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CRC Résumé Guide

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Frank L. Ciminelli Family
Career Resource Center
School of Management
University at Buffalo
308 Alfiero Center
Buffalo, NY 14260-4010

Tel: 716-645-3232
Fax: 716-645-5993

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General Questions

What is a résumé?

A résumé is a document that highlights information about you. It is a picture of you and your qualifications. As it is primarily used when seeking employment, it is important that the information highlighted in the résumé be complete, accurate and pertinent to the position that you are seeking. Finally, the résumé that you create should be an expression of who you are, what you know and what you can offer an employer.

Regardless of concentration, background or job objective, the résumé is one of the most important tools in the job search. It is a snapshot of you and your abilities, and is often the first impression that you will make on a potential employer. Therefore, it is crucial that you invest significant time and effort to prepare a thorough and outstanding résumé.

Why do I need to write a résumé?

It is important that you keep in mind the purpose of the résumé, which is to get an interview.

By itself, the résumé will not get you a position in a company, but it can get you to the interview stage of the hiring process.

Since the résumé will get you the interview, and the interview will revolve around your background, it is wise to invest a lot of time to make the résumé complete. Additional effort up front will both better your résumé, and make you more conscious of the things you will need to discuss in the interview.

It is very important to understand that you will probably not be present to further explain the content of your résumé to the reader. With this in mind, it is essential that you make the résumé not only complete, but very clear.

What is the best way to develop a résumé?

There is no right or wrong way to construct a résumé. There is no governing body declaring any standards. Therefore, the content and layout of the résumé are completely up to you. There are, however, more and less effective ways of going about it. At the Career Resource Center, we have done a significant amount of research on résumés and have talked with a number of recruiters, and feel that the "Building Your Résumé" portion of this handout is very effective for most situations.

What if I have other questions or need additional help?

Once you have started to generate at least a first draft, the staff in the Career Resource Center will be happy to assist you. Do not expect us to write your résumé for you as this defeats the purpose and keeps you from preparing yourself for further stages in the job search process. However, there are a number of books available in the Career Resource Center and in the local libraries on résumé writing.

Résumé Dos and Don’ts


  • Try to fit your résumé on one page
  • Leave an appropriate amount of margin space (1/2 – 1 inch is good, no less than ¼ inch)
  • Use positive action verbs to highlight your skills
  • Use the present tense for current activities and the past tense for previous experiences
  • Place important items in the most prominent areas of your résumé
  • Proofread your résumé for spelling, punctuation, grammatical and typographical errors
  • Make sure your résumé is neatly typed and letter perfect
  • Be honest and accurate in the facts provided on your résumé
  • Be Positive


  • Write “Résumé ” on top of the page
  • Use "I," "me" or any abbreviations
  • Date the résumé, attach advertisements or list salary requirements
  • Leave out volunteer or other experiences where you have demonstrated relevant skills
  • Try to include everything you have ever done; incorporate only relevant information
  • Give any false information
  • Include reasons for changing jobs

Tips to Make Your Résumé Effective

  • Write your résumé to "get the interview" not to "get the job"
    • Create multiple résumés when necessary. If you have more than one concentration or desired field, it may be necessary to stress different things for different applications
  • Keep the employer’s perspective in mind
    • Recruiters are very busy. Based on surveys of surveys of recruiters, during the first round of review, each résumé is looked at for only about 40 seconds. If the first glance does not grab their attention, you will not get the interview
    • Your résumé should be neat, organized, pleasing to the eye and error-free
    • Emphasize your skills and achievements. Recruiters are hiring someone to help their organizations make money. If they can see how you will be an asset and how you are more qualified than your competitors, you will be more likely to get an interview
  • Show your résumé to more than one person to gain multiple perspectives.
    • Career Resource Center -- Résumé Critique service and individual appointments
    • Knowledgeable friends and family members
    • Career Services -- Individual appointments
    • Trusted faculty members
    • Be careful in sharing your résumé with alumni, mentors or other professionals. You may want to talk with these contacts later for job search. In these cases, you should be "fine-tuning" instead of showing your "first draft"
    • If pursuing multiple opinions, keep in mind that CRC résumé advice is often the most objective, as it represents more than a single opinion or subjective viewpoint and, as such, is the most relevant across many different business job search situations
  • Remember simplicity is the key to applicant tracking systems (ATS)
    • Applicant tracking systems are various software used by companies to electronically track job candidates, review résumés and begin the selection process. Generally, when you are applying online and submitting your résumé it is going through an applicant tracking system. And the software will do the initial screening, not a person 
    • These systems like résumés that are easy to read electronically. One page. No fancy font styles. No odd headings
    • Résumé document type should be .doc 
    • Dates should use a two-digit month and four-digit year format (MM/YYYY) or the month as a word with a four-digit year format (September 2013)
    • Avoid using any tables
    • Use one font style throughout your résumé

Building Your Résumé

General Notes

Both the content and the appearance of the résumé are important. One without the other is generally ineffective. People who focus on the appearance prior to fully developing content usually find that they limit themselves to the confines of the paper, resulting in a less effective résumé. Generally, people find that they produce a higher quality product when they start by focusing on assembling complete content, and work with formatting only after the content is complete.

When starting your résumé, it may be a good idea to simply sit down with a pen and paper to first develop the content. Only use a computer when you feel that you have generated complete and accurate information. This will prevent you from worrying about superficial things such as font sizes and spacing in the early stages of development.

After developing the content of your résumé using pen and paper, go to the online Career Resource Center Résumé Templates to format your résumé. The CRC Résumé Templates have been customized specifically for UB School of Management students. This tool helps you create a professional résumé that is both easy-to-read and attractive to top recruiters.

Note: The Career Resource Center requires and recommends that students use these customized résumé templates only, and does not recommend use of any other résumé templates

This information focuses on a hard copy paper résumé. Click here for information on electronic résumés.

We have included information on both the content and the formatting for each section. Because complete content is so critical, only address the "Format" portions after you have addressed the "Content" portion for all sections.

Sections to Include

Personal Information

It is necessary to include all of the information that an employer would need to contact you. This includes your mailing address (both home and school if applicable), home telephone and email. The presence of the email address not only provides a recruiter with a way to contact you, but also indicates that you are familiar with current technologies.

There are a number of different formats that you can use to present this information. Be sure to make your name stand out either by separating it from the other information, or altering the font type or size. Make sure the mailing and telephone information is easy to locate. This section is usually found at the very top of the résumé.


This is a statement of your career objective. Write a strong and positive statement of your career and job objective, focusing on your strengths and how you can add value to a potential employer. When creating your objective, use clear and concise language. Try to avoid writing an objective that states the obvious or is too general. There are three different ways to structure the objective, and there are pros and cons to each:

  • Keep the statement fairly general. The positive is that this allows more latitude when the recruiter is reviewing your résumé, and keeps more options open. The negative is that the recruiter may feel that you are not specific enough, indicating that you lack direction
  • Make the statement very targeted. The positive is that the recruiter sees that you know exactly what you want to do. The negative is that you may forgo some opportunities, as you will seem focused on only the specific thing listed
  • Include no objective at all. It is completely acceptable to eliminate the objective if you are not sure what you want to do, but understand that a recruiter who is looking for this section may not be able to infer where your interests lie based on your experience and education

It is important that you do not use the space for the objective to say "nothing." For example, although the following statement sounds nice, it really does not say anything that isn’t already assumed by the reader.

  • “Seeking a responsible entry-level position in a progressive organization that provides career growth and professional development”

Likewise, a statement where you try to leave yourself open for all available positions can indicate a lack of career direction or focus. For example, the following statement does not give the reader a good idea of what you would best be suited to do in an organization.

  • “Seeking a management position in human resources, production or marketing/sales”

If you include an "objective" or "summary," state it in terms of what you can contribute to the company, not what you expect from the company.

  • NO: Objective: A position in Employment Services with increasing responsibilities where I can continue to expand my management, sales and recruiting talents
  • YES: Objective: A position in Employment Services where my management, sales and recruiting talents can be effectively used to improve operations and contribute to company profit

The "objective" or "summary" section, if included, generally appears directly beneath the personal information. A simple sentence or two is adequate; a paragraph is neither necessary nor recommended.


A new or recent graduate will likely wish to emphasize education. Placing this section near the top of the résumé will help to accomplish that. Be sure to include the following information:

  • School – (use the official name, i.e. University at Buffalo or University at Buffalo, The State University of New York)
  • Do not include high school information. Once in college, only college information is necessary
  • Degree –
    • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration or BS in Business Administration
    • Bachelor of Science in Accounting or BS in Accounting
    • Master of Business Administration or MBA
    • Master of Science in Finance or MS in Finance, etc.
  • Degree Date – list the month and year of expected graduation (Do not list dates attended)
  • Concentration – (Marketing, Management Information Systems or MIS, Finance, Human Resources or HR, etc.)
  • Other Education – If you attended an institution and did not receive a degree, you may include it if it is relevant and beneficial. (For example, a semester abroad at Oxford would likely add value, while a semester at a local community college may not, unless in a desired complementary skill area like MIS or IT) 
  • GPA – Include your cumulative grade point average (quality point average) if over a 3.0. If your cumulative GPA is not above a 3.0, it is acceptable to include your management GPA if that is over a 3.0. When presenting this information, be sure to indicate that it is on a 4.0 scale. For example, 3.2/4.0 (The reason for this is that a number of schools in the U.S., and many in the U.K. use a 5.0 scale, and while a 3.6 may be impressive on a 4.0 scale, it will not have the same impact when compared to students who are on a 5.0 scale).  Some employers, particularly accounting firms, will screen résumés based on a candidate’s GPA. If you do not include it, a recruiter will assume it is a weak GPA
  • GPA for students who completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in another country - We recommend you list your class rank. Do not list your percentile in the class because that number is not understandable to U.S. employers and they will not recognize an impressive percentile. For example, indicate that you were ranked fifth in the class or in the top 10% as opposed to a 75 percentile grade.  Employers will understand your class rank of fifth or that you ranked in the top 10% of your class. But, they are not impressed by a percentile grade in the seventies because they do not understand the scale

This section is generally the first section beneath the personal information and objective for recent graduates. It may be laid out in a number of ways, but the key considerations are:

  • Make the most important information stand out. If you want to "sell" your major or concentration, bold it and/or consider listing it first. However, if you feel that your degree or your school name carries greater influence, alter your format accordingly
  • Make it easy to read
  • Maintain a consistent format. If you have multiple educational institutions to include make sure they are laid out in the same fashion and list the most recent first


The “experience” section of your résumé is one of the most important. The reader will review this section to see whether you have skills necessary to do the job. Often, candidates focus too much on their job responsibilities and daily tasks rather than on their accomplishments and on the skills used or demonstrated on the job. This is valid, but not necessarily the best method for conveying this information. The CRC has identified five methods that you can use to add effectiveness to your experience content. These methods can be used both separately and in combination for each bullet.

Remember - there is no single right or wrong approach to presenting your experience. You simply should do whatever most positively highlights your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses.

1. Focus on skills.

One of the most effective methods of expressing your experience is to focus on the skills that you applied at each place of employment and what you accomplished with them. Be sure to focus on the business aspect of what you did

Tasks are usually job specific. Skills are usually job transferable.

  • Guidelines for how to focus on skills:
    • a. Identify the type of job you will be looking for, and think about the skills needed for that job
      • Examples of basic skills include: Communication, evaluation, assessment, problem solving, leadership, teamwork, time management, organization, self starting, marketing, development, money handling, consultation, implementation, training, etc.
    • b. For each job you have had, start by listing all of the tasks that you did - everyday things, projects and whatever comes to mind. Be as complete as possible
    • c. Look at each task that you listed and try to identify the skills you had to employ to be able to accomplish that task. Another way to think about this is to imagine that you are leaving the job, and you need to describe the basic skills needed by a new employee who will be replacing you
      • Always try to demonstrate how your skills can benefit your prospective employer (See Appendix 1)
      • If you want to show that your skill contributed to a specific result, make sure there is a clear relation between both. Illustrate how you used your particular skill to make things happen
    • d. Tailor the skills that you employed in your previous job so they are consistent with skills needed for a job you are looking for
    • e. Eliminate the redundancy across all the different jobs listed. If you have two areas where you have identified communication as one of the skills you used, decide which is the strongest representation of your communication skills, and either alter or eliminate the other reference. We strongly urge you to try and find a different “angle” or “twist” on the reference that could potentially be eliminated


  • Task: Critiquing résumés
  • Skills involved: Assessing needs, Evaluating options, Communication, Making recommendations
  • The following is task-oriented statement and it tends to be less effective on a résumé
  • Critiqued students’ résumés

On the other hand, a skills-oriented statement is much more effective and adds considerable value to your résumé. Here are two examples of skills-oriented statements.

  • Communicate with students to increase their marketability by offering multiple résumé layout options.
  • Provided effective job search assistance to students through the thoughtful evaluation of résumés.

2. Show the results.

You can spotlight your capabilities by selecting and expanding on specific achievements and showing the results of your work where possible. (See Appendix 1.)

When you illustrate a specific achievement, make sure it is clear how you accomplished it. Show exactly what you did to make it happen Try to quantify the results. If you increased sales, try to show a percentage or dollar amount increase. Numbers make it easier for the reader to visualize your abilities.


  • Reduced response time to customer inquiries by 50 percent through creation of a database containing product information
  • Increased sales by 36% in the two-year period in the designated area through more targeted prospecting 
  • Generated $55,000 in revenues by developing and marketing new territory

Using skills and results-oriented statements are usually the most effective ways to convey an experience. However, students with little experience or non-business experience often find it difficult to identify a sufficient number of work-related skills and results that they achieved in their previous jobs. Those students can also use one of the following recommendations to boost the experience section.

3. Explain the purpose

Some jobs do not require the application of complex skills or in-depth knowledge. Sometimes, it may be difficult to identify the direct impact or results of your work. If this is the case, you may instead want to concentrate on explaining the purpose of particular tasks. Mentioning an important purpose will help to add significance to less complex, seemingly trivial activities.


  • Update the bulletin board on a weekly basis to communicate job openings to over 4,000 students in the School of Management
  • Enter job postings accurately into an MS Access database to assist students in finding jobs and internships

4. Add Depth

You can add depth to your statements by showing that you assisted in an important project. A different way to do so is to illustrate that you reported directly to a highly ranked manager. Show that you were the part of something that resulted in a big impact or made a difference


  • Prepare important monthly reports of office telephone and fax activities for the assistant dean to be used in budget projections 
  • Coordinate the outgoing mail for the $2 million donation campaign aimed at providing essential nonprofit funding

5. Add Breadth

Conveying volume, complexity or variety of job activities will add breadth to your bullet points. Expand your statements by showing that you dealt with different situations, people or problems


  • Evaluate and edit more than 1,000 résumés of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students per year.
  • Provided customer service to more than 100 shoppers daily by answering questions, locating merchandise and demonstrating products.

Information that is expected for each position is:

  • Company Name
  • Company Location – City and state only
  • Dates worked (Start – Finish)
    • Dates should use either two-digit month and four-digit year format (MM/YYYY) or the month as a word with a four-digit year format (May 2012 - September 2013)
    • Current positions can be indicated by the word current or present (October 2012 - Present) 
  • Title - If you had no title or cannot locate the employer to verify your title, it is acceptable to create a realistic title. For example, if the company simply called you an Intern and you primarily performed market research, you can list your title as Market Research Intern 
  • Create your bullet points by starting with an action verb and using one of the methods identified above, or a combination of these methods


Approach this section the same way as the experience section. It can be incorporated into the experience section or developed as its own as you see fit.


Activities such as organizations and clubs (both in and outside of school), and sports or civic organizations can be used to show leadership, teamwork, involvement or other relevant and desirable characteristics. Information on outside activities also shows "well-roundedness". This is particularly important for less experienced underclassmen for use in filling out their experience section.

This can be a simple listing, or it can be developed similar to the employment section. At the very least, include the organization, position held and dates of involvement. Expand on them if they will further demonstrate relevant and beneficial characteristics.

Computer Skills

As we are all very dependent on technology, it is very important that computer skills be included on your résumé so employers understand your capabilities. Consider all of the programs you know how to use and feel would be of value to an employer. Things that are commonly included are:

  • General office programs – Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, WordPerfect, Lotus, etc.
  • Specialty Programs – Peachtree Accounting, Microsoft Dynamics, AutoCAD, etc.
  • Operating Systems – Windows, DOS, OS2, etc.
  • Programming Languages – Visual Basic, C++, J, J++, Java, Java Script, SQL, etc.

(Note: Avoid version/release numbers and outdated software and equipment unless relevant to the position sought.)

A simple listing is acceptable. Depending on the overall number of inclusions, a separation technique such as “bulleting” may enhance readability. This section can appear virtually anywhere on a résumé. If the position you are seeking is not very technical in nature, or if you do not have many applications to include, this section may be near the bottom of the page. If you are applying for a position that is more technical, this may be listed directly beneath the education section depending on the relevance of your experience.

Awards and Honors

Any time that you have excelled and have been recognized by your superiors or peers, it shows that you have a high level of achievement, and it is a good idea to include this information on your résumé. Consider any awards that you have received, such as Employee of the Month, Top Sales, Academic Scholarships, Sports Scholarships or Awards, and Civic Recognition (Eagle Scout, Good Neighbor, etc.) Do not include awards that date back a long time unless you feel they are particularly significant to your desired employment.

Awards and honors may be a separate section, or they may be nested in other sections. For example, scholarship information may be included in the education section, and employer recognition could be included in the work experience section. It is common to make these awards stand out by italicizing the information. If you choose to create a separate section for awards and honors, a simple reverse chronological listing is acceptable. Be sure to include the name of the award, the date received, and the organization it was received through.

References Available Upon Request (Do not include)
References are assumed to be available; therefore, it is not necessary to state this. Although it is acceptable to state this on the résumé, you should not include a listing of your references on your résumé. If you begin to run out of space on your résumé, eliminating this statement is one of the easiest ways to make more room.

The best way to handle references is to have them printed on matching bond paper, with the same header as your résumé, and to take them with you to the interview. Only provide them if they are requested, but have them ready.

Overall Appearance

The general appearance of the employment résumé is very important to your job hunting campaign. Think of the résumé as an extension of you. If it is neat, crisp, and well organized, it will suggest to the employer that you are someone who is careful and concerned about the quality of your work. A sloppy, disorganized résumé, conversely, will create an unfavorable impression with prospective employers and greatly hinder, if not ruin, your employment efforts. It is imperative, therefore, that you be attentive to the general appearance of your résumé document, and that you take the necessary steps to make a favorable impression.

  • Use a high quality bond paper (24 lb.) in either white or cream. Avoid trendy paper and dark colors
  • Use a clean, simple font and keep the font size between 10 pt. and 12 pt. These are the size recommendations for the most commonly used fonts:
    • Arial 10 pt. - 12 pt.
    • Calibri 11 pt. - 12 pt.
    • Times New Roman 10.5 pt. - 12 pt. 
  • Carefully proofread and edit to ensure proper spelling, grammar, punctuation and comprehension. (If necessary, seek help from a professional)
  • Make effective use of highlighting (bold type) and underlining to facilitate ease of reading and appropriate topical emphasis. Think before your bold or underline anything. If making it stand out will not benefit you, don’t use these features. It is important that you do not overuse the different highlighting accents
  • Make sure the final copy is neat, well spaced, uncluttered and easy to read
  • Final printing should be done using a high quality laser printer

Although all of this may seem like basic advice, a high percentage of résumés do not meet these simple standards. The extra effort can have substantial payoff for your job hunt.

Sample Résumé