Skip to Main Content

Job Search: Resumes

Resume and job search tips, recommended reading, online resources, and community trainings for job seekers

Resume Tips & Templates

Although they can look tempting, we recommend avoiding resume builders or fancy templates because they are difficult to edit or change (or they might charge you!). It is generally best to create your resume from scratch in Microsoft Word, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive. If you're not sure how to create a formatted resume on your own, we have free templates below. 

If you haven't made a resume before (or if it's been a long time), use our resume worksheet to get organized first.

Most jobs in the US will ask for a 1-2 page resume, with a few notable exceptions: most academic positions and some industry-specific jobs will ask for a CV (curriculum vitae) and federal resumes have their own specialized requirements.

Struggling to find just the right words? These power verbs and power adjectives lists can help you create bullet points with real impact. You can also do a search online for "(career) + sample resume" and explore the results.


Resume Templates

We've put together some simple, streamlined resume templates that anyone with Microsoft Word can download. These templates are free from funky formatting, wacky fonts, and crazy colors and show you how to organize your information so that any potential employer can find what they're looking for.

Resume Tips

These are resume tips curated by the resume and career help librarians for helping you craft a document that will hopefully be noticed by the hiring manager.

A Word document is a better choice for creating a resume than a template. Making changes to a resume created with a template can mess up the formatting of the entire document, and some online resume-builder sites will charge you money to save the resume you created with their template. A PDF is also a valid file type to save your resume as, especially when emailing to a potential employer.

For most resumes, one or two pages is enough. Federal and academic resumes may be much longer.

Make sure the formatting is consistent, font size no smaller than 11 or 12 pt., and margins that are ½ inch to 1 inch wide. Use 1-2 simple fonts and keep bold, italics and underlining to a minimum. Too many styles can look confusing.

Check and double- and triple-check spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. Employers can be unforgiving of any mistakes, so make sure you review.

Put your name in large letters at the top (16 – 22 pt.) in your header. This helps to convey confidence. Contact info includes your name, city and state, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn link (optional).

One phone number is sufficient. Make sure your email address and the outgoing message on your voicemail are professional!

A Summary (also known as a Profile) goes right after your contact info, customized each time to the specific job you're applying for. The summary can be 4 to 6 lines and include the skills, experience, and strengths you have that are related to the job description. A paragraph or bullet points are fine.

Use keywords in your resume that the reader or applicant-tracking software (ATS) are likely to be looking/scanning for. Look closely at the job posting for the terms they use most often.

Do not use "I" or “Me” or “My” on the resume. It’s a resume writing rule.

The Experience section comes after the Summary (unless you are about to graduate very soon or are a very recent graduate, then the Education section can come before Experience).

The Experience section should be in reverse-chronological order which means to put your most recent job first. It should cover roughly the last 10-15 years.

Bullet points usually start with a verb, and verbs should be in the past tense unless you are writing about a job where you currently work. Work on choosing strong verbs to have strong bullet points.

Emphasize achievements whenever possible, rather than just listing your duties.

Education section should also be in reverse-chronological order (newest first). If you are working on a degree or certificate or diploma but do not yet have it, write "degree expected [month, year]".

"References provided upon request" is not necessary.

Do not have any information on your resume that is false or misleading. Employers do not want dishonest employees, and they will do background and reference checks.