Resume Format

The Department of Chemical Engineering creates two “Resume” books for students; one consists of undergraduate resumes; the other of graduate student resumes. Any student who wish to be considered for employment for Chemical Engineering positions must submit a resume. The resume must follow the formatting guidelines below.

Resume books are made available to prospective employers who seek to hire one of our graduates/students.

Resume Format Specifications

Create document in Microsoft Word (MS Word) to these specifications

  • Single sheet of 8.5” x 11” paper; one-sided.
    If multiple pages are submitted, only the first page will be included in the Resume book.
    Page size: must be ‘Letter 8.5” x 11”. Be sure size is not set to anything else, including “A4” which is often standard in Europe and Asia.
  • Font & Character Formats:
  • Font Style: Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, Garamond or Tahoma. For consistency, use only one (1) Font Style in the document.
  • Body Font Size: No less than size 10, and maximum size 12
  • Title Font Size: Your name should be largest size on page, and no less than size 12 and no larger than size 22.
    Your home address, phone number and email address and (optional) website listed beneath your name in the title section can be smaller, but no less than size 9.
  • Margins: No less than 0.5” on each side
  • Sections:
    Each section is to be clearly outlined. The font size doesn’t have to be larger, but you may use a slightly larger size than the body font if desired (e.g., (size 13 or 14).

Resume Sections


  • Your Name: Legal First Name followed by Legal Last Name (e.g., Suzanne P. Jones)
    If using a Preferred Name, the recommended format is: Preferred Name (Legal First Name in Parentheses) Legal Last Name. For example: (Suzanne) Persephone Jones.
  • Mailing Address (include apartment or unit number if applicable)
  • Phone Number in the format: (XXX) XXX-XXXX. Do not begin the phone number with “+1”
  • Email Address: Must be professional. If using a Preferred Name, change your email ‘Display Name’ to reflect this (avoid confusion). Remember this is the email address employers will use for correspondence, you want to be easily identifiable and professional. We strongly recommend using your Columbia email address.
  • Webpage URL (e.g., LinkedIn Profile, or other professional site, such as a blog, project portfolio, etc.)


  • List Schools and Degrees. Begin with most recent degree, and then list in descending order (newest to oldest). Do not list high school (not best practice).

Indicate name of institution, its location, degree program you were enrolled in and the month and year of graduation (this is a requirement to be included in the Resume book).
For example: Columbia University, New York, NY, Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering. May, 2018. 3.7 GPA.

Performance indicator (i.e. GPA, honors, awards) may also be included.  If GPA is not on 4.0 point scale, you can indicate ranking or percentile.

Graduate student resumes follow the same format.


  • Titles of relevant courses (no course numbers) if applicable. For example:
    Introduction to Chemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Molecular Phenomena, Bioseparations, Chemical Process Development, Undergraduate Research Project
  • Briefly summarize projects or thesis, if applicable

Professional, Research, Academic Experience

List the following in order of experience starting with the most recent:

  • Name and location of organization
  • Title of position held
  • Duration of experience (starting month and year and completion month and year); always include Month (i.e. October, or Oct), do not use season (i.e. Spring, Summer)
  • Description of experience. For example:
    E.I. DuPont India Private Ltd, Gujarat, India, Internship, Biochemical Laboratories, May, 2016 – August, 2016.
    Intern fellowship at leading biochemical laboratory in India, assigned to a bioluminescence project.

Skills and Certifications

  • Skills:
    Format: the word “Skills:” followed by a comma separated list of your skills (e.g., Language(s), subject matter expertise (Computer, Finance, Programming), Other (e.g., operating specific equipment)
  • Certifications/Licensure:
    Format: same as for Skills, above: (e.g., Certifications/Licensure: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Scrum Master, PMP.)

Interests and Activities

  • Interests: Select interesting ones and try to be specific
  • Activities: Describe transferable skills and leadership

Resume Recommendations

  • Run Spell Check on your document. If you've turned the Grammar check feature off, re-enable it.
  • How? Go into MS Word, open your resume, click File, then Options, and in the pop-up that displays, select Proofing and make sure the Check grammar with spelling checkbox is selected. Save.
  • Ask another person to read your resume. Did they understand everything? Was the language clear? Did they spot any typos or mistakes like "it's" when you mean the possessive? Your for you're? Spell check won't catch these common errors.
  • All bullet points must begin with an action verb – such as “managed” “performed” “observed” “oversaw”
  • All bullet points should be in the third person (no I, Me, Us, We…)
  • Verb tense: Past experiences be in the past tense; current and on-going experiences should be in the present tense and in the active voice. For example: Last year I discovered the 119th element (past). My job in the laboratory requires me to mix and make vitamin pellets for the rats (current).
  • Tailor your resume to the job or purpose; use 3-5 target job descriptions to guide your choice of industry buzzwords and skill sets
  • Quantify your skills and highlight accomplishments. For example, creating new report format that saved paper and reduced printing costs


  • Personal Information (don't get too personal)
  • Age, gender, marital status, number of children
  • Repetitious use of words “Responsible for…Duties include”
  • Your GPA, if less than 3.0
  • Long narrations
  • List of references or “Reference Available Upon Request”
  • JPEGS, TIFFs, Animations