Resume Writing Guide & Template

Learn the basics of resume writing. This guide identifies the various types of resumes, the benefits of each type and provides sample layouts.

Download Guide Download a full resume guide. (PDF)

Download Template Download a full resume template. (Word)

Resume Checklist

Before you start to make a list of your skills, achievements, volunteer work and interests; this list will help you organize what you want to include in your resume.

  • Your resume should be 1-2 pages in length.
  • Clearly display your name, address, telephone number and email address.
  • Determine whether a chronological or functional resume suits your needs.
  • Organize your resume by categories such as Skills and Accomplishments, - Employment Experience, Volunteer Experience and Education.
  • Be concise. Personal information (interests and hobbies) should not be included unless it relates to the job.
  • Place your references on a separate page. Make sure that you indicate at the bottom of your resume that your “references are available upon request”.
  • Have another person review your resume and check for spelling and grammar errors that you have missed.

Chronological vs. Functional

The following chronological and functional resume definitions and instructions are offered as a guideline and may need to be reviewed on an individual basis.

Chronological

Chronological resumes are designed to display your education, employment and volunteer experience by date and should be listed in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Chronological resumes are most effective when they can display an extended work history in a specific field without gaps in employment.

  • Step 1: Identify the position you are applying for and highlight key skills, experiences and educational requirements for the position.
  • Step 2: List your related education, employment and volunteer experience in reverse chronological order.
  • Step 3: In a bulleted list, outline the skills, experiences, accomplishments and achievements acquired through each educational institution, employer and volunteer organization listed in step 2 beginning with the most relevant and/or significant and using the language of the ad or occupation.

Functional

Functional resumes are designed to focus on skills and abilities obtained through education, employment and volunteer experience without specifying where and when you acquired them. Functional resumes are most effective when entering a field for the first time (students and graduates with little experience), making a drastic career change or when employment gaps may be a concern.

  • Step 1: Identify the position you are applying for and highlight key skills, experiences and educational requirements for the position.
  • Step 2: Develop a list of skill categories related to the position.
  • Step 3: In a bulleted list, outline related and transferable skills, abilities and experiences related to each of the skill categories.

Sample Skills, Experiences, Accomplishments & Achievements

Customer Service

  • Answered customer’s telephone, mail, email and in-person inquiries.
  • Provided customers with information and catalogs concerning pricing and shipping times of products and services.
  • Arranged for repair and replacement of defective items covered by warranty.
  • Notified customers when products were ready and/or service was complete.
  • Prepared and submitted special order requests.

Office Administration

  • Assigned duties and shifts to workers and observed performance to ensure adherence to company policies and procedures.
  • Answered inquiries pertaining to products and services.
  • Supervised staff and resolved conflicts.
  • Operated office equipment including computers, telephones, fax and photocopy machines.
  • Compiled, stored and retrieved data, files and reports.

Retail Sales

  • Processed cash, credit card and debit payments.
  • Wrapped and bagged merchandise for customers.
  • Set-up advertising displays and arranged merchandise on counters, tables and shelves.
  • Stamped, marked and tagged prices on merchandise.
  • Cleaned and stocked counters tables and shelves.

Waiter/Waitress

  • Provided dining room service to patrons.
  • Recorded food and beverage orders and delivered to kitchen and bar staff.
  • Cleaned tables and set flatware, napkins and menus.
  • Processed cash, credit card and debit payments.
  • Trained new staff serving and safety procedures.

REFERENCES

Follow these guidelines when adding your references to your resume:

  • Think of 3 strong references.
  • Separate your references into personal and professional.

    Personal: family friend, teacher, sports coach
    Professional: employer, volunteer supervisor

  • It is important to contact your references to ask for their permission and cooperation.
  • Ensure that your references will say only positive things about you and your abilities.
  • When you leave an employment or volunteer position ask for a letter of reference.