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Writing a Resume

A resume is a marketing document that outlines your previous experiences in a way that shows that you are the best candidate for the position you are applying for. It’s meant to be between one and two pages, and should be tailored to each position you apply to.

An Important Note

Applying for a Federal Job?

There is a different process for applying and you will need a different type of resume as compared to other positions.

Need a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

A resume is different from a curriculum vitae (CV), which is traditionally used by those in academia and research.

Getting Started

Creating a resume can be a daunting task. To get started, try this exercise:

This will be a casual place to brainstorm everything that can go on future resumes. See “Templates” if you would like to start with a specific format.

Try to find the date(s) that you were involved in each experience. Don’t worry about formatting, just get all of the information down.

Examples: internships, full-time work, part-time work, summer jobs, volunteer/community service, campus activities, student organizations, and your educational experiences.

This can include specific tasks you were assigned, accomplishments, or ways that you personally contributed to the experience. Don’t worry about the wording, just make notes that you can make sense of.

You will want to save this document in an easily accessible place, like Google docs, so that you having a running history of your work, academic, volunteer, and extracurricular experiences. You can always update information in this document and then copy and paste it into tailored resumes that you are creating. This running “Primary Resume” will be especially helpful if you ever decide to apply for academic / research careers, which require a Curriculum Vitae, or a job with the U.S. government, which requires a federal resume.

Now you have a resume draft! You can use this document to store all of your information for years to come, and simply edit the information you need for each new resume you make.

Resume Formatting & Templates

Resume formatting is an important part of creating a resume. While there is no “right” way to make a resume, there are some important things to consider when formatting your resume.

Using lots of color, or complex graphic design can distract from the content of your resume, and it may cause issues with the AI that reads resumes.

  • Stick with simple, readable fonts (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri)
  • Unless asked otherwise, submit your online resume as a PDF document, so the formatting does not change when opened in different browsers.

Prioritize your experiences, and make sure the most important items appear toward the top of the page. It’s what people will see first, and you want to make a good first impression!

  • Under each heading, list your experiences in reverse chronological order, meaning you start with the most recent experiences.

Resume Templates & Examples

Career Activator

Career Activator is a tool that helps you create a resume from a range of pre-built templates, and industry-specific examples.

Resume Sections

Key Resume Sections

  • Header
  • Objective/Profile
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Skills
  • The header should contain your name*, phone number, and email address. Additionally, you can include your preferred pronouns, your LinkedIn profile URL, and the city/state you live in, if you feel comfortable sharing that information.
    *If you go by a different name than your legal one, you can list it in parentheses (e.g. Katie (Caleb) Student), as an initial (e.g. K. Caleb Student), or simply list your name as usual (e.g. Caleb Student). However, make sure to have your legal name on all legal documents.
  • Your Objective or Profile is 2-3 sentences regarding the specific position you are applying for, and your contributions to the role. An Objective statement should start with the phrase “To obtain,” while a Profile can be a bit more flexible. A good template to create a profile statement is:
    (Adjective) (professional) with (number) + years of (industry) experience looking to utilize (relevant skill) and (experience or education) in (relevant topic) in the (position) position at (company/organization).
    Note: Objective and Profile statements are most helpful when you have gaps in your resume or are looking to transition into a different field.
  • List the name of the institution, city and state, and degree you received (or expect to receive). Fully spell out degree name (e.g. Bachelor of Arts, not B.A.). Include your major(s) and minor(s), as well as your GPA (or major GPA) if it’s above a 3.0. Feel free to list any education you’ve obtained, such as unfinished degrees (list as “Some Coursework”), Associates Degrees, Certificate Programs, etc. You can list a High School Education/GED, however we recommend taking that off once you have gained relevant experience outside of high school.
    Optional: You may wish to include relevant coursework (relevant to the position for which you’re applying), major research projects, academic awards and honors, or study abroad experiences if applicable.
  • The experience section(s) are all about the unique ways that you have interacted with the world around you. For each position, indicate the name of the employer, your title, the city/state where you worked, and dates of employment. List bullet points underneath, describing the tasks and accomplishments you had at each experience. For more information on how to write bullet points (skill statements), see the section titled “Writing a Strong Skill Statement.”

    Your experiences matter, regardless of if you were paid! Here are some examples of possible experiences you can list:

    • Leadership/Campus Involvement
    • Working at Your Family’s Business
    • Part-Time Jobs
    • Full-Time Jobs
    • Military Experience
    • Volunteer Experience/Service
    • International/Study Abroad
    • Internships
    • Babysitting/Nanny Roles
    • Classroom Projects
    You can always separate out your experiences between “Relevant” and “Additional” to prioritize what is most important to the role you’re applying for. You can also title this section differently based on the type of experience you’re highlighting (e.g. “Clinical Experience” or “Teaching Experience”).
  • The skills section should include skills that are applicable to the work you’ll be doing. Sort your skills into different categories, and be as specific as possible, especially when naming software or equipment. Try not to include skills that are vague (e.g.” communication skills”).

Additional Resume Sections

Based on your experiences, you may benefit from including additional sections. These sections may be helpful to include if you you are in particular industries, or if you have a lot of experience in the area. Try to ask yourself: Is this experience relevant? Will this set me apart from other candidates?

Awards and honors is a helpful section to designate special achievements, including scholarships, grants, graduation honors, special recognitions, etc. If the award’s title does not give context to achievements, you can provide a description of why the award was given. This can be part of Education or a separate section.

Licenses & Certifications is a section that allows you to show your qualifications for working at a specific job/industry. This is especially important when your industry requires specific certifications/licensure to qualify (e.g. Teaching License, Registered Nurse Certification). If it is a qualification for a position, be sure to put this section on the top half of your resume so it is easily seen.

If you have been involved in clubs and activities during your time at St. Kates, you can highlight those in this section. This is especially helpful if you have held leadership positions in any organizations on campus. Bullet points describing your experiences are optional.

If you are in an industry that encourages continuing education or professional development, this section can help you highlight where you may have particular expertise. Professional development experiences include workshops, presentations, seminars, continuing education (CE) experiences, or trainings.

If you are involved in any professional associations that are relevant to the opportunity you are applying for, it can be helpful to highlight that on your resume. If you would like to learn more about professional associations, click here.

The Presentation section can be helpful to highlight any key presentation experiences you have, including presenting research at a conference, participating in a panel discussion, hosting a webinar, etc. This can be helpful section to highlight public speaking skills, or academic research experience.

The Publication section can be helpful to highlight any published work you have authored/co-authored. This section will usually only go on Curriculum Vitae.

Research Experience, while may fall under the “experience” category, is often separated to highlight laboratory, analysis, or clinical skills. This section is especially helpful for scientific or academically-focused resumes.

If you have experience studying/working internationally, you can place it under the “Education” section, or you can have a section specifically for international experiences. It is recommended to have this section separate if you have at least two experiences to put in it, or if the position requires knowledge of intercultural fluency or knowledge of a particular culture.

The Course Projects section is a helpful tool to highlight coursework that is applicable to the field or position you’re applying for. When highlighting course projects, it’s important to showcase information that is relevant to the experience you’re applying for. For example, it could be helpful to focus on methodologies when applying to a research position. If you’re applying for a business-related role, focus on the action you took as a result of your research and how your actions benefited the organization.

Label this section “Course Projects in [Subject]”

Writing Bullet Points (Skill Statements)

Skill statements are the bullet points that you can use to describe your experiences. Focus on specific duties/accomplishments, and ways to connect your experience to the position. Follow these steps for help:

Keywords are specific skills, language, qualities, or experiences looked for in a candidate. Examples include:

  • Software proficiencies (e.g. Office Suites, HTML)
  • Degrees/Certification 
  • Specific Communication Skills (e.g. Negotiation, Collaboration)

You can identify keywords in Job Listings look for items repeated often, or are very specific. 

e.g. Make sure to copy the phrasing they use. If they list “CRM software,” use that phasing instead of an example like “Salesforce”

O*NET: Look up the job you’re interested in.

Find ways to integrate the keywords throughout your resume, in bullet points and/or skills sections.

Once you’ve identified keywords, begin to brainstorm ways that you can connect yourself to those skills/qualities/actions. Try to ask yourself:

  • Have I done this before?
  • If I do not have experience with this, is there something similar I’ve done?
    • e.g. If the keyword is “assess patients,” and you have no patient care experience, think of ways you’ve assessed other groups of people (e.g. customers).
  • How have I demonstrated this quality?
  • Do I have any achievements related to this quality/skill/action?

Once you’ve identified the connection, place that keyword/phrase as a bullet point under that experience.

Now that you’ve selected a key word or verb that you would like to include in your bullet point, you will want to add relevant details. You can do this by clarifying and quantifying.

Clarify: Clarifying allows you to add relevant details to explain the context of your accomplishment/duty. Ask yourself: Who? What? Where? When? Why?


  • Keyword: Monitored
    • Who/What did you monitor? (e.g. Students, Patients, Employees)
      • What did you monitor about them? (e.g. Vitals, Behavior, Grades, progress)
    • What item/equipment did you use to monitor?
    • Where did you monitor? (e.g. in a busy hospital setting, in one-on-one sessions)
    • When did you monitor? (e.g. when students are at risk of failing a course, during surgery recovery)
    • Why did you monitor it/them? (e.g. to ensure success, to aid in recovery)

Quantify: Quantifying allows you to provide the context and the scale of your accomplishment/duty. Ask yourself: How much? How many?*

You don’t have to have specific numbers–you can always show a range (e.g. 7-12 employees), or an estimate (e.g. about 60 calls per shift)


  • Before: Edited submitted articles for paper
  • After: Reviewed and evaluated about 50 articles per week to ensure quality content is published

Try to think of details that are relevant to what you are applying for.

Bullet points for resumes should begin with a verb that represents the skill or achievement that you are hoping to demonstrate. Avoid using “I” or “Duties included…”

If you are struggling to come up with ideas, try using these templates:

Accomplished [x], as a measured by [y], by doing [z]

Increased team efficiency by 15%, as measured by delivery time, by designing and implementing a new delivery system

Action Verb + How You Did It + Why You Did It

Facilitated creative and engaging activities for 4 children to support their emotional and social development during the COVID-19 lockdown

Action Verb + Details + Outcome/Result

Coordinated the service of 10 tables in a high-volume restaurant, delivering efficient and friendly service to guests

Industry-Specific Information

Some industries require information that is very specific to the field, and therefore may need some specialized advice and suggestions. Click the topic below to see suggestions for each industry.

Licensure & Certifications

When listing licenses and certifications, think about the ones that are relevant to the position, and/or show your unique qualifications.


Eligible for NCLEX test for RN on May 1, 2023

Basic Life Support (BLS), American Heart Association, Expires 12/1/2023

Public Health Nurse (PHN) – upon graduation March 2023


Clinical Experiences:

It’s important to list all of your clinicals in your resume, including the site, unit, and number of hours worked at each site. Bullet points for these are optional, but recommended for experiences where you worked a lot of hours, or will be applying for positions in that setting.

Example: Intensive Care Unit (ICU) | Mayo Clinic | 240 Hours | Spring 2022

Other Experiences:

Label your other sections “Relevant Experience” and “Additional Experience.” Try to highlight the “Soft Skills” listed below, and any accomplishments you had at each experience.

Nursing “Soft” Skills to Highlight

  • Leadership
  • Critical Thinking
  • Decision-Making
  • Cultural Fluency
  • Coping w/ pressure
  • Problem Solving
  • Managing time / Prioritizing
  • Collaboration / Teamwork

Details to Include in Bullet Points

  • What illnesses, injuries or traumas do you care for?
  • What cases do you work on?
  • What type of medications do you administer and how?
  • What therapies do you perform?
  • What equipment do you use?
    • How have you improved processes?
  • When have you been first or best?
  • Number one achievement in each position?
  • Which achievements have the most impressive numbers?
  • When have you been publicly recognized?
  • Facility & Unit-Specific Information
    • Trauma level: level I, II, III
    • Facility Designations
    • Awards
    • EMR/EHR
    • Total Hospital Beds
    • Total Unit Beds
    • Patient Demographics

Licensure & Certifications

When listing licenses and certifications, think about the ones that are relevant to the position, and/or show your unique qualifications.


Minnesota Secondary Education Licensure (application pending)


Student Teaching & Field Experience

If you are earning your first teaching certificate, this section is the most important one. State the school, location, and dates you worked. Include facts of your teaching assignment (e.g. number of students, number of students with IEPS, classes, grade levels, subjects). Fill in with details from the “Details to Highlight” section.

Teaching Experience

When you have gained certificates and teaching experience, change your heading title to “Teaching Experience.” State the school, location, and dates you worked. Include facts of your teaching assignment (e.g. number of students, number of students with IEPS, classes, grade levels, subjects). Fill in with details from the “Details to Highlight” section.

Details to Highlight

Address: Curriculum, instruction, assessment

  • implementing your own lesson plans & topics presented
  • how you worked with different learning styles
  • work with diverse students
  • communication with parents
  • how you have managed student behavior
  • specific technology you incorporated into your reaching
  • class size, grade levels, subjects taught, level of courses (AP, Elective)
  • lessons designed to meet standards
  • measurement of progress
  • creative ways you connected subject material with the students

Keywords to consider including:

special populations; mentoring; testing/assessment; classroom management strategies; methods of scaffolding, differentiating, reaching diverse learning styles, and promoting lifelong learning; specialized curricula, methods, and programs.

While each organization may differ, it is generally understood that research-oriented positions will ask for a Curriculum Vitae (CV) instead of a resume. Click here to learn how to build a CV.

Federal resumes are very different from any other industry. Click here to learn more about how to build a resume to use when applying to Federal positions.


Resume length is a divisive subject. Traditionally, resumes should be only one page, unless you have 10+ years of experience in the field. However, it is becoming more common now for resumes to be up to two pages. A general rule of thumb to follow is: If possible, keep your resume to one page. If it goes onto a second page, make sure that the reader doesn’t miss out on key information if they don’t read the second page.

Many people, for valid reasons, want to express their personality through the formatting of their resume. While being authentic is an important part of being a professional, resume formatting may not be the best place to do so. ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, is artificial intelligence (AI) that screens applicants’ resume to weed out candidates who do not have the necessary qualifications. Some resume templates have features (text boxes, atypical fonts, multiple columns) that the AI struggles to read, and so it may not see your experience and thus think you are not qualified for the position.

While not all organizations use ATS, it’s important to consider that the organization may not have people reading through every resume by hand, so you may risk being excluded from the search simply because of formatting.

If you are wanting to show your creativity, or graphic design skills, we recommend creating a portfolio and linking it on your resume.

There isn’t one “correct” format that you should use for a resume. However, there are two factors you should consider:

1. Is the format easy to read? If someone has trouble skimming your resume, they are likely to miss important information about your qualifications and experiences. Make sure your font is large enough to be read easily, and each section is easily labeled.

2. Will your resume be read by ATS? ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, is artificial intelligence (AI) that screens applicants’ resume to weed out candidates who do not have the necessary qualifications. Some resume templates have features (text boxes, atypical fonts, multiple columns) that the AI struggles to read, and so it may not see your experience. You can use websites like Jobscan to determine if your template is ATS-compliant.

Yes, and no. While we do recommend that you tailor your resume to each position you apply for, it doesn’t mean that you have to start from scratch each time. We recommend you keep a running document of every bullet point and format you use, so that you can pull from content you’ve made in the past when creating new resumes. That way, you save yourself a lot of time and effort. If you choose not to tailor your resume for most jobs, be sure to take the time to tailor your resume for the jobs you’re most interested in, and to differentiate your resume when applying for multiple positions at the same company/organization.

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