Odd as it might seem, one of my go-to procrasti-pastimes is renovating my resume. This is essential as you never know when a new opportunity will arise – it’s good to be ready. It is even more important if you are job-seeking. Unfortunately, quality resume advice is not emphasized as much as it should be, leaving many students and graduates ill-equipped to navigate the job market. Below is a toolbox of 7 tips I’ve gathered over the years.
Follow them to help your resume fly to the top of the stack!
1. Use your resources. Whether you are still in school or a graduate, reach out to your Academic and Career Services. Call and schedule an appointment, ask if they have a template or if you can send in your resume.
2. Be industry specific. Resume expectations for a public relations position, a paralegal position, or a grad school application will not be the same. Target your search when looking for examples.
3. The best example might be a click away. Speaking of examples, even if your school doesn’t have templates on their website, there are many schools that do. Exploring other schools’ free online resources might be one of the best kept secrets! Yale, Harvard, and Penn for example all provide resume guidance and other pointers.
4. Respect the classic rule. In the words of Bey, “You are terrifying and strange and beautiful” – but you still need to fit all of that amazingness into one page. Pick and choose! You can elaborate on the rest in the interview. To be sure, ask a career counselor if a longer resume is acceptable. Law school applications for example allow for the resume to be more than one page.
5. Adjectives are key. Google is your friend. Find a handy dandy list of “resume action adjectives” and use it after your first draft. I don’t mean
use big words. I do mean you can replace “Led group meetings and planned topics” with “Facilitated 5 monthly membership discussions.”
6. Use numbers. How large was the budget you managed? Membership grew by what percent under your leadership? How many employees did you train? Think: Time – Money – Amounts. Can you spot the example I planted in #5?
7. Formating – double, triple and quadruple check! Formatting can be your friend or foe. I recommend saving the final resume as a PDF. For cover letters and writing samples too, it’s best to send the PDF version. Look at it before you send (you’ll be reading it over for typos anyway). Maybe even send to yourself or a friend for good measure. Sometimes things won’t look strange until you print, so if you have access to a printer do that as well.
I hope these tips help! You’re on your way to the next move!