourself apart by enhancing your self-awareness and leadership skills.

    • Ignite Leadership Certificate Program, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN  May 2021
      • Engaged in 10 skills based workshops on topics including emotional intelligence, strategic decision-making, and engaging diversity
      • Completed 10 hours of service-learning at [name of organization]
      • Improved public speaking, communication, and team building skills at a 2 day leadership retreat
      • Increased self-awareness through completion of the Strengths Finder assessment and reflective workshop

    Club and Organization Involvement
    Whether you are a member of hold a leadership position, clubs and organizations are a great way to demonstrate your skills.

    • Member, Business Club, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN  September 2019-Present
      • Attend events throughout the semester, include a Resume Workshop and Mock Interview
      • Review monthly emails from the club leadership on professional development opportunities
    • Treasurer, Business Club, Concordia University, St. Paul, MN  September 2018-Present
      • Create the annual budget and review it with the club advisor
      • Offer feedback at bi-weekly club meetings on what is possible from a budget standpoint
      • Collaborate with leadership board to create engaging marketing messages
      • Promote upcoming professional development opportunities