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Before You Get Here: Write a resumé

Do you have a resumé yet? If you don’t, now is the time to make one, since you’ll need a resumé to apply for jobs and internships. Not sure what a resumé is, or how to get started? Not to worry! We can help.

What is a resumé?

A resumé is a document that outlines your experience and accomplishments. Your goal with your resumé should be to convince someone, typically a prospective employer, that you are qualified to do the work they need done.

Usually, a resumé is one page long. The language is concise, and bulleted lists are more common than complete sentences. A good resumé is easy to scan and gets to the point quickly.

What goes on a resumé?

All resumés should include your name and contact information. What else you include depends on your experience and on the position for which you’re applying. Your resumé might include sections summarizing:

  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Volunteer or Extracurricular Experience
  • Skills
  • Honors & Awards

You may not have anything you can list under an area like “Work Experience,” but you’ve probably been involved in something that can show a potential employer you’re responsible and worth hiring. Volunteering, extracurriculars, and sports teams all show that you work hard and that you are reliable.

For each item of experience you list, you should include start and end dates. You don’t need exact calendar days, but you should definitely include a month and year. If you started babysitting your neighbors’ twins two years ago and stopped this summer, the date range might look like “May 2013 – June 2015.” If you’re still babysitting the little darlings, you should say “May 2013 – Present” instead.

Be sure to list any special skills you have that could be helpful. This could include things like speaking multiple languages, being good with computers, or knowing how to edit video.

Tailor and update your resumé

As you send your resumé out for jobs, be sure to tailor it by featuring skills that will help you in the positions you apply for. You should also keep your resumé updated by adding new positions you’ve held and skills you’ve learned.


Your resumé should fit on one page pretty comfortably. Use bulleted lists to describe each item, and avoid complete sentences or paragraphs.

Use a font that is clear, readable, and professional. For a long time, people have stuck with Times New Roman for resumés, but a group of typography experts recently named it one of the worst fonts to use on a resumé. Some great alternatives are Calibri, Garamond, and Georgia.

Final Tips and Resources

A few last things to keep in mind as you build your resumé:

  • Use reverse chronological ordering. List items that have dates, like jobs you’ve had and classes you’ve taken, in reverse chronological order, from most to least recent, within each category.
  • Triple check spelling and grammar. One typo can make a potential employer move on to someone they feel put more time and effort into their resumé.
  • If you need help with your resume or want someone to look it over when you’re done, contact the Career Development Center. The JU CDC offers career consulting and counseling, career assessments, job and internship postings, mock interviewing, resumé/cover letter preparation and revision, and more. Visit them online at www.ju.edu/careerdevelopmentcenter, email them at careers@ju.edu, or call (904) 256-7054.

Are you #newtoJU? Check out our one-stop home for all our admitted students at welcome.ju.edu/newtoju, or read more of our Before You Get Here series here on Wave Magazine Online.