Putting together a winning resume is one of the most important aspects of your job search. Think of this document as a snap shot of your combined qualifications (education, experience, activities) and build it to demonstrate how you would fit into the big picture of a company/organization. Our office has many resources to help you get started and improve your resume, the accumulation of which would be too much to include in one post. Therefore, I’d like to give some basic tips now and then continue on in later posts.
Regardless of where you currently are in the process of creating your resume, keep in mind that this is a working document, meaning it would be impossible to write it once and consider it complete forever. You should be tailoring your resume to every position you’re applying for. It might sound time-consuming, but it’s worth it in the end when your resume stands out above other candidates.
To begin, research the company you are applying for. Read the job description carefully and circle key words of things they are looking for or things that describe their organization. Also be sure to check out their website and any literature available to help you tailor your qualifications to fit their needs. It might help to research the general industry that you are hoping to work in to learn of any trends and characteristics of employees who are successful in that field. Both of these things will help you word your resume to give you a better chance of landing an interview.
Then, get a piece of scratch paper and begin writing down everything you can think of that you have accomplished during college. Write down class projects, research experiences, work history, internships (paid or unpaid), volunteer activities, campus involvement, and anything else you can think of that might be relevant. This is just a brainstorming activity so don’t worry about whether or not everything relates, just start writing it down to get yourself thinking.
Next, start grouping things on your scratch paper into different headings. This might require help from someone in Career Services, but some sample sections might be: Leadership, Student Involvement, Employment Experience, Community Service and Volunteer Work, Relevant Experience, Computer skills, Internships, and Awards and Achievements. Each person’s resume will be different, so it’s impossible to address all possible sections that might appear on yours. The important thing is to highlight what you have in such a way that makes sense to the reader and illustrates what is relevant to the position first and foremost.
That’s all I’ll include in this post, but hopefully it’s some food for thought on how to get started on creating a tailored resume. Don’t forget about our workshops this semester on Creating Your Resume! They are one of many excellent resources available to learn the basics of how to get started. We already had one yesterday, but there are three more being offered this fall. For more information on these workshops, go to the Career Events section of JOB CENTER.