I never really put much thought into having a resume until toward the end of my sophomore year of college. I wanted an internship that summer, and I realized I was going to have make one. Ugh.
I found a resume template online and made one up really quickly. I didn’t put much effort into it, and I used the same exact resume for every job I applied for.
Thankfully, I did get an internship. But, I think I could have had a much better experience if I had understood the importance of having a clean, well though-out and detailed resume. Looking back, that resume was SO bad, but all I can do is laugh at how naive I was. I didn’t understand how important a resume was in the recruitment process, and I underestimated how much work goes into creating the perfect resume.
I am here to tell you that your resume is SO IMPORTANT and it can make or break your chances of getting hired for either an internship or a job. I have a bunch of tips I’ve learned along the way, and I wanted to share them with you today! YAYYYY WOOHOOOOOOOO!!!
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Basic Resume Tips
OK I’m starting off with a few tips that are super simple, and you should make sure you check these off before submitting your resume. They don’t have anything to do with content or style; they’re more about just making you seem more professional.
- Use a unique font. Literally everyone and their mom uses Times New Roman. Bleh. Boring. I’m not saying go all out and pick something crazy – make sure the style is still professional and legible. But, Pick a font that is a little bit more unique. Personally, I use Century Gothic. I like how the letters are a bit bigger and more rounded, and it’s just a slight change from the standard font that everyone uses. Employers are probably looking at hundreds of resumes a day, and this will help yours to stand out from the crowd.
- Save you resume as a PDF. OK this is something I seriously didn’t know about until a few months ago and I’m honestly mad about it. Why didn’t anyone tell me this earlier??? I used to save my resume as a word doc and send it in like that. But, this means that your file has to be opened in Microsoft Word on your employer’s computer, and it just looks a bit unprofessional. A PDF will open like it’s own picture that can’t be edited and won’t get messed up if something is different about the employer’s computer.
- Keep it to one page. This was easy for me in the beginning because, well, I didn’t have any experience. Lol. But, now that I’m a senior, I’ve been in several organizations and have had two internships, it’s a little harder. Like I said earlier, employers go through hundreds of resumes a day, and they’re not going to take the time to read three pages about every job you’ve had in the past ten years. Narrow down you positions to the best three or four you’ve held that you think are most applicable to the position you’re applying for. And, make sure to tailor your resume to fit each individual job you apply for. A position you held might be great experience for one potential job, but not so great for another.
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Resume Writing Tips
All righty, so now that we have that out of the way – these are my tips for how to actually go about writing/styling your resume. These tips will help to make your resume look more professional and stand out among the crowd.
- Use lots of describing words. When writing the descriptions for your previous work experience, make it look colorful. For example, on my resume, I have listed that I was a reporter. I could say, “Covered local news.” Or, to make it sound more enticing, I could write, “Provided complete and accurate coverage of both anticipated and spontaneous news for broadcast, online and social media.” Doesn’t that sound better?
- Have a logo. This might sound strange to some of you. But, a little logo at the top of your resume will really stand out and help employers remember who you are. It will also show them that you are willing to go the extra mile to make your work look well done and professional. You can either make one yourself online, or find a graphic design student at you school and ask him or her to make you cheap one.
- Talk about what you accomplished, not just what you did. Don’t just talk about your responsibilities at your old job. Talk about what you specifically went out of your way to do to make the company better. If you work in public relations and you’re in charge of media relations, don’t just write that. Also talk about how your hard work and dedication helped to secure a huge story about one of your clients that helped to gain a lot of exposure.
- Quantify your accomplishments. This helps to show the hiring manager that you made progress for your company. If you helped to secure a certain deal that brought in x amount of money to the company, put that. If you helped to raise engagement on social media from 5,000 to 8,000 in three months, put that. This will show the company that you bring results.
- Write about a leadership position. This doesn’t mean you have to be the CEO of a company or the president of a club. Think back over the past year or so and remember a time where you took the lead and created something successful. It could be that you were the leader of a school project that got an A, or it could mean that you were on the executive board for an organization. Either way, this will show the hiring managers that you are capable of taking the lead and moving up in the company.
- Use terms and phrases that are used in the job application. As mentioned earlier, you should tailer your resume to fit each individual job description. This means that you should read the qualifications and skills that are listed on the job posting. If it says, “looking for a self starter,” then maybe use the words “self starter” in your resume somewhere. These are keywords that the hiring manager will be looking for, and it will show them that you are a good fit for the job.
- Have a portfolio website. This may be more necessary for creative fields, but I think this helps to show your dedication to your craft. If you are a graphic designer, a website is an easy place where the hiring manager can go to see your work. It will look much more professional than sending over PDFs, and it will help you to stand out from the crowd.