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How to Write an Effective Resume

An effective resume will summarize your education and experiences, including jobs, internships, leadership roles, extracurriculars, and volunteer activities. Here is an overview of what resume structure looks like, some helpful tips, and a sample resume.



  • There are multiple ways to create a resume. To keep it simple, we’ve outlined a common format called the “chronological resume” that lists information in the following sections from most recent to less recent. Review your resume with someone before sharing it with an employer (see “Tips” section).

  • All resumes begin with your contact information at the top. List your full name in bold, a large font. List a permanent physical address. Include an email that reads as professional-sounding (more information on how to do this in “Tips” section).

  • Objective: This section is optional. The goal of an objective is to inform employers about the type of work you aim to do.

  • Education: List the name and location of the school or program you’re currently attending or most recently attended, the type of degree or credential you’ve obtained or are working towards. List the expected date of graduation if you are still in the program.

    • If you don’t have prior work experience for the jobs you’re applying to, list any coursework that may apply. “Relevant coursework” is helpful to list when applying to internships.

  • Experience: List work experience from most recent to less recent, which can include jobs, internships, and other school activities. Your bullets will begin with verbs describing your duties and connect them to measurable results. The verbs you use will be in past tense for past experience and present tense for current roles. For example:

    • Maintained sales floor, including supervising 3 cashiers and 8 associates

    • Organized and scanned more than 250 files for the department.

    • Established school’s first disability advocacy association

    • Led team of 5 during holiday clothing drive in the community

  • Skills: This section usually is for language skills and technical skills.

  • Before you write, make a list of your skills, abilities, work experience, and extracurricular activities.

  • Download a Microsoft Office template from online for your format. Be neat, consistent, and choose an easy to read font like Arial or Times New Roman. Proof for typos. Use a professional email from your school or create one, such as

  • Length: Make your resume one page maximum. No more than 3-4 bullets per section. You do not have to include every professional experience. It is not necessary to include photos, social handles, or hobbies.

  • Disclosing disability: You are not required to disclose on your resume or during a job interview.

  • People who can help with your resume:

    • ACCES-VR can provide those out of high school with a resume. ACCES staff may connect you to employment specialist/coach.

    • Career development (services) offices at colleges have staff and resources that can help with resume creation and job application skills.

    • Transition Coordinator at high school (or high school equivalency program)

    • Work readiness organizations like Workforce One provide resume workshops.

    • Local libraries may offer job preparedness and resume workshops.

  • Interview prep: Share your resume as a PDF and bring printed copies to the interview. Ask people if they are willing to serve as a reference before you share their names with an employer.

  • Updating your resume: Update your resume yearly even if you’re not job searching. List any new roles/skills or degrees, certificates and credentials earned.

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