How to Build a Riveting Resume

This post was created with the help of Grove City College’s Career Services Office. The nationally ranked office boasts a 96% career outcomes rate within six months of graduation. Through one-on-one appointments and group seminars, the office helps students in the resume writing process. Some of their tips are included below. 


Did you know that as little as 2.8 seconds may be devoted to scanning your resume? With this in mind, it is imperative that you put your best foot forward and get to the point.




Resumes aren’t just for applying for that dream job. When it comes to the college admissions process, your resume can be a vital tool in helping to give the application reviewer a better glimpse of who you are. From your accomplishments to your skill set, a well written resume can bring your application to life. Your resume can also come in handy as you apply for scholarships, helping to set you apart from other applicants. Here are some tips to help you build a resume that stands out and accurately and compellingly represents what you bring to the table.

  • Before composing your resume, it’s important you spend some time reflecting on your experiences and take an inventory of the skills you possess. This includes your academic achievements, part-time work, extracurricular activities and leadership positions, service work, and any awards you may have earned.
  • Limit your resume to one page. Be sure to only include those experiences and skills pertinent to your audience. Remember, your resume is a fluid document and will change over time.
  • Do NOT include the title “resume. Do include your name and contact information at the top.
  • Organize your experiences and accomplishments and label each section of your resume with a helpful heading so the reader can skim it efficiently.
  • Include these categories: Education, Work Experience (or Relevant Experience), Activities, Honors and Awards, Volunteer Experience, and any Special Skills you might have such as fluency in Spanish, Photoshop, CAD, etc.
  • Do NOT include: references or a line that states “references are available upon request.”



With each activity you highlight, you’ll want to include the transferable skill developed or demonstrated. Mentioning that you washed dishes at the local diner may not wow your reader. However, stating that you used problem solving skills to develop a more efficient system for loading and unloading the commercial dishwasher conveys you possess problem-solving skills—an invaluable quality in the collegiate and professional world. When it comes to composing your bullet points for your resume, keep in mind the following:

  • Brainstorm all the transferable skills you possess.
  • Create a chart with four columns: Position, Responsibility, Accomplishment, and Result. Complete this chart for the various positions which you have held, whether it be at a part-time job, your school, or your church, etc.
  • Determine which transferable skills best illustrate the accomplishments and results you came up with in the exercise above.
  • Compose your bullet points using one of these two formats:
    • Action Verb, Accomplishment, Result
    • Overt Verb, Transferable Skill, Action Verb, Accomplishment, Result
      • Examples of overt verbs are: established, demonstrated, displayed, exhibited, evidenced, exemplified, exuded, illustrated, showed, utilized…

Remember, your resume is the one-sheet version of you in a nutshell, so be sure you share your gifts, talents, abilities, and all relevant experiences. While the main skeleton of your resume should remain the same, don’t forget to adapt it based on your target audience. Finally, be sure to read over your resume at least twice to check for errors, and ask someone else to proofread it as well. Your resume is often the first impression some people will have of you, so you want to make sure it is professional, well organized, and free of errors. With a little bit of reflection and hard work, you can pull together a riveting resume that’s admissions-committee ready in no time!


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