The Do’s and Don’ts of Maintaining a Resume

By: Tori Ward, Manship Senior

It’s very easy to let your resume sit on the shelves of your hard drive and collect dust. Most of us stay so busy that updating our resume regularly is not at the top of our list. However, it should be. You never know when you may hear about that perfect internship or job position that just became available, and you need to send your resume and cover letter over immediately. Or if you bump into a professional with all the right connections and they ask for your resume to pass along. In these instances, having an updated resume ready to go is crucial to being timely and making a good impression.

Sample Resume

Your resume should stay in a constant state of being updated. Every time you gain new work experience, take on a leadership role or receive a notable award, immediately add it to your resume. You also want to make sure your resume is appropriate and tailored for your specific field. If you are in the area of mass communication, then you should know the importance of fonts, alignment and other visual elements. Make sure you reflect this knowledge on your resume, and let it be a sample of your organization and skill.

The mandatory partner to a resume is a cover letter. A cover letter explains why you’re applying for the job and why you are qualified for that specific position. It should be a narrative that also serves as a writing sample. A cover letter will allow you to elaborate on things that you can’t necessarily explain on your resume.

What to include on your resume:

1. Contact information: You should include your first and last name, phone number and email address. Depending on your field, you may also want to include your social media contacts (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Make sure you have appropriate and somewhat professional social media profiles if you are going to list them on your resume.

2. Objective statement: This is a brief statement that explains your goal for submitting this resume. It should be customized to the specific position you are trying to secure. A general example would be, “Objective: To obtain a position at ______ using my skills of ____ , ____ and  ____.” Let this statement show a little of your personality!

3. Education: In this section, only include information about your college education.  List the degree title that you achieved or are pursuing (Ex: Bachelor of Arts and Mass Communication) and the full name of the university (Ex: Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA). Include your concentration and minor, as well as your graduation date. If you have not graduated yet, list your expected graduation date.

4. Experience: List all work experience in this section in reverse chronological order. Include the title of where you worked and the dates you were employed there. Use bullets to list the duties you had with each position. You should not use complete sentences or first-person narrative. Be consistent in this section by using parallel structure, but try to avoid overusing the word “work.”

5. Optional sections: You may choose to include optional sections such as leadership, honors, awards, activities, skills and interests. Some of these sections can be useful to supplement your resume if you do not have much in your experience section.

6. Formatting tips

No more than 1 page10-12 point fontUse contrasting fontsPay attention to lines and organization to achieve visual separation

Remember, you don’t only have to apply for a job or internship that is posted.  It’s completely acceptable to write a cover letter and send it with your resume to someone that you just want to work for. This shows interest and initiative, and what’s the worst that could happen?

With an updated resume and killer cover letter, you can be confident in networking with professionals and applying for your dream job! I hope these tips for maintaining your resume were helpful! If you have any questions about resumes or cover letters, feel free to email me at

Resume Examples:

Cover letter Examples:

Source: Nicole Dahmen, Lecture 2/19/14

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