Resumes & CVs

GOAL: Get invited to an interview.

Your resume is essentially an advertisement about your qualifications. In this case, each employer is your customer. Your resume (and cover letter) should emphasize how you can meet their needs vs. how the job/internship will meet your needs and desires.

Job seekers today are expected to apply for positions in many different ways: filling out applications by hand, filling out online applications, emailing resumes, and/or applying via. an online profile or electronic portfolio - like HandshakeGCC and Linkedin.  Even when a resume does not have to be submitted, information included in your resume can used in any application format or platform.

Give yourself 1-4 weeks to create your first resume. Creating a well-written, organized, and effective resume takes time.

Refer to resume writing steps and resources below to draft, update, or refine your resume.

Get Resume Development Support
  • Current GCC students (and those who finished classwork within the last 3 months), can email their (draft) resume to Career Services for review, feedback, and guidance about resume writing.
  • All Massachusetts residents can get free resume support from their regional MassHire Career Center, after attending a free webinar on resume writing.
  • If you are not a Massachusetts resident, research your un/employment system to find out what public support is provided.
1. The Catch-All Resume

The catch-all or origin resume, is an archive of your qualifications that can serve you in a variety of ways throughout your education and work life.

1A. Create and maintain a catch-all (aka. origin) resume, which includes all:

  • Skills
  • Education credentials, training certificates, and industry recognized credentials (IRC)
  • Professional / work experiences
  • Professional projects
  • Professional accomplishments
  • Relevant projects
  • Awards
  • Etc.

1B. Why?

If maintained, your catch-all resume can serve as a lifelong archive, which you can draw from when:

  • getting creative about including transferrable skills in your resume for a specific position
  • filling in hardcopy or online applications
  • creating electronic profiles and portfolios
  • applying to colleges or for scholarships
  • creating a career development plan to increase your qualifications
  • practicing answers to common interview questions

1C. How?

  1. See how much you can add to (or replace in) the GCC Chronological Resume Template & Guide
  2. Brainstorm.
  3. Organize the information into various categories. (Refer to ‘Categories / Section’ below.)
  4. Fill in more details whenever you think of them.
  5. Do some word crafting.
  6. Revise, step away, revise again and again..and again.
  7. Ask at least 2 people you trust to proofread your resume – until no other adjustments are needed.
2. Create a Customized Resume for Each Job Application

2A. Copy your catch-all resume and create a customized resume for each job/internship you apply for.

Tailor your resume to match each job/internship description, as fully as possible.

Especially the top half of your resume should demonstrate how qualified you are for the job or internship you are applying for. (Refer to the steps below for more details.)

3. Three Types of Resumes

3A. Which type of resume will be best for you?

3B. If you have no or very little work experience or are making a career change, the functional (aka. skills-based) resume format will likely serve you best.

Additional resources:


4A. Consider using the following templates, especially if you are creating your first draft.

Functional/Skills-Based Resume Template

Best for people who have little-to-no work experience or who are changing careers.

Chronological Resume Template & Guide

Best for people who have a good amount of work experience – i.e. that is relevant to the position they are applying for.


    • After you click one of resume template links above:
      • Make a copy and change the label (see #3D on labeling).
      • Replace the text in the template with your own information.
      • Create a “catch-all” resume, which includes every skill, strength, accomplishment, and work experience you can think of.
      • Create a customized version of your catch-all resume for each position and employer you apply to.

Additional templates – vetted and/or adapted by GCC:

(WARNING) In general, templates are not recommended, because invisible, built-in formatting usually ends up being more confusing and limiting vs. helpful. This templates featured above include very minimal formatting – i.e. spacing between lines, which are slightly different for section headers vs. bulleted items. To undo all formatting: 1) Click the control (Ctrl) button and the letter ‘a’ at the same time, in order to select everything in this template. Then click ‘Format’ in the menu bar, and select ‘Clear Formatting’.

4B. Create a “never-ending” catch-all (or origin) resume, which you can keep adding to and refining over time.  Then..

4C. Make a copy of your catch-all resume and create a version that is tailored to the position you are applying for.

    • Notice the section headers, values, key words (verbs, adjectives, skills, qualifications) included in the job/internship description, and include them, to the fullest extent possible (and honest) in your resume for this position.

Additional resources – general tips:

5. Staying Organized

5A. Use a consistent labeling convention

Use a consistent labeling convention across all application materials: resume, cover letter, and reference sheet.  In addition to keeping you organized, it will also help human resource professionals, hiring committees, and employers find your application materials (easily), when they need it.


    • Your Full Name – Official Position Title – Resume – Date (that draft was created or submission date)
    • Your Full Name – Official Position Title – Cover Letter – Date (that draft was created or submission date)
    • Your Full Name – Official Position Title – References – Date (that draft was created or submission date)

5B. Create an electronic file and hardcopy file to store all drafts and versions of your resume.

6. For Different Circumstances

Scan the sections below to see if any of these exceptions apply to you:

6A. For New Workers & Career Changers

Additional resources:

6B. For Internships

6C. Federal Resumes

There is a specific resume convention for federal jobs.  Please refer to these resources to customize your resume accordingly.

6D. CVs

In the U.S., “CV’s” usually refers to a very long version of a resume, which professors, scholars, and researchers use to apply for new positions.

6E. Resume Tips & Examples for Different Industries

Resume for most industries will be variations on the chronological, skills-based, or combination resume format.  However, sometimes there are unique resume trends (subtle or not) in different industries.

Here is a small collection of resources that were reviewed by GCC Career Services for your consideration. You can read tips and incorporate them into the GCC Chronological Resume Template & Guide or riff off of the examples shown within these articles: (Note: Avoid any templates that require you to enter information into fields, pay a fee, or conform to a rigid format – especially those with two separate columns of information.)

This is not an exhaustive list.  More resources will be added over time.  In the meantime, if you find a good resource elsewhere, please email it to for consideration.

6F. Misc.

  • Video Resumes – Only provide a video resume, if requested by an employer.  This format is not (yet) typically required.
  • How to Standout (during COVID)
  • If you didn’t find something you need, reach out to .
7. Format & Style Choices

These are great things to know as you craft and especially when you are putting the finishing touches on your resume.

7A. Length

Unless you have 5-10 years of relevant work experience, your resume should only be one page long.

Additional resources:

7B. Margins

  • Margins, including the top and bottom, can be as small as .5 inches.
  • You can adjust margin sizes to help fill a single page or fit more text into one page.
  • It is best to adjust pages when you are done or almost done drafting your resume

Additional resource:

7C. Fonts

Font sizes in resume usually range from .9 to .12 – depending on the font chosen and how much you text you need to include within a given page.

Additional resource:

7D. Numbers

Do not spell out the name of a number (one).  Instead, use the actual number (1).  In addition to saving space, numerals stand out visually.  Since being specific in resumes is one of the “rules of thumb”, quantifying accomplishments and using numerals to do so, is a high-impact resume development strategy.

7E. Hyperlinks

This is one school of thought, when it comes to the question of whether or not hyperlinks should be included in a resume:

  • Do not hyperlink your email address, unless there are other things in your resume, which are hyperlinked.
  • If you site relevant projects, awards, or other accomplishments in your resume, which are associated with a website or another electronic format, include a hyperlink.  That way, application reviewers can opt to find out more, if they are inclined to do so.
  • Be selective about what you hyperlink.  Hyperlinks should augment the content you provide but not make your resume look cluttered.

Additional resources:

7E. Photos

It is illegal for employers to base their hiring decisions on an applicants age, gender, sex, sexual preference, relationship status, ethnicity or race.  However, if you include a photo in your resume, the decision to invite you to an interview (or not) could be influenced by both conscious and unconscious bias.

There are some exceptions, but this is the standard recommendation.  To learn more, check out the supplemental resources included below and/or talk to trusted professionals within your field.

Additional resources:

8. Categories / Sections

8A. Here are some very standard resume categories (aka. sections), which are at least a great place to begin when developing a resume:
8B. However, there are a lot of other options to consider. Sometimes, adding other categories and/or using different category labels will make your qualifications more obvious to employers (and resume reading robots).
8C. What would guide these changes?
  1. Where you are on your career path.
  2. The job descriptions for each position you are applying for.
The easier you can make it for employers (and resume reading robots) to see the connection between your qualifications and what they need, the better. Also, sometimes employers only scan the top half of the resume initially.  Therefore, getting their attention and impressing them early on is a very good strategy.
    1. Mark the obvious priorities, values, adjectives, action verbs, and qualifications included in the job description – to make these key words more obvious to you.
    2. Include as many of these key words and phrases in your resume as you can, while maintaining complete honesty.
    3. Rename the categories of information in your resume to match the words used in the job description, when applicable.
    4. Move categories of information within your resume, so the most relevant and impressive information is featured in the top half of your resume.
    5. Split categories of information into subcategories, so the most relevant and impressive information can be read by employers first.
For example:
Dilemma (aka. opportunity):
Let’s say that you have more relevant volunteer experience than paid work experience. Although both types of positions could be listed under the label ‘Experience’ or even ‘Work Experience’, when you list them together in reverse chronological order, your relevant volunteer experiences will not stand out as much.
    1. Split your experience into two sections: ‘Volunteer Experience’ and ‘Work Experience’ (or ‘Other Work Experience’, if you prefer).
    2. Move your new Volunteer Experience section into the upper half of your resume.
    3. Place the ‘Work Experience’ section below it.
9. The Header

9A. The header includes you contact information (and then some). 

TIP: Use the same exact header at the top of your resume, cover letter, and reference sheet.  Your header will become your “word logo”, which will help employers more easily identify you (and find your different application materials).

Watch this short video to learn more and see examples of different header formats:

9B. Postal address

Human resource professionals or the equivalent usually refer to resumes, after a person is hired, to get the initial information they need to start processing paperwork.  However, you don’t always want or need to include your postal address in your resume.

Do not include your address if you are uploading your resume into a job search engine that can be viewed by almost anyone. Not all employers in search engines are legitimate, and you don’t want just anyone to be able to learn so much about you and know where you live.

If you are applying for a job that you could easily commute to, include your address.  Knowing your live in the area will provide them with some additional reassurance.

If you are applying for a job that is far away, you might want to omit your address, so they don’t immediately wonder if that will be an issue.

Additional resource:

9C. Electronic profile or portfolio is becoming more of a norm.

Pros and cons – for starters: 

CONS: If people see a photo of you, conscious as well as unconscious bias can influence recruiters’ and employers’ outreach and hiring decisions (respectively).

PROS: It is possible (but not a given) that your online presence will impress them or help them recognize your qualifications in different ways.

Additional resource:

9D. Hyperlinks in resumes is becoming more of a norm. It is not required but it can sometimes be strategic.

  • If you are including a hyperlink to your HandshakeGCC profile or Linkedin Profile, then also hyperlink your email address.
  • If you are not including a link to an electronic profile or portfolio in your header, then you don’t “have to” hyperlink your email address, but you can, if you like.
  • If you are including links, within the body of your resume, which resume reviewers can click (to see examples of your best work; online articles about or by you; blogs or web pages you have created, etc.), then also hyperlink your email address.

Additional resources:

9E. Headshots / photo:

It is illegal for employers to base their hiring decisions on an applicants age, gender, sex, sexual preference, relationship status, ethnicity or race.  However, if you include a photo in your resume, the decision to invite you to an interview (or not) could be influenced by both conscious and unconscious bias.

There are some exceptions, but this is the standard recommendation.  To learn more, check out the supplemental resources included below and/or talk to trusted professionals within your field.

Additional resources:

10. Profile or Summary (vs. Objective)

The position for the summary or profile section is  just under the contact information (aka. header).

10A. The “objective” has become passé. 

Why? The objective usually included a phrase about what type of professional they are (for example: business management professional) and the kind of job they are seeking in what specific industry.  Inevitably, the objective states the obvious and does not provide any substantial information about a persons’ qualifications.

10B.The definition of a resume Summary vs. Profile varies from one source to another, but the difference always has to do with the formatting (paragraph vs. bullets). The content included in each is the same.

Learn about this especially impactful section of your resume:

A summary includes a series of sentences (aka. “accomplishment statements”), which do not have to all relate to each other and do not include pronouns or many filler and transition words.

A profile includes the same exact information in a bulleted format and is therefore usually easier to write.

A hybrid summary/profile usually includes 1-4 accomplishment statements in a paragraph format, followed by 3 or more bullets with accomplishment statements. Since the terms ‘summary’ and ‘profile’ are often used interchangeably, either label will do for this hybrid version.

10B. Additional resources:

11. Skills

11A. Embed skills within the Summary/Profile and/or Experience section to the fullest extent possible – instead of stacking your most relevant and impressive skills in a Skills section.

Why?: Skills are more impactful and convincing when put into context and linked directly to your actions – vs. listed in a stand alone fashion.

An exception to this “rule”: a short skills section included at the very bottom of a resume can be a great way to efficiently list hard (aka. technological) skills that are relatively standard in the industry but are also essential to the job you are applying for.

11B. Inspirational aids – Use the resources below to jog your mind about what skills you have and to get examples of language used to describe your skills.

  • Marketable Skills – A webpage designed to help you think of your marketable skills and make a plan to get more!

Additional resources:

11C. Languages / Multi-lingual

It’s usually prudent to indicate if you speak and/or understand more than one language (at different levels of proficiency) in the profile/summary section of a resume.  If that doesn’t work (for some reason), this can be a good reason to add a ‘Skills’ section to your resume.  If knowing other languages is a key requirement of the position, you may even want to have a section called ‘Language Skills’ in your resume, so it stands out.  Having a section dedicated to this skill, will also make it possible for you to move this information into a more prominent position within your resume. (For example: the top vs. bottom half of your resume)

Additional resources:

12. Education Section

12A. The placement of the Education Section should be based on where you are on your education path and how relevant it is to the job you are applying for.

12B. Education should be listed in reverse chronological order.

12C. The formatting should be consistent with formatting used in the Experience section of your resume.

12D. If you have earned an associates degree, bachelors degree, or more, you will no longer need to list a high school diploma, HiSet, or GED in your resume.

Watch this short video to learn more!:

Additional resources:

13. Experience Section

13A. Like the Profile/Summary section, the Experiences section tends to require more reflection, creativity, and word crafting than other sections of the resume.

In addition to watching this short video tutorial, be sure to check out the other resources included below to wrap your mind around how to create an effective, descriptive, easy-to-read, and concise experience section:

Additional resources:

13B. Task & Accomplishment Statements

13C.Word Choices

14. No References Included

Instead of including professional references on a resume, create a separate reference sheet.

Reference Sheet Template & Guide

The employer will let you know if/when they want a list of your reference. Usually, this will happen after an interview.

15. Proofreading & Editors

The resume writing process involves drafting, editing, drafting, editing, etc. – until it is polished and employer-ready.  The savvy job searcher drafts their application materials in advance of conducting a job search, and continues to add to their catch-all (aka. origin) resume over time.

In addition to being prepared to copy of your catch-all resume and customize it to the job/internship you are applying for, you will also have the option of stepping away from your draft for 2 or more days, so you can return to it and edit it (again) with more objectivity.  Better yet, you will have time to have others (Career Services, MassHire Career Center, family members, and/or friends) review and proofread your draft(s).  Don’t deny yourself this support.  All authors have one or more highly skilled editors, and most people need edit support to create an easy-to-read and impactful resume.

You are relying on your resume (and your qualifications) to earn you an interview, and you deserve support.

  • Email your resume to Career Services for feedback, recommendations, and learning aids.

Additional resources:

16. Submitting a Resume

WARNING: Submit application materials prior to application deadlines, if possible, since employers sometimes interview and/or hire prior to posted application deadlines.

16A. Use a consistent labeling convention – Please refer to the ‘Stay Organized’ section of this page for an explanation and examples.

16B. Save and share resumes as a PDF

16C. How to email a resume

Resources / guides:

17. Bonus: Fun Facts

According to (Feb 2022), the average number of jobs people hold over a lifetime is 12. On average, people are granted one interview for every 7 applications submitted.

According to (2022), on average “it takes 10-20 applications to get one interview and 10-15 interviews to get one job.” Additionally, people usually create many drafts of their resume, cover letter, and (less so) reference sheet before applying for each job/internship.  That means persistence and staying organized is key.

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