4.6 Resumes

A resume is a brief document that summarizes your education, employment history, and experiences that are relevant to your qualifications for a particular job for which you are applying. The purpose of a resume (along with your cover letter) is to get an interview. Research has shown than it takes an average of ten interviews to receive one job offer, so your resume needs to be persuasive and perfect.

A resume should be easily readable, effectively designed, and adapted to audience expectations. If you are taking a technical writing course, your instructor may be okay with your making up a few details in your resume to represent what you’ll be when you graduate. However, if you’re just starting your college education and have little work experience, why not try using the techniques and suggestions here to create a resume that represents your current skills, abilities, and background? Developing a decent-looking resume based on what you are now is a challenge that you have to deal with at some point—so why not now?

Watch Will Fleming’s video for some general resume writing tips:

Resumes: An Overview

The general purpose resume usually contains four sections:

      • Contact info
      • Experience
      • Education
      • Honors, activities, and outreach (optional)

The contact information should include:

        • Full name
        • E-mail address
        • Permanent address (or campus address if applicable)
        • Phone number(s)
        • Web address/URL (if applicable)

The experience section usually includes:

        • Company or organization
        • Location
        • Position title
        • Dates of employment or involvement
        • Descriptions of responsibilities and duties

The education section usually includes:

        • Schools you have attended, such as universities and community colleges, as well as professional and technical schools (rarely high schools, unless somehow relevant)
        • Location of school(s)
        • Date of graduation, actual or anticipated (Anticipated graduation June 2022)
        • Degree(s) earned/Majors studied
        • Grade point average (GPA) (*most experts agree that GPAs should be left off if lower than a 3.0)

An honors and activities section might include:

        • Academic awards and scholarships
        • Membership in campus, national, or international organizations
        • Leadership positions held in campus, national, or international organizations
        • University and community service positions
        • Work-related awards or honors
        • Dates of awards/dates of involvement
        • Volunteer experience
        • Apprenticeships (if not listed under Experience)

For more resume tips, see the following video, “What Should You Include on a Resume?” from GCFLearnFree.org:

Resume Design

There are many, many different ways of designing your resume, but one shared characteristic with all resumes is that they should be easy to read. There is no one right way to write or design a resume. Every person’s background, employment needs, and career objectives are different, which necessitates unique resume designs. The best way to determine your resume’s design is to look at examples of others’ resumes to help you decide your own approach. Keep in mind that every detail, every aspect of your resume should work toward explaining the following:  who you are, what your background and expertise are, what the potential employer is looking for, and what your own employment goals are.


Figure 4.6.1 shows the basic format for most resumes:

Figure 4.6.1

*The next page, “Resume Sections & Types,” will discuss resume design in more detail.

Resume Samples

Take a look at the following resume examples to give you a sense of the various styles

Additional Resources

  • From Writingcommons.org:



"Resumes." Online Technical Writing. [License: CC BY 4.0]
"What Should You Include on a Resume?" Uploaded by GCFLearnFree.org, 9 Feb 2019, Youtube.com.


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Technical Writing at LBCC Copyright © 2020 by Will Fleming is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.