Resume FAQ

There are virtually unlimited styles and formats for your resume, from the plain text "just the facts" format, to the flamboyant "artistic with a flair" format. Ask 10 employers about resume format basics, and you will likely get 10 different (often conflicting) answers. Be forewarned, there are many opinions out there about the "right" way to create your resume both in terms of format and content.


The bottom line is if it succeeds in getting you an interview then it is a great resume! That is not to say that "anything goes”. This FAQ page is designed to give you the best, state-of-the-art, cutting-edge information from the experienced career professionals at UA Career Services.


  1. Should I include high school information?
  2. Should I list other schools/colleges?
  3. Should I list all work experience, even if it is not related?
  4. Should I use "I" to describe myself?
  5. How long should my objective be? What should be included?
  6. Should I keep my resume to one page?
  7. Should I put my experience in chronological order?
  8. How should I include Clubs/Activities?
  9. What size fonts should I use? What styles?
  10. Should I use bold and italics? How do I incorporate bullets?
  11. Should I include GPA? Major GPA? Minor GPA?
  12. How should I incorporate relevant coursework?
  13. Should I include references?
  14. Should I use a template to create my resume?
  15. Should I include group projects (or major papers) for classes?
  16. What should I include in the "contact information" section?

Should I include high school information?
High school informantion is sometimes listed for freshmen and sophomore level college students who may be seeking internships and summer jobs in order to emphasize their academic record and activities from high school.  There are 2 common instances when high school information should be included on your resume:

  • Your high school achievement is outstanding. For instance, if you were your high school class valedictorian or president. Even this may be dropped as you become involved with work within your major/career field while you are in college.
  • If your high school itself is unique in some way. If you attended a high school that is “known” for something. Benson Technological High School for instance in Portland, Oregon is known for Science and Technology.

In general, be looking for ways to demonstrate your skills in college, and delete high school information as soon as possible.

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Should I list other schools/colleges?
You should NOT include any college or school unless you have completed a certificate program or a degree. Many who include this information are trying to show “continuity”. Continuity is not so important as SKILLS. If there are particular skills that can be demonstrated through the coursework taken, then include it in a RELEVANT COURSEWORK section, or in the SKILLS section of the resume.  (However, if you attended more than one college, you will need to provide transcipts to employers for every school.)
 
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Should I list all work experience, even if it is not related to what I am applying for?
The simple answer is no. It is not necessary, nor even desirable, to list ALL jobs on your resume. Ask yourself, “Does this experience help me demonstrate skills that are relevant to the opportunity I am applying for?”  Survival jobs can be listed in an Employment Summary section, or even become a footnote under Education: “Worked 20 hours per week to supplement my educational finances.”

Often your academic team projects, research papers, and campus involvement are better demonstrations of your skills than a survival job.

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Should I use "I" (or other pronouns) to describe myself or others on my resume?
No. Personal pronouns should be avoided on your resume. (I, me, my, our, your, their, she, he).

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How long should my objective be? What should be included?
A resume SHOULD be a stand-alone document. When looking at the resume alone, an employer should be able to determine what the candidate is seeking. A clear career objective is essential. The objective should articulate both the objective AND the top skills that a candidate brings to the equation.
For example:  Seeking a position as a staff accountant with the opportunity to utilize strong quantitative, analytical, teamwork, and interpersonal communication skills.

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Should I keep my resume to one page?
Most undergraduate students have a one page resume. Master's level students might have one or two pages. In general, you should keep your resume to one page, and if you have extensive relevant esperience, then no more than two pages.  Relevant is the key word - you should not include everything you have ever done.

As for creating more space on your resume, you can play with different font styles and font sizes.  Start with 11-point Calibri or 12-point Times New Roman and one inch margins on all four sidessides.  
 
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Should I put my experience in chronological order?
If you are using a chronological resume format, the order of the jobs listed is really "reverse chronological" starting with the most current experience first. If the experience is relevant to the opportunity you are applying for, then yes, list it. 
 
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Should I include Clubs/Activities?
Employers are very interested in your experience with organizations on and off campus, which indicate your leadership potential, interest and involvement in a professional field and philanthropic service. Include your membership and committee work as well as positions of leadership. Focus on describing your skills and your contributions to the organization. 

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What size fonts should I use? What styles?
Start with a blank document, one inch margins on all four sides. Use one style of font for the entire resume. Use any standard font on your resume, such as size 11 Calibri, 11 Arial or 12 Times New Roman.

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Should I use bold and italics? How do I incorporate bullets?
Yes, you may use boldface, italics, indentation, bulleted lists, and other types of highlighting for a fancy formatted resume. A plain text format is needed for scannable resumes. Certain elements of your resume need to stand out for clarity and organization. Your headings for instance are often bolded and/or ALL CAPS. Bullets, bolds and italics are a personal preference. Overuse of any style element reduces rather than enhances the impact.

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Should I include Overall GPA? Major GPA? Minor GPA?
General wisdom has concluded that the arbitrary figure of 3.0 is the cut-off for inclusion on your resume. So, if your Overall, Major and/or Minor GPAs are 3.0 or above, include them. 
 
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How should I incorporate relevant coursework?
It is fine to include under the EDUCATION section a list of 6 to 8 classes that indicate your knowledge for the job you are seeking. Classes are often listed for students trying to get internships who have not had much work experience. Listing classes is optional if you have significant work experience.

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Should I include references on my resume?
NO - the name and contact information for your references should be listed on a separate sheet of paper. Stating “References Available upon Request” is not necessary on a resume. All employers will assume you have references available if you are seeking a job.

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Should I use a template to create my resume?
NO - just open a Microsoft Word document and set your margins and start typing. Templates take away your control of the format.  Start with a blank document. one inch margins top, bottom, and sides. Use 11 or 12-point font and just start typing in your information. Do not worry about style and formatting until AFTER you have the content the way you want it.

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Should I include group projects (or major papers) for classes?
Yes. You should include group projects and/or significant papers. Teamwork and writing skills are among the top skills that employers are seeking, in addition to knowledge in your academic subject. Whether you include the project in your EDUCATION section or in your EXPERIENCE section depends on the significance of the experience.

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What should I include in the "contact information" section?
You should include your name, address, telephone number, and email address. If you have more than one telephone number, like a home phone and a cell phone, then indicate which is which in your contact information. (You might also include your professional website and your LinkedIn account address.)

If you have an email address that is humorous: #1wildcatfan@email.com for instance, create a more serious email account name for your job or internship search. joansmith123@email.com might not be very funny, but you should not be trying to impress potential employers with your humor. It is more important to be seen as a professional.  (Also, use a professional voice message on your phones.)

Here is a potential contact information format:

Joan Smith
1234 Aqua Ave., Apt. 567
Tucson, Arizona 85721
Home: 520-621-1111
Cell: 520-621-2222
joansmith123@email.com

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