Resume checklist and worksheet

Your resume provides a brief snapshot of your experience and is often an employer’s first impression of you. Recruiters spend just a few seconds on average looking at a resume. Using a clear and consistent format and including relevant information can help you land an interview, but even minor errors can take you out of the running. Use this Resume Checklist to make sure you are putting your best foot forward!

General format

Have you used Microsoft Word? Do not use a template; applicant tracking systems have trouble reading it.
Are the margins consistent and between 0.5 and 1.0 inches?
Is your font size between 10 pt and 12 pt? Is the font easy to read (Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman, etc.)?
Have you kept it to one page? You may use two pages if you have an advanced degree or extensive experience (10+ years).
Have you left enough white space to make it easy to read?
Have you used boldface and italics appropriately (headers or positions) and avoided underlining?
Are dates clear and consistent? Is format and punctuation consistent?
Are sections listed in order of importance to the employer?
Are heading names descriptive (e.g. Research Experience, Leadership & Service, etc.)?

Contact information

Is your legal name clear and bold at the top? (also on the second page if applicable)
Is your phone number included? Do you have a professional voicemail recorded?
Is your email address included? Does it sound professional?
If you are a U.S. citizen or hold a permanent resident visa, did you include this if readers might think otherwise?

Education

Are institution names spelled out? (i.e. Massachusetts Institute of Technology not MIT)
Did you list the official name of your degree or course?
Did you list the month and year you earned, or expect to earn, your degree?
Did you consider listing your GPA if strong (include scale if you list the GPA)
Did you list coursework that aligns with your job search?

Experience

Did you clearly list the organization/company name and your job title?
Did you include the city and state (or country) in which you worked?
Are the dates of employment listed for each role?
Did you list the project, activity, and results for each experience?
Did you start each phrase with an action verb? (Past tense verbs for previous roles, present tense verbs for current roles)
Did you give evidence and quantify relevant information (e.g. size, scale, budget, staff) for impact?
Have you used keywords that apply to your industry and/or the job listings?
Have you avoided the use of first-person pronouns, i.e. I, me, mine, myself?
Have you considered and included all aspects of your experiences related to the job opening(s)?

Skills

Have you included all relevant skill types (Programming languages, Foreign language, Lab skills, etc.)?
Did you list all relevant skills within each skill type?

Activities/Honors/Leadership

Did you list the activities, honors, and/or leadership experiences that are relevant?