Your resume is often your first contact with an employer. Your task is to present your skills, experience, knowledge, and background effectively, interestingly, and briefly. Don't get passed over because of poor materials.

Below, we have included a few Frequently Asked Questions about resumes.

Does a resume always need to be only one page?

For undergraduates, yes – most of the time. Graduate students or non-traditional students with extensive experience may consider a slightly longer version. 

Is an objective always necessary?

No, although a properly worded objective can help a reader to envision where the writer will fit into the organization. Objectives should be tailored to the specific situation, so make sure not to include a one-size-fits-all objective if the objective doesn't match the opportunity! Keyword summaries at the top of resumes have taken the place of objectives in technical fields and help job seekers get noticed by automated resume tracking systems. 

Should the EDUCATION section always appear at the top?

For students whose degree is in progress, or is recently completed and is the most significant part of their qualifications, the answer is usually yes. This is especially true when course or project profiles and honors can help paint a picture of success. However, students and alumni who are changing careers may not benefit from an education section near the top. In addition, some industries value related experience above academic work and, therefore, expect to see the education section at the bottom of the page.

Should high school information be shown?

 It depends. If you are a graduating senior, probably not – unless you did something in high school that relates closely to the work you would like to do. 

Does my GPA need to be included?

If a student is proud of his/her accomplishments in the classroom, GPA should be included. Not surprisingly, high GPAs trigger more positive reactions from employers, but GPA is only one factor used to evaluate potential. GPA information may be offered selectively in some cases, such as GPA in a major or GPA in recent semesters for those whose starts have been poorer than their work lately. 

What if I don't have any experience?

Any experience has value, whether paid, unpaid, for a class, or volunteer, as long as the resume writer focuses on transferable skills and work habits that relate to the particular job or internship at hand. There are often ways to describe your experience that will help an employer understand how and why it relates. 

Do interests, hobbies and other personal background need to be shown?

Not necessarily, though such information frequently rounds out a picture of success, energy level, commitment, worldly experience and more, which an employer may use to evaluate "fit" to a position within an organization. Unique experiences may also demonstrate traits that employers value. 

Should references be included?

No. Most employers will assume that active job seekers have references to offer at the appropriate time in a selection process. Even space devoted to a sentence like "References Available Upon Request" is better used elsewhere to further present qualifications.