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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Resumes

A resume is a personal summary of professional history and qualifications. It provides information about your career goals, education, work experience, activities, honors and any other special skills. Your resume makes a case for why an employer should bring you in for an interview. For students with a liberal arts degree, a resume is the perfect place to emphasize soft skills. The resume allows you a platform to make the connection between your experiences and professional development in areas of critical thinking, communication, digital technology, leadership and intercultural fluency.

Watch the Resume Workshop video, designed specifically for students at the College of Arts and Sciences.

Why do students need a resume?

  • For class assignments
  • When applying for jobs
  • When looking for internships
  • For career fairs`
  • Potential networking opportunities
  • Graduate school applications
  • Handshake profile

General Guidelines

  • Length: It is best to limit an entry-level resume to one typed page.
  • Have visual alignments that guide eye down the page.
  • Font: Avoid fonts smaller than 10 point and larger than 12 point. Use a font that is not in cursive or italics and easy on the eye.
  • Paper: Use 8 1/2” x 11” paper. Print your resume with a laser or high quality ink-jet printer.
  • Avoid templates, excessive decorations, borders and icons.
  • Do not use text with first person (“I” or “me”) in any area of the resume.

Customizing Your Resume

Tailor your resume for the position you are applying to. When submitting a resume, be sure to research the position you are applying for. Understanding the skills an employer is looking for gives you an opportunity to highlight these areas on your resume, which often leads to more interviews.

Transferable Skills

Don’t underestimate the value of the positions you’ve held in the past. Many of your past jobs have helped you develop marketable skills that are transferable to other positions. For example, almost all positions at any level, across all industries, require customer service. If you’ve worked in retail or food services, you know it’s not always easy providing solid customer service in a fast-paced environment. This is an important skill to possess, making you more marketable for more positions.

Other Tips

STAR Method

When reflecting on what you’ve accomplished through your experience, try using the STAR method to think through what you’ve accomplished. This will help you articulate your accomplishments in the bulleted section of your experience.

  • Situation: Company, organization, club: location, dates, your title/role
  • Task: What did you do?
  • Action: How did you go about doing it?
  • Result: How did it benefit the company, organization, club, etc. What was the purpose?

Quantify – Provide Measurable Results / Achievements

Communication Skills

  • NOT – "Excellent communication skills,"
  • BUT – "Wrote 10 articles…," "Communicated with 150 members…" or "Led rebranding initiative that resulted in an increase of revenue by 10%…"

Problem-Solving Skills

  • NOT – "Strong problem-solving skills,"
  • BUT – "Provided three-phase plan that increased productivity…" or "Consulted with team on options for growing membership"

Find more tips at the University's Career Services resume section.