Resume Guide

Resume Resources

Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae

Your resume or CV is an important tool to market your experiences to prospective employers. It is a professional written document that communicates your education, work experiences/research experience and skills related to the type of position you are seeking.

Do you Need a Resume or a CV?

  • Most students need a resume when seeking assistantships or field experiences.
  • Most MPHs will need a resume for their careers; MS or PhD may require a CV.
  • Those seeking a position in medicine, academia, or a scientific profession will need a CV.

What is the Difference Between a Resume and a CV?

A resume is a required marketing tool in most professions. Typically it is one to two pages in length and gives the reader a summary of how the applicant can benefit the company or organization. You must decide which style of resume is best for your particular job search. Resumes focus on the last 10 years of work history or the five most recent job positions.

There are two types of resumes:

Functional: A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience, rather than on your chronological work history. It is used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.

Chronological: A chronological resume starts by listing your work history, with the most recent position listed first. Your jobs are listed in reverse chronological order with your current, or most recent job, first. Employers typically prefer this type of resume because it’s easy to see what jobs you have held and when you have worked at them. This type of resume works well for job seekers with a strong, solid work history.


  • Your needs may change as your career progresses. Re-visit your resume or CV annually to see if it still suits your needs. Make the necessary updates so you always have a current resume or CV.
  • Read the job description carefully. Target your resume or CV to each particular job.
  • List the most important and relevant information first on your resume or CV.
  • Resume screening software scans for specific terminology, or for keywords. For positions that require specific skills, use the same language from the position description to list your skills on your resume.

Getting Started

  • Make a list of experiences you’ve had: education and training, jobs, internships, research, projects, volunteer, leadership, student organization, etc.
  • Think about what you contributed, what skills you used and developed, and your significant achievements.
  • Begin to craft your resume or CV by organizing these experiences into sections.

Building a Scannable Resume

Why do I need a scannable resume?

  • Some large companies and governmental organizations are using computer software called resume management systems to help them sort through the thousands of resumes they receive.
  • Essentially the computer is programmed to search resumes for a particular number of key words. If your resume does not meet the minimum number of keywords, it may never make it to the hiring manager.
  • You may choose to submit a regular resume (that is visually appealing for the recruiter and hiring manager) AND a scannable resume. Acknowledge that you are doing this in the cover letter.

How does the scanning process work?

  • Resumes are scanned into the computer and then analyzed using optical recognition software.
  • Optical recognition software changes the image file created by the scanner into a text file that can be searched and edited.
  • Software then searches resumes for specific skills and work experience.
  • Employers use this technology as a preliminary sorting device to select candidates and to maintain a central database of resumes.
  • Often, electronic scanning is used to sort out the first round of candidates.

General Resume Guidelines

Dos Don’ts
Begin with a summary or profile highlighting skills you possess that are most relevant to the position Use personal pronouns (“I” , “my” etc.)
Emphasize the skills you enjoy using Use complete sentences
Use action verbs to begin your phrases Mention salary history or expectations
Keep it to two pages or less Include references on your resume
Be certain there are no typographical or spelling errors Make statements you cannot prove
Use one inch margins all the way around Mention personal information (age, height, weight, marital status, etc.)
Provide specific examples; quantify accomplishments Send a photograph of yourself or copies of diplomas
Include relevant coursework if you have limited work experience Change verb tense within positions(Use present tense action verbs for current jobs and past tense action verbs for previous jobs.)
Maintain visual appeal (use of white space) Use the title resume
Include a cover letter Include hobbies or social interests unless they are pertinent
Put your name in the upper right-hand corner of the second page Staple or fold your resume
Limit the use of acronyms unless the term is widely recognized in the industry Use underlining or italics (resume scanners may have difficulty deciphering them)
Separate any slash marks with spaces (for example, “Sales/Marketing”) Use fancy fonts or paper
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