Estimated Time to Completion: 

2 days

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What is a resume?

A resume is a marketing tool to make an impact on a potential employer and secure an interview.

What is the difference between a resume and a CV?

  • In the U.S., one-page resumes are standard practice

  • A curriculum vitae (CV) refers to a summary of qualifications and education that is usually more than one page and is used when applying to academic/faculty or research-related positions

  • Employers prefer resumes

  • Unless you are going into academia or a research position, CVs are usually not appropriate

Resume Guidelines

  • Avoid colorful fonts or use of tables

  • Minimal personal info (no birthdate, no picture, no height, no country of origin)

  • No personal pronouns (I, my, he , she, it)

  • Include industry terms when appropriate

  • Share only relevant information (be able to justify content to an employer)

  • Do not include a personal photo unless they ask for it

  • Do not go over one page

  • Use standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial, Century and font sizes (10, 11, 12)

  • Quantify accomplishments when possible (# of people served, $ amount of money raised, etc.)

  • Don’t worry about seeming arrogant. Employers want to know how you’ve excelled and what sets you apart from other candidates. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, and use appropriate action verbs and resume adjectives to convey these achievements in your resume.

Key Tip: Use action verbs in order to highlight your past experiences. An action verb is a word that describes an action like “run, jump, kick, work, lead, etc..” Strong action verbs can elevate the quality of your resume. See these examples below:

  • Before: Improved inventory management process.

  • After: Developed and implemented enhancements to inventory management process resulting in 20% reduction of ordering costs.

  • Before: Worked with team on new customer outreach initiative.

  • After: Effectively collaborated with team to assess and analyze customer needs for new outreach initiative directly resulting in increasing customer satisfaction rates by 15%.

See how the after versions of the sentences above use stronger verbs and better showcase the applicant’s past experiences. Not sure what action verbs to use--here is a list. Go to page 12 of this document.

Here are some sample resumes:

  • Page 4 of this document

  • Page 3 of this document

At the bottom are sample resumes with feedback on the side explaining what this applicant did well.

WARNING: In today’s employment market, your Resume, CV or Cover Letter may be screened with an Applicant Tracking System software (ATS) by HR professionals. These systems manage high volumes of job applications. ATS will electronically scan your Resume or CV, score your qualifications based on the description for that position, and rank your application. Look up “Resume ATS Scanner” on Google to see if your resume passes. Here is a website that can help you.

Resume Checklist

  1. Contact Information

  2. Education

  3. Skills

  4. Experience

  5. Leadership and Activities

  6. Academic Projects

How to Create Your Resume?

There are a lot of software tools freely available for you to create your resume. Here are the three that are mostly commonly used:

  1. Google Docs (all you need to use this is a gmail account)

  2. Microsoft Word

  3. Canva (free design software, very simple to use)

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Create a resume and send it to the Key team (hello@keylearning.io) to get it reviewed! Warning: Creating a resume is not easy and this may take you a couple of days! A resume is one of the most important parts of the job application process though so it is worth the effort.


In the next lesson, we will be covering storytelling for employment. How do you tell your complex refugee story while weaving in your professional experiences? This is often hard to do in a short amount of time during an interview. We will help you figure it out!