I received the biggest complement the other day – a friend emailed and asked me to look over her résumé. Not a huge deal, but I’m always sending my résumé to my contacts it’s nice to have someone ask for your feedback.
Resumes matter! And in my opinion, they need to be flexible works of “art”. This is a single piece of paper that represents YOU – those years of college, internships, co-ops, classes, projects, clubs, volunteering – everything one a piece of paper.
It can be hard to stand out from your competition, but if formatted correctly, can be accomplished. To have a great resume you need to spend quality time really deciding what is important and what needs to be highlight. Is this job looking for experience? Skills? Volunteering? Relevant course work?
There is no perfect example and every leader/contact you have review your résumé will focus on something different, but there are a few golden guidelines to follow. (Again, resume are flexible – which is these are only guidelines. My five tips are consistent with what I’ve experienced myself and advice I’ve received from teachers, employers and mentors.
– One sheet. One. Not two, not one and a half, one. Yes, you have lots of experience and tons of things to say about each internship…but as a young professional stick to ONE PAGE. When we have a few years of work under our belt maybe we can grow to two pages, but for now it should stay at one.
– Keep it clean, keep it precise. While we want to touch on everything we’ve ever done and make sure our possible employer knows how awesome we are – it’s easy to cram in unnecessary information. Leave some things to be discussed in the cover letter and in the interview. It’s a fine line between too much white space and not enough, but it’ll feel right when you find balance. Don’t make your potential employer dig through an ocean of type and words to find out the needed information. I also thing leaving off an objective helps. Use that space for something else!
– No random “action words” or numbers. Again, a fine line, but one that needs to be considered. As college students and young grads we constantly hear to have strong words and as many numbers as possible, but don’t throw them in for fun. Employers know when it’s just BS and that’ll put your resume into the trash. Print out a draft and really see where you can highlight budgets, impact, number of people you led, ect.
– Review and revise. Typos can lose you a job. This is one of that hardest things for me, which is why having several pairs of eyes read your résumé is fantastic. After staring at your computer screen for hours you may not catch that silly typo or frustrating auto-correct, but it doesn’t matter to an employer. A mistake is a mistake, and getting careless could be what puts your résumé at the bottom of the pile.
– Have more that one resume. It’s great to have a base then tailor your résumé for specific jobs. I love reading descriptions and really trying to figure out what each job wants. Are they looking for writing experience? Or perhaps social media? Maybe they want leadership examples from different clubs. Find out what a job is looking for and then show that company you are the perfect fit.
I hope my hints helped! Resume are always growing and changing – the more people you have look over them the better. Each revision makes you improve and makes your résumé stronger.
What are your tips for resumes?
Thanks for reading!