Congrats on reaching the moment in your life when you realize you need a resume!
Well, I am here to share a few words of wisdom I picked up from attending a seminar led by a man who works in career services. His tips have landed people dream jobs and helped save others from complete and utter embarrassment. Plus they just make sense. So if you are applying to a job, a scholarship, or some other competitive…thing, then listen up because this will be helpful!
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING. I know your parents,teachers, and fictional character friends have taught you that what matters is on the inside but that just kinda sorta applies here. I’m not saying throw fancy borders on it with rainbow letters, clip art, and comic sans. No, in fact, do the opposite, use crisp, clean white paper. Use Times New Roman–11pt (for the most part.) Avoid using those “super convenient user friendly templates.” They are often rigid and not very easy to personalize. Just do it in Word–one inch margins, one page long. (If absolutely necessary you can go onto two pages as long as they’re back to back, not stapled) Also, NEVER include a picture. Most employers are not legally allowed to accept a resume that includes a picture. So just don’t bother.
FUN FACT: An employer spends an average of 20 seconds looking over a resume! These are things an employer wants to see:
1. Name and Contact Information.
That means full legal name; no nicknames. This will be your header. (Not actually in the header on a Word document, just the first thing on the page..) Your name should be nice and big so the reader knows with whom he or she is dealing. Align your contact information directly underneath your name–UNLESS you are a student living on campus. Then split up your school address and your home address and respective phone numbers to opposite sides of the page. Your email should be something moderately professional. i.e. omg8fluffybunnyluv_starQT4lyfe@yahoo.com is not acceptable. Your email should reflect your age. So should your voicemail message.
2. Objective Statement.
This is only necessary if you are applying to something super crazy specific. And make sure it’s mutually beneficial. Don’t be that person whose objective is “to get a job.” No duh…why else would you hand someone a resume?
So this is why that GPA thing matters. Unless it’s awful. Then it’s okay to omit. And if you do choose to include it, make sure it’s accurate. If you are not completely done with college yet or you are applying to something right out of high school, then definitely include your high school. Just make sure they are on separate sides of the page. If high school is a bit outdated (after college sophomore year) then by all means omit it.
4. International Experience.
Work done outside the country captures attention and gives you an edge. This is where you note your internaional volunteer hours, study abroad, or foreign internships. Your exotic honeymoon and hectic family vacations do not have a place here. It’s also totally okay if you have never been out of the country. (I haven’t.)
5. Work Experience.
Always list the most recent career/job first and work chronologically backwards. Use bullet points to briefly describe what you did through action words and buzzwords but NO PRONOUNS. (I, you, he, she, it, me, us, them, etc.)
If you’re low on work experience, impress with volunteer experience.
6. Activities and Honors.
This is the fun stuff. Again if high school is relevant, brag about it. But really focus on any collegiate activities and achievements, leadership positions and awards, etc.
Always ask your references if they are okay being a reference. Make sure their contact information is up to date. If possible, students should provide two academic references and one work reference. Include the phrase “Available Upon Request” if it is absolutely true. DO NOT use a family member as a reference. They love you too much not to be biased.
8. Whatever Else You Deem Necessary To Include.
If there is a special skill you think can help you get ahead in thee runnings, go ahead and list it. No, wall twerking is not a special skill you should list.
- All major headers should be 14pt font.
- The bulk of your text should be 11pt or 12pt font (the more important, the larger the font).
- DON’T list personal things. Potential employers don’t need to know your sexuality, race, ethnicity, cats’ names, shoe size, etc to consider you for hire.
- Use the correct tense: if you did it in the past, use past tense. If you are still doing it, use present tense.
- If for some reason a negative pops up, spin it into a positive!
- NEVER TELL A LIE. Don’t exaggerate either. If you can’t back it up with facts/proof, then don’t include it on your resume.
- If you have to mail your resume, send it in a manila folder. Creased resumes can appear crumpled and messy. Remember, image is everything.
- A resume is an active document. You should be adding and adjusting throughout life as things happen. It’s not static or ever really finished.
- ALWAYS TRIPLE CHECK BEFORE YOU PRINT (or hit submit). People tend to type a document and move on. Typos are a big no-no and you want to catch them before it’s too late.
I set up a guideline for myself while working on my resume. I attached it here! It’s not a template. All of the information is typed up in textboxes so they can be moved, replaced, and resized or adjusted as needed. Mine includes high school as well as University information since I’m still a student so those of you confused about the “separate sides of the page” thing can see what I meant. I hope this helps! Good luck with life.
Bye For Now,