• Counseling and Advising

  • Resume Writing

    anchor What is a Resume?
    anchor Resume Internet Resources
    anchor Basic Principles
    anchor What Information should be included on my Resume?
    anchor Suggested Action Verbs
    anchor Resume Sample #1
    anchor Resume Sample #2
    anchor Preparing an Activity List for Your College Application

    Information on these WebPages was adopted from the UMD Career Placement Services, WebPages, The Blake School Counseling Handbook, and Creating Your High School Resume.

    What is a Resume?

    A resume can be an important communication tool in the college application process. Often times, there is little space provided to state your experience and accomplishments. When using a resume, you may write on your application “Please see enclosure”.

    A resume is a concisely written summary of your personal, educational, activities, and work experience intended to:

    • Introduce yourself to a school.
    • Organize the relevant facts about you in a written, logical, easy to read, easy to understand, and visually pleasing presentation.
    • Focus attention on your qualifications and accomplishments and demonstrate why you are an attractive candidate.

    There are a number of ways you might write your resume, all depending upon who you are, what you have to offer, and what kind of school you are seeking. The three types of resume formats most frequently used are:

    • Chronological resume - lists your qualifications (education and experience) and other relevant information in reverse chronological order.
    • Functional resume - focuses on a summary of the functions you have performed and plays down dates of work history. the functional resume is often used by people without experience directly related to their current objectives.
    • Combination resume - uses elements of both the chronological and functional resumes.

    Resumes may vary in content as well as form, appearance, style, and layout. It is important to remember that a resume is a personally written document that allows for individual creativity. It should present a positive image to the potential school. It is important to keep the college admissions officer in mind, as he or she may be the sole reader. By positioning the most important information about your experiences and qualifications first and devoting the most space to them, you highlight your strengths.

    Internet Resources

    Basic Principles

    All resumes should follow the same basic principles to be of interest to and optimally read.

    1. Before developing your resume, begin with a thorough self-assessment. What do you want to do? What skills and abilities do you need and do you possess? How can you demonstrate what you know and can do?
    2. Place your name, in all capital letters and bold, and address on different lines at the top of the resume. Include your telephone number, e-mail address, and home page address. If your resume is two pages (which rarely occurs), your name should be the first line on the second page.
    3. Length depends upon your experience and qualifications. Generally, resumes do not exceed two pages. For most recent high school students, a one-page resume is all that is necessary and expected.
    4. Your resume should be on 8 1/2" x 11" paper, printed on one side. Use a computer with a high quality printer and only black ink. You may reproduce your resume using a high-quality photocopier.
    5. Present your resume on quality bond paper of at least 20-pound weight. Knowing your audience is your best guide to the selection of paper and color - white, off-white, ivory, light tan, or light gray paper. If you prefer to use colored paper, select a lightly tinted color that will make clear copies.
    6. Be honest. Emphasize your strengths, experience, and capabilities. Provide accurate dates and list only months and years, or just years.
    7. Avoid writing anything negative.
    8. Identify your skills by using nouns. Use industry jargon and buzzwords. Example: AP (Advanced Placement)
    9. Put the most important information first working keywords into the body of the resume.
    10. Use "action" verbs to communicate accomplishments and results. Use present tense in referring to activities in which you are currently engaged. Describe previous activities in the past tense.
    11. Make your resume easy to look at and follow. It should read more like an outline than narrative. Do not use first person pronouns. The "I" is implied as the subject when you are writing about yourself. Use incomplete sentences or phrases and maintain a consistent format.
    12. Use plenty of white space. Computers like white space and so does the human eye. One-inch margins (top, bottom, left, and right) are optimal for viewing. Some recent word processing programs have the default margins set higher. Change the margins to one-inch to take advantage of the best use of space.
    13. Use one font size of 10 to 12 points. Some say point sizes up to 14 are acceptable but, to the human reader, anything over 12 may appear as if you are just taking-up space. Use one popular, non-decorative typeface throughout. A few excellent fonts include Times, Arial, Palatino, and Helvetica.
    14. Avoid using italic, script, and underlined text. The letters sometimes touch and computers may have difficulty recognizing the individual characters and will be unable to read the information. Avoid graphics and shading. Scanning equipment is generally set to read only text, not graphics.
    15. CAPITAL LETTERS are acceptable, however, use them sparingly for effect and attention grabbing for the human reader, it doesn't matter to computers. Boldface may be acceptable and should be used sparingly as well.
    16. You may use bullets but make sure they are solid, not hollow, symbols and that at least one blank space, up to two blank spaces, are inserted between the bullet and the text. Using more than two blank spaces defeats the purpose of the bullet by placing the text too far from it. You may have to adjust the automatic spacing for bullets with some word processing programs.
    17. Omit irrelevant and personal information such as height, weight, age, sex, unless it is for a visual / performing arts school.
    18. Do not use staples. Pages may stick together after a staple is removed.
    19. Draft and redraft your resume until it will capture a school’s interest and show that you have the qualifications to be admissible.
    20. Always proofread your resume for visual quality, content, and typographical, and spelling errors. Have several other people proofread your resume as well.
    21. Plan ahead. Do not anticipate writing your best resume overnight.
    22. Update your resume regularly.

    What Information Should Be Included On My Resume?

    The following suggestions are provided to assist you in drafting your resume. There are several acceptable styles for organizing material in your resume. Although the names of the categories may vary, the following information should be included as appropriate:

    • Personal Identification: Name, present and permanent addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and home page address if you have one and want a school to view it.
    • Objective: A brief statement indicating what your goals are. It is a critical part of your resume; everything that follows should support the objective. If you have more than one objective, you may want to tailor separate resumes to fit each one. Some schools won't place importance on having an objective other than admission. An objective indicates that you've thought about what you want to do, and that you have some direction or goal.
    • Education: List your high school, projected date of graduation, AP or Enriched courses, and outside enrichment coursework, including summer classes or study abroad. (Your transcript lists all your course work, so you will only need to highlight your most rigorous classes.) List your class rank and grade point average if it is 3.0, or higher, on a 4.0 scale – 9.0 on a 12.0 scale. If you list your grade point average, list the scale, too. Include test scores, including AP, PSAT (if appropriate), SAT, SAT II, ACT.
    • Academic Awards and Honors: List items of importance.
    • Extra-curricular activities: Athletic and non-athletic, both school related and otherwise. Include leadership positions, awards, years involved.
    • Volunteer and/or Work Experience: List and briefly describe, in reverse chronological order, your experience. Experience may include paid and volunteer positions, full- and part-time work, and internships and should emphasize skills, accomplishments, and knowledge, using action verbs. Indicate your job title, name of organization with city and state, and dates of the experience.
    • Special Talents: Areas that demonstrate great time and passion that may help you stand out (i.e., figure skating, equestrian, extensive theatre work, published article, computer experience, extensive travel).
    • Leadership Opportunities: This may include conferences or groups you have been invited to participate in. If you are a leader within a group, be sure to list that under the appropriate category.
    • References: Indicate that references are "available upon request" or list the two or three references (usually two teachers and a counselor) as a means of bringing closure, even if you are including your letters of recommendation with your resume and application. Referring to your references indicates that your resume has come to an end and lets the reader know there is not a missing page. The people you ask to be your references should be familiar with your academic and/or experience capabilities. Be sure to obtain permission from the people whose names you intend to offer as references.

    Resume Action Verbs

    Consult the following list of action verbs when writing your resume and describing your experience.


    • Go through the entire list and check off all of the action verbs (skills) schools might be looking for.
    • Go through the list a second time and check off all of the verbs you have used in the experiences you are describing on your resume.
    • Note the words that you have checked twice. Incorporate the words that best sell your skills and abilities.

    accelerated conceptualized established instrumented prevailed shipped
    accomplished conciliated estimated insured printed shored up
    accounted for concluded evaluated integrated processed showed
    achieved conditioned examined interpreted produced sifted
    acquired conducted executed intervened profited simplified
    acted confronted exercised interviewed programmed sketched 
    activated conserved exhibited introduced prohibited smoothed 
    adapted consolidated expanded invented projected sold 
    added  constructed expedited inventoried promoted solved 
    addressed  consulted  experienced  investigated  proofed sorted 
    adjusted  continued  explained  joined  proposed  sought 
    administered   contracted explored  judged  protected  sparked 
    adopted  controlled  expressed  kept  proved  spearheaded
    advertised  convinced  extracted  labored  provided  specified
    advised  coordinated  fabricated  launched  publicized  spoke
    aided  copied  facilitated  lectured  purchased  started 
    aligned  corrected  familiarized  led  qualified  stated 
    alphabetized  correspondence  figured  licensed  quoted  stimulated 
    analyzed  counseled  filed  located  raised  stopped 
    anticipated  counted  filtered  looked  ran straightened 
    applied  crafted  financed  made  rated streamlined 
    appointed  created  fixed  maintained  realized strengthened 
    appraised  critiqued  forecast managed  reasoned stripped 
    approved  dealt  foresaw mapped  received  structured 
    arbitrated  debated  formulated marketed recognized  studied 
    argued  deferred  forwarded mastered recommended  submitted 
    arranged  defined  fostered maximized  reconciled  suggested
    ascertained  delegated  found  measured  recorded  summarized 
    assembled delivered  founded  mediated  recruited  supervised 
    assessed demonstrated  gained  mentored  reduced supplied 
    assisted designed  gathered  met  referred supported 
    assumed detailed  gave  modeled  rehabilitated  surmounted 
     assured detected  generated  moderated  reinforced  surveyed
    attained  determined  governed  modified  related  synthesized 
    attended  developed  grabbed  monitored  rendered  systemized 
    audited  devised  graded  motivated  renovated  tabulated 
    authored  diagnosed greeted  moved  reorganized talked 
    authorized  did grossed  named  repaired  targeted 
    awarded  digested  guided  navigator  replaced  taught 
    began diminished  handled  negotiated  reported  tended
    bolstered  directed  hastened  netted  represented  tested 
    boosted  discovered  headed  observed  rescued  tightened 
    bought  dispensed  heightened  obtained  researched  timed 
    briefed displayed  helped  opened  resolved  took 
    brought disproved  highlighted  operated  responded  took over
    budgeted dissected  hiked  ordered  restored  totaled
    built distributed hired  organized  resulted in  toured 
    calculated diverted  housed  originated  retrieved  tracked
    calibrated drafted  hunted  overcame  returned  trained 
    catalogued dramatized  identified  oversaw  revamped  transcribed 
    caught drew  illustrated  paid revealed  transferred 
    caused drew up   imagined painted reviewed  transformed 
    chaired dropped  implemented  participated  revised  translated 
    changed drove  improved  perceived  rewrote  transmitted 
    charted earned improvised  perfected  routed  traveled 
    checked  edited  included  performed  said  treated 
    chopped  educated  incorporated  persuaded  saved  tutored 
    chose  effected  increased  photographed  saw  typed 
    classified elected  indexed  piloted  scheduled  uncovered 
    cleared up electrified  indicated  pioneered  scouted  unearthed 
    closed eliminated  indoctrinated  placed  screened  unfurled 
    coached  employed  influenced  planned  scrutinized  unified 
    collected encouraged  informed  played  selected  updated 
    combined enforced  initiated  policed  sent  vitalized 
    communicated enjoyed  innovated  predicted  served  welcomed
    compared enlarged  inspected  prepared  serviced  won
    compiled enlisted  inspired  prescribed  set up  worked
    completed ensured  installed  presented  set wrote
    computed entered instituted preserved sewed  
    conceived entertained instructed presided shaped  

    Updated July 17, 2017