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Resume Content

Your resume needs to convey what you are capable of doing in the future by summarizing what you have done in the past. You can show your target audience what you can do by strategically selecting key action verbs and words that show transferable skills, as well as choosing eye-catching resume headings for the various sections of your resume.

As a unique individual with a distinct history all your own, you must:

  • Carefully select what information to include and leave out to present and promote the image you wish to convey.
  • Organize categories, focusing attention on your special competencies and qualities.
  • Determine the arrangement and sequence of material to best highlight your particular “fitness” for the position.
  • Begin descriptions with action verbs. Avoid starting your resume descriptions with “responsible for” and “duties included.” Write in the active, rather than passive, tense!


You can find many other heading titles under major headings. Listed below are some of the more common choices:

Identifying and Contact Information – Name, address, phone number, and email address should be formatted in a way to easily identify you and how to reach you. Keep this information to one or two lines, if possible, to allow more resume space dedicated to your experiences and qualifications. If you are currently enrolled in school out of state or significantly long distance from your home area, you may want to consider including both your school and permanent contact information.

Education – List your current post-secondary institution then optionally any other post-secondary institutions can be listed after. Including high school information is an option ONLY if you are a first year or sophomore student. Specify the name, location, degree held, majors and concentrations as well as areas of emphasis, and graduation date of each institution. You may want to include your GPA or the GPA in your major if it is above a 3.5. If there is specific coursework that relates directly to your objective or if you have taken courses that are not standard for your major/concentration, it may be beneficial to include the titles of those courses as well. See the Lynda.com tutorial “Tailor Your Education to Match the Job”.

Off-Campus Study Programs – Off-campus study programs offer St. Olaf students a unique and rich opportunity to develop a variety of skills and interests. Potential employers and graduate schools see domestic and international travel as an indication of your ability to immerse yourself into another culture and develop skills otherwise not tested. Off-campus study programs can be highlighted in the education section of your resume or listed as a separate entity. A brief description is helpful in imparting the nature of the program.

Work and Internship Experience – List all relevant work, internship, practicum, research and/or student teaching experience in reverse chronological order, including the title of your position, name of organization, location of work (city, state) and dates. Describe your role through action-based statements to communicate your impact and achievements. Statements should NOT be lists of job duties or responsibilities. Describe the most related experiences fully yet briefly and omit experiences that are irrelevant.

Volunteer and Community Activities – Co-curricular activities often help demonstrate your abilities. Describe your involvement using action words if you believe the experience illustrates skills related to your objective. Indicate recognition received or a leadership role in an organization.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions – Awards, honors and distinctions may be listed on your resume as a separate category or as part of other sections where they may be most relevant (Education, Professional Affiliations, Activities, etc.).

Special Skills and Competencies – Special skills that you’ve developed through classroom experiences, internships, volunteer work, and other experiences have the ability to show you’re qualified for specific positions/programs. These skills should be specific to the field/position can be presented in a “Special Skills” type section of your resume to show their significance. General skills and subjective personal qualities/attributes should not be listed.

Professional Affiliations – If you belong to a professional association or have participated in professional activities, listing the organization, your position and the nature of your involvement is another great way to illustrate your commitment to a particular field of work.

Resume Samples