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Anatomy of a Resume

Resumes highlight accomplishment statements that consist of: Skill verb = a strong action verb plus how or what your did. How did you demonstrate this skill - what did you do; can it be quantified, who did you work with? Why did you use the skill = what was the result or impact; what did you accomplish; how were people impacted; can it be quantified?

Formats of Your Resume

A variety of formats may be used in resume preparation. The two basic formats - the chronological and the functional - are briefly described, as is the combination approach. Each has certain advantages and disadvantages. Most students seeking summer jobs, internships, and jobs will find the chronological format the most convenient means of presenting their background to prospective employers.

The Chronological Approach

The chronological resume is the most common format currently in use. Sections on educational background and work experience are arranged in reverse chronological order - meaning you list your most recent experiences first and work backwards. Most recent college graduates will want to list their educational background first, and then describe their work experience.

The Functional Approach

The functional resume, while more difficult to construct than the chronological, can specifically emphasize qualifications, skills, and related accomplishments. Rather than listing experiences and qualifications in chronological order, the functional resume organizes skills into functional categories, such as Leadership, Technical, and Interpersonal. Many job seekers with varied work experience or those who want to change careers tend to prefer this format. This format is not typically recommended for most Miami students. If you are considering using this type of resume, please contact your career advisor for assistance.

The Combination Approach

Hybrid format that highlights your marketable skill sets and provides a brief description of your work experience.




Contact Header

Your resume heading should contain the following information:


A professional email address

Phone number

Link(s) to professional networking site(s) or personal website

Your local or home address, but most people choose to not include their address

It is becoming increasingly popular to include links to your online portfolio, LinkedIn profile, a personal website, or even professional social media accounts to drive an employer to view your online personal brand as well. If you add a link to online accounts, please be aware of the practice for your career field. Students may add various visual separators such as a straight line or box to make their heading stand out.

Objective or Summary (Optional)

Is an objective or a professional summary a better option for you?

Writing an Objective

Should you include an objective statement? The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) states that there is no real agreement on this. Some employers look for an objective and others think it is unnecessary. NACE goes on to state that if you do include an objective, make sure your objective is well crafted and tells potential employers the kind of work you hope to do. Tailor it to each employer you target and every job you seek.

The objective is a concise, one-or two-sentence statement that appears as the first major section of your resume. It communicates two things: what sort of job you are seeking, and what skills you have to offer. Your objective may be oriented to:

  • The position - for example, A position as a social worker providing services for the aged.
  • The field - for example, Desire a position in the social service field working with youth.
  • Your skills - for example, A position utilizing my counseling, research, and proposal writing skills.
  • A combination - for example, Seeking a position as a public relations officer in a medical facility. Wish to utilize my skills in communications, needs analysis, and photography.

General recommendations:

  • Be work centered rather than self centered. Focus on what you have to offer, not what you want the employer to offer you. Avoid objectives that sound like this: An entry-level position which will offer plentiful opportunities for professional training and career advancement.
  • Be as targeted as possible. If you know the position and/or the field you want, state this in the objective (as long as it matches the positions for which you are applying).
  • Beware of stating an unrealistic career goal. Do not state a career goal for which you are unqualified. Your objective must reflect a goal which you are capable of achieving with your present skills and qualifications.
  • Do not use trite expressions as a challenging entry-level position and/or opportunity for advancement into management.

Writing a Summary Statement

A summary statement is a brief description of your resume that highlights certain skills and accomplishments that you believe are most desirable for an employer or industry. The summary can be quite impactful if written correctly, and is one way you can help the employer understand what you bring to the position of your professional brand.

If you choose to write a summary statement, a good place to begin is analyzing your skills and accomplishments and match them to the industry you are trying to obtain a career in. Decide on your top skills and begin compiling them in a strategic way to make it clear for the reader how and why you would be a great candidate to interview. The summary should entice the reader to look further into your experiences.

The format of the summary statement can either be in paragraph or bulleted format and should be as brief as possible yet still be a well-rounded summation of your top skills and accomplishments. You may choose to bold or italicize words to further enhance top skills.

Below are examples of a summary statement in paragraph format:

Results oriented marketing graduate with experience in business marketing. Specialist in mobile app and social media marketing. Earned award during internship for most effective marketing project involving social media marketing.
Communications professional with 3 years of internship experience in advertising and social media communication seeking a position as a financial analyst at a marketing firm utilizing professional communication, interpersonal and critical thinking skills. Currently pursuing a CFA certification (1 of 3 passed).


The education section of your resume can include the following sections:

  • Your degree(s), institution(s) from which the degree(s) was/were earned
  • Major(s), Minor(s), and additional course concentrations
  • Grade-Point-Average (Career Center suggests listing a GPA if it is above a 3.04.0, or if the job application requires a GPA)
  • Membership in honorary societies
  • Dean's List citations
  • Study Abroad or International Experience

As an alternative, you may include your academic honors in an Honors and Activities section. High school education information is not necessary to include within the Education section after your sophomore year. First and second year students can list education and experiences from high school.


Work experiences (this can be paid or unpaid experiences)

Before committing your experience to the printed page, you may find it helpful to first outline this information according to:

  • Position held
  • Name and location of the organization
  • Dates employed or involved
  • Responsibilities
  • Achievements and/or significant contributions
  • Demonstrated abilities and skills

First describe your responsibilities using action words such as created, planned, analyzed, or initiated. Show you are a doer. A list of action words is included in the Resources tab to assist you.

Next think about the transferable skills you gained from each experience. Transferable skills can include, but are not limited to:

  • Oral or written communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Working effectively in a team
  • Leadership
  • Research or analytical skills

They are transferable because you build on them and carry them with you as you move from job to job. Employers often value these abilities as much as, if not more than, technical skills.

For each job, develop (typically) two to four phrases or sentences, using your list of action words and transferable skills, which describe your key responsibilities, achievements, and results. When possible, quantify the results.

Students who have been self employed as house painters, childcare workers, etc. should be certain to mention this experience. Do not overlook the importance of including any volunteer work you may have done. Properly presented, your recent work experiences will be of interest to prospective employers.

General Do's and Don'ts of Experience:

  • Do include your college work experience with any quantifiable terms
  • Do include 2-4 bullets per job
  • Do list bullets in order of importance
  • Do highlight transferable skills and use action verbs to describe key responsibilities, achievements, and results
  • Do highlight the most relevant ones in more detail
  • Don't include high school experience unless it represents the only work experience you have r you are a first/second year student
  • Do highlight any promotions you have received while working for the same employer
  • Do use the correct tense for a current position vs. past tense for a completed position

How to Write a Compelling Bullet Point

It is important to make sure you are telling your story in a complete way and not just listing tasks you completed. In order to write a great bullet point, you can follow the formula:

Action verb + context + result + quantity

Below are examples of experience entries:

  • Planned and implemented a recognition luncheon for 50 members of the faculty and staff on campus
  • Greet shoppers, scan items for purchase, and handle cash register
  • Mentored and encouraged a local 5th grader through tutoring and playing sports
  • First employee of company to learn and test new 3-D drafting software, Solid Edge and created the company's first drawings in this application

Extracurricular Involvement/Honors/Volunteer Work

If you have been involved in campus or community organizations and/or have received academic honors, these should be indicated in your resume. Memberships in nationally recognized professional associations are also worthy of inclusion, and be sure to write out all organization abbreviations.

Be aware, however, of simply laundry listing your affiliations. Most employers can spot mere resume fillers at a glance.

Be especially certain to include and describe any of your leadership roles in activities - such as offices held, project chairs or leads, and the like. Some students may choose to treat leadership roles as entries for work examples.


Students may choose to highlight any academic related experience that is related to their major and/or position they are applying for. Students with significant research experience may also include information about the projects they have been involved with, what professor they conducted the research with, and the result of the research studies. Capstone coursework is often significant for students to list on their resume and should include a description of the project, their role, and the end result.


You may wish to include a Certifications or Skills section on your resume. Indicating skills will provide prospective employers with a more complete picture of your background and fit for the position. THis section of your resume should be brief.

Study Abroad

Remember to include your study abroad experience on your resume. Employers and graduate schools will view this experience as an example of intercultural competence, especially if you include a description or examples of the skills you developed and what you learned while abroad. Did you study another language or become proficient in a language? You may choose to include your study abroad experience under another category such as Related Experience, Teaching Experience, or Professional Experience.


If an employer requests references:

  • Your resume does not need to include the statement references available upon request.
  • Many online application system will simply provide a prompt for you to enter your references. They often want to know the contact information and how you know your reference.
  • Should you be asked to submit references in writing, prepare a separate page that lists the names, titles, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of three to five references.
  • The reference list should be on the same high-quality stock of paper on which your resume is printed, and the contact header (your name and address, etc. should be identical to the resume.
  • Professors, current or former employers, or student organization advisors are sound choices, as opposed to family friends, clergy, or relatives.

How do I prepare my references?

Do not list a reference without first asking permission. In fact, it is a good idea to provide your references with a copy of your completed resume so they can speak knowledgeably about your background and qualifications if a prospective employer contacts them.

Other Sections to Include

You should feel free to include other sections and tailor your resume to your individual needs depending on the career industry or position you are applying for.

Other possible resume sections include:

  • Internship(s) experience
  • Special Skills
  • Languages Spoken
  • Sales Experience
  • Publications
  • Conference Presentations
  • Military Service
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Computer Skills
  • Class Projects

It is important to have your resume reviewed by Miami University Career Center staff so that your message is being conveyed accurately via the correct sections and organization on your resume.

Unique Qualities of a CV

In the United States, a CV is designed for an academic setting or research facility and includes categories that reflect academic experiences, research, or teaching related.

CV Overview

  • Tend to be longer than resumes, because they include lists of publications, classes taught, committee work, lectures, and conference presentations.
  • Should “follow the conventions of your field!” Different academic disciplines have different standards and expectations, especially as it relates to the order of the categories and how you list your experiences.  Make sure to talk with a professor or advisor about the standards in your area.
  • Should have categories that are strategically ordered and titled with the most important information on the first page.
  • Have no page limits, but are usually two to five pages for graduate students.  Your professors’ will be much, much longer.
  • Place the most relevant categories first. 

Components of a CV

May include some combination of the following and take into consideration what are most relevant to the position:

  • Education
  • Publications
  • Honors & Awards
  • Teaching Experience
  • Research Experience
  • Presentations & Lectures
  • Professional Associations
  • Professional Competencies
  • Teaching Interests
  • Professional Interests
  • Licensure
  • Service
  • Committee Appointments
  • Research Interests
  • Foreign Study
  • Grants
  • Credentials
  • Professional Certification
  • Scholarships
  • Professional Competencies

Order Matters

Remember, the order you use for your categories depends on the position, what is most important for that position, and the standard format of your field.

  • Should always have your name on the top of each page, except the first page which will have your complete name and contact information; include page numbers on all subsequent pages.
  • Remember to ask someone to review your CV prior to submission.
  • Elizabeth Collins - Major Psychology; Minor: Human Capital Management and Leadership 
  • Ben Shriver - Major: Sport Leadership and Management; Minor: Marketing 
  • Alexander Kendall - Major: Information Systems and Analytics, Entrepreneurship
  • Caroline Amalfitano - Major: Marketing; Minors: Management and Leadership & Interactive Media Studies
  • Hillary Yacso - Majors: Athletic Training and Kinesiology and Health 
  • Zachary J. McPherson - Major: Business Management and Leadership; Minor: Nutrition 
  • Nancy Phillips - Major: Nutrition; Concentration: Dietetics 
  • Molly Cule - Major: Chemistry and Biochemistry 
  • Daniel Carlson - Major Kinesiology and Health, Public Health; Minor: Political Science
  • Sherrelle Hoyt - Major: Early Childhood Education 
  • Ruth Dean - Major: Social Work; Minor Child Studies, Spanish
  • Lucy Adams - Major: Statistics, Co-Major: Analytics.

Resume Writing Do's and Don'ts

Resume Resources

Action Verbs to use on a Resume

Communication/People Skills

  • Addressed
  • Clarified
  • Collaborated
  • Debated
  • Drafted
  • Enlisted
  • Expressed
  • Formulated
  • Involved
  • Marketed
  • Observed
  • Promoted
  • Reinforced
  • Suggested
  • Translated

Creative Skills

  • Acted
  • Composed
  • Created
  • Designed
  • Fashioned
  • Illustrated
  • Integrated
  • Modified
  • Photographed
  • Revitalized
  • Shaped
  • Solved

Data/Financial Skills

  • Administered
  • Analyzed
  • Audited
  • Budgeted
  • Computed
  • Forecasted
  • Measured
  • Programmed
  • Projected

Helping Skills

  • Advocated
  • Coached
  • Conseled
  • Diagnosed
  • Educated
  • Facilitated
  • Intervened
  • Motivated
  • Rehabilitated

Management/Leadership Skills

  • Appointed
  • Chaired
  • Consolidated
  • Coordinated
  • Delegated
  • Directed
  • Established
  • Managed
  • Motivated
  • Organized
  • Planned
  • Presided
  • Secured
  • Selected
  • Strengthened

Organizational Skills

  • Approved
  • Arranged
  • Coded
  • Compiled
  • Generaged
  • Maintained
  • Operated
  • Prepared
  • Processed
  • Scheduled
  • Systematized
  • Verified

Research Skills

  • Analyzed
  • Collected
  • Critiqued
  • Diagnosed
  • Extracted
  • Investigated
  • Measured
  • Reviewed
  • Surveyed

Teaching Skills

  • Adapted
  • Coached
  • Facilitated
  • Guided
  • Informed
  • Persuaded
  • Simulated
  • Tested
  • Tutored

Technical Skills

  • Assembled
  • Calculated
  • Constructed
  • Designed
  • Engineered
  • Operated
  • Programmed
  • Remodeled
  • Upgraded


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GoinGlobalhas numerous resume examples if you are searching for a job searching in another country. Country guides provide tips for building a resume specific to the country.


More and more, recruiters are using LinkedIn as a way to further research and identify candidates for open positions. Often, if someone searches you by name on the internet, your LinkedIn profile will be one of the first things to come up. That said, having a LinkedIn profile is increasingly important as you transition from college to your career.

While your resume highlights your accomplishments in a format that more closely resembles a list, your LinkedIn profile is your opportunity to tell your story through a narrative, and to provide examples of your work using a portfolio or links to projects, volunteer activities, photos, etc. Your LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be a regurgitation of your resume, rather it should compliment it and show an employer another way to understand who you are as a potential employee.

For more information such as instructional videos, tutorials, a checklist of student LinkedIn profiles, visitPrepare|LinkedIn.

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Oxford, OH 45056