Your resume is a tool used to express your interest in a specific job or internship; its purpose is to provide a snapshot of the education, skills, experiences, and accomplishments that align most closely with the position description. It is related to your cover letter, which is a narrative-based introduction to a prospective employer that outlines your interest in the position, the organization, and why you are qualified for that job.
Building Your Resume: Step-by-Step
Step 1: List all of your work experiences and leadership activities along with your associated tasks
- Non-Profit Internship: task 1, task 2, task 3, task 4, task 5, task 6
- Organized Women’s Conference: task 1, task 2, task 3, task 4, task 5, task 6
Step 2: Group together related tasks into 1-3 “projects”
- Non-Profit Internship: Tasks 1-3 are about social media, tasks 4-6 are about data analysis
- Organized Women’s Conference: Tasks 1-3 are about coordinating a panel, tasks 4-6 about setting up the venue
Step 3: Develop each project experience into impactful bullets using Accomplishment Statements (details below)
- Non-Profit Internship : Optimized organization’s social media presence by doing tasks 1-3; increased web hits by 25%, from X to Y
- Organized Women’s Conference : Recruited a 5-person panel of female entrepreneurs for inaugural 2-day, 200-person Women’s Leadership Conference; coordinated their travel (task 1), established the topics for discussion (task 2), and welcomed them upon their arrival (task 3)
Step 4: Group together related experiences and leadership activities under 2-3 resume section headings (details below)
Step 5: Using this ‘Master Resume,’ create several one-page resumes for the different roles you are targeting
- Research Assistant Position: Highlight your research projects or technical skills
- Consulting or Banking Internship: Highlight activities that showcase your problem-solving skills, leadership, teamwork, and communication skills
Step 6: Convert your resume to PDF and name it properly for submission (firstname_lastname_resume)
Key Resume Sections
- Include your name, phone number, and email address. The font size of your name may be slightly larger than the other text.
- Once you build your LinkedIn Profile , consider listing your personal URL under your name.
- It is not necessary to include your street address, although the city and state may be helpful if searching for a position in that geographic area.
- As a student begin your resume with an education section, listing your Syracuse degree first and your high school education second. If you have studied abroad list that in this section beneath your Syracuse University experience.
- Include the degree you are pursuing, your major, and anticipated graduation date.
- Example: Bachelor of Science in Information Management, May 2020
- You may include related coursework, senior thesis/project, GPA. Honors and awards can be included in this section or a separate section.
Work Experience & Leadership
- You may include general experience and activity headings, or targeted headings, such as Journalism Experience, Leadership, Research, or Community Involvement. Choose headings that will best group and highlight your experiences.
- Within each section, list your experiences and activities in reverse chronological order with the most recent first.
- With each experience or activity, include your title or role, the organization or employer name, location, and dates affiliated.
- Example: iSchool Security Club, President Fall 2014-Present
- Provide concise descriptive statements about your experiences, focusing on accomplishments. Begin with action verbs and avoid personal pronouns.
Possible Additional Sections
- Technical Skills (such as Programming Languages, Software, Database, Social Media)
- Honors and Awards
Writing Strong Accomplishment Statements
What are accomplishment statements?
Accomplishment statements are the bullets/sentences under the experience section of your resume that describe and quantify your achievements, results, and successes from your past work, internship, student organization, volunteer, military, or education experiences. When writing these statements, employers want to also know how you will contribute to their team or organization. In other words, don’t just list what your role was; also give specific examples of the impact you made and the value you added during those experiences.
Before you start writing accomplishment statements, consider the following questions:
Guidelines for Creating Impactful Bullets
Action + Project + Result Format
Project: Group related tasks together into more meaningful projects/activities
- Action: Choose an action verb that describes what YOU did and YOUR contribution (NOT the TEAM!). Highlight the SKILLS you used.
- Result: Show the result and impact of your work, and QUANTIFY in terms of % improvement or % increase when possible. If your work resulted (or will result) in a publication or patent, mention that.
- Write it out: [A] choose an Action verb + [P] name a Project completed or problem solved + [R] describe the Result, quantifying when possible.
Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z] Format
Write it out: [X] Lead with the impact you delivered + [Y] Numerically measure what you accomplished + [Z] Detail specifically what you did
Before and After Example #1: Converting from Activities to Result Bullets
- Use Powerful Action Verbs: Some action verbs are more impactful than others, such as led, created, developed.
- Quantify your Impact: Before revision, bullets are focused on describing activities, not on outcomes.
- Contextualize Your Accomplishment: Provide a baseline for comparison to make it easier for recruiters to understand the accomplishment.
Before and After Example #2: Converting from Activities to Skill Bullets
- Pitch Your Skills: Highlight transferable skills valued by your future employer (e.g. research, analytic skills, teamwork, communication, leadership).
- Be Specific: Including details shows the reader that the candidate is capable of making an impact in the organization.
- Choose professional, easy to read fonts between 10-12 point with margins between .5 and 1 inch
- Do not use pronouns (e.g. I, my, me, we, our)
- U.S. resumes do not include personal information such as age, marital status, children, or religion
- Use reverse chronological order (most recent first)
- In most cases, your resume will be one page
- Bold, italics, and bullets can be used in moderation to accentuate and break up content
- Resume should be visually appealing and easy to read quickly
- Be consistent; for example, if you italicize your title and bold the employer name for one experience, do the same for all experiences
- Group information that places your most relevant and substantial experience higher on the page
- Proofread several times to avoid spelling and grammatical errors, and do not use abbreviations or slang
VMock, is a 24-7 online resume-review tool, that leverages data-science, machine learning, and natural language processing to provide instant personalized feedback on your resume based on criteria gathered from employers and global best practices. VMock is designed to work with resumes from many different fields across various industries.
Learn more in this video about VMock.
How VMock Works
Create an account, upload your resume, and VMock will:
- Provide you with resume guidelines based on your home school/college templates to ensure that you do not miss the fine details and establish a great first impression.
- Assess how well you have marketed your core competencies to showcase the right skill set reflected in academics, experience, achievements, etc.
- Give you line-by-line suggestions to improve your resume content in view of your course and level of experience.
- Give you an aggregate resume score (strive for 75%, which is a great score) to assess the strength of your resume benchmarked against your own Syracuse University peer group.
Once you receive the detailed feedback, you can make changes to the resume and re-upload it to see your increased score and associated improvements.
You can also send a request to a counselor for feedback.
Create Your Account
- Log in to VMock using your syr.edu email address and create your profile.
- Upload a PDF of your resume.
- Use the feedback gained from VMock to make updates to your document. You may upload your resume up to 10 times an academic year to perfect your document.
- If after you’ve gotten feedback from VMock and you would like to talk with a career advisor more in-depth about improvements, schedule an appointment on Handshake.
- Once you feel your resume is in a great place, we recommend uploading your resume to Handshake and making it a public document, along with your profile. We also encourage you to update your Handshake profile so it is 100% complete. An updated profile and a public resume gives your Handshake account the most opportunity to be viewed by employers seeking to fill internships and jobs and to be contacted directly!
If you have questions about VMock, be sure to schedule an appointment via Handshake with your school/college/unit Career Services team to learn more!