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Resume Guide

A resume is a well-formatted summary of your professional experience, as well as a marketing tool for what you can offer potential employers.

Included in this guide:

  • Overview of essential resume parts
  • Top tips for resume formatting
  • Samples of resumes based on experience level
  • Other helpful tools – action verb list, major GPA calculator

Please note! The information presented in this guide focuses on common professional resume practices used in the United States. If you are drafting a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) for another region, cultural differences may apply.

Questions? Reach out to COBE Career Services.

Resume Guide Videos

Prefer this information in video format? Watch our resume guide instructional videos.

Resume Parts & Tips

The top of your resume should display your name and contact information, also known as a Header. Treat this section like a banner for your professional brand. For consistency, consider using the same header on your cover letter.

Headers should include:

  • Your Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email
  • Shortened LinkedIn URL (optional, but highly encouraged)

Learn how to shorten your LinkedIn URL.

In your header, you have the option to link a portfolio of relevant projects or a professional website. These types of supplemental application materials are commonly hosted on platforms like GitHub or Google Sites.

Summary Statement (Optional)

A Summary Statement is a few short sentences that go beneath your Header. The information you include should tie your resume together, communicating to potential employers who you are as an applicant.

Your statement might look like: Descriptive Adjective + Title + Relevant Skill, Qualification, or Achievement

[Example] “Creative and personable marketing grad building experience in consumer-centered, UX design.”

Skills & Qualifications (Optional)

Adding a bulleted list of your top skills and qualifications can help hiring managers and recruiters review your resume efficiently. This section also offers an opportunity to incorporate keywords from the position description.

If you include this section, consider adding proof for how you gained or grew listed skills and qualifications in the Experience section of your resume.

This section could include your strongest and most relevant:

  • Professional Attributes
  • Transferable Skills
  • Technical Abilities


In your resume’s Education section, list colleges and universities that you have attended. Include transfer schools and study abroad programs. Add your GPA if higher than 3.5, as well as your major, degree type and expected graduation date.

It might also be helpful to include specific coursework, projects and research that pertain to the position you are seeking, especially if you have limited professional experience.

[Example] “Spreadsheet Topics – developed Excel skills in order to process and visualize business data.”

Certifications & Licenses (Optional)

If you are applying to something that requires certification or licensure, be sure to document which certification or licenses you have completed and when.

Similarly, if you are on track to complete a certification or license, such as your CPA, state when it will be done.


The Experience section of a resume is not just a simple record of your employment history. Instead, it should highlight relevant experiences that you have had related to the position you are seeking.

This can include jobs, internships, clubs and activities, as well as volunteer roles. For each experience, provide context.

Contextual details should include:

  • Your title or role
  • Name of the employer or organization
  • Dates of employment or involvement
  • Your responsibilities, projects and accomplishments

Other (Optional)

Some applicants choose to include an additional section on their resume to summarize leadership roles, accomplishments, extracurriculars and other relevant information.

Similar to how you approach your resume’s Experience section, be sure to provide context and prioritize information most related to the position you are seeking.

Ideas for what to call this section:

  • Leadership & Involvement
  • Awards & Honors
  • Publications & Projects
  • Volunteer Work

What Not To Include

Here are things to avoid on your resume:

  • Photos
  • References
  • High School Information
  • Objective Statements
  • Typos
  • Your Street Address
  • Inaccuracies
  • “I” language

Top Tips

Tailor to the Position

Tailoring your resume to the position you are seeking is essential. Draft your resume to reflect the position description; include relevant qualifications, common keywords and highly transferable skills.

Use Space Wisely

Most potential employers will scan your resume quickly, so use space wisely. Place important information in highly visible spots; lead with your most important qualifications. We also suggest balancing content across the full page of your resume, reducing white space where you can.

View this heat map to see common areas of a resume that hiring managers and recruiters give their attention.

Add Action Verbs

A great way to summarize your experience is to use bullet points that start with a strong action verb. Leading with action verbs conveys impact and increases scannability.

Who Said It Better? Using Action Verbs

  • Without: “Responsible for club recruitment”
  • With: “Facilitated recruitment meetings to grow membership by 30%”

Quantify Experiences

The more you are able to add numbers to your experiences, the more tangible they will feel.

What Said It Better? Adding Quantification

  • Without: “Was promoted on sales team”
  • With: “Earned promotion within 6 months by meeting all sales goals ahead of schedule”

To quantify your experiences, follow one of these formulas: 

Action Verb + Task / Project = Result

[Example] Successfully pitched 3 innovative marketing ideas to panel of senior marketing professionals, placing 2nd in regional marketing competition

X accomplishment = measured by Y metric, accomplished by Z means

[Example] Exceeded annual fundraising goal by 24%, raising $12,000 to purchase meals for the Campus Food Pantry through calling community donors and submitting a grant

Keep It Clean

Resumes should be error free and easy to read. To achieve this, use readable fonts, simple formatting and consistent styles. For example, if you use a specific date order, use that same order in all places.

Suggested font types include: serif for body text (such as Ariel, Geneva, Helvetica, Calibri) and sans-serif for titles and headings (such as Times New Roman, Garamond, Courier New).

Avoid tables and over stylized templates, as they are difficult for online application systems to read.

Limit to One Page

Resumes should run one page in length, two only under special circumstances. Keeping things all on one page makes it easier for hiring managers and recruiters to scan your qualifications and fit for a role quickly.

It is okay to adjust margins and formatting, but do not use anything smaller than 10 point font size.

Optimize Your File

Be sure to save your final resume with a clear file name and readable format.

We recommend: “First Name Last Name – Resume – Position.”

Additionally, it may be helpful to save your resume as a PDF in order to freeze your formatting in place. When in doubt, default to whichever file type the employer or organization is requesting.

Sample Resumes

Once you are ready to draft or reformat your resume, view these samples. Use these to generate ideas for formatting, but also be sure to make your resume unique to you.

Beginner - Sample Resume

Best for Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors applying to internships or part-time roles requiring little or no experience.

Intermediate - Sample Resume

Best for Juniors, Seniors, Grads applying to internships or full-time roles requiring some experience.

Advanced - Sample Resume

Best for Grads and Non-traditional Students with experience.

Public Accounting - Sample Resume

Best for for All Students applying to public accounting roles.

GPA Calculator

Occasionally a job or internship application will ask for your major GPA. If you have earned notably higher grades in major-specific courses, we recommend calculating your major GPA to include on your resume (3.5 or higher). This is optional, unless specifically requested.

Instructions for Calculating Major GPA

  1. Log into myBoiseState to access Student Center.
  2. Run your Advisement Report or pull your Unofficial Transcript.
  3. Highlight all major-specific courses.
  4. Make a copy of our GPA calculator in Google Sheets to enter your courses and calculate.

Action Verbs

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