Want to Make a Splash with Your Resume? Start Here

Is it time to refresh your resume? Get back to the basics and ensure your resume communicates your value to an employer.

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Today, the average person will change jobs or careers 10-15 times during his or her professional life. As you enter the workforce, prepare to switch jobs, or gear up to change careers, at the top of your to-do list is updating your resume.

Your resume is a marketing tool that should communicate the value you will bring to an employer. Refresh your resume with these top considerations.

Layout and Format

Keep your resume clear, concise and clean.

  • Early in your career, keep your resume to one page. As your career develops, you may want to use two pages to include all relevant information and experience.
  • Use a single professional font, such as Arial or Times New Roman.
  • Keep font size between 10-12 point.
  • Stick to 2-5 bullets for each job and category.
  • Do not use abbreviations.
  • Be consistent in the format, layout and spacing throughout.


As you advance in your career, your experience should come front and center in your resume.

  • List specific details about what you have accomplished in paid or unpaid positions, listing the most recent first.
  • Highlight transferable skills and abilities rather than duties and responsibilities.
  • Think about the types of activities you’ve done and how they could relate to the requirements of the potential position.
  • Describe accomplishments in a results-oriented fashion.

Activities and Organizations

Use an activities or organizations section to highlight skills you may not be able to show through your professional experience. 

  • Focus on relevant experience to the position and profession you are looking to move towards
  • Make sure to include memberships to professional organizations, community organizations and interoffice activities: committees, groups, certifications, volunteer activities and relevant interests.

Cover Letter

Cover letters are incredibly important when applying for a job. Customize your letter to the specific position and company. Your letter should work like advertising copy by:

  • Catching the reader’s attention (opening paragraph).
  • Communicating skills and experience (middle paragraph).
  • Supporting your statements with specifics (middle paragraph).
  • Compelling the reader to act (final paragraph).

Other Key Tips

  • Begin each bullet with an action verb. Explore this list of powerful verbs.
  • Update your online portfolio (LinkedIn, personal website, digital resume, etc.).
  • In the skills section, include technical skills, laboratory knowledge, proficiency or fluency in a foreign language, and anything else related to the position.
  • Consider an objective statement
  • Your references should be in a separate document to send when requested.

Students may contact KU’s Career Center for more information.  

For more helpful tips on advancing your career, subscribe to the blog. Learn about Customized Leadership Training and stay tuned for free Link & Learns, covering the latest in workplace communication. You can also check out our blog on tips for writing a great cover letter

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