A resume can make or break the first impression an employer has of an applicant. Equally as important as connections are the strength in how you market yourself and your past experiences. Therefore, a resume should send the right message with its formatting, statements, and visuals so you can score the next position in your career journey. You may be applying to spring or summer positions or want to have your resume armed at the ready for the next opportunity that arises. The Office of Career Exploration and Success can disprove any misconceptions and provide insight on common resume mistakes.
In an increasingly digitized workforce, changes to the hiring process are inevitable. It won't always be a person assessing a resume but an electronic system that can decide whether or not to move forward with an application. The career advisors at the office of Career Exploration and Success (CES) are equipped to help review your resume, whether it's an early or final draft. Before you visit, think like a recruiter and take the time to self-evaluate. Decipher what career cluster you most align yourself with and tailor your past experiences to your desired field. Next, evaluate your draft to see what keywords are sticking out and how you can sell yourself using those keywords.
Stacey Kohler, the Program Director for Road to Industry Programs (RTIPS), offers her advice drawing from her expertise assessing resumes during RTIPS' selective process. A common misconception is that "Some students think they have nothing to offer employers," which is not true. Past positions show that you are employable and illustrate the generalizable skills you've learned in the past.
Matthew Loder, Lead Peer Career Advisor, gives his opinion, "While you should prioritize professional experience relevant to the kind of job or internship that you are applying for, that doesn't mean that you can't or shouldn't include other kinds of jobs or projects." All positions offer invaluable experience, and skills learned in one professional environment can apply to the next, whether a position is at a Fortune 500 company or a local business. This mindset is especially applicable if you're recently starting your university career or if you don't yet have as much experience as you'd like. Volunteer work and academic or personal projects are other avenues of illustrating your skill sets. As you increase your amount of professional experience, you can steadily prioritize your most recent experiences first.
After assessing the content of your resume, which should remain one page, visuals are next. Students in the Arts, Communications, and Entertainment cluster have more leeway in the design of their resume. However, those in more technical fields should highlight their hard skills and research experience. CES advises applicants to ensure the readability of their document with the usage of Times New Roman and margins that aren't too wide. Stacey recommends refraining from using a Microsoft Word template. When you want your resume to stand out, she gives the go-ahead to using blue text, but typically only if you're handing out copies at an event like the Career & Internship Mega Fair.
To learn more resume tips, read our Career & Internship Guide. When you're ready to have your resume looked at, schedule a career advising appointment, or stop by drop-in resume critique hours. The Office of Career Exploration and Success is here to help propel your career journey forward.