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How To Build A Strong Resume

June 4, 2020

As a college student, now is the time to create or improve your resume! Building a strong resume can be an effective way to stand out in the job search process and highlight your accomplishments. Utilize your resume to focus on your academic achievements as well as your past work and leadership experiences. Essentially, your resume acts as an advertisement for why an employer should hire you. It is often the only impression that a company will have of you before they choose who to interview in person – so make it count!

Below are some tips for how to build a strong, professional resume. You will also see examples of resumes. Remember, your tnAchieves coach is always here to help edit or proofread your resume!

General Guidelines:

  1. Formatting - Do not make your resume longer than one page! Make sure you use a header with your full name, contact information and mailing address. This should be larger than the rest of the resume so that it draws attention. Keep formatting consistent across the categories of your resume. For example, use month and year to highlight when things occurred (ex: December 2019-July 2020).
  2. Text – Choose a consistent font and font size to use. Make sure that you are only using one color of text, preferably black. Bold or underline only as a way of highlighting a new content section. Times New Roman, black, size 12 is a great standard font to use.
  3. Information – List your achievements in a consistent order. For example, list job experience in chronological order and list achievements in order from most important to least important.
  4. Modify – Pay attention to the job you are applying to and make sure that your resume is formatted and ordered in a way that aligns with the job description. For example, if you have experience in sales and you are applying for a retail position, make sure that experience is listed towards the top of your resume.
  5. Update – It is best practice to keep your resume up to date at all times. Save your resume in multiple places and have a few printed copies. You never know when a job or internship opportunity may arise!
  6. Proofread – This is the most IMPORTANT tip of all! If you submit a resume with grammatical or spelling errors, you will likely not get the job.

What to Include:

  1. Academic – List all of the schools you attended from high school onwards. Make sure to include your GPA if it was above a 3.0, and highlight the years you attended and degrees received. If you received any academic honors, make sure to emphasize them!
  2. Work – Showcase all of the positive work experiences you have had. If you were fired from a position, do not include that on your resume. Make sure to note the job title, description and indicate any promotions. It is helpful to include the time that you worked there as well.
  3. Leadership – Highlight all of your accomplishments in the space of leadership. This can include mentorship or volunteer work, awards received, positions held and more.
  4. Skills – Emphasize four to six skills that are applicable to the job for which you are applying. Examples include computer skills, language skills, or another type of skill related to the specific position. Make sure to list any relevant certifications, such as CPR, if they apply.

Resume Examples:

Resume Samples (

Professional Resume Examples by Industry (

Resume Examples (