Faculty Recruiting Support CICS

Resume Checklist

Answers to Common Resume Questions

Our team looks at hundreds of resumes each year and requests input from employers and alumni so that we can offer the most up-to-date advice on how to write a great resume for CICS students. Having said that, everyone has different opinions so ask your contacts for feedback and decide for yourself.

We assess resumes in terms of organization, content and formatting (in that order). Organization is key since recruiters might only spend seconds reading it before they decide. Content is how you convince them to interview you. And proper formatting is essential to show your attention to detail and ability to create quality work.

Let’s get started!



  • For industry positions, keep to 1 page (but have a longer, comprehensive version that you can use to create multiple 1 pg versions)
  • Use a hidden table (template available) to more easily use the entire page – is there enough "white space" throughout the document to make it visually appealing
  • Name and contact information at the top
  • Sections for education, work/professional experience, technical skills, and projects
  •    No need for a summary statement or objective (Careercup.com recommendation)
  •    Combine coursework in education section
  •    Under work experience, header includes employer, role, dates (location optional)
  •    Classify each line of skills (e.g., Programming Languages: Java, Python or tools, frameworks, platforms, operating systems, libraries); consider proficiency labels (e.g., basic, intermediate, advanced)
  •    Consider other sections at the bottom such as leadership experience, publications, awards, activities, or interests
  •    Do not include or mention references
  •    Sections and content within sections prioritized based on relevance and importance (chronology is less important for an industry resume)


  •    Usually use your full preferred name
  •    Include middle names only if you prefer to be called by your first and middle or middle only; middle initial may be useful if you have a very common first and last name
  •    Include at least phone number and email address
  •    Pick your school or personal email, but don't confuse the reader by listing both
  •    Mailing address is traditional but optional at this point
  •    Consider including links to your GitHub, personal website, and/or LinkedIn (with customized URL)
  •    No labels necessary (e.g., student [at] umass.edu instead of email: student [at] umass.edu)
  •    Use "Expected Graduation: Month Year" instead of a span of time or "present"
  •    Include GPA if it is high (i.e., 3.3+) or else use higher major GPA; include GPA on all career fair resumes since GPA minimums; consider grouping with other academic honors
  •    Consider adding college name: "College of Information and Computer Sciences"
  •    Include higher ed transfer school details or undergraduate details
  •    Coursework can be with each university of grouped together at the bottom of the ed section; abbreviate without course numbers and be selective, limiting to 1 or 2 lines max
  •    Only use acronyms if they are common or first explained ("Natural Language Processing (NLP)", then you can use "NLP" for any other references)
  •    Do not include negative information, and don't downplay your achievements by describing them as "basic" or "simple"
  •    For each work/project experience, share 2-5 bullets explaining tasks, actions, and results (S.T.A.R.)
  •    Be sure each bullet begins with an action verb - see our list in the Career Handbook if you get stuck
  •    Match verb tense to dates (i.e., past tense or present if current role)
  •    If the employer or role is not well-known, provide context as part of the first bullet
  •    For projects, expand on the purpose, skills learned and/or developed, and outcomes
  •    Check to make sure your bullets answer the question “so what?” Who did you benefit and how?
  •    If you decided to share interests, pick one instead of listing several and make it memorable/unique
  •    Spellcheck, read aloud, and have someone else read your resume
  •    Update your resume Save As to “[full name] Resume” endorsed by MacKenzie from Liberty Mutual


  •    Stick with regular fonts – i.e., Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman
  •    Keep font size consistent throughout (typically 11-12) with only a few exceptions
  •    Name should be larger (e.g., font size 16-24)
  •    Use italics sparingly
  •    Don't bother with color (black and white keeps them focused on the content)
  •    Format phone as (123) 456-7890
  •    Avoid +1 with the phone number unless you plan to apply for roles outside the US (it usually indicates you are an international student)
  •    Abbreviate months to 3 letters throughout document (Mar and May, not March and May)
  •    Bullets should either have a period at the end, or not (be consistent)
  •    Removed automatic indent on bullets (align left to maximize writing space)

Don't forget to upload your new resume to Handshake and make it visible to employers!