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Resumé Writing

Writing for Success

A resume is a document, typed and typically one page in length, that you create to give potential employers and others facts about your education, skills and work experience, including volunteer and community service activities. Employers use resumes to determine who to interview. The primary objective of your resume is to generate job interviews that lead to employment!

Even if a company only requires that you complete a job application, bringing a resume with you for all job-related meetings and offering it to your potential employer will demonstrate your professionalism and help you get noticed. 

It is always a good idea to tailor your resume and list any skills you have that were specifically called for in the posting for the job for which you are applying. The skills and experience requested indicate the key words and skill sets the employer is seeking. Applicants who best meet the employer’s needs are often called in for an Interview.

QUICK TIP: Update your resume each time you obtain a new job or title so that you don’t have to go back and try to recall prior job duties and dates years later.

Career Placement Offices, counselors and City programs such as The Department of Family and Support Services Youth Career Development Centers can help you prepare and proof your resume. We encourage you to tap into these professionals, family members and mentors as you build and update your resume. Have a second – and even a third – set of eyes proofread your resume before you send it to potential employers, too!

One of the best way to start writing your resume is to look at samples. Many major online job sites post free career tips, often including sample resumes and cover letters. You always want to create original content that is your own, but these samples will show you how to format your resume and give you a feel for the type of information to include and how to showcase your strengths. See the Job Hunting section of this site.


Sample Resume:

123 North Your Street
Chicago, Illinois 60601
(773) 555-1234

Use one or two straightforward sentences that describe what you are looking for in your job search. Tailor this statement to the job you’re seeking/skills you have that are sought by the potential employer.


  • List name, address and dates of attendance of current school. Include type of degree or anticipated degree, major, date or anticipated date of graduation, major courses of study.
  • List name, address and dates of attendance of previous school(s). If you are currently in college, include information about your high school; if you are currently in high school, include information about elementary school.


  • List name, address and dates of employment of your current or most recent employer. Include position and/or job title and briefly list responsibilities.
  • List name, address and dates of employment of previous employer(s). Include position and/or job title and briefly list responsibilities/highlight significant  accomplishments.


  • List name, address and dates of volunteer service to nonprofit organizations, along with a brief description of your responsibilities/accomplishments.


  • Use this section to your advantage. Include such things as languages spoken, sports, extra-curricular activities, and volunteer work.


Resume Checklist

Following is a checklist to help you make sure you’ve included the information employers will be looking for in your resume. Feel free to print this list and check off each box as you prepare and proof your resume.

QUICK TIP: As you review your resume, double-check names, phone numbers and addresses. An incorrect phone number or email address can make the difference between hearing or not hearing from a potential employer!

Personal Data

  • Your full first and last name
  • Your full mailing address, again with words spelled out in full (In general, avoid abbreviations throughout your entire resume.)
  • Both your home phone number and a phone number where messages can be left if you don't have an answering machine.
  • An email address, if you have one.  You may wish to open a free, dedicated email account for all job-related correspondence. That way, everything in that email box pertains to your job search. It is best to use an email address containing your name or first initial and last name; this is not the place for catchy email addresses using adjectives, nicknames or funny expressions. You want employers to see you as responsible, mature and professional – serious about the job.

QUICK TIP: It is essential that everything stated on your resume is true. Employers have the right to check facts listed on the resume, ask for transcripts to verify grade point averages and contact former employers. Showcase your enthusiasm, skills and successes but make sure all of the information in your resume is accurate.


  • Underneath your name and contact information, briefly describe your job goals and what you have to contribute. Make sure your objective (or goal) matches in some way the job for which you are applying. You may modify your objective to fit the job to which you are applying.


  • List schools attended, the type of program, areas of concentration and years of completion in reverse chronological order (from most to least recent). Include awards, certificates, diplomas and degrees and special honors received.
  • If you are still in, but have not yet completed, an educational program or job, you may still list it, just indicate your start date, a dash, and no end date.

Work Experience

  • List jobs in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Provide the full name of the company you worked for, the city, state and dates of employment for each past job. You also may include jobs such as babysitting (child care provider).
  • If you don’t have any/much job experience, you also may list volunteer jobs you have held and highlight the contributions you made to these organizations. If you do have professional experience, you can still list your volunteer positions and contributions in a “Community Service” section of your resume, which can be added below the “Work Experience” section.

Special Skills

  • Include any skills and special abilities you have relevant to the job you are seeking, such as computer software (i.e., word processing, spreadsheets, and accounting) you’ve studied and know how to use.
  • If you speak multiple languages, list them in this section.


  • References are people (non-family members) who can talk about your professional strengths, skills, attitude and character. This may include former bosses, teachers, heads of departments you know at your school, executives at organizations at which you were a volunteer, even the parents of children you regularly babysat, if you do not have professional experience. You may include this information at the end of your resume or on a separate sheet that includes the exact same personal contact information you placed at the very top of your resume.
  • Always ask permission before including someone’s name and contact information on your Reference List. In addition, it’s a good idea to contact your references whenever you give the list to a potential employer and let them know the job you’re applying for and the name of the company and person to whom you gave your references.
  • List the name, title, company and contact information for each of your references (at least three, if possible):

Full Name
Company Name
City, State Zip Code
Phone Number
E-mail Address