My Professor Wants Me to Write a Resume, Please HELP!

By: Kelsey  McMullan

Resume- that dreaded document that is supposed to help you get an internship or job interview. It is evil, soul crushing, and impossible to get right.

That could be true, or you could be approaching it wrong.

Let’s see if these tips can help you. A resume is supposed to be a professional document that represents you. They are like humans; no two will be exactly the same. Most hiring managers and recruiters will respect that resumes are different, however there are a few key things that you should do to make your paper-self look better.


1)      Be Organized

Having a clean and organized resume is the most important thing to keep in mind. Ideally a resume will be one page (unless you have more relevant experience). Some people will try to cram their whole life’s story into one page and that won’t help you. Too much text can be a bad thing.

Keep only the most relevant experience, skills, or facts in your resume.

Tip: When you are done with your resume, print it out. If you can’t see a clearly organized structure from 5 feet away, it still needs some work.


2)      Be Relevant

Are you applying for a chemical engineering position and the only employment you have ever had is a waitress position? That is ok.

There are typically three types of experience that a resume showcases: relevant experience, work experience, and other experience.

Relevant experiences are jobs that apply to the field you want to be in. Your senior design or lab work would fall under this category. Don’t be afraid to include these on your resume if it shows you can work in your field.

Work experience is any work experience you have, like that waitressing job you had for the last three summers.

Other experience could be your volunteer positions, your regular babysitting gig, or your summer lawn services. It is generally any experience that would not directly apply to the position that you are applying for.

Tip: If you are creating a resume for the first time and only have your education and a babysitting position, DO NOT make the text size 72 to fill the page.  What you should do is create an “Activities” section and describe how involved you are on campus and/or a “Skills” section and expand on all of your wonderful talents and skills.


3)      Be Concise

It is important to have descriptions of your various positions, but it is also important that you keep them concise. If you are responsible for the MATLAB models for your senior design project you can just say, “Duties included modeling using MATLAB.”  Get your responsibilities across using as few words as possible while still making sense.

Tip: Watch your verb tenses! Don’t use past and present tense verbs in the same sentence! This can be tricky for anyone even if English is your first language.

If you need help, bring your in progress resume into the Career Management Office on Fridays for an in-person resume review. If you can’t make it into the office, please contact us for an appointment. We also have a variety of worksheets, tips, and an online resume generator available on our website


photo credit: bpsusf via photopin cc

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