Resume Writing 101

Every week in March and up until our Job and Career Fair on April 17, I’ll be talking with Erica Fox, Career Services Facilitator/Evening Counselor at CCBC, from CCBC’s Career Center to help prepare you for networking, resume writing, interviewing and more. Check back every Friday for a new post!

Even if you don’t have a lot of experience, creating a resume is still necessary. Read on to learn what you should and shouldn’t include.


What are the basics that need to be included on a resume?

  • Heading (name, address, phone number, professional email address that includes your name)
  • Career Objective – This is optional and is only used if it is extremely specific to the job. Do not use general statements like “Seeking a position that will utilize my education and experience.”
  • Summary of Qualifications (optional)
  • Education
  • Related Coursework (optional)
  • Certifications, Clearances, Licenses
  • Experience or Related Experience
  • Activities, Honors
  • Military Service
  • References – Do not include the phrase “References available upon request.” References should be listed on a separate page with the same heading as the resume.


Is multiple pages for a resume ok?

Yes, as long as all the information is relevant.  A resume should not be longer than two pages normally.  This depends on education and years of experience.


Do you ever recommend using different colored paper or ink to make a resume stand out?

No, a clean, error-free resume with relevant experience and education is what a candidate needs to make their resume stand out.  Personally, I am more conservative with my resume preferences, as are a lot of employers. I would only ever say graphics or color on a resume is ok if the resume is for graphic design or an art related field. Resumes should not include your picture either.


What about fonts?

Do not use crazy fonts either. You want a resume to be easy to read, not distracting.  Employers are more interested in the content of the resume, not the display.  Also, some companies use software to screen resumes by scanning them, and using excessive italics, underlining, bold and unusual fonts can make a resume hard to scan.


Who should I use as references?

Professional references need to be former or current bosses or supervisors, colleagues, clients, business contacts, and others who can speak to your work ethic and recommend you for employment.


Can I include a family member as a reference?

No, do not use immediate family members.  If you need personal or character references, you can use family friends, teachers, professors, academic advisors or coaches.


Should I ask someone to be a reference first?



What counts as experience?

This depends on how much work experience you have.  If you have never been employed and you are creating a resume to apply to your first job then you would talk about the work place skills you have learned and include them in your “Skills and Qualifications” section.  Workplace skills include organizational, time management and computer skills as well as reliability and punctuality, an openness to learn and try new things, leadership skills, and professionalism.  Plus, you would hopefully have activities and volunteer experience you can list.


Should students include activities, clubs, and internships or would this make them seem inexperienced in the “real world”?

Absolutely include.  That type of experience is extremely valuable and would not make someone seem inexperienced in the “real world.”

(Note: You can read more about the importance of internships, volunteering and continuing to learn in this article by Matthew Tarpey on CareerRookie. You can find more tips via Twitter by following @CareerRookie.)


Does too much experience/too many jobs listed on a resume give a negative impression to employers?

Not usually. Having a lot of jobs in a short period of time can give the impression that a person hops from job to job, so a candidate should expect to explain the reasons for leaving one job to start another in the cover letter or interview.  Also, if a candidate has “too much” experience and they are applying to a job they are overqualified for, they would also need to be able to explain their reasoning in the cover letter and/or interview.


Do you still have questions? Our Career Services staff can help you create a resume from scratch, update an existing resume, or give you advice on how to improve and use your resume to help you land the job.


They also critique resumes via email for job seekers who have an existing resume. Email a copy of your resume to


Check back next week for tips and tricks on cover letter writing!

–  Amy McKissic, CCBC Publications Coordinator

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