Developing a polished and clearly focused resume is your first step towards gaining employment.
As you develop your resume, remember that we are here to help! Ensure that your resume will earn you an interview by attending a resume workshop, scheduling an appointment with a career counselor, or requesting written feedback via email.
Want resume feedback emailed to you?
Email your resume to email@example.com with the subject line "Resume Review." If you are applying for a specific position, be sure to include the job posting so we can help you tailor your resume. We will have someone look at your resume and send it back to you with feedback.
Please note: The Career Services Center only provides these services for WWU students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
View our tips on getting started.
Want additional support? attend a resume workshop or schedule an appointment with a career counselor.
It depends. Generally, we recommend undergraduates have a one-page resume. For graduate students 1-2 pages is acceptable. Longer resumes also may be appropriate if you are applying to research positions, government positions, or roles in the performing arts.
Talk with a career counselor if you are not sure what’s best for your situation.
Experience comes in many forms! If you don’t have relevant work experience yet, consider highlighting class projects, internships, and club involvement. If you have work experience that is less related to your desired field, include it and emphasize the transferable elements, such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving.
Learn how to improve your resume draft.
When you are ready for customized feedback, submit your resume for an email review or schedule an appointment.
Yes, it is essential to tailor your resume to match each position you are applying for. Learn how to tailor your resume.
While references are important, you should not include them on your resume or write “references available upon request.” Instead, create a separate document for your references to submit when the employer asks for them.
Yes! While the resume is a key part of any application, cover letters are also important. They help the employer learn why you are a strong candidate for the position—and why you are interested in the role/organization.
A CV, or Curriculum Vitae, emphasizes academic accomplishments and is used when applying for positions in academia, such as fellowships and grants. A CV has no limit on length and typically includes coursework, publications, posters, presentations, research, experience, etc. Learn more about CVs.
A resume is used when applying for a position in industry, non-profit, and private or public sector. A resume is selective and strategic in the information included. It is kept to 1-2 pages, emphasizing skills, knowledge, and experience relevant to the position.
For most internships and entry level positions, you will submit a resume.
A resume piques the employer's interest and gets you to the interview stage.
Your resume should be:
- Clearly and consistently formatted
- Focused on your unique contributions, accomplishments, and skills
- Tailored to the position, addressing the qualifications posted on the job description
In deciding what to include, ask yourself: How can I demonstrate that I have the relevant skills, knowledge, and experience for the position I want?
You can include a variety of details, such as relevant coursework, technical skills, volunteering, and club involvement. Check out the sample resumes to see what this looks like! Then learn how to create your own resume content.
Are you starting from scratch—or looking to update the style of your resume?
We offer a free resume builder tool called SkillsFirst. You can browse additional sample resumes by industry—and choose a template for your own resume. There is also a key words generator tool that helps tailor your resume for specific jobs!
Learn how to activate your SkillsFirst account and get started.
Tip: Keep your formatting simple. Some features, like text boxes and graphics, can cause problems with resume scanning software. Using SkillsFirst or one of our sample resumes will help you avoid this issue.
STRENGTHEN AND REVISE
The bullet points that describe your experience (work, volunteering, class projects, etc.) are an essential part of the resume. They should provide impactful information about what makes you a strong and unique candidate.
Make the most of your descriptions with these best practices:
- Start with a strong action verb
(Past tense for previous experiences, present for current ones)
- Highlight achievements/accomplishments, not just tasks/duties. Incorporate results, improvements, and problems solved using this formula:
What did you do + why did it matter?
- Quantify when possible.
(For example, if you were a tutor: How many people did you tutor? What age(s)? How many times per week?)
- End with a period.
Strengthen your existing bullet points using the good-better-best model.
Tip: Have you developed transferable skills, such as teamwork and communication? Rather than simply listing them in a skills section, show how you have used or developed these skills in the bullet points of your experience section. This is much more impactful—and convincing to employers!
TAILOR TO THE POSITION
Your resume is about you, but it is also about your audience! The information in your resume should make it clear why you are a great candidate for the job that you want.
To tailor your resume for a specific position, follow these steps:
- Identify key duties and qualifications in the job/internship posting.
- Ensure that you have clearly addressed how you meet these qualifications in your resume. Have you shown the employer that you have these skills/abilities? Remember, the employer does not know everything that you do about your previous experiences! It is up to you to share the relevant information with them.
- Condense or remove less relevant information. This helps to keep the reader focused on the important, relevant content of your resume.
- Incorporate key words from the job description into your resume. You can use the key word generator in SkillsFirst to identify possible words and phrases to include.
Tips: Start a “master resume” to save yourself time—both now and in the future!