University at Albany

Reverse Chronological Resumes

The key information to include is education, work experience, certifications, licenses, computer skills, and languages. 

This information is primarily for students without much professional work experience.  Learn more about advanced resume tips.

You may also include project experience if you have not worked outside school; relevant course work; volunteer work; extracurricular activities; and clubs or organizations to which you belong.
Regardless of what topics you choose make sure your resume is formatted neatly, easy to read, and has NO TYPOS. Resumes with mistakes may be ignored. Also, it must be concise and not exceed a page. When you have significant professional experience you can consider a 2 page resume.    More formatting tips.
Specific sections: See samples for examples of these sections.
The Objective or Summary Section:
You can include either an objective or a summary at the beginning of your resume.  An objective states what type or job you are applying for. (e.g. Seeking a summer internship in the field of finance.) It is very straightforward and helps an employer know what type of opportunities you want to be considered for.  A summary section focused on your skills and abilities instead.  It provides a brief summary or your top 3-4 skills.  Focus mainly on concrete skills rather than personality traits like hard-working or dedicated.  Be sure that the experience on your resume provides proof of these skills (e.g. Bilingual college junior working towards a degree in social welfare.  Experience with at risk youth and immigrant populations. Proven ability to positively interact with people of different cultural backgrounds.)  A summary and an objective can be combined as well. 

Education (College):
List the college that you are currently attending and any other colleges that awarded you a degree.  Do not list colleges that you have transferred from. Do not list your high school.
You need to include:

  • Your degree BS, BA, MA etc.(highest degree, or degree in progress, listed first)
  • Major, Minor and area of concentration
  • Expected graduation date – not the years you have attended.

You can include:

  • academic achievements, honors, awards
  • GPA if it is better than 3.0
  • Relevant coursework; list only upper level classes and only 4 or 5.

 If you have a lot of honors and awards, consider a separate section after your work experience. If you have any certifications or have completed any training courses include them as well.

Work Experience:
Include all full or part-time work experiences and internships. If you have had many jobs, or have been out of school for an extended period of time, list only recent jobs.  Do not include any jobs you had more than 10 years ago unless there is a very good reason. Jobs should be listed in reverse chronological order, the most recent first. Include:

  • Company name, city , state
  • Job/Position Title
  • Dates of employment
  • Your major tasks and accomplishments

Use a bulleted list for your duties and accomplishment. Focus on what you achieved rather than a list of duties.  Start each with a strong action verb.  Use numbers to quantify your success whenever possible. Focus on duties that show your skills in leadership, organization, communication, ingenuity, and teamwork.
You can have one section called "Work Experience" or you can create a separate section called "Related Work Experience" to highlight those jobs that are related.  Call the other section "Additional Work Experience".

List clubs and activities you have participated in during college.  If you are a sophomore or freshman you can include high school activities. If you have experiences relevant to the job you can list them as well.  For example: if you are interested in marketing and have promoted a club event successfully you can include that.  Write your accomplishments the same way as for a job.  
BE CAREFUL with personal information.  Activities may give potential employers information about your religious or political views or your sexual orientation.  They may not be an issue, however be conscious of what you are doing. Discrimination, although illegal, unfortunately still exists.

Community and Service Activities:
This section is particularly important for those students applying to service related jobs or to graduate school, particularly medical school, other health professions, etc. All students can have a section like this, however.  You can make it separate or part of your activities section.

List any languages where you have at least a basic proficiency. Includes your proficiency level: basic, intermediate conversational, fluent, etc.

For computer skills, list any Microsoft office programs, Photoshop, Dreamweaver etc. List any other programs that are relevant to your major like SPSS or Quickbooks.
If you have significant technical skills, like computer skills,  lab skills, or artistic skills, list then at the beginning of your resume after education.  You may also want to list several categories. For example:  Languages, Software, Hardware, Networking protocols, Databases, etc.


Do not include your references on your resume.  Create a separate document for references and give it to en employer when they ask for it and not before.  You do not need to say references available on request.  That is assumed. 

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