Purpose and Key Points – The STEM Resume

Purpose and Key Points – The STEM/Tech Resume

As you navigate through your academic career, working towards your exciting ever-evolving professional goals, you may wonder what the purpose is of a resume. The answer is short: to secure an initial interview for a co-op, internship, or a job. A resume does not land you a job, but rather serves as a “passport” and invitation to an interview. With this in mind, it is important for your resume to stand out and highlight the best you are and have to offer. With hiring managers and employers surfing through high waves of resumes to select candidates for their interviewing process, the onus lies on you as applicant to ensure that your valuable strengths, skills, experience, and accomplishments not only stand out, but also align with what the employer is looking for. In building your resume, it is also important to keep in mind that recruiters only scheme through the document and don’t read it word for word, so make sure that your resume is clear, concise, and consistent. The following four steps hold the key points in building a resume: Preparation, formatting, content, and final checking/review.


  • Read and understand the job description, duties, qualifications, and requirements. Highlight key words that match your skillset and qualifications.
  • Research and understand the company and what they are about.
  • Reflect over, collect, know, and document specific details of your education, experience, accomplishments, skills, strengths, and professional interests.


  • Contact Information: First and last name in bold, email and phone (avoid college email address), portfolio link/website/LinkedIn optional.
  • Body: Utilize font size 11-12 pts for content. Incorporate bold, underlining and italics to highlight different sections and headings.
  • Utilize bullets for action verb statements.
  • Remember the 3 c’s: clear, consistent and concise.
  • Periods vs. no periods: Either option is acceptable with the emphasis on consistency throughout the resume.
  • Length of resume for early career professional: 1 page.
  • Never copy paste any content into your resume – Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will not be able to read pasted information.
  • Do not include pictures or visuals – ATS will not be able to read it.


  • The Summary Statement/Objective: If you decide to include a summary/objective (consider spacing and length), make sure it aligns with the position and that it also highlights a couple of your important/relevant skills.
  • Experience Sections: Use the word “experience” in your section headings for example: Relevant Experience, or Leadership Experience.
    • Action Statements: Utilize PAR statements (project, activity, result) and start each statement with a relevant action verb. Be specific and utilize numbers, processes, applications, and data where possible.
    • Some important engineering and tech skills to consider. Of course, you will look at job or internship posting samples as reference for specific skills. also remember to add your technical skills as you have applied them in an experience in your “Experience” sections, and do not merely list them in a Skills list. Some skills that you could include relevant skills/experience required for a position:
      • Problem-solving
      • Trouble shooting
      • Innovation
      • Communication Skills and Team player
      • Technical Skills (specific: coding, software, operating systems, interfaces, lab techniques, machine shop skills, etc.)
      • Industry skills (or relevant skills related to industry)
      • Detail-oriented
      • Data Modeling
      • Process Development
      • Stress management (ability to work productively and deliver under pressure)
      • Design/Creativity
      • Leadership Skills
      • Growth Mindset (continuing professional development)
      • Research skills (applications and processes, technical skills, etc.)
        • Wet Lab
        • Computational Lab or Hard Lab
      • Quality Assurance

Final checking/reviewing and updating.

  • Are your skills representative of the skills required in the job posting?
  • Did you check for grammar and spelling mistakes?
  • Is your formatting and content clear and consistent?
  • Have you saved a copy in pdf format and titled the document with your first and last name to submit? Make sure you save or convert to pdf and that you do not “print to pdf”, as if you “print to pdf” the ATS system will see it as a picture, nd not a document.
  • Schedule an appointment with your career consultant through HANDSHAKE for further guidance: https://pitt.joinhandshake.com/edu/appointments/new
  • Additional resources:
      • Online resume building resource VMOCK: https://www.vmock.com/pitt
      • Keyword alignment resource: You can run your resume through https://www.jobscan.co/ for keywords alignment.
      • Resume Samples: Check out the resume samples right here on the Engineering and Tech Career Communities page.

You’ve got this! Celebrate your best self and enjoy the journey!


By Ingrid Beute
Ingrid Beute Career Consultant, Engineering & Science & Career Champions Program Coordinator