What is a Resume?

A resume is typically a one-page marketing tool designed to get you an interview. Your goal is to use the space on the page to, at a glance, communicate your value and provide evidence of your capabilities. Your resume will summarize your education, experience, and accomplishments to present the skills that are relevant to your career objectives. It is up to you to make a connection between your skills and background to the requirements of the job.

See resume samples below.

Writing your Resume

Resumes for Co-op and Internships

  • In your first resumes, include your college and your high school, and any work or other experience that you have had that will allow a potential internship or other employer to form a sense of your skills. If you completed an N.U.in program, make sure you include that as well.

After Graduation vs. Co-op

  • Your after-graduation resume should be different from your coop resume. It should target specific positions and summarize relevant past accomplishments and results with both qualitative and quantitative statements.

Targeting your Resume

There is a difference between your co-op resume and the one you will use for a professional job after college. One of the main differences is that your professional resume should be targeted to fit the jobs for which you are applying.

Here are the steps to consider:

  • The concept of a targeted resume implies that you must first have a job target. If you don’t know what you want to do, work with a counselor in Employer Engagement and Career Design to narrow your focus. A generic resume that is too broad will not be as effective in selling you to potential employers.
  • Your resume is not a chronology of everything you have done! It is an advertisement of your skills and abilities to do a particular job. You do not need to include every job you have had since college. Make a decision to edit down or eliminate altogether any jobs that don’t match your target.
  • Utilize every section of your resume to highlight related skills and experiences. This can be especially useful if you did not do co-op or internships in your field, or if you have changed your career focus. Did you take any courses in your field of interest? Create a sub heading under your Education section called Related Coursework that showcases these. Did you do any projects or research as a student? A capstone project or a “middler” year writing paper that relates to your career interests could be described in a Related Projects or Research section.
  • When writing the Experience section of your resume, organize your jobs to maximize the related work you have done. Use a section called Relevant Experience to present those jobs related to your target in an organized and unified way, especially if they don’t naturally fall in chronological order. Also, if you participated in volunteer jobs or student leadership activities that relate to your career goals, you can describe your accomplishments in more detail with bullets rather than just listing them. Positions in the Experience section do not necessarily have to be ones for which you were paid.
  • You can create another heading called Other or Additional Experience to include those jobs that don’t relate as well to your target but that you still want to keep on your resume.
  • Arrange your bullets to emphasize the most relevant job duties and responsibilities. For example, if you want a job as a writer, describe the writing related activities you did first, even if these were not your primary responsibilities on that job. You may have spent less than 10% of your time writing, but list these responsibilities first because that is what potential employers will be interested in. Put peripheral experiences last, if at all.
  • Your job bullets should not read like a job description. Do not simply copy from descriptions; rather, they should highlight concrete accomplishments and results. For example, did you save or make the company money? Save time or create a more efficient system? Did you solve a problem or initiate something that added value? How many people did you train? Catch the employer’s attention by showing how you added value to the organization’s bottom line. A generic cut and paste of your co-op job description will not do it!

Incorporating Identity into your Resume

Listing any identity-based campus involvement or professional experience on a resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, or in an interview depends on your decision to disclose information to an employer about your identity (race, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, veteran status, ability, international student, political view, age and other intersections of identity). There is no right or wrong to the disclosure process. The choice of communicating pieces of your identity in application materials, during interviews, on social media, or on the job is entirely yours and completely valid whether you do or not.

As this table demonstrates, you have options in your choice of job titles/headers to match your chosen level of identity-based disclosure:

Comfortable Disclosing Not Comfortable Disclosing
Black Law Students Association, Vice PresidentDiversity Law Organization, Vice President
Reach (OUT) LGBTQA+ Career Conference, Student SpeakerCareer Conference, Student Speaker
Disability Mentoring Day, VolunteerAccessible Mentorship Program, Volunteer

Ultimately, the decision to disclose your identity’s intersections on your resume or other job application materials is a personal one. We encourage you to be your authentic self in your professional brand and the job search process. We also encourage you to research an organization’s mission and values prior to applying. Ideally, you will find a workplace that will value your authentic self, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. It is important to consider your personal comfort and weigh the risks and benefits that matter to you the most when making decisions about what to include on your resume. Be sure to leverage resources in your community, Career Design, or wherever you feel the most supported by peers, staff, and/or faculty to talk through this decision.

Resume Samples

Below you will find different samples to give you ideas for your own resume.

Your resume will evolve over time as you gain more experiences, tailor it for different roles, or find new ways to describe who you are and what you can contribute. Compare these first-year, sophomore, and 4/5th year resumes to see this evolving process at work.

As a recent graduate, you want to highlight all your experiences, to be able to write a strong resume that will help you stand out from the crowd. Emphasize your work experiences, Internships, Co-op, XN projects, and any of your leadership roles. Demonstrate that you have the skills and experiences needed to succeed in the workforce. Take a look at these samples and compare for yourself.

With additional experience comes new decisions about what to include or omit from your resume. In addition, the content emphasis or sequence of categories may need to be significantly revised if you are changing careers. Compare these samples from recent graduates.

It is important to understand and analyze your target industry as this will help you better position your resume. Take a look at these targeted samples to help you identify what skills and experiences to include on your own resume.

Customizing your resume allows you to demonstrate the qualifications, accomplishments, and aspects of your previous and current experiences that match closely with the requirements employers are looking for.