Résumé Writing Quick Tips
Whether the next step in your journey as a creative professional is an internship, job, graduate program or other opportunity, a résumé is an important tool for communicating your background and achievements. With that in mind, the Career Services team at UArts has created the following résumé writing tips to help you put your best foot forward.
Create a master list
Have one large document to store all of your information and to pull from when creating targeted résumés. No need for formatting this.
Focus on Content First, Then Design
Better to get all of the information organized and then make it visually appealing.
Avoid resume templates
They have hidden codes that make it difficult to edit, plus people can spot a template a mile away.
Write it from scratch in a blank document
Use Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. If you must use a résumé builder, we recommend Resume Companion (free if you sign up with your uarts.edu email address).
Create targeted résumés
Make several versions relevant to the different types of opportunities you’re seeking, including only the information that is most relevant to the target of each version.
Organize the sections logically
People read from top to bottom, so the most relevant and impressive information should come first and then flow downwards so the least relevant (but still important) information is at the end.
- Heading - Include your contact information (name, phone, email address, website URL, social media handles).
- Education - University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA | Degree & Major | Grad Month & 2021 OR Class of 2021
- Skills - Have sub-categories relevant to your discipline (Artistic | Digital | Software | Social Media | Others specific to you).
- Experience - Can be one section or multiple categorized sections (as relevant to you), such as:
- Relevant Experience (might also be called Creative, Artistic, Design, Performance, etc).
- Customer Service Experience or Sales Experience
- Work Experience or Employment
- Volunteer Experience
- Other Experience
- Custom Experience sections that fit your own information.
- Relevant Courses / Course Summary / Course Highlights - List only the course titles (no course numbers or the grade you got) for courses that will give the reader a sense of the knowledge and skills you have acquired.
- Projects - Include a title and brief description of 3-5 of projects you’ve completed that you want to highlight.
- Professional Affiliations / Associations / Memberships - List any organizations in your field that you have joined.
- Honors / Awards / Accomplishments - Should be recent (not from high school).
- Objective - Brief line under your Heading clearly stating the type of position you are seeking and the targeted industry or field
- Profile / Summary of Qualifications - Concise paragraph providing an overview of your background and experience that tells them what you have to offer.
Additional Sections (include only if relevant to you)
- Leadership / Campus Involvement
- Other Custom Sections - Create new sections as needed that are appropriate to highlight the information you want to include.
Put your information into context
Include concise descriptions in each section so the reader understands what you are telling them.
Write in phrases, not sentences and avoid personal pronouns (I, me, my)
Instead start lines with action verbs (do a Google search to find lists of good verbs to use).
Watch your tenses
Use present tense for current positions and past tense for previous ones.
Put information into reverse chronological order
Highlight your most recent experiences first, then go backwards in time listing previous experiences.
Make it error free
No typos, nothing misaligned. Do spell check but also manually read every line.
Layout & Design
Needs to be well-designed & easy to read
Presentation is just as important as content.
Enhance the visual appeal
Add some color, use bold and underlining. You can paste the content into InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop to design your résumé (not required), but if you do, it still needs to look like a résumé and not a design project or piece of art.
Use a legible font
Avoid script styles and keep the font size between 10-12 pt.
Keep it brief
The goal is one page, in some cases two is acceptable. Try shrinking the margins and the font size a point to adjust if it flows onto a second page.
Should be completely unique to you
It’s fine to look at your friends’ résumés or samples online, but ultimately your résumé should be 100% your own.
Final document = PDF
Save/export the completed résumé as a PDF to ensure it always looks the same, whether it’s opened on a PC, MAC, tablet or mobile device.
Get input from others to guide you in revising and improving your résumé.
Who to ask:
- Faculty in your major - Get their professional advice.
- Classmates/friends - Peer reviews can be valuable.
- UArts Career Services - it’s what we’re here for!