Whether you’re getting ready to graduate and go into the workforce having a polished resume is an essential part of getting your foot in the door. Read on to learn how to build an eye-catching and effective resume.
Heading & Education: There should always be a heading at the top of your resume that includes your name, mailing address, phone number and email address. If you have a professional website, its web address can be included, but make sure the content is 100% safe for work first. List any college degrees that you’ve earned here, as well as special accolades, such as professional certifications. If you completed a thesis, you may also include a brief mention of this project. Students who have yet to earn a degree can list their anticipated date of graduation like this: Bachelor of Business Administration, Expected May 2017. You can also include your GPA if it’s 3.0 or better. This shows employers you are hardworking and that you maintain academic excellence. Depending on how many years of college you’ve completed, you might also consider listing your high school diploma, GPA and any positive high school experiences. This may be especially helpful for first- and second-year college students.
Objective & Skills:: It’s generally best to write a cover letter and exclude the career objective. However, if a prospective employer has asked applicants not to submit cover letters, then it’s a good idea to include one or two sentences that concisely describe your goals for the position. Selected Experience: Using the word ‘selected’ serves two functions: First, it indicates that you’re only describing previous jobs that have a direct effect on your qualification for the current position. Second, for those students who are worried about a lack of work history, it implies more experience without making any false statements. Use this space to list any jobs, internships, volunteer positions or other professional experiences that are germane to the position. Keep job descriptions as short as possible, highlighting only relevant duties. Be sure to list your most recent experience first, and then all experiences in chronological order thereafter. Include the companies name, your job title, location, and the dates you worked there. If you’re currently employed and the position is relevant, it can be listed as ‘start date-present’ (e.g., 10/29/15-present). This is your opportunity to draw attention to any important professional skills that aren’t explicit in your education or experience information. Consider things like computer skills (be specific, especially if the position relies on a particular piece of software), foreign language skills or creative skills. If you’re looking for inspiration, read over the job description again and try to distill why you’d be a good fit into a list of skills – just be careful not to copy a company’s list of desired skills verbatim onto your resume.
Honors & Awards: This section isn’t required, but it can be useful to fill up space if necessary or highlight special achievements. It’s ok to include academic awards here because they demonstrate diligence and hard work. Activities & Special Interests: This is another ‘filler’ section that isn’t required, but it can be useful to show evidence of intangible skills like leadership or communication. Don’t list every club or student group you ever joined, but consider adding organizations that are relevant to the position as well as more generally impressive roles, such as student government. Professional References: Although most employers require you to submit your references later on during the application phase, some will ask that these contacts be included with your resume. Many employers ask for 3 professional references whom they can call to verify your skills and work experience. Be sure to include any supervisors, professors, coworkers or other reliable sources who you trust to give a positive representation of your work ethic.
Resume Style: Having engaging and impressive content is at the heart of any resume, but style is more important than you may think. When an employer is paging through a stack of over a hundred resumes, he or she is going to pick up the one that looks best before reading a single word. There’s no one right way to style a resume, so it’s important to take the time to look at many different examples for inspiration. Your school’s career services office may have some samples for you to look at and an Internet search for ‘sample resumes’ will turn up lots of results. Here are a few basics to get you started: Your resume shouldn’t be longer than one page, single-sided. The cover letter and curriculum vitae (C.V.) give you an opportunity to be more detailed, but the resume should be a short and sweet summary that’s easy to scan. Choose a clean, simple font that’s easy to read. Avoid scripts or anything else that’s visually distracting. Print with black ink on white paper and avoid colored ink, colored paper or pictures – even artists should save images for their portfolios. If you want to make your resume seem a little more fancy, try printing on high-quality, heavy stock paper. Make sure that your style is consistent throughout, from the size of your headings to the indent of your lines.