student in media lab


Include all experience, paid or unpaid: summer work, work-study jobs, volunteer activities, independent research, internships, academic projects, etc. List items in reverse chronological order. Give the title of your position (or primary function), name of the organization, city, state, country if outside the U.S., and beginning and end dates.

Briefly describe your responsibilities and accomplishments in a bulleted list. Describe skills you used. Use the strongest possible "action phrases" and "power verbs" (see Language Tips) both to convey what you did and to catch the reader's attention.

Your resume will be more successful if you tailor it to the job, i.e., place emphasis on the information most relevant to the job. Read the job posting carefully. What is the employer looking for? What skills, experience, knowledge, and personal attributes are required for the position? Think about your experience and imagine how your skills and accomplishments might fit. Then highlight those that are most relevant by placing them at the top of your bulleted list. Make it easy for employers to see how your experiences and skills line up with the job requirements. For example:

Applying for an administrative assistant position:

  • Updated databases, communicated with local residents
  • Managed all office correspondence: phone, fax, e-mail
  • Anticipated and responded to office needs and priorities
  • Attended board meetings, composed and distributed notes

Applying for a program assistant position:

  • Assisted director with grant opportunities, planned priorities
  • Contributed to monthly board meetings, composed notes
  • Maintained relationships with community stakeholders
  • Managed office correspondence, finances, and databases

Avoid using the first person pronoun in bullet points, as in, "I managed office correspondence."

It will usually strengthen your resume if you can use numbers to quantify accomplishments, document progress, describe age ranges, group sizes, time frames and so on. For example:

Before: Tutored students in math and English
Better: Tutored 8 students ages 11-13 in math and English

Co-curricular activities and community service. Depending upon how significant or relevant these activities are, you may choose to include them in your Experience section or list them in a separate section under a heading such as Activities, Volunteer Experience, Related Experience, Additional Experience, or Other Experience.

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