The Resume Format
Basic Parts of the Resume
The format of a resume is not concrete. The format of your resume should be chosen to highlight the strengths you offer in the context of the position you are applying for. Your resume should connect with the position you seek. Here are the basic parts of the resume.

  Personal information
    Name, address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail address. This information should be at the top of the page.

  Objective Statement or Summary Statement (Optional)
    Objective: a one-sentence statement of your goals or what you are specifically looking for.
Summary: highlights your qualifications in one or two sentence(s).

    As a new graduate, the education section should be placed right after Personal Information or, if you elect to write a statement, right after either the Objective or Summary Statement. List your educational experiences in reverse chronological order. In this section include:

      Name of institution and degree(s)
Address of institution
Year of graduation along with any academic honors (Cum Laude, etc.)
Major field of study, minor field of study

    Do not include your grade point average (unless asked); do not include the name of your high school. If you are graduating with a PhD, do not include the name of your thesis advisor or the title of your thesis (unless your thesis research is directly related to the position you are applying for).

    In this section, include three to five work-related or other experiences that serve to demonstrate your abilities, knowledge, and skills. These should be listed chronologically, with the most recent first. For each experience/work position cited include the name and location of employer, job title, and dates of experience/work.

    For undergraduates, here are possible inclusions for your resumes:
  • summer jobs
  • internships
  • teaching assistantships
  • undergraduate research positions
  • experiences that reveal computer-relates skills
  • experiences that demonstrate foreign language skills
  • experiences in elective courses outside your major such as a writing course or business course
  • campus or department leadership positions
  •   Other Possible Sections
        The following sections are optional, but each should be considered if it casts you in a good light. For example,
  • Awards, honors, scholarships, fellowships
  • Volunteer activities
  • Membership in professional-related organizations

        1. By law, employers are not permitted to ask personal questions such as your age, your marital status, or the number of your children you have, so do not include this information in your resume.

    2. Do not feel compelled to fill empty space at the bottom of your resume with hobbies or other personal activities. Such information is not needed for the position.

    3. References - In general, references should not be listed on your resume. If references are wanted with the application, it will be so indicated (for example, in the position advertisement). If references are requested, identify your references on a separate sheet of paper with the name, job title, place of employment, relationship to you, address, phone number, fax number, and e-mail address.

        Whom do you ask for references?

  • Someone who knows something about you beyond the classroom and can say more than "Sally took my course in Electricity and Magnetism."

  • Someone who you have had a good personal relationship with. Note: This may exclude your thesis advisor. Think carefully about this.

  • What do I do for the person writing a reference for me?

  • Tell the individual you would like to use her/him as a reference.

  • Provide the reference writer with a brief description of the position you are applying for.

    What catches my eye about a resume is:
  • combination of theoretical and laboratory experience,
  • independent experience and experience working as a member of a team,
  • interests outside of physics - do they have a broad set of interests,
  • system engineering understanding, and
  • experience with data acquisition/analysis systems
  • David Robson, Xerox

    Resume Writing Tips
    Although the tips listed below may appear to be repetitious, these ideas are specifically geared to technical resumes.

      1. Use as many "buzzwords" as you can to reflect your work and school experience. For example list all operating systems and special applications such as UNIX and SPSS with which you have experience. Use key words that appear in the position advertisement.

    2. Begin sentences with action verbs. Portray yourself as someone who is active.

    3. Don't sell yourself short. Treat your resume as an advertisement for your abilities.

    4. Be specific about your accomplishments and give them emphasis

    5. Don't exaggerate your qualifications.

    6. Be concise. Avoid lengthy descriptions.

    7. Always use correct grammar and spelling. Have a friend proofread.

    8. Use a high quality bond paper.

    Physicists are particularly well suited for interdisciplinary research because of their thorough grounding in fundamental concepts and the power and broad applicability of their theoretical, experimental, and computational methodologies.
    Kenneth C. Hass, Ford Research Laboratories

    Many PhD resumes just scream "I have no idea what your business environment might be; I expect to do more of my thesis work and it's up to you to extract the value." It is critically important that PhDs demonstrate excellent communication skills, and an understanding of the business context of the position to which they are applying, or they can be pigeonholed. Please note that these considerations apply even at places like Bell Labs, IBM Watson, etc.
    John Sommerer, Director, Research and Development, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratories