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Writing Your Resume

To write an effective resume we want to use many of the keywords from the job description, and tie them to our experience.

Your resume should include relevant work and education history, and primarily be written using bullet points.Consider any instances in which you made a tangible change at your position, and keep your bullet points as outcomes-oriented as possible. Use specific numbers and accomplishments, like "Consistently in the top 10% of representatives for customer satisfaction", rather than generic phrases, like "Achieved customer satisfaction". We'll keep the information on it concise, specific, and relevant to the position.

You may also find that some aspects of your experience aren't as relevant to some jobs; feel free to leave things out to keep the resume focused on what the company you're applying with wants. The most effective resume is one that is tailored to each individual job posting.

Here's what the resume might look like:

An example of a student resume

(Do not copy this example resume — it will be very obvious to Epicodus staff and to employers if you do, especially if your resume looks suspiciously like other students who ignore this warning and copy it.)

And here's our master list of experiences from before, crossed out as we included them in the resume:

Epicodus, C#/React Track, 2021

  • About Epicodus
    • Completed full-time, 27-week program in web and open source development.
    • Weekly code reviews on independent projects.
  • Hard Skills
    • Comfortable with the command line
    • Used git and github for development
    • SQL databases
    • Domain models
    • React.js, Redux
  • Best practices
    • Pair programming
    • Test Driven Development
    • Agile Development
  • Why Epicodus?
    • Passion for the web discussed in cover letter
    • Interest in open-source development discussed in cover letter
    • Desire for self-improvement.
  • Community
    • Organized potlucks.
    • Helped students in newer cohorts with troubleshooting.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
    • Worked in pairs daily to design and problem solve coding projects.
    • Team Week

Oakland Community College, AA Criminal Justice, 2015-2017

  • 3.5 GPA
  • Honors Program

Notice that we did not include our GPA on the finished resume. Including your GPA is optional. Consider including it if it is a 3.5 or greater, and it has been 3 years or less since you graduated. If you state that you graduated with honors, summa cum laude, or magna cum laude, you do not need to include the GPA. Since we graduated more than three years ago, we opted to include the honors program and leave off the GPA.

Web Development Intern, Digital Designs, 2021

  • Site development
    • Styled widgets with responsive design
    • Website development with PHP.
    • Learned PHP on the job and by studying at night
  • Relevant experience on the job
    • Developed a dashboard site for project managers to see statuses and blockers.
    • Collaborated closely with project managers to ensure dashboard met their needs
    • Made pull requests

Technical Customer Support Representative,, 2017-2019

  • Technical customer support
    • Responsible for solving challenging technical issues related to healthcare coverage
    • Assisted new customers in navigating their accounts
  • Client engagement
    • Interviewed clients to spot pain points in navigating our website
    • Resolved issues thoroughly for a diverse customer base.
  • Proactive
    • Proactively brought up problems the customer may not anticipated discussed in cover letter
  • Customer satisfaction
    • Consistently in the top 10% of representatives for customer satisfaction
  • Related Buzzwords:
    • Detailed-oriented discussed in cover letter
    • Deliverables
    • Excellence discussed in cover letter
    • Customer Satisfaction
    • Accountable for results
    • Building, configuring, and troubleshooting

Barista, Lil' Joe's Coffeehouse, 2015-2017

  • Fun
    • Attentive to co-worker morale.
    • Contributed to fun energy while getting the job done
    • Decorated store for holidays and special events.
  • Focused
    • Attentive to customers with unique requests
    • Made coffee and various coffee drinks in a fast-paced setting
  • Determined
    • Improved inventory tracking system that eliminated shortages
  • Organized
    • Created order out of chaos during our busiest hours.
    • Created order out of chaos inventory system to eliminate dairy shortages

Missing for this Job Post

  • Linux discussed in cover letter
  • LAMP
  • Network protocol layers
  • Security layers
  • Drupal discussed in cover letter

As you write bullet points for each of your past work or volunteer experiences, focus on framing the descriptions of your experience in an active, achievement-focused light. Think about how each point showcases a relevant transferable skill or quality to the industry that you are looking to get into. Your main goal is to describe the impact you had on your team, customers, or the business overall. Describing your responsibilities should be secondary to conveying your impact. You can use this formula to craft your bullet point descriptions: Task (action verb), Action (what you did), and Results (what was accomplished, or how/why you did it). Take a look at this resource for a great list of action verbs to start off your descriptions, broken down by category. Keep in mind that these descriptions do not include first person pronouns like “I” or “my”, and they typically are not written as complete sentences. You should also keep the verb tense the same for each position. Our general suggestion is that for positions you no longer hold, you should write all bullet points in past tense, and for positions you currently hold, write them all in present tense, wherever possible.

Make sure your resume is visually appealing — unless you're applying for a design-related job, don't spend too much time on the layout, but make sure that it's formatted cleanly and consistently. For example, don't use bullets in one place and letters in another. Pay attention to white space in your resume and keep the sections balanced on the page.

When you create the skills section of your resume, you should focus primarily on your technical skills. Go ahead and list all the languages and frameworks you are learning at Epicodus, including the ones you have not learned yet. Don’t forget to include things like pair programming, test driven development, object oriented programming, version control, and Agile.

Put your name, phone, and email at the top of the resume. You should also include your city and state, Github profile, and LinkedIn profile.

Most people's resumes should be under a page. If you have extensive and relevant career experience, it's okay to be a bit longer. Using a premade resume template will help if you’re struggling to fit all of the required sections onto one page, as well as the use of multiple columns.

An important part of the job application process is understanding how Applicant Tracking Systems will impact your application. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a program designed to help recruiting and HR teams streamline their hiring process. If you’ve ever applied to a job and been directed to a page on BrassRing or, you’ve used an ATS. These web apps will input your resume and cover letter directly into the employer’s system. Most ATS will also scan your resume for keywords associated with the job, and will automatically reject applications that don’t have enough of the qualifications to be considered. This is another reason why it’s very important to make sure your resume and cover letter directly address the job requirements. You might be very qualified and still be rejected for a job if you don’t take the time to tailor your application and make sure you hit the right keywords. You might have seen advice online about adding all the job keywords in white text to the resume so that they are hidden from sight but still scannable by the ATS – do not do this! The ATS will convert your formatted resume into plain text, and this will be very obvious to any recruiters who look at your resume or cover letter.

ATS can also track how many times you’ve applied to a specific company, and what jobs you’ve previously applied for. It isn’t necessarily a bad idea to reapply, but some companies have a mandatory cooling off period before you can re-apply to any other roles within the company. This can be anywhere from six to twelve months. These blocks are common at large tech companies who receive a very high volume of applicants. You may not get another chance to be considered at a company for several months, so it’s important to make sure that you are giving each application your best shot. Use a tool like to check your application against an ATS before applying.

Additionally, keep Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in mind when you format your resume. Overly complex layouts will not scan correctly in those systems and can result in your application being rejected. Single column layouts are a good choice for ATS-friendly resumes.

And with that, we're done! This resume will get us past any bots or even non-technical HR staff by using the terms and phrases from the job description. It will also make it easy for a hiring manager to see that we have the skills and attitudes they're looking for in this role. Remember, each resume should be specific to the job description. Your experience does not change, but the parts of your experience that you focus on will be a little different each time.

One last tip: when applying for a job by email, put your cover letter in the body of your email, and attach it and your resume as a PDF (not as a Word document). Give the attached documents clear file names, like FirstNameLastName-AcquiaResume.PDF.