We have gathered 10 of the most common frequently asked questions college students have about resumes.
1. Why do I need a resume?
A resume serves the purpose to stimulate the interest of a potential employer enough to want to interview you. Resumes provide a brief overview of your skills and experience and demonstrate your aptitude for the job you are applying for. You might use a resume at job fairs and informational interviews, to answer job ads, to accompany a request for a letter of recommendation, and as part of a graduate school application.
2. Do I need an objective on my resume?
It is a good idea to include an objective on your resume so that a potential employer is clear about what you are looking for from the beginning. It's not required, but an objective is useful for focusing the resume and the reader.
3. What's the difference between a resume and a curriculum vitae?
A curriculum vitae (CV) is an academic resume and is used for research and college/university teaching positions. A CV can be as long as it takes to state one's qualifications, publications, papers presented, etc.
4. Can a resume be more than one page?
Yes, a resume can be more than one page, but it shouldn't be unless you have extensive experience related to your job objective. Most resumes for college students and recent graduates should fit onto one page if you clearly and concisely describe your experiences.
5. What's the best format: chronological or skills/functional?
There is no "best" format for all resumes--it depends on what you have done and what you are trying to accomplish. Usually, if you are applying to a more conservative industry (e.g. banking) or continuing along a prescribed career path in which you have gained some experience (engineering, for example), you'll want to use a chronological resume. A skills/functional resume works well if you have little work experience, are entering a career that is very different from your educational path, or are changing careers.
6. Should I include jobs I've had that don't relate to the job I'm seeking?
Your resume should include sufficient experience to demonstrate your ability to do the job that you are applying for and to show yourself as a person with experience in the working world. Directly related experience is considered most valuable, but unrelated jobs can also help you to show that you have acquired necessary skills.
7. Should I include my volunteer experience on my resume?
Yes! Volunteer work allows you to acquire hands-on experience and develop skills in the same way that paid positions do. Future employers want to see that you have developed skills and demonstrated them in a working environment.
8. Do I include personal information, such as interests and hobbies?
Placing your interests and hobbies on your resume can help an employer get an idea about who you are as an individual. However, this is not an essential part of most resumes and is one of the first sections to be removed if you run out of room.
9. Must I include my GPA on my resume?
As a student or recent graduate your academic achievement will be one of your most important assets. The basic rule of thumb is "if you've got it, flaunt it;" it is appropriate to include your GPA on your resume if it is 3.0 or above.
10. How can I get more help with my resume?
The Career Center offers several different resources to assist with creating or updating your resume.