Careers,  How-To's

How to Write a Game-Changing Resume Step By Step

Once the school year winds down, the focus soon turns from studying for finals to crafting the perfect resume and landing a summer job.

As a marine biology student, there are a number of different jobs and internships that will help you build your career. Whether it be interning at an aquarium or performing research, you can navigate a myriad of options and gain experience along the way.

While preparing for your job search, start off on the right foot with a stellar resume. The following tips will guide you through writing a strong resume and securing your dream job.

Apply to jobs with confidence | Photo by Gabrielle Henderson

1. Make a statement with your resume headline.

Right below your name, you’ll want to add a brief blurb of who you are. Perhaps, you’re an aquatics specialist or aspiring researcher. If that’s the case, make that known in your headline. In this ‘headline’ section, you have an opportunity to make a statement about who you are or what you want to be.

Depending on space and your layout, you can opt to make your headline a single line with a few phrases or complete sentences. For my own resume, I only include phrases in my headline, and I keep it to a single line.

2. Ensure your contact information is accurate.

Without the proper contact information, employers won’t be able to contact you about interviews and opportunities. Therefore, keeping the contact information on your resume pristine is imperative. In this section, include a phone number or email at the very least. If you have any applicable social media, such as LinkedIn, this would be the place to include it.

Pro-Tip: If you have LinkedIn, include this in your contact information. Moreover, try customizing your LinkedIn URL to your name or a variation of your name. Otherwise, your LinkedIn URL might read as a random string of numbers. By updating your URL, your LinkedIn will not only look sleeker, but it will also appear more succinct.

3. Incorporate an ‘experience’ section in your resume.

Your ‘experience’ section will be the meat of your resume. No matter the experience, there is something to learn from your time in any role. As you write this section, emphasize what skills you gained and how you advanced the company or organization.

In the ‘experience’ section, you may want to quantify your achievements. For example, let’s say you worked in sales and excelled in that role. Here, you’ll want to include a percentage or number by which you improved sales and the company.

Elaborate on your experiences | Photo by Amy Hirschi

4. Include a section for ‘education.’

If you’re just starting out in the workforce or are still in school, put your ‘education’ section more towards the beginning of your resume. In contrast, if you’re a little further along in your career, include your education later on and make your experiences more front and center.

This way you can shine a light on what you might have the most time dedicated to or what’s most recent and applicable in your career.

5. Emphasize any special skills.

If you have any special skills, make these known in a ‘skills’ section. Perhaps, you have a strong background in topics, like graphic design or public speaking. In this case, you’ll want to highlight these skills, helping yourself stand out from the crowd.

Today, many people have experience in programs, like Microsoft Word, Excel, etc… To save space and make your resume more unique, only focus on distinct and special skills. For instance, maybe leave out your proficiency in PowerPoint and direct an employer’s attention to your coding abilities.

6. Keep your resume to one page.

A succinct resume is a sophisticated resume. To stand out, cut out the fluff. At the end of the day, you don’t want excess information distracting from your accomplishments. If you have an extensive history in a field directly pertaining to your job application, you might be able to stretch your resume to two pages. But, only do this if there’s an absolute need. At the end of the day, one page is almost always best.

Keep your resume focused, and employers will stay focused on you.

Write one page | Photo by Lukas Blazek

7. Use an elegant, simple, and easy-to-read format.

You should focus your resume on you, not the overly-designed template you downloaded. While you design your resume, be mindful of how the layout impacts the flow of your resume.

Because excessive font sizes and colors can seem flashy, I recommend using basic fonts, like Garamond or Times New Roman.

Additionally, try to keep your font size between 11 and 14. You don’t want employers having to whip out a magnifying glass to read your resume or having to step back to read your massive fonts.

If you’d like to browse a few resume ideas, check out these resume templates.

8. When you do print your resume, invest in nice paper.

In this age of technology, most of the hiring process has gone digital. However, if you’re going to an in-person interview or you’re applying for a job in person, bringing a copy of your resume is essential. For these situations, make sure your resume is not only high quality but the paper you print your resume on is also high quality.

Remember to bring copies with you to interviews | Photo by Sebastian Herrmann

Now that you’ve read through this step-by-step guide, you have the power to ace your job applications. Dedicate a day to crafting your resume, and it will dramatically help you in your job search. With a complete resume, you will have an easier time writing cover letters and applying to jobs quickly.

As you navigate your summer job applications, explore other ways you can advance your resume. For example, if you’d like to dedicate time towards volunteering, read this blog post about volunteering at aquariums.

When you get back to school, prioritize joining a marine biology club. To learn more about the ways a club can improve your marine biology career, read this blog post.

Hi, I’m a San Diego-based blogger who's passionate about marine biology, finance, and science communication. Having recently graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelor's in marine biology, I am now working on a certificate in science communication. Over the years, I’ve worked in laboratory research and science outreach at aquariums, zoos, and environmental research centers. When I’m not writing, you can find me home brewing, tide pooling, skydiving, playing DnD, or hanging out with my two adopted guinea pigs. Reach out to me anytime, and follow Sand Dollar Wallet!

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