Build your resume


To build your resume, you'll need to separate it into sections. By organizing it in this way, you're following an agreed-upon standard that helps recruiters easily find and understand your educational background, work experience, and skills.

To start, ensure that your name and personal email address are clearly visible at the top. Next come the key sections that we'll cover in this unit. Your resume design is your personal choice, so we'll focus on how to prepare each section and understand its contents.


A student resume should include a minimum of three sections:

  • Education
  • Skills
  • Experience and/or Projects

You can add other sections, such as Honors, Affiliations, and Organizations, if they're relevant, but recruiters ordinarily focus first on scanning the first three sections. A professional resume will focus more on Skills and Experience than on Education.

Let's go over how each section should be presented and what information must be included.


The Education section in a student resume is important because it lists not only your areas of study but also your anticipated or actual graduation date. By including your graduation date, you give recruiters an idea of how far along you are in your coursework. The information you provide here can also determine the internships for which you qualify. Some companies host freshman and sophomore-year internships alongside their most common junior and senior-year internships. Depending on your graduation date, you could qualify for both.

Your Education section should include the following information:

  • Your area of study: First and foremost, you need to include the subject that you're studying and the degree that you're aiming to obtain. Write the title of the degree at the top, and align it with the left margin. Format it in bold or italic, or capitalize it in a way that distinguishes it from the rest of the text.

  • Graduation date: Next, type your graduation date on the same line as your degree, but aligned with the right margin. If you have not yet graduated, specify that it's an expected date rather than a completion date. For example, you might write, "Expected: May 2021."

  • The program: On the next line, specify your program of study and, just as you did for the expected graduation date, include the academic institution where the program is located.

    If you've attended multiple colleges, there's usually no reason to include each of them. More often than not, listing your current school will suffice. However, if you have multiple degrees that might be applicable to a specific position, you should definitely include them.

  • Coursework: This last part should be a concise list of related coursework. Although this information is optional, it can help recruiters assess your level of knowledge. Most junior and senior year internships expect some courses to be in your repertoire, such as Data Structures and Algorithms for Computer Science students. Be sure to read the requirements for the position to which you're applying, and tailor your course list to match the knowledge that the position requires.

    As you're discussing your related coursework, include all courses that you consider representative of your technical knowledge. This is especially important if you don't have experience or relevant projects in one of the areas covered by a course that's required for the position.

An example of a properly written education section might look like this:

Education (section titles should have a larger font)


Learn University                                                               Redmond, WA

Related Coursework: Data Structures, Programming in C#, Algorithms, Web Development I


This section is short, consisting of specific bullet points where you assess your skills. In this section, you showcase your technical skills, carefully matching them with the required skills that are listed in the job posting. You'll want to combine your skills into subgroups and ensure that they are related to one another. For example, programming languages should be grouped together.

In addition to listing your skills, you'll want to match your description of proficiencies to that of the job posting. For example, if the job posting asks for years of experience, write your years of experience in the bullet points. However, if the posting asks for intermediate or beginner proficiency, write your skills in accordance to that format. This approach applies mainly to online applications, where your resume will likely be scanned for the most relevant keywords. You'll find that matching and tailoring your resume to each job poster's keywords and requirements will make you stand out better.

A skills section should look similar to the following example:


Programming Languages: Intermediate proficiency in Python, C#, Java; beginner proficiency in Swift

Software: Visual Studio, Anaconda, XCode, Azure PowerTools

Frameworks: ASP.NET, Django


To help with organization and to reduce the amount of vertical space the information sometimes requires, you could also try formatting your lists in tables, like this:


Programming Languages Software Frameworks
Intermediate proficiency in Python, C#, Java; beginner proficiency in Swift Visual Studio, Anaconda, XCode, Azure PowerTools ASP.NET, Django

If you decide to use a table for one list, use them for all lists. A consistent approach makes your resume easier to read and tells recruiters that you're thoughtful and well organized.

Experience and/or Projects

This section is split into two parts to differentiate your professional experience from your projects. Depending on the type and amount of professional experience you've acquired, you'll want to place the Experience section before or after the Projects section. If your professional experience can be linked to the position you are applying to, the Experience section should appear first. If not, showcase your projects first. Highlighting the areas that demonstrate your competencies will help recruiters to scan the information more easily.

The following guidelines can assist you in formatting both subsections:

  • Project: For each project, write a descriptive name on the first line, aligned with the left margin and, on a new line, add the overall idea of your project and your role in it. For example:

    Calculator Class Project

    Learn University Gardening Club Member

  • Dates: In the same way that you listed your expected or actual graduation date, list the dates for both projects and positions, on the same line and aligned with the right margin. If these projects or positions are ongoing, write the starting date followed by "- Current".

  • Describe experience: On a new line, add two or more bullet points that describe your experience. Doing so will incorporate the writings we described in the preceding unit, under Experience as impact. Following the examples used there, the two subsections should be similar to the following:


    Calculator Class Project - Example University           December 2020

    • Ensured the correct functionality of a calculator program by identifying 15 bugs utilizing Python Exemption classes and debugging tools, implementing fixes and testing the program through 24 test cases


    Learn University Gardening Club Member           June 2020 - Current

    • Maintained the club's nursery by monitoring and caring for X different species of plants, in collaboration with X members


Do not add periods at the end of your bullet points. It helps with the flow of reading and allows recruiters to read further without feeling the need to stop too often.

Create a Linked In profile

It's easy to think that just because you have built a resume, it stays a word document or PDF file. Also that it's something you only send out if you actively apply for a position. Your resume can live on linked in as well. The benefit is that recruiters and companies can find you instead of you chasing them. Many times, this is where companies advertise for people to work with them, smaller roles that can be combined with studying but also full-time positions for when you've graduated.

Therefore, create a linked in profile. Once you have a profile, ensure you are filling out information on:

  • Location. Filling in your location will make it easier for Linked In to filter what positions to show you and it will also make it easier for recruiters to find you, as they often run queries based on location.

  • Education. Even if you started an education, it's important to fill this out, don't forget planned graduation year.

  • Experiences. You will likely gain experiences while studying, fill them in and don't forget about the impact you had and what you learned.

  • About. This field gives anything watching your profile a good sense of who you are and what you want to accomplish. Filling this section out might make you stick out.

  • Activity. It's a good idea to keep an active profile, if you wrote a blog post or created a project, tell the world.