Resume FAQs

What is a resume?

What do I include in my resume?

How do I format my resume?

How do I add study abroad experience?

What about resumes outside the U.S.?

What is the difference between a CV and a resume?

Why should I get my resume approved by Hiatt?

Featured Resources

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Browse resume tips by field using Spotlight on Careers, accessible via B.hired > Resources.

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Hiatt's Resume Guidelines

Sample Resumes

Resume Express Link

Click on the links below to view samples of specific formats:

Create a Resume

A resume is a summary of your skills and experiences that highlights academic, professional and leadership accomplishments. It should project a solid "fit" between you and the opportunity you seek, and generate the desire on the part of a potential employer, field site, funder or graduate school to talk with you further.  A resume is also an example of your writing skills; it should be perfectly written and punctuated.

It is important to be honest and truthful throughout your resume, as well as up-to-date and concise.

Sections & Content

Contact Information

  • Include your name, address, phone number and professional email address.
  • If your present address is temporary, you may also include a permanent address.
  • Your name should be on the first line and in a larger font than the rest of the resume.

Career Objective or Summary Sections

A majority of resumes do not call for an Objective or a Summary section, especially when you are applying for an individual opportunity. These sections can be useful selectively, however, when the reader needs a more specific context for assessing your resume with respect to the opportunity (Objective) or when it is important to call attention to your overall professional achievements at the very start of the page (Summary). The Objective should be no more than one sentence and begin with "To ...;" the Summary contains very specific relevant skills and achievements in no more than three bullet points.

Education/Certification

  • Brandeis is listed at the top of your Education section, including location, degree you expect to earn (BA or BS) and your major(s) and minor(s). Please note that you only earn one bachelor's degree at Brandeis - either a BA or a BS - regardless of the number and types of majors you have. If you have questions about your degree, consult the registrar's office.
  • The date of your expected graduation is listed at the right hand margin of the page, on the line that states the degree that you will earn and is formatted as "Expected month, year."
  • If you would like to list your GPA or if an employer asks for it to be included on your resume, write the figure out to one or two decimals only.  There is no "rounding up" with your GPA (e.g. 3.457 becomes 3.45 not 3.46); place it on a line under your Brandeis degree and major and minor information.
  • If you studied abroad, list this experience below the Brandeis University entry; check the right sidebar for formatting examples (International Study and Work sample resumes)
  • If you transferred to Brandeis, list your former institution under the Brandeis listing and/or under a study abroad experience, if applicable.
  • You may list selected courses you have take if they are directly relevant to the opportunity.
  • You may include the title of your senior thesis.
  • If applicable, you may include the title of any certificate/license you have related to the opportunity; include title of the certificate/license, the official number and date completed. If you have not completed all requirements, list the name and date of each completed component.
  • You may include significant awards and honors.

Experience

  • Consider grouping your employment, internships, volunteer work and activities under headings such as "Relevant Experience," "Additional Experience," "Professional Experience," Leadership Experience," and/or "Activities."
  • Within each section, list entries in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent.
  • For each experience include: name of employer or organization, location ("city, state" in the U.S., "city, country" for locations outside of the U.S.), dates of employment (flush with the right margin), your position title and a description of responsibilities (in bullet form).
  • Describe your responsibilities by starting each statement (bullet) with an action verb; avoid phrases like, "Duties included," "Responsible for," "Helped to," or "Assisted with."
  • Bullets are not complete sentences: do not use periods in the middle or at the end of each phrase.
  • Use present tense action verbs for work you are currently doing and past tense action verbs for activities in which you are no longer engaged.
  • Use quantitative information when applicable, e.g. "Developed and implemented bi-weekly leadership training sessions for 50 Brandeis students."
  • List only activities that you have completed or in which you are currently involved; you cannot list experience or responsibilities on your resume that you have not yet begun.

Skills

The Skills section usually lists both general and field- or position-specific skills and abilities. Headings within the section may include, for example, Computers, Languages, Social Media or Technical. Do not include in this section self-reported qualities such as "good with people," "hard working," or "excellent communication skills."

Do not report English language skills in the Languages category except on resumes for employers in non-English speaking countries. In addition, U.S. employers expect that international students who study in the United States have excellent English skills, therefore it is not necessary to note fluency in English.

For Skills section formats specific to science-related and technical resumes, see the Computer Science and Research samples (right sidebar).

For Skills section formats specific to the performing arts, please refer to the Arts samples (right sidebar).

Do Not Include

  • First person, including "I," "me," or "my," in your resume.
  • Salary requirements.
  • On U.S. resumes, you should never include personal information such as your age, gender, race, religion, political affiliation, marital status, social security number, etc.
  • Reasons for leaving previous jobs (however, be prepared to discuss them in an interview)
  • Uncommon abbreviations or acronyms; use the full name of a company or organization and, if necessary, include the acronym after the name in parentheses.

Formatting

  • Length: Most industries/fields require that your resume be no more than one page in length. There are a few fields and situations that allow the flexibility of a second page if the information is relevant, for example, non-profits, government, education, graduate school or fellowship applications. Please consult with a Hiatt career counselor to discuss resume length and content issues if you have any questions. If your resume is two pages, print your name and "Page 2" on top of the second page.
  • Font: Use a plain professional font such as Arial, Times, Helvetica, Bookman, in 10 - 12 point. Use one font consistently for the body of the resume.
  • Margins: Have consistent margins, no less than .5 inches wide.
  • Consistency: Be consistent in all things: spacing between entries and sections, formatting (bold, italics, bullets), indenting, margins, punctuation, dashes, capitalization and dates. Be careful to list state names consistently, using the official abbreviation (i.e., MA, NY, CA). It would be inconsistent to alternate between "Rhode Island" and "RI."
  • Accuracy: Proofread, proofread, proofread - then have someone else review your resume. Hiatt drop-in hours are a great way to have your resume reviewed.
  • Printing: Use quality bond/resume paper in white or ivory. Use a high quality laser printer; never submit a photocopy.
  • Electronic submission: Always send your resume in .pdf format so that your formatting will not shift when opened.
  • Do not use gimmicks such as pictures, graphics, bright paper or creative fonts; they are distracting and do not scan well.

Incorporating International Study & Experience

Employers are eager to learn about your global skills. Be sure to include both study abroad in your Education section and any work experiences (paid work, internship, and/or volunteering) in your Experience or Activities sections, as appropriate. Check the right sidebar of this page to view sample resumes ("International Work and Study") that incorporate and showcase international experience. 

International Resumes/CV’s 

If you are conducting a job search abroad, you may need to create a resume that corresponds to the standard format of the country in which you want to work. Going Global (accessible via B.hired > Resources) is a valuable resource offering examples of country-specific resumes. Choose the country of your choice and click on "Resume Resources."

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

In the United States, the primary differences between a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV) are length, specialized content and audience. A resume is brief and concise - usually one page - while a CV is often two pages. And whereas a resume summarizes your skills, experience and education, a CV expands upon these accomplishments and contains more detailed information and descriptions. A CV may have sections devoted to, for example, teaching experience, research experience, publications, presentations, awards, specialized skills and professional affiliations and/or memberships. In the United States, a CV is used primarily when applying for academic,  advanced science or research positions. It is also often needed when applying for fellowships, grants and graduate school.

In many countries other than the United States, a document equivalent to a U.S. standard resume is often called a "CV." Browse the CV and resume samples in the right sidebar as well as country-specific resume samples in Going Global (accessible via B.hired > Resources) to view the differences and for more information. Meet with a Hiatt counselor if you have any questions.

Resume Approval Process

The Hiatt Career Center is happy to review your resume to help you polish it to a high professional level and individualize it for a range of opportunities. Hiatt can also "approve" your resume, meaning that a counselor officially determines that it meets - at a minimum - all of the standards outlined in Hiatt's Resume Rubric.  We recommend that all students have their resumes reviewed by Hiatt but we suggest that you go one step further to have it approved so that it is at its very best and ready to share with all professionals and programs. In addition, approval of your resume may actually be required during your time at Brandeis in order to apply for or participate in certain opportunities, for example, applying for the Business major, study abroad and/or positions posted in B.hired through Hiatt's Campus Recruiting Program

During your time at Brandeis you only need to have your resume approved twice: once during your first, sophomore or junior year and then again as a senior. Your approval status is noted at the top of the Profile section in your B.hired account. You may confirm your resume approval status at any time by viewing the very top section of your B.hired profile page.

It's easy to begin the resume review and approval process. Take advantage of counselor appointments and drop-in hours at Hiatt as well as on-line reviews through HiattChat. Start today - we're ready to help!