for your job or internship search
Guide Overview
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: How to make your
resume “stand out” to employers
and get past the robots
Page 3: Effective resume
statements and reflection
Page 4: Frequently asked
questions and other helpful
Resume: Its Purpose
-Not a list of everything you’ve
accomplished but instead is a
clear and concise marketing
piece that highlights relevant
skills, accomplishments, and
experiences for the position or
company for which you are
-One tool that an employer will
use to assess your candidacy
and fit for the company and
-To provide a snapshot of your
story that draws attention to the
things you want to discuss in an
interview or conversation with an
-It is not the one thing that gets
you a job, but it is often your first
introduction. The goal being to
land an interview.
This guide addresses the most common questions asked by
CMU-SV students about resumes. The goal is to help you develop
a clearer understanding of how to craft an impactful resume.
Keep in mind, your resume is just one piece of a multifaceted and
comprehensive job or internship search. It is
not the one thing
that will lead to your succ
ess. Instead, it is meant to provide a
snapshot of your
professional story.
interviewing, your
online presence,
building professional
relationships, etc.
each play a
significant role in
the search process. If
you are looking for a
step-by-step guide
on developing your
resume from scratch,
please refer to the
step-by-step resume guide created by CMU’s Career and
Professional Development Center.
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Make Sure Your
Resume Gets Past
the “Robot”
Most large employers (Google,
Facebook, Cisco, LinkedIn, etc.),
and now many small and mid-size
companies, use what is known as
an Applicant Tracking System.
These systems are designed to
“weed” out applicants that aren’t a
match and also to help recruiters
find candidates that may be a fit
for a specific position or company.
To get past the Applicant Tracking
System and make it to the recruiter
or hiring team, students need to
identify the keywords and skills
listed in the job description and
provide a focused snapshot of
their story. These systems are so
savvy they not only track for
specific words but also the context,
so make sure you are clear in
describing not only what you did
but also the impact, results and
achievements of the action. If you
apply online there’s a good chance
a system is screening for keywords
and context, so be aware of this,
read the job posting thoroughly,
and match your resume to that
specific posting. If submitting your
resume to a general dropbox, then
be sure your resume is focused
and reflects your skills, knowledge,
and interests.
Writing a Resume That
Stands out to Employers
The question we are asked most often is, “how do I make my resume
stand out?” So we think the response deserves its own section.
Whether you are bringing your resume to a career fair, applying
online, or sending it via email, there is no magical formula to this
answer. Why? Because it is a very subjective process and depends on
the person viewing it and their opinions. If we were to line up 20
recruiters and hiring managers and asked them this question, each
might have a different answer because what stands out to one
person may not to another. What this means for a job or internship
seeker is that there is not just one way to write your resume. Not just
one format that will land you an interview. Not just one magical
statement that will make the employer come crawling. There are,
however, a combination of things you can do to ensure your resume
has an impact on its viewer.
These 4 Resume Writing steps were developed using feedback from
recruiting pr
ofessionals to help students create a resume that will
capture the employer’s attention.
1. Know what the employer is looking for in a candidate and why.
ad the job description thoroughly, talk to people who work for the
company, read about the company online. Do your research!
2. Determine your value proposition. Once you know what the
employer is looking for,
describe your skills, knowledge, and abilities,
that meet the position requirements. Then describe how you
successfully achieved results.
3. Include results-statements and skills in the order the employer is
looking for.
Most employers take 30-60 seconds to scan your resume,
so include the most important things first.
4. Reflect on other skills, qualities, achievements, and experiences
you want to highlight. Many students feel they need to omit
seemingly unr
elated experiences from their resume, but if the skills
you developed in these experience add impact and distinguish you
from other candidates, this can be especially beneficial.
5. Edit, edit, edit. Once your story is clear, check over for keywords,
and spelling and grammar.
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Show Dont Tell
Remember. Your resume is a marketing tool and should show the employer
why you are the best fit for a position and company. One way to make your
resume more impactful is to use results-oriented Show Me Statements
instead of Tell Me Statements. Here’s the difference between the two:
Show Me Statements:!
-Why the what and how of your experiences are important.!
-Describe the benefits of certain actions or responsibilities.!
-Include your results and achievements.!
-Outline how what you did benefited the project, team, stakeholders,
company, school, department, etc.
Tell Me Statements (to be avoided):!
-What you did but not how you did it, why you did it, or the impact it had
on the organization, project, team, stakeholders, etc.!
-List activities and responsibilities but don’t show any depth.!
-Describe features that don’t relate to any accomplishment or result.!
-The focus is on the details of your tasks and projects instead of outcomes.
Reflection Exercise
1. List one accomplishment from a project or work experience:!
2. What challenges did you experience when performing this and what
did you do to get beyond it?!
3. What changed or improved when you completed the role:!
4. What did you gain from this personally (skills, learning outcomes,
knowledge,etc.) that may transfer to another opportunity?!
Try this reflection exercise for each of your professional and personal
accomplishments to better understand your value proposition.
Tell Me Statement:
Gathered and analyzed customer
Show Me Statement:
Gathered customer feedback to
determine technical / business
requirements and translated findings
into reports on functional
specifications for engineering team.
Show Me Statements show Action,
Context, and Results (ACR). A
good exercise to complete when
crafting your resume is to use the
ACR format for each statement. If
you need help coming up with
good verbs, take a look at CPDC’s
Action Verbs document.
List the ACTION word: _________
Provide CONTEXT: ____________!
Show the RESULTS: ____________!
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Resume Basics
-1 page for 10 years of professional
experience or less
-format is easy to scan, margins are
consistent, and font is easy to read and
uniform (ex:Times, Arial, Calibri)
-section headers are easy to spot
-clear and concise writing style
-each bullet-point begins with an action
d, highlights the result or achievement,
and quantifies when possible
-does not include personal information like
birth date, marital status, height/weight, a
picture, SSN, passport info
-does not say “references available upon
-uses bold, italics, and
underline to add
emphasis but not overused
Other FAQs About Resumes
1.Do I list everything I’ve ever done?
No. As we’ve discussed in this guide, effective resumes
highlight key accomplishments,
skills, and experiences that
relate to the position and demonstrate to employers your value
2.Do I include my G.P.A.? Typically included if its above a 3.0 or
meets or exceeds the employer’s requirement.
3. Is a CV the same thing as a resume?
No. A curriculum vitae, also called a CV, is a document that
gives e
xtensive informa
tion on the applicants background
whereas a resume should be limited to 1-2 pages. A CV is
used most often by PhD students who are applying for
positions in academia or research positions in industry. For
masters degree students, a resume is more appropriate than
a CV.
4.Do I include hobbies, personal interests, or additional
This one is up to you! Many recruiters love seeing this on
resumes because it adds mor
e to a candidate’s story. Like we
mentioned earlier in the guide, there are many differing
opinions on this and no rules that say whether or not you
should include these points. If you have hobbies, interests, or
additional accomplishments that mean a lot to you, then it
would be great to include these on your resume. That said,
don’t simply list them, but demonstrate why they have
Other Helpful Resources!
Action Verbs, Sample Resumes
CMU Silicon Valley Career Services