Resumes/Cover Letters

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I get my resume critiqued?

A: The Career Center offers resume critiques through our drop-in hours and appointments.

Q: I've heard that objectives are outdated. Should I include one?

A: One common misconception is that the objective is what you want out of the job. The key is to use the objective to tailor your resume to the employer so that they know exactly what position you are applying for. By using it as a targeted statement, you can show what you are interested in at a quick glance.

Q: Should I include my GPA?

A: List your GPA if it is 3.0 or above. If you have a higher major GPA, you can list that next to your degree as "Major GPA." 

Q: Do I include community colleges under Education?

A: If you received a degree or certification from the community college, include it in your resume. If it was only to transfer, only list the college you are getting your degree from.

Q: Should I include high school experience?

A: If you are a first or second year student with limited experience, you may include high school experience if it is relevant. However, try to reduce if not eliminate experiences from high school once you are far enough in your college coursework.

Q: What courses should I include on my resume?

A: When choosing 3-5 courses to list on your resume, include ones that are most relevant to the position you are applying for. This can include major, minor, or elective courses. Upper division courses are usually preferred over lower division courses. For example, a psychology major is looking to apply for a position working with children with autism. Listing courses such as abnormal psychology, child psychology, and human learning would be preferred over other courses such as general psychology or statistics. Listing coursework is also a great strategy to demonstrate knowledge in a specific area if you are looking to apply for a position not directly related to your major but have taken courses in it.

Q: What if I don't have a lot of experience?

A: There are several ways to format your resume if you have limited relevant experience.

1. Use related coursework and class projects that are relevant to your field. Write projects in the same way as you would write an experience using accomplishment statements.

2. Experience can be gained from club positions, campus activities, volunteer opportunities, leadership experience, extracurricular activities, self-employment, or projects. Feel free to include any of these in your experience section rather than as separate sections.

3. Separate your experience into a "Relevant Experience" and "Additional Experience" section. By doing this, you can highlight your relevant experience first even if it is not the most recent chronologically.

4. Highlight relevant transferable skills and hard skills in positions or experiences that might not seem relevant at first glance. For example, you can highlight budgeting skills in managing a campus club budget even if the club itself is not in your field of interest.

Q: What if I have too much experience to fit on one page?

A: If you have extensive experience or are applying for a federal position, you may wish to extend your resume to more than one page. However, for most college students, one page is sufficient. Here are some tips to condense your resume:

1. Use a LinkedIn account to showcase your full resume. Include the URL to your profile in your resume.

2. Review the job description and responsibilities. Choose experiences that are most relevant to that specific position. When writing accomplishment statements, make sure to keep them concise and to the point.

3. You may choose to include a "Summary of Qualifications" section. This can include information such as "5+ years of teaching experience in K-12 grades." Use keywords in this section.

Q: How do I list several jobs by the same employer?

A: If you positions were similar in responsibilities, you can list them like this:

Company, City State

Title, MM/YY - MM/YY

Title, MM/YY - MM/YY

If the positions were very different in responsibilities or you want to highlight your promotion, write them as multiple positions with accomplishment statements under each.

Q: Should I put a job on my resume if I was fired?

A: This depends on various factors. If the position was not relevant or only lasted for a short term, you don't need to include it. Use your best judgment to decide if you would be able to explain the situation if asked.

Q: Should I include references in my resume?

A: You do not need to include references in your resume. Typically if an employer needs references, they will require you to send this information through their application process.

Q: I've seen unique resumes that really stand out and don't follow the typical rules. Should I be creative with my resume?

A: This depends on the position and company you are applying for. In cases where creativity is highly valued in the company culture or the position itself (ex. design), it may help to stand out with a creative resume. However, make sure that you do it well and keep it easy to read and understand.

Q: How is a curriculum vitae (CV) different from a resume?

A: CVs tend to be more lengthy than resumes (2+ pages) and are usually used for applying to academic positions, research grants, graduate school applications, and some positions abroad. They usually include more details related to educational background, specific research, teaching, experience, presentations given, and can include academic references.