Resume Checklist: When is Your Resume Complete?
Use this checklist to make sure your resume is complete:
- One page only, unless you have significant previous experience
- Use an award-winning format such as our Quickstart Resume Templates
- Times Roman or other Serif font, 10 point to 12 point size (12 point is best)
- No more than two fonts nor two sizes
- Margins no less than .8" and no more than 1.5"
- Quality bond paper used when printing, 8.5" x 11"
- Contact information clearly stated; campus and permanent addresses both listed if appropriate
- Clear, focused objective
- Summary of your top three or four accomplishments, skills or competencies listed as bullet points
- Degree listed first, college/university second
- GPA listed if over 3.0
- Major GPA listed if over 3.0 and your overall GPA is under 3.0
- Planned graduation date listed, if you have not yet graduated
- Experience section listing notable accomplishments with focus on internships/work first, academics second
- Job title first, employer name second
- Descriptive (not actual) job titles: "College Intern" is not descriptive, use "Software Development Intern"
- Keyword searchable industry buzzwords included if you have base level proficiency
- If needing to fill the page, include college coursework and/or an Activities section listing your most notable extracurricular activities
- No personal data or potentially discriminatory data
- Spell-check and grammar-check your resume—twice; then have at least two other people do it for you again
- Save in Word format as your baseline document, then PDF for distribution and text (.txt) for uploading to resume databases
For an example of a polished entry level resume, take a look at our sample resume.
Resumes Are Never Complete
A play on words here, with an intended dual meaning. First, resumes never provide the full story of who you are, nor should they. Resumes are meant to be your introduction toward gaining a face-to-face interview with a prospective employer. And they will serve as a guide within the interview. They will never serve as your life history or as the starting document for your autobiography. Remember to keep your resume in its proper perspective as an initial marketing brochure of who you are and the value you can provide to a potential employer.
Second, now that your resume is "finished," do not assume it is complete. You should continually modify and update your resume as your search progresses. When you gain new experience, add it to your resume. Is there a better way to list your education and classes? Modify your resume. Have you found a point in your background which be viewed as a negative? Remove it from your resume. Keep your resume as a living document which can be updated and changed to suit your specific needs.
Your entry level resume will also serve as the foundational resume for your professional resume after you graduate. The emphasis will begin shifting from academic to work experience, yet the same format and initial content will continue throughout your career. So make sure you carry your resume forward as you begin your new career.