Did you know that the average resume gets read in 6 seconds? In those 6 seconds, a recruiter or employer will decide if he or she would like to learn more about you. It is essential your resume clearly communicates: where you have worked, what you have done and what you can do for the employer. In this section you will find tips on resume formatting and content, as well as the Questrom Resume Guide and Template. And don’t forget, the FCC is always here to help you assemble, review and provide feedback on your resume.

Your resume is an introduction to a potential employer. More often than not, employers will scan your resume and make an assessment very rapidly. Your resume should stimulate an employer’s interest in meeting you and lead you to the next step – the interview.

  • Your resume IS a marketing tool that distinguishes you from the competition by highlighting your major accomplishments and related experience. It is a presentation targeting the potential employer’s needs and emphasizing your contribution to previous organizations.
  • Your resume IS NOT an autobiography that describes your life to date or a laundry list of everything you have ever done in your previous jobs.

Before you begin writing your resume, perform a comprehensive self-inventory by:
  • Making a list of experiences, activities, volunteer work, etc. or taking e a look at your current resume
  • Noting for each activity, job, volunteer work, school projects, etc. skills and accomplishments you want to highlight
  • Writing e sentences under each experience to highlight those skills
  • Listing as many details as possible about all of your experiences (do not worry about length at this time)
Style Guide
Capitalization
  • Capitalize the first letters of the names of foreign countries, nationalities, and specific languages
  • Do NOT capitalize industries or disciplines such as marketing, finance, biotechnology, etc
Abbreviations
  • Abbreviate states for employer locations. Use postal abbreviations (i.e., MA for Massachusetts). Do not abbreviate states in the body of a job description (i.e., responsible for sales in Massachusetts)
  • Spell out your degree.  (e.g., Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Science in Business Administration. However, you can put the abbreviation in parentheses after the full degree name if you wish (e.g., Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA), Master of Science in Business Administration (MBA)
  • For percentages use the percentage sign
  • Do NOT abbreviate Co. or Corp. Spell them out: company and corporation
  • Spell out address information: 15 Tenth Street, not 15 Tenth St
Dates
  • Write out years completely: 1995-1998 or 1995 to 1998, not 1995-98
  • Spell out months: February not Feb
Writing Numbers
  • Numbers less than 10 should be spelled out: Two, not 2
  • Use figures for large monetary amounts: $250,000 in sales or $14.5 million (spell out million and use lower case “m”)
  • When referring to monetary amounts from overseas, translate the amount into US dollars and write it out as follows: US$14.5 million
  • Name
  • Contact Information
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Skills
Helpful Formatting Tips:
  • Try and limit resume to 1 page, unless you have 10 years+ experience Resumes are limited to one page for campus recruiting and for resume books.
  • Always proofread! Read your resume, have an FCC coach or employer relations manager read your resume, the more the better!
  • If you plan to pursue opportunities in different fields, you may wish to have more than one version of your resume. Each version should emphasize the skill set that you offer a prospective employer in the specific field.
  • Use the same font type and font size throughout your resume, preferably 11 or 12 point, but never smaller than 10.
  • If space allows, you may wish to draw greater attention to your name and increase the font size.
  • It is recommended that you use a traditional, easy-to-read font, such as Times New Roman.
  • Resume section headings should always be in UPPER CASE BOLD TYPE
  • Left, right, top and bottom margins should be no less than 0.5 inchesAt a maximum, margins should be no wider than one inch.

Powerful B-A-R Statements

  • Bar Method Resume WritingWriting Powerful B-A-R Statements, Background, Action, and Result”

    • Think about ways that you made an impact or achieved an accomplishment.
    Before

    After

    Before I organized the inventory, orders took three hours to process. After I organized the inventory, orders were processed in half the time.
    • Always start your “B-A-R Statements-Background, Action, Result” with an action verb (please see page 13 of Undergrad Resume Guide for a list). Avoid words or phrases such as aided, assisted, helped, learned, gained, participated, worked and responsibilities included. These words tend to be passive and do not actively reflect your role, skills, and accomplishments. 
    Resulting B-A-R Statement:Organized inventory by creating an Excel spreadsheet and reduced order processing in half the time. OR, for even more of an impact, start with the accomplishment:Reduced order processing in half the time by organizing inventory on an Excel spreadsheet.
    • Incorporate numbers, data, facts, percentages and figures that create an impact.

    Before

    After

    A long report 250-page status report
    Managed staff Managed four-person staff
    Saved money Saved department $75,000 annually
    Short time In less than three hours
    1. Make sure your statements are clear and verifiable. Can you explain the results in detail to an interviewer?
    2. Determine the company’s needs and craft “B-A-R Statements – Background, Action, Result” to meet those needs.
    • Incorporate the skills, key words and competencies that the employer or industry values for the position;
    • Be aware that resume readers and recruiters will likely read the first one or two bullets under each job. Therefore, order the bullets to reflect the skills that the employer finds most pertinent, and not necessarily those most important in the old job or those that consumed the greatest amount of time.

     Skills

    Incorporate computer, social media and language skills into this section. Be aware that if you indicate aptitude or proficiency in a technical skill or language, you should be prepared to discuss or speak it during an interview.
    • Fluent means that you have the ability to speak, write and read the language with ease
    • Native speaker means that you are fluent in the language and have been immersed in the culture
    • Conversational means that you can speak the language with ease
    SKILLS          
    Computer:  Proficient in Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Word; basic Adobe Photoshop, Visio; knowledge of Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr Language:  Fluent in German and French; reading ability in Italian and Portuguese
In general, the Feld Career Center recommends that undergraduate students include their cumulative GPA if it is 3.0 or higher and MBA students include their cumulative GPA if it is 3.5 or higher. Your cumulative GPA is the average of your grades in all courses taken at Boston University. When you reference your “GPA,” the assumption is that you are referring to your cumulative GPA. It should be updated after the completion of each semester to ensure that your resume accurately reflects your current academic achievement. GPA should always be carried to two decimal points and should never be rounded up (i.e., 3.47 is not the same as 3.5). Your GPA reflects the official record of your academic accomplishment at Boston University; therefore, it is critical that you represent your GPA accurately in writing and verbally, as on your resume and in an interview. Any misrepresentation of your academic accomplishment, whether in verbal or written form, is subject to action by the Academic Conduct Committee. Please contact the Undergraduate Programs Office or Graduate Programs Office for your most current and official GPA.