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Feb 26 2016
by Mia Renee Cole

13 Tips for Formatting Your Resume

By Mia Renee Cole - Feb 26 2016
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Resumes are kind of a big deal when you're in college. But how do you write one? Are there any classes that teach resume writing? Chances are, there are probably no classes and you're left in the dark. How, then, is the best way to format your resume?


1. Keep it on one page.

This is the golden rule to having a good resume. In fact, it's not really a rule: it's a must. Never, ever, ever do you make your resume longer than one page. With practice and careful placement, you should be able to get everything you need on it without going over a page. Keep reading to learn how.


2. Make it look aesthetically pleasing.

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You don't have to include selfies (actually, don't do that) or colorful font, just make it look organized and neat. A disorganized, kind of random-looking resume is the last thing that's going to attract the attention of a potential boss.


3. Keep everything concise.

In order to keep your resume down to one page, make everything concise. Use bullet points to describe your previous experiences or, as I do, keep it down to just one sentence. This is a great time to practice conveying your point without talking too much.


4. Put your full, legal name at the top.

This was the first mistake I made with my resume. Since everyone calls me Mia, I figured it would be okay to just put "Mia Renee Cole" on my resume. Wrong! You should probably have your legal name and, if you go by a nickname, have it in quotations following your name. For example, here's how mine looks: Emilia Renee Cole, "Mia."


5. Include your contact info.

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Including your contact information is kind of a "duh," but what kind do you use? Have you regular phone number, your email (a nice, professional sounding one--i.e. NOT "kookoo69@hotmail.com"), your address (see my next point) and, if you want, you can include your website or one of your social media handles (like Facebook).


6. Use both your home AND school addresses.

Mia Renee Cole

If you're a college student that lives away from home for part of the year, it's a smart idea to include BOTH of your addresses on your resume. Also, include the dates of when you're located at each address (i.e. I put "May-July" for my home address and "August-April" for my dorm). This way, the person reviewing your resume will know where you'll be during the time the may want to hire you.


7. Say "no" to having an Objective.

Objectives are sooooooo '90s. This, of course, is an optional point, but an objective paragraph--for the most part--is out of style. This is mainly because it's redundant. An objective at the top of your resume basically states why you're applying for your position ad what you hope to accomplish. With most jobs, you submit your resume with a cover letter, which essentially does this in advance. If you're applying for a position that doesn't require a cover letter, you could reconsider the objective, but for the most part, objectives aren't really used anymore.


8. Put only the jobs/experience that pertain to the job/internship that you're applying for.

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Most resumes you'll be writing in college will be target resumes; that is, you'll be catering to a particular job or internship you're hoping to get. In this case, include only your experiences that show your qualifications for the job you're applying for. For example, if you're applying for an internship at a local law firm, you won't need to include your experience as a concessions worker at your local movie theatre. Of course, if you don't have many job experiences, you'll want to reconsider including that concessions job, just make sure to highlight the qualities you gained from the job that may pertain to interning at a law firm (i.e. long hours, manning the concessions by yourself, customer service, etc.).


9. Date all of your experiences.

Dating your experiences is important because it allows your future employer to see how long you've been working and how long you worked at previous jobs. Plus, it helps you keep track of this for your own benefit. Make sure to list your jobs in chronological order from most recent to less recent.


10. Make your headers and bullet points pop.

Once again, aesthetics matter. This doesn't mean you need to use crazy fonts or colors but, instead, just make sure your headers look different from your descriptions or bullets and keep everything uniform.


11. Include your education experience, and honors from high school.

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Since we're just now starting college, your high school honors and experiences are actually going to matter to potential employers. Definitely consider including your college information (such as where you're enrolled, your expected graduation date, what you're majoring in), but don't forget about those four *wonderful* years of high school. Include any honors you might have graduated with (Merit Diploma, IB Diploma, Foreign Language) and any honors societies you might have been involved in.


12. Include your GPA.

Choosing to include your GPA is entirely optional, but it does give the reviewer an opportunity to truly judge your academic performance. The general rules with including a GPA are: don't include a GPA if it's under a 3.0 and, if you include a GPA for high school, you should also include your GPA for college. Don't be pressured by including a GPA, but it definitely can make your resume more shiny. Again though, it depends on what type of internship you're applying for and if that GPA would matter to them. 


13. Include your skills and, possibly, your hobbies.

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A skills paragraph is a pretty traditional part of a resume, but for good reason. If you are experienced with Microsoft Office, are certified in CPR or can do anything else that may add to the job you're applying for, including these under your skills will make you look well-rounded and qualified for the job.

Another point you can choose to add is a place to display your hobbies. This is a way for the person reviewing your resume to get to know you before meeting you AND remember you easier, which is a great start to have in the search for a job. Be careful, however, when including your hobbies. Only put down things that you know will interest other people and not just things that interest you. For instance, I really love cats and collecting Disney pins, but I wouldn't put that on a resume, because it's not too professional and no one truly cares about my geeky love of cats and Disney. Good examples of interesting hobbies would include: playing an instrument, playing a sport, artistic abilities, etc.


Overall, resumes are fairly easy to write. You get to talk about yourself and you don't need to write more than a page. To make it easier, I would suggest creating a master resume for yourself first. This is a simple document where you list all of your experiences, skills, education, etc. with very thorough, thought-out descriptions and bullet points. This is a way to organize your thoughts and keep track of what you've done and it makes it significantly easier to write a resume, especially if you're having to write multiple resumes for different applications. As for design, there are many resume templates you can find online and through word processors on your computer which make it super easy to create a stylish, neat resume. Check out a draft of my resume for a formatting visual.

Mia Renee Cole

Lead Image Credit: quickmeme.com

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Mia Renee Cole - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mia Renee is currently the Senior Editor with Fresh U and a student at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is studying Spanish and French. In her free time she enjoys knitting, photography and drinking hot tea while writing on her personal blog. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @miareneecole or her blog at miareneecole.com!

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