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Give potential employers the ultimate first impression before meeting them face-to-face. For every job you apply to now and in the future, you will absolutely need a resume. In order to stand out from the rest, your resume needs to be perfect when it comes to design, content, and grammar. Follow these tips when starting yours!
Take full advantage of this FREE resource located on campus. They are there to help you, but don’t expect them to do all the work for you. Have your information filled out BEFORE you visit, and make an appointment so you aren’t stuck waiting for someone to become available. The career offices are typically on a tight schedule with resume help and mock interviews. Be sure to come with specific questions so they can help you as much as possible.
Once you get there, they can assist with the wording and help with the organization of your content, as well as proofread for you. They may even have design templates available. Ask if they have any examples of strong resumes that you can view.
You want your resume to stay true to “you” and your personality, but take it easy with funky layouts and bright colors. Save your creativity for your portfolio! Remember, a resume is the first (and sometimes last) impression an employer has of you. If they can’t follow the layout or have a difficult time reading the bright colors or swirly fonts, they won’t waste their time trying to figure it out.
Also note that the employer may print your resume in black and white, so any colors may be faded as they are converted into some shade of gray. Because everyone has different computers these days, you want to be sure the layout of your resume is not changed when opened in a different program. The key to avoid weird layout errors is to always save and send a PDF version of your resume.
You can find hundreds of resume templates online. Check your career center’s website as well to see if they have any free downloadable templates available. Microsoft Word and Publisher also have templates to get you started.
Employers don’t have all day to go through resumes. They want to be able to quickly glance at your paper and get a snapshot of who you are and how you will provide value to their company. If your resume spills onto another page, they may not see it or they may even just throw it in the trash. Long story short, one page, no more. You can adjust the margins to help you get a little more space on the page. However, you also don’t want the page to be too empty. Make sure you have a proper balance of white space and text.
If you follow this guide, you should have no problem keeping all of your information to one page.
Include summer jobs and volunteer work that is relevant to the position you are applying for. If you lead a group project in school, add that. But don’t just leave a description and move on. Be sure to demonstrate your team/leadership skills, but do so briefly.
As you gain more work experience, you can replace those positions with your more recent work. Remember, your resume will change A LOT! You need to update it frequently to reflect your current experience.
Under each section, organize your information into bullet points. Not only will this help you maintain a single-page, but it will also keep your resume organized and easy to read. Now is not the time for lengthy stories of your accomplishments. Be brief but descriptive with each bullet point. For example, don’t simply state that you were a team leader; say something like, “Led a team of 5 by coordinating group meetings, delegating tasks, and keeping up with deadlines.”
Organize the bullets under your skills section into 2-3 columns to save vertical space. Avoid cliche adjectives such as “creative” or “team player” and put some thought into other synonyms that set you apart from other potential candidates.
While you should absolutely include a few descriptions of your general tasks, don’t forget to include any accomplishments associated with them. Include things that set you apart from other interns or other employees that completed similar tasks. Show employers what you can do for them.
If you helped organize an event on campus, note the number of attendees, what the event was for, or if it was a fundraiser, how much money was raised. If you participated in a sales internship, include your goals and be sure to note if you exceeded those goals! Quantify any experience you can by adding numbers like these. As noted before, don’t be too wordy, but demonstrate why you would be a valuable asset to any potential employer.
You could have the best resume of all time, but if a recruiter finds any spelling or grammar errors those accomplishments and skills mean nothing at all. The mistakes show that you didn’t proofread your work, demonstrating a lack of care or even interest.
Spellcheck will catch the obvious typos, but it can’t correct the differences between “there,” “their,” or “they’re” or “to,” “too,” and “two.” You shouldn’t include any form of “you” or “your” in a resume, but you should ALWAYS know the difference between “your” and “you’re” when writing an email or a follow up letter after an interview.
Have a professor, a parent, a friend, or an advisor look over your resume to catch any mistakes you may have missed. The career center is also a great resource to review your resume before sending it out.
It’s always a good idea to tweak your skills and accomplishments depending on what position you are applying for. If you are interested in a management role, add items to your resume that demonstrate your leadership and management skills. If you’re looking into an IT position, include relevant job experiences for that field.
Additionally, you should also have specific references depending on the job you are applying for. A previous employer in retail my not be able to speak to your experience with IT, so include relevant references that can talk about your accomplishments and demonstrate why you’d be a great candidate for the position.