Choosing a Career/Major
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Volunteer/Service Learning
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Internship Center
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Resumes/Cover Letters
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Conducting a Job Search
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Job Listings
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Special Populations
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For Employers
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CDC Services

The Career Development Center is dedicated to helping students fulfill the lifelong pursuit of purpose by providing services, access to information, resources, and experiences that address individual career needs.

The Resume

A resume is a positive outline of what you have to offer an employer. Its purpose is to stimulate interest about you, demonstrate your value to the employer, and to secure an interview for you.
An effective resume:

  • supports and strengthens your job objective.
  • attracts attention to your special abilities and qualities.
  • demonstrates your future value to an employer.
  • reflects your uniqueness as much as possible.
  • creates a favorable impression.
  • is concise, well-organized and attractive to the eye.

Resume Contents

Identifying Data: Name, address, phone number (include area code). Make sure you have a suitable message on your answering machine. If you are residing at a temporary address, it is appropriate to include both current and permanent addresses. Include also the date on which you expect to leave the temporary address. The inclusion of an e-mail address is also appropriate as it demonstrates you have adequate computer skills and some employers will prefer to communicate in this manner. Your email address should be professional, rather than personal. For example is more appropriate than!

Job Objective: This brief description of the type of position desired should follow your name, address, and telephone number. A job objective helps you and the employer focus on a specific position or career goal. Including it in your cover letter is not the recommended option, as employers prefer to see an objective directly on the resume. Your resume should be able to support your objective. Education majors do not need to include an objective but should use a certification category instead. For further information, see the CDC handout "Writing Job Objectives".

Education: Name of school, city and state of school, major, degree and the date (month and year) received. The official names of this institution are: State University College at Buffalo and State University of New York College at Buffalo. Including honors and grade point average information is optional, although recommended when it will enhance your image. Above a 3.0 is recommended for inclusion. If you are including your GPA or Major GPA, be sure to list the grade scale used, for example, 3.7/4.0. If you graduated from more than one school, list the most recent first. It is not always necessary to list all the schools you have attended. Do not list high school, unless you need to emphasize some important aspect of it that is related to your career goal, e.g. listing a technical high school because you are entering the engineering field. Additional training you have received may either go under Education or a separate heading.

Experience/Work History: Paid employment, internships, field work, volunteer, and military. Describe your experience in that position emphasizing accomplishments, skills, and abilities appropriate to the position for which you are applying. Note the employing organization, city and state, dates of employment, and job title. Internships and field work may be described under Education, Experience, or in its own category titled Internships. New graduates can list part-time and summer jobs whether or not they relate to the career goal. If you have had many unrelated jobs, you may briefly summarize your duties and responsibilities, in a few sentences, under one heading. For further information, see the CDC handout "Writing Action Verb Statements".


When selecting a format, it is important to choose one that allows you to best emphasize your particular strengths. There is no "right" format for a resume. Remember that with any format you choose, the unique and creative manner in which you write headings, sequence sections, and design layout should serve to further enhance your image. While there are many different formats for resumes, the most widely used is the REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL. This format lists your background with the most recent experience first. You may arrange or subdivide your headings in various ways depending upon which aspects of your background you want to emphasize or want to have noticed first. An exception to the "reverse rule" (most recent first) might occur when your past experience is more related to your goals than your recent experience, in which case you would list past experience first. You may view samples of other resume formats (e.g. functional, targeted) in the CDC.

Optional Contents

The following optional information may be included in your resume:

Courses: If your degree included courses in areas relevant to the position for which you are applying, you may indicate six to eight of these course titles, for example, Personnel Administration or Machine Design, not the course number and credit hours. They should be upper level courses only. You might want to include any significant coursework concentrations you have also had; for example, Marketing or Energy Systems.

Special Projects: This is a good way to demonstrate accomplishments/experience gained through class projects, internships, and volunteer or other extracurricular activities. Select projects that can demonstrate relevant skills or accomplishments.

Special Skills: These should be marketable skills in your career area, e.g. foreign languages and computer skills, not communication skills or working with people.

Campus Activities: Clubs, intramurals, student organizations. List any offices or leadership roles held. A brief description of your duties can be included if it relates to your career objective.

Community Involvement: Many important skills are developed through community, volunteer, and service-learning work. Significant projects and offices held should be mentioned as they relate to your career goal.

Licenses and Certifications: Health-related, CPR, First Aid, etc

Professional Affiliations: Membership in professional organizations If applicable, list any offices held.

Research, Publications And Presentations: Include title, name of periodical, publisher, place of publication or presentation, and date.

Interests: May be included to reflect a wider range of information about you as a person and are particularly helpful if they relate to your job objective or goals.

References: It is acceptable but optional to use the phrases "Available Upon Request" or "Furnished Upon Request." If appropriate, you may use "Writing Samples Available Upon Request," for example, English or Journalism students. Also, "Portfolio Available Upon Request" is appropriate for Education, Design or Art majors.

Additional Resume Headings:
  • Academic Background
  • Academic Training
  • Education Background
  • Certification
  • Special Training
  • Academic Preparation
  • Course Highlights
  • Course Work
  • Related Courses
  • Relevant Course Work
  • Technical Courses
  • Professional Licensure
  • Military Training
  • Study Abroad
  • Conferences Attended
  • Career Achievements
  • Additional Experience
  • Employment
  • Experience Summary
  • Professional Background
  • Professional Work
  • Professional Experience
  • Related Experience
  • Work Experience
  • Work History
  • Teaching Experience
  • Student Teaching Experience
  • Junior Participation
  • Substitute Teaching
  • Coaching Experience
  • Practicum Experience
  • Research Experience
  • Civic Activities
  • Military Experience
  • Internships
  • Part-Time Experience
  • Summer & Seasonal Experience
  • Volunteer Experience
  • Service-Learning Experience
  • Community Service
  • Volunteerism
  • Activities & Distinctions
  • College Activities
  • Honors & Distinctions
  • Honors & Awards
  • Campus Leadership
  • Professional Membership
  • Professional Organizations
  • Student Organizations
  • Computer Skills
  • Language Competencies
  • Studio Skills
  • Technical Skills

Please Note: Personal data (e.g. height, weight, age, etc.) should not be listed on a resume, cannot be required by potential employers under federal regulations, and, in fact, may provide the employer with a basis for discrimination. There are some career fields where personal data is required, e.g. acting.


BOOKS IN THE CDC LIBRARY: The Career Development Center's reference library includes many current books on resume writing. There is also a binder containing articles and pamphlets about resumes. Ask at the CDC Help Area to see the sample binder of resumes done by former BSC students.

WORKSHOPS AND CRITIQUES: The CDC holds resume writing workshops and offers a resume critique service.

Updated 03/27/2007