Resume Guide

*The resume template is at the bottom of this page.

Resume Basics

  • The purpose of a resume is to present your qualifications to an employer in a way that is easy for them to process quickly. The more you can show them that you have what it takes to be successful in the role, the more likely you are to land an interview.
  • While there are standard resume expectations, there is not a “right” way to create a resume. Even within the same employer, two hiring managers can have very different opinions about what they look for in resume structure and content. The trick isn’t to please everyone, but rather to do enough research to tailor your resume for companies that would be a good fit.
  • Your resume will never stay the same! You will always add and delete material, especially as you gain more experience and learn more about each employer’s preferences. One way to make this process easier throughout your career is to re-read your resume often and keep an ongoing record of any new skills/accomplishments.
  • Creating a strong resume involves knowing yourself and making deliberate choices about content/formatting. Employers read through countless resumes that use the same clumsy Office/Google Docs templates, the same generic abilities, and the same overused buzzwords. The resumes that stand out are the ones where candidates can concisely convey their unique contributions in a clear, well-organized format.
  • Whenever it makes sense, show instead of tell. Anyone can say they’re good at time management, but an employer is more likely to notice a candidate who can prove it through their experience.
  • The difference between a CV and a Resume.  A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is a detailed document, usually two or more pages in length, that describes your education, career, achievements, publications, awards, and honors in detail.  CV’s are chronological and will give readers an overview of your career.  CV’s are not typically modified for a specific position, and are sent with a cover letter matching their skills and achievements for that position.  A resume, however, is usually no longer than a page and is typically crafted to fit the specific position for which a person is applying.  A resume should be brief and targeted, highlighting skills and achievements, customized to fit a specific role.

Resume Sections

When you’re choosing what to include on your resume,

  • Education
    • GPA—list if above a 3.0
    • Related coursework (optional)—list up to three courses that are relevant to the job posting
  • Experience
    • Field/Research
    • Professional
    • Part-time
    • Ongoing volunteer positions
  • Activities/Community Service (optional)
    • Student organizations
    • Leadership programs
    • Sports
    • Professional organization membership
  • Skills/Certifications (optional)
    • Specialized software/computer programs
    • Industry-specific abilities
    • Foreign languages
  • Honors/Awards (optional)
    • Scholarships
    • Special recognitions

Things to Leave Off Your Resume

  • Most things related to high school, such as high school name, GPA, and organizations. The exception to this is if you had part-time job experience that was longer than three months that you’d like to include in your experience.
  • References—these should go on a separate document that is formatted with the same header as your resume.
  • “References Available on Request”—most employers know that they can ask for references from you, so there’s no need to take up resume real estate with this statement.
  • Positions you held less than three months, with the following exceptions: 1) internships, 2) temporary leadership opportunities (e.g., Peer Mentor), 3) volunteer/mission trip experience that would be attractive to a particular employer
  • Your Missouri Baptist email address—because it’s a series of numbers, it’s much better to include a personal email (such as a gmail account). Make sure that the email you include is professional, preferably using your name (e.g.,
  • GPAs that are less than a 3.0.
  • The name of your spouse, your kids, or your previous supervisors.

Resume Job Duties/Accomplishments

One of the employer’s biggest questions when reading your resume is whether you have the necessary skills, experience, and training to do the job. Rather than reporting generic statements about what you’ve done at your previous jobs, use your employment history as a way to showcase major accomplishments. The best job duties/accomplishments include the following:

Action verb + Concrete Specifics (+ Results)

Brainstorming Questions

  • Who did you work with?
    • Customers/Clients/Students/Children/etc.
    • Manager/Coworkers
    • Other organizations/departments
  • What tools did you use?
    • Special machinery
    • Software
  • When/How often did you do this?
    • Weekly
    • Monthly
    • Quarterly
    • Seasons
  • How many people/items/services were involved?
  • Where did you do this?
    • International locations
    • Classroom
    • Outdoor venue
  • Why did you do something?
    • Increase customer satisfaction
    • Enhance product performance
    • Improve policies and procedures
    • Expand service offerings
    • Assess program effectiveness
  • What did you achieve on your job?
    • Carried out a special task
    • Reached a department/company goal
    • Received a promotion/raise/award
    • Trained new employees
    • Identified the source of a problem and suggested changes
    • Prevented merchandise/revenue loss
    • Served on a special committee
    • Created a new system/procedure/resource


  • Basic Job Duty
    • Trained volunteers to call program alumni
  • Better Job Duty
    • Trained six volunteers to conduct employment confirmation calls with alumni
  • Accomplishment Statement
    • Trained six volunteers to conduct employment confirmation calls with alumni, resulting in over 200 new jobs reported

Resume Formatting

Much like an interview requires both professional dress and content, your resume must also have a professional appearance in order to keep an employer engaged with what you’re communicating. Since employers must look through resumes quickly, your resume format should prioritize readability, organized sections, and consistency. Mastering this skill can demonstrate to an employer that you have attention to detail and can help the employer focus on your qualifications.

  • Create your own resume template. Though Microsoft Word and Google Docs offer resume templates that seem eye-catching, they’re often overused and difficult to adapt to your specific needs. Additionally, too many graphics/colors can sometimes distract employers from your qualifications (which is what you want an employer to remember!).
  • Limit your resume to one page. There are lots of people applying to the same position, which means an employer is unlikely to have the time to read the entirety of your first page, much less a second page.
  • Use bold, italics, underline, and borders These are best used to emphasize key information, such as headings, job titles, etc. When these features are overused or placed inconsistently throughout your resume, the information you’re trying to highlight will either blend in with everything else or will stand out in a negative way.
  • Right tabs offer an easy way to align information and clearly distinguish dates. To set a right tab:
    • Right click
    • Select “Paragraph”
    • Select the Tabs button on the lower left-hand corner
    • Type in the position number (e.g., 6.5)
    • Click the “Right” button under the Alignment section
    • Click OK
  • Margins: .5”-1”
  • Font
    • No smaller than 10, no bigger than 12 (though your name can be at 14)
    • Easily readable, such as Georgia, Avenir, Helvetica, Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman, Cambria
  • Job Duties
    • Always start with an action verb (Action Verbs). For instance, rather than saying “Responsible for planning Welcome Weekend events,” you would start with the verb “Plan” (if you’re presently in the job) or “Planned” (if this happened in a job you had in the past).
    • Since job duties are not written in complete sentences, they should not have any punctuation at the end.
    • Job duties should be bulleted so an employer can scan them quickly.

Resume Template Instructions

  1. This template is not the only way to build or design a resume! The purpose of this template is to give you a starting point for how to format a resume. If you have created your own resume design/format from scratch, you are not required to use this one.
  2. Feel free to adapt this resume to suit your needs. For instance, you can change the margins, font, tabs, etc. to options that better suit your industry and preferences.
  3. Don’t feel like you have to include every piece of information listed on the template. In fact, you’ll notice that several sections are listed as optional. If a section doesn’t apply to you, delete it.
  4. Don’t forget to delete this information when applicable:
    • “Expected graduation” once officially you’ve graduated
    • “(optional)” from any sections where you’ve chosen to provide information
    • “(if applicable)” from any sections where you’ve provided information
  5. Remember that this template is designed with current students and recent graduates in mind. As you get further into your career, many of these sections will become obsolete as you gain new experience and skills in your industry. For instance, the longer you’re out of college, the less employers will be interested in the organizations you participated in while you were on campus.

Resume Template