The end of the calendar year is a great time to make resolutions and goals for the new year while celebrating everything you’ve accomplished in the past year. It’s also a great time to pause and think through your goals and your approach for reaching them. Achieving your goals isn’t always about the big milestones, it’s equally important to think through what may seem like small details. If you’re in the middle of your job hunt or have paused your job hunt to take a break for the holidays, now is a great time to do a little clean up on your resume.

Ask a Recruiter is an ongoing series that covers topics both large and small facing students who are looking for their first job or internship. This article is all about resumes, including best practices and formatting.

Have a question about starting your career, interviewing or finding an internship that’s right for you? Add your question in the comments section.


You're a student or new grad, where should your education go on your resume?

The answer I always give to this question is at the top! One of the main things a recruiter will look for in an internship or new grad candidate is making sure they meet the education requirement. This will make it quick and easy to find. This also sets the tone that you are/were a full-time student, and still got the experience that's listed below it!

The most important information on your resume should be within the top third (rough estimate), so your education and most relevant/most recent experience should be at the top! Things like skills and certifications should be closer to the end of your resume.

When you are listing your education on your resume, please list your expected graduation date!

This helps recruiters who may be looking for current students, or new grads, know which category you fall into. Especially if the role you're applying to has an education requirement or required graduation date, this is a must.

For example, instead of "August 2018-Present", putting "Expected Graduation: May 2022" or "August 2018-May 2022" instead. Help us help you!

Do I need a headshot on my resume?

The short answer is, it's up to you! But I would recommend against this. It may not look as colorful and fun, but you never know who will be reviewing your resume and any unconscious bias they may have. You want recruiters and hiring managers to focus on your accomplishments and qualifications, not your picture on your resume.

Why do some applications have you type in your experience and education after you just uploaded a resume with that same information?

Depending on what ATS (applicant tracking system) a company uses, a resume may not be searchable. For example, if a recruiter is searching for someone with a Master's degree in Computer Science, there isn't the ability in some systems to skim resumes for that information. But if a candidate types it into the fields provided, this is a searchable field to recruiters!

It may seem unnecessary and may not be required for some companies to fill in that information, but you may increase your chances of being considered for other roles with them if you take the time to make yourself and your experience searchable!


Yes, even the file name is important

Candidates! When you are saving your resume, please include your name in the file name, such as "First-Last Resume". Recruiters open and download hundreds of resumes a week, if they save your resume and it shows up as "Resume" on their computer, your file can easily be lost!

Help us help you, add your name to the file name!


What questions do you have for recruiters or what do you wish you knew?

Leave your question in a comment below!