Resume Tips and Tricks

Purpose of a Resume

  • A marketing tool (you are marketing yourself to the employer)
  • Real purpose – to get an interview
  • To learn about you and what you can offer the organization
  • It is a snapshot of you (and only a part of you!)
  • It is concise
  • Remember employer’s SEARCH strategy – computer will crawl all applicants’ resumes, “key words” are important to help you rise to the top!

General Tips

  • Develop a Master Resume with EVERYTHING on it including all internships, jobs, experiences, student organizations, professional organizations, class projects (and continue to add to it over time)
    • Use your Master Resume to develop targeted resumes for internships/jobs that you are applying to
    • By having a Master Resume, it is easy to cut and paste to tailor specific resumes
  • One page Resume (see below under Tricks to fit it on one page!)
  • Tailor/Target Your Resume to the Specific Internship/Job (VERY IMPORTANT!) – one resume does not fit all internships/jobs!
  • Content is MORE important than design
  • Only include in your resume what is RELEVANT for that position
  • Easy to Read

Header Tips

  • Include Name, Email, Phone Number in header (make sure your email is professional and that you have a professional phone message)
  • Address – can include current UW-Madison address, home address, or NO address – only have one address – current literature states an address is not necessary!
  • LinkedIn and/or Twitter account– can include if professional
  • Personal Website or portfolio link – can include if professional


  • Include current information and date (month/year) of graduation (May 2016)
  • The Education Section should be at the top of your resume unless you have substantial experience (then at the bottom)
  • Do NOT include high school unless you are a freshman or sophomore and need it to fill space!
  • GPA – only include if over 3.0 – only need one decimal point (two if you really want to!) – put GPA over 4.0 (3.5/4.0)

Body of Resume (Subject Headings)

  • Use descriptive subject headings – use words to describe the experiences in each section (Advertising Experience, Digital Experience, Communication and Media Experience)
  • Cluster similar experiences under pertinent topic headings
  • Align subject headings to what skills the employer is looking for (check job description)

Body of Resume (Specific Experience and Descriptive Lines)

  • For each experience include: Organization Name, Position Title, Location, Dates (Dates should be given in Months/Year – not semester or seasons!)
  • Use bullets to describe specific responsibilities and tasks
  • Start each bullet with an action verb
  • In your bullet, demonstrate results/impact that you had on the organization
  • Show the context as to WHY the task was done and the overall goal objective of the task
  • Use key word strategies – utilize some of the wording from the job/internship description
  • Do NOT use first person pronouns
  • Use correct tense – either present or past tense – if current – use present tense
  • Class projects, jobs, internships, student organization involvement, volunteer experiences can all be included!

Sample Bullet Points

  • Raised over $10,000 of revenue for the production and distribution of Curb Magazine by working with a business team of four students (NOTE: This is a classroom experience!)
  • Increased engagement by 50% across social media sites, helping to build closer relationships with teenage target audience

Notes About Classroom Experience

  • Do NOT forgot about classroom experience – many of your classes teach you professional skills
  • Many times you work with REAL employers on REAL campaigns
  • Class Agency Title could be the Title of your “Experience”
  • Classroom Experience can be included under a Specific Experience (see above) or under Related Coursework (under Education)

Skills Section

  • Include Language, Computer, Technical and Equipment Skills
  • For Language –Proficiency Level: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, Proficient, Native
  • For Technical/Computer/Equipment – Proficiency Level: Novice, Intermediate, Proficient, Expert
  • Software Examples: Adobe Creative Suite, Simmons, Sysomos, Excel (see sample resumes)

Additional Sections

  • Objective – DO NOT INCLUDE
  • Summary or Qualifications Section – can include (but not necessary) – use a couple of lines of text to describe yourself (or use bullets) – it should be below your contact information

Do Nots

  • No grammar or spelling errors
  • Do not have an INTEREST section – employers do not need to know that you ski unless you are applying for a social media position for a ski company!
  • Do not use more than one style of FONT
  • Do not overuse Bolding, Italics or Underlining!
  • Do not have the font smaller than 10 point

Formatting Tricks

  • Font Size between 10 and 12 point (except for your Name which should be larger)
  • Use basic but modern font, like Helvetica, Arial, or Century Gothic
  • Margins: .5-.75 (the default is 1-1.25 – change the margins!)
  • Spacing between lines – can be made smaller if you need to fit on one page (8 point font)