Build a Competitive Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Before you apply for a job, it is critical that your application package, including your resume or curriculum vitae (CV), is the best that it can be. Get professional advice for writing your resume or CV, view samples and learn how to tell your unique story.

Resumes Curriculum Vitae (CV) Convert CV to Resume

A resume is a one- to two-page document that outlines your education, skills, accomplishments and experience. Its purpose is to help you capture the attention of an employer so you can get an interview.

What to Include on Your Resume

When seeking a job or internship, design your resume to highlight your most related experience and skills. Write about internship(s), related volunteer experiences; academic or individual projects depending on your field of study or career goals.

Here are some typical sections you can include:

Objective

An objective is used to explain why you are creating this resume and can be an opportunity to connect you to a specific job/internship. The objective is optional.

Objective Example

Seeking an internship in human services for summer 2020 utilizing demonstrated interpersonal and helping skills.

Education

List your degrees, majors, minors, study abroad and/or any other relevant training/opportunities.

Education Example

University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Master of Art, Major, Graduation Month 2020
Bachelor of Arts or Science, Major, Graduation Month 2020

Experience

Any employment, internships, significant campus leadership offices, volunteer work and class/research projects.

  • Explain what were your key tasks and outcomes/results by using bullet points and action words.
  • Avoid passive phrasing such as “duties include,” “responsible for” or “project was completed by using.”
  • Quantify information by including numbers, percentages and dollar amounts.

Experience Example

Research Assistant, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York Feb. 2019-Feb. 2020
Thesis: CFD Analysis, Optimization and Fluid-Structure-Interaction Simulations (FSI) of an Axial Gas Turbine

  • Used Solidworks to model an existing turbine blade with optimized 2D and 3D grid (mes) to facilitate transient and steady state fluid analysis of turbine.
  • Implemented and interpreted 3D CFD simulation and heat transfer to study the flow field (fluid) of an axial gas turbine.
  • Re-engineered turbine design to maximize efficiency, resulting in 5.68% improvement in performance. Validated outcome using Goal Design Optimization.
  • Conducted structural analysis (FEA) to obtain stress distribution on blades and determined the critical condition.

Relevant Projects

Projects that you did in class that are related to your major/career interest.

  • Identify team/classroom/individual noteworthy academic projects.
  • Concisely demonstrate your skills and knowledge.
  • Integrate other skills when communicating specific accomplishments.
  • Include your individual contributions and outcomes.

Relevant Projects Example

Marketing Plan, University at Buffalo , spring 2020

  • Perform situation analysis to determine relevant details about potential market share and target audience.
  • Identify opportunities and challenges based on analysis to begin developing measurable objectives, strategies and implementing media plans.

Skills

Use this section to highlight skills that are specifically related to the job/internship you are seeking.

Skills Example

Languages: Fluent in Cantonese and basic Mandarin

Software/Programs: Adobe Creative Suite, CAD, Microsoft Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Publisher, Access)

Certifications: American Heart Association CPR (June 2020)

Involvement

List clubs, sports, leadership roles and/or volunteering that you've done. This is especially helpful when looking for internships or part-time job without having a lot of work experience. Include accomplishments using strong action words.

Involvement Example

UB Club Hockey, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
Captain

  • Organize and lead weekly practices for team of 15.
  • Study practice schedules and modify practices to simulate competition.
  • Communicate with and encourage players to develop team chemistry.

Achievements

Indicate noteworthy academic, athletic, community, club and employer recognition.

Note: If you are only listing one to three honors, consider incorporating into education section rather than creating separate section.

Achievements Example

  • Health Essential Association’s Volunteer Service Award, 2020
  • University at Buffalo President's Scholarship, 2020
  • Dean's List, 2018 to 2020
  • Lambda Pi Eta, National Communication Association, inducted 2020

Tips From Recruiters

  • Customize your resume to each application.
  • Try to avoid the use of first and third person pronouns, such as “I,” “he” or “she.” 
  • Refrain from using slang or jargon.
  • Spell out all acronyms the first time they are used, followed by the acronym in parentheses e.g., University at Buffalo (UB). 
  • Use a variety of action words to bring your skills and experiences to life and avoid using each word more than once.
  • Use keywords. Scan the job description, see what words are used most often and make sure you’ve included them in your bullet points.
  • Pick a format and stick to it. Use consistent spacing, font and format and save as a word document.
  • Use clear file names. Save your file as “Jane Smith Resume” instead of “Resume.”
  • Proofread. Ask family or friends to check for spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Get it reviewed by an expert. UB's Career Design Center is available for drop-in appointments Monday through Friday.

How to Highlight Your Transferable Skills

What skills do you bring? No matter your field of study, it’s important to speak their language and demonstrate how your academic experiences translate to workplace performance.

Additional Resources

Coursera

Enroll in our How to Write a Resume course, an online course that guides you to create an eye-catching resume, letting your professional strengths shine.

This course is free when you create an account using your @buffalo.edu email.

Samples

Visit the Career Design Center website for many great resources, including resume, CV, cover letter and thank you note samples.

VMock

Unlock your 24/7 instant resume review. VMock provides personalized feedback on your resumen in 15-seconds or less. (Students receive 10 free reviews per year, beginning in the fall semester, for as long as they are enrolled at UB.)