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Looking for a guide to start or improve your resume? Check out these tips and tricks gathered from past and present members of You’re Next Career Network.

Why Should You Care About Your Resume?

Your resume is not just a required document for a job application; your resume is the first impression you will leave on employers (or second if you actually met with them first). Either way, it is your first real opportunity to convince them why they should hire you.

General Tips and Tricks

  • Every word you write is entirely dependent on the job that you are applying for! This means researching the company and reading the job description for skills to emphasize certain skills. Be sure to always personalize every resume you send out.
  • If this is the first time you’re writing a resume, you likely don’t have all your past experiences in a nice database. Take a minute and write out a list of all your previous jobs, club positions, projects, volunteer opportunities, etc. Make this your personal ‘master list’ and update it frequently. It’ll help you prep for interviews and personalize your resume as well.
  • It may be wise to try to keep your resume to 1 page. Most students do not have enough experience to fill 2 pages with relevant material. Keep the attention on your highlights!
  • On average, recruiters skim over your resume in 6 seconds. Ask yourself: If only 3 lines will be read, am I okay with this line being one of them?
  • Save your resume in PDF form to prevent formatting errors on different computers.
  • Have as many people review your resume as possible.

General Sections

Disclaimer: Remember that your resume is something unique to a person, and in some cases, the advice given may not apply.

Personal Information:

  • Be sure to include your full name, e-mail, and phone number. You can also include your address, a personal website, or a LinkedIn profile which includes additional details. Links to your past work such as Github can be very useful for technical or software positions as well.


  • Start by listing your degree, name and location of the institution, the date started and expected date of graduation. You may want to include your GPA, especially if it is above 3.0.
  • Specify any minors or certificates that you might be working to complete
  • If you have taken any courses that you think are relevant to the job, you can list them here. Do this only if you think they are very important! Otherwise, recruiters can look at your transcripts if they are interested.


  • If appropriate, list a few key skills that are very relevant to the job. CAD software, programming and spoken languages, and other technical skills fit well here.
  • For any important skills you list, be sure to substantiate them later on in your experiences. It’s one thing to know how to draw a block in Solidworks, but using it to prototype your design project is another level of proficiency!
  • Try not to list any soft skills or personal traits like “leadership” or “team-player.” These should instead be demonstrated later through your experiences section.

Work/Relevant Experiences

Choosing relevant experiences:

  • Relevant experiences can be projects done in class, or on your own time, previous work experiences, participation in a design club, a project done for a competition/hackathon.
  • Start by scanning the job description for your tasks and responsibilities. Then, select experiences you can use to prove you have the skills required to do the job.
  • No work experience? No problem! Volunteer positions have just as much of an impact in showing your transferable skills and initiatives. If you’re a first year, remember that most of your classmates won’t have had much engineering or professional experience either.

For example:

Example for Choosing Relevant Experience

Describing Experiences:

  • Write about your experiences using the Action, Goal, Result (AGR) model. Action: what did you do?, Goal: why did you do it?, Result: how did you perform?
Example of AGR form

First, start with the actions you took to exemplify the skills you’re trying to showcase. Then, write a little content about the goals so the reader understands why the actions were necessary. Finish with a quantified result to show how you performed relative to your goals. This progression will show your individual contribution and its importance, proving to employers that you have a track record of achievement.

  • Aside from the AGR model, there are also other models, such as the CAR or STAR model. They are very similar to the AGR model, but present the information in a slightly different order.
    With the CAR model, present the situation Context/Challenge first, then the Action you took to resolve it, and the Results of your action for each bullet point. With the STAR model, present the Situation, your Task at hand, your specific Actions, and the Results on those actions for each bullet point.
  • Instead of “telling” the employer what you can do, demonstrate it through your actions. Start off every bullet point using powerful verbs to help your resume stay action-oriented.
  • Avoid job descriptions and focus on what you were able to achieve. Why were you better than someone else who did the same job? Identify specific accomplishments and areas of improvement in order to impress the recruiter
  • Be as specific as possible and quantify your impact. Recruiters love numbers, as it is the best way to measure exactly how big of an impact you can make.


  • School projects do wonders in showing potential employers what skills you have already exercised and learned through your studies. As a first and second year who might not have that much work experience, these are great projects to add.
  • For students who have more experience and side projects, would recommend highlighting those personal projects as they are unique to you rather than a project that has been done by multiple other students.

Sample Resume

Below is a sample resume that you can reference.

ATS (Applicant Tracking System)

Some recruiters and employers use a software called ATS to parse through resumes to sort and rank candidates (What is an ATS?…). This is used so that companies that have a high number of applicants are able to weed out candidates. Unfortunately, this can lead to applicants being rejected due to resume formatting issues. Keep this in mind while creating your resume and check out this article, What is an ATS?.., for more.

Also, check out this great website that allows you to score your resume

If you are ever looking for more advice, check out the More Resources section below. Feel free to contact YNCN on social media or email for any other questions!

More Resources

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