Career Services

Resume Writing

A resume is, in many cases, an employers first introduction to you. With this in mind here are a few guidelines to make the best first impression and some examples to review.

Examples of Resumes:   Chronological       Functional       Combination      Action Word List

Where Can I Get Help?   

There are many resources available to you. You can drop by the Career Services office to review our Resume Examples binders and have your rough draft critiqued. Feel free to bring it in electronic form and work on your resume in our resume computer lab. Obtain a resume writing worksheet from our office or homepage to begin putting your thoughts down on paper.

What Is A Resume?   

A resume's purpose is to persuade an employer to interview you by demonstrating how you are qualified for a certain type of work. It will also serve as an outline during the interview and a reminder after the interview. It is not a long list of everything you have ever accomplished nor is it a fact sheet of your history. It should contain carefully selected and organized information that shows how your past experiences are related to your future job target or goals.

Planning Your Resume   

The most effective resume is generally targeted toward a specific career field. Therefore, it is important that you are able to narrow down your job search. You will want to take inventory of your skills, values, interests, abilities, and achievements. Ask yourself "What kinds of careers should I be considering with the background, interests and abilities I possess?" If you are having trouble answering this question, we have many ways to assist you - drop by or make an appointment with a career counselor to begin. Once you have a target field in mind, you'll want to research qualifications for which those employers seek. This will help you determine what areas on your resume to emphasize. Finally, analyze your past experiences to determine in what ways you have demonstrated some or most of the desired qualifications. You may have significant, related experience but don't automatically discount those "McJobs" you've had - waitress, office assistant, production worker, etc. You have probably gained valuable and marketable experience from each job you've held

Resume Format   

The format of your resume should emphasize the strengths and abilities relevant to the position for which you are applying. Consider the following points: Length - a resume is typically one page long unless you have extended experience within your field. Appearance - your resume is a reflection of you. If your resume is sloppy, unorganized, and contains spelling errors, it will reflect poorly on your work habits. Proofread your resume many times; have a friend proofread it and bring it to Career Services for critique. There are also many different formats of resumes you could choose - this handout will focus on three (Experience Approach, Skills Approach, and Combination).


 We strongly recommend laser printing your resume. Using ink printers could result in "bleeding" of the letters and a less-than-crisp look. Typewriting is unacceptable in this age of computers. The Career Services office offers a Resume Package whereby you can develop and print your resume from our computer and laser printers. Some office supply stores also have similar services but be wary of exorbitant fees. You can also copy your resume on a very high-quality copier (this does not include most copiers on campus). Your paper should be a high quality bond and a neutral color (consider off-white, ivory, grey, etc.) Black ink is traditional; if you select another color, be sure it coordinates with your paper color. Your cover letter and envelope should match.

Possible Categories  

There are many categories you could use to organize your resume - you must choose the categories that best fit your major strengths and individuality. These can include: contact information, education, related experience, additional experience, honors/awards, activities, computer skills, travel experience, special skills, language skills, lab experience, references, etc. You are only limited by your creativity. Ask yourself - what will market what you have to offer in the best possible way?!

  • References: Stating "references available upon request" is the old standard, but is unnecessary.  Consider developing a Reference Folder, or if space permits, listing references and their contact information right on the resume.
  • Personal Info.    Avoid putting personal information on your resume that is not related to the position/career field. These includes height, weight, age, sex, marital status, etc. This will prevent potential discrimination based on non-work-related criteria.
  • Resume Tips    Be positive and concentrate on your strengths. Show your best side, but do not misrepresent or lie.
  • Be creative and personalize your resume. There is no one "right" style - only effective or ineffective resumes.  Use action words to describe your experiences (see list below) and create a vivid work picture.
  • Avoid abbreviations, slang, and excessive use of pronoun "I".
  • Support all statements with concrete evidence and specific examples focusing on results.
  • Prioritize your information on your resume - place the most important information in the top half or third
  • Rank order your bulleted items in order of importance and relevance to the person reading the resume.
  • Avoid the abbreviation SUNY Oswego- Use "State University of New York at Oswego." 
  • Triple check your resume to ensure it is 100% flawless - spelling, grammar, punctuation, consistency, etc.
  • Keep it short and concise - your resume is not an essay and you should generally try to keep it to one page.