The Resume

An effective resume:

  • Supports and strengthens your job objective
  • Attracts attention to your special abilities and qualities
  • Demonstrates your future value to an employer
  • Reflects your uniqueness as much as possible
  • Creates a favorable impression
  • Is concise, well-organized, and attractive

Resume Contents


  • Name, address, phone number (include area code). Make sure you have a professional voicemail. If you are residing at a temporary address, you can include both your current and permanent addresses.
  • Include a professional e-mail address.


  • This brief description of the type of position desired should follow your contact information. A job objective helps you and the employer focus on a specific position or career goal. Your resume should support your objective.
  • Education majors applying for teaching positions do not need to include an objective but should use a certification category instead.
  • For further information, see the CAPE handout "Writing Job Objectives".


  • Name of school, city and state of school, major, degree and the date (month and year) received. The official name of this institution is: State University of New York College at Buffalo.
  • Including honors and grade point average information is optional, although recommended when it will enhance your image. Above a 3.0 is recommended for inclusion. If you are including your GPA or Major GPA, be sure to list the grade scale used, for example, 3.7/4.0.
  • If you graduated from more than one school, list the most recent first. It is not always necessary to list all the schools you have attended. Do not list high school, unless you need to emphasize some important aspect of it that is related to your career goal, e.g. listing a technical high school because you are entering the engineering field.
  • Additional training you have received may either go under Education or a separate heading.


  • Paid employment, internships, field work, volunteer, service-learning, and military. Describe your experience in that position emphasizing accomplishments, skills, and abilities appropriate to the position for which you are applying. Note the employing organization, city and state, dates of employment, and job title. Internships and field work may be described under Education, Experience, or in its own category titled Internships. New graduates can list part-time and summer jobs whether or not they relate to the career goal.
  • If you have had many unrelated jobs, you may briefly summarize your duties and responsibilities, in a few sentences, under one heading.
  • For further information, see the CAPE handout "Writing Action Verb Statements".

Resume Formats

When selecting a format, it is important to choose one that enables you to best emphasize your particular strengths. There is no "right" format for a resume. With any format you choose, the unique and creative manner in which you write headings, sequence sections, and design layout should serve to enhance your image. While there are many different formats for resumes, the most widely used is REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL. This format lists your experiences with the most recent first. You may arrange or subdivide your headings in various ways depending upon which aspects of your background you want to emphasize or have noticed first. An exception to reverse chronological might occur when your past experience is more related to your goals than your recent experience, in which case you would list past experience first.

Optional Contents

The following optional information may also be included in your resume.

COURSES: Upper level courses relevant to the position for which you are applying, may be listed. Six to eight courses are recommended. For example: Personnel Administration or Machine Design, not the course number and credit hours. You might want to include any significant coursework concentrations you have also had. For example: Marketing or Energy Systems.

SPECIAL PROJECTS: This is a good way to demonstrate accomplishments/experience gained through class projects, internships, and volunteer or other extracurricular activities. Select projects that can demonstrate relevant skills or accomplishments.

SPECIAL SKILLS: These should be marketable skills in your career area, e.g. foreign languages technical, and computer skills, not communication skills or working with people.

CAMPUS ACTIVITIES: Clubs, honors groups, student organizations. List any leadership roles held. A brief description of your activities can be included if it relates to your career objective or demonstrates your skills, e.g. fundraising, event planning.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Many important skills are developed through community, volunteer, and service-learning work. Significant projects, activity participation, and offices held should be mentioned as they relate to your career goal.

LICENSES AND CERTIFICATIONS: Health-related, CPR, First Aid, computer, etc.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS: Membership in professional organizations. If applicable, list any offices held.

RESEARCH, PUBLICATIONS, AND PRESENTATIONS: Include title, name of periodical, publisher, place of publication or presentation, and date. A description of any research conducted should be included when relevant.

PLEASE NOTE: Personal data (e.g. height, weight, age, etc.) should not be listed on a resume, cannot be required by potential employers under federal regulations, and, in fact, may provide the employer with a basis for discrimination. There are some career fields where personal data is relevant and required, e.g. acting.

Additional Resume Headings:

Academic Background
Academic Training
Education Background
Special Training
Academic Preparation
Course Highlights
Related Courses
Relevant Coursework
Technical Courses
Professional Licensure
Military Training
Study Abroad
Conferences Attended
Career Achievements
Additional Experience
Experience Summary
Professional Background
Professional Work
Professional Experience
Related Experience
Work Experience
Work History
Teaching Experience
Student Teaching Experience
Field Experience
Substitute Teaching
Coaching Experience
Practicum Experience
Research Experience
Civic Activities
Military Experience
Part-Time Experience
Summer & Seasonal Experience
Volunteer Experience
Service-Learning Experience
Community Service
Activities & Distinctions
College Activities
Honors & Distinctions
Honors & Awards
Campus Leadership
Professional Membership
Professional Organizations
Student Organizations

Computer Skills
Language Competencies
Studio Skills
Technical Skills

Alternative Resume Formats:

For job seekers pursuing online, digital media, and/or creative professions, alternative types of resumes may be appropriate to enhance and demonstrate skills related to the job and potential fit within an organizations’ culture; however, before determining if an alternative resume is appropriate, it is imperative to research the organization. Organizations whose overall brand tends to be more casual and creative will likely be a better fit for this type of unconventional approach. Using alternative formats, which may include the use of infographics (a visual representation of skills, experience, etc.) and video (a 30 second commercial), can also allow a candidate to show passion for his or her craft, as well as highlight skills and future value. Similar to a traditional resume, alternative resumes should be tailored to the position and/or the organization and be professional. Click here for examples of alternative resumes.

Career & Professional Education

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Buffalo, New York 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-5811  •  Fax: (716) 878-3152